While the Bollywood fanatics within us might think that doing an elaborate song and dance routine of ‘Thodasa pyar hua hai, thoda hai baki…’ might just be the best way to tell a guy you have the hots for him, the wiser among us would know that that is a horrible idea. Subtlety is an idea lost on most romantic Bollywood films, (Exhibit A – the couple kisses behind a couple of shaking flowers that are touching at the petals, that is not subtle in any way), and it is an idea that is necessary when you want to tell a guy that you like him. While good old love letters can work, there are other ways of hinting to a man that their presence is making you go weak in the knees. They are as follows.
1. Make him your confidante slowly
At the risk of pushing you almost into the friend zone, remember what SRK taught us in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, ‘Pyar dosti hai’. If you like a guy, you can’t help but be friends with him. Whether it is a lifelong relationship that you will have or a summer fling, the idea is to spend more time together and that can’t happen without friendship. In such a case, by making him not only a friend, but a confidante, you are indirectly giving him space in your life. They might not catch on to this fact overtly, but it’s a wonderful feeling to know that someone trusts you with their emotions and secrets. By giving him that kind of space in your life, you’re letting him know that he’s a very important person to you.
2.Take genuine interest in what he’s saying
There’s a vast difference between being just sexually attracted to someone and liking them. If you like them for more than how they make your body feel, then you will have your work cut out for you. Liking them means making efforts to be a part of their world. Paying attention to what they say. In the age of smartphones, we constantly have an escape available at our hands. This is also the reason people who make eye contact and genuinely listen to you in a conversation stand out. Even if what a guy is talking about might be about a topic that bores you to death, being a good listener and being interested in what they have to say will make them feel heard, a feeling that is rare today. When you bear witness to another person’s thought, you are giving them validation. You’re telling them that what they say is important to you.
Related reading: 6 things a man does to show his love
3. Remember things about him
Even if you are shit at remembering birthdays and favourite things of other people, by putting in the efforts to remember things about him, you will show that you care about him. While there are genuinely sweet friends who do sweet things for their friends, you remembering their favourite chocolate, or what drink they like, or how they take their tea shows that you’re paying attention. Feeling noticed and validated is a huge part of any relationship, and when you do this for a guy, you’re setting yourself apart from the rest of the group. People remember these kinds of sweet things.
4. Make spending time with him a priority
While no one should turn their world upside down to spend time with another person, making small adjustments in the schedule, arranging your day in such a way that you get to grab that cup of chai at your regular adda is a brilliant way to show that you want to keep spending time with them. When you make plans to go watch a film or out to a picnic or to a new gym, ask them along. Everyone likes feeling included. But when you present it to someone that you are willing to make space for them in your life, it’s a clear message that people will receive.
5. Make sure you’re not just talking about friendship
While all the actions above speak louder than words, they also can be deemed actions of a friend. To avoid the ‘just a friend’ category, you must make sure he knows that there’s space for more than that in your relationship. Subtle flirting and banter that includes references to their dateability is one way of going about it. Saying things like, ‘You are the ideal kind of guy, you know that?’ is an indirect clue which he, if he’s not daft, will pick up on eventually. Referring to your relationship as special and something more than friendship will also help. But the best way to do this is compliments.
Related reading: 10 love quotes that would make you fall in love again
Who doesn’t love compliments? Being appreciated for who we are, what we wear, how we look, how we see the world is a pleasant feeling. When that appreciation comes from a person who’s been giving you hints about liking you, that appreciation takes on a greater role. It is also through these compliments that you can tell the guy about how you feel about him. Hypothetical statements such as ‘You’re the kind of guy I’m looking for!’, ‘You’d make a perfect boyfriend’, ‘If I wanted to date someone, they’d have to be like you’ is a semi-direct way of asking the person out. If they have their heads about them, they might just ask you ‘How about instead of someone like me, you date me?’ and then that would be a happily ever after story, but I digress. The point is to compliment them subtly. Do not keep saying that everything that they do is amazing, that will get annoying, nobody likes a kiss-ass. However, make sure you tell them what you genuinely appreciate about them.
7. Tell him directly
Having said that subtlety is important, I’m going to contradict myself and say that sometimes, when they can’t take a hint, or don’t have the courage to address the hints, saying the words out loud, or writing them down is the best way. Let me tell you a story. A friend of mine was tired of giving hints to a boy and was at her wit’s end. They had met at drama practice in college and were acting in a script she had written. The boy in the script resembled this real-life boy a little too much. The script was 40 pages of adoration towards the boy and in spite of reading it, it hadn’t dawned on him that this wasn’t a coincidence. Long story short, she sat him down at the canteen, told him that he was the boy from the script, pointed out that the writer was in love with the character and 5 years later, they are engaged. While you might not want to get engaged to this boy you like, the moral of the story is that sometimes hints aren’t enough and you have to pretty much spoon feed the guy the reality. It might be scary to open up to someone that way, but you might just get a boyfriend after doing so, it can’t hurt. On the contrary, research has shown that people can develop new feelings for a person after being told that they like them. Even though the last resort, confessing might just be the best one.