Dear Straight Talk: How do you tell if a guy likes you? Or if he just wants to hook up? My friends and I are having an argument about this. — Jojo, 16, Vacaville
Chuck, 19, Toledo, Ohio: Your question is interesting, because when one of my friends is talking to a girl, I know his goals instantly. The easiest way for a girl to know is to ask personal questions. A guy seeking a hookup will shy away from them, or answer shallowly — or his answers will hint at his values and be a dead giveaway. With most guys, gathering a bit of background information goes a long way in predicting their actions.
Brandon, 22, Mapleton, Maine: Truthfully, lots of guys are looking for a hookup, and they know enough nice guys to act just like them. The hookup guy: He probably won’t invite you out with his friends, and won’t be very interested in your feelings or conversation. You won’t get a lot of his attention, nor will he demand much of yours. Physically, he’ll prefer kissing or fondling over embracing. He’s often egocentric OR outrageously over-clingy, giving you the world for one night and not even texting afterward. The relationship guy: He shows lots of genuine interest in you — and I don’t mean 50 questions about your body parts. He takes you on real dates and offers to pay the first few times. He brings you around friends and family. He asks about your future. He wants sex, but he’s willing to wait, so set “goals” (kissing on X date, etc.), and don’t back down.
Leah, 21, Yuba City: You can’t truly know right off. They can tell you one thing, while wanting something else. Spend time with them. The more time you spend, the better you know their character and whether they are really into you. Another way is to make them wait. If you enforce limits, such as you can’t kiss until X dates, etc; and they are okay with that, usually they want something real.
Delaney, 22, San Rafael: I still can’t figure it out, LOL! But it’s got to do with non-game-playing communication. I recently ran into this guy I had a crush on throughout high school and I was hell-bent on not turning it into a boring, easy hookup. But I figured that’s all he wanted, so I started playing stupid games like that’s all I wanted too! After four months of hiding our feelings and dumbing-down our relationship, we finally had an honest conversation about our intentions and both wanted something substantial! Basically, there is no WAY you can tell, you have to communicate.
Ochatre, 23, Kampala, Uganda: A guy who likes you usually takes his time to tell you his feelings — sometimes even being shy about it. The hookup will do all he can to get your attention as fast as possible.
Warren, 25, Nashville, Mich.: A guy making lots of physically-oriented comments, like how hot or fine you look, usually just wants to hook up. When a guy really likes you, his compliments are more respectful. He also includes you in activities other than parties.
Dear Jojo: Does this settle your argument? Thanks, panel! Something I’ve noticed with women (of all ages) is that men often say exactly what they mean, but women magically translate it into something hopeful. The more a woman works on her self-esteem, the easier it is for her to be unattached to outcome and make a guy wait. Waiting remains the best way to discover a man’s intentions. (Waiting, by the way, can also build interest. More about that on our website.) — Lauren
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