Stuck in the No-Kiss Zone
How can you tell if someone is interested when they’re not flirting? Molly lets a Hinge user know whether or not it’s “safe” to go in for the kiss.
Q. I have been talking to someone I matched with on Hinge for about 3 weeks now! We’ve gone on 2 dates that were both very fun, and she seems interested in me.
I’m not sure if I should go in for the kiss this next date though…? Like, we talk, but it’s weird flirting with her. And she’s not too flirty back, but still seems very interested.
Any advice on how to figure out if she’s interested or not?
-Kenny, 28, Philadelphia, PA
A. Yes, Kenny. KISS HER. Your Hinge Princess has probably been blowing up her group text with messages like, “This guy Kenny keeps taking me out but he won’t make a move. WHAT DO I DO??? IS HE EVEN INTO ME??? SOS.”
Okay, now that we’ve got the action-based advice out of the way, I’ll explain why you need to go in for the kiss.
If a girl responds to your texts, agrees to go out with you, and is generally receptive to any in-person or digital communication, she is into you. I promise. Girls are complicated, but we’re not that complicated. Based on the evidence you’ve provided, I am 99.9% convinced she is interested and would be receptive to a kiss.
It can be tempting to read into things like, “She’s not flirting,” but you really shouldn’t. There are many reasons someone wouldn’t be overtly flirty back. My guess is that she’s nervous. Sometimes people freeze up or play it overly cool when they really like someone.
Another possibility is that she is flirting…it’s just not a style of flirting you’re used to. From what you’ve described, she’s doesn’t seem like an aggressive or particularly outgoing girl, so what she views as flirting (e.g., laughing at your jokes, talking softly) may seem to you like everyday behavior. So, while you’re thinking, “Why isn’t this girl flirting back?” she’s internally sweating bullets, wondering if she “ruined it” by laughing too hard at your joke.
If you’re wondering what other people constitute as flirting, I’ve got some numbers for you: only 20 percent of women (as opposed to 26 percent of men) say they would verbalize that they like someone. So, we can safely say your Hinge Heartthrob probably won’t hire a skywriter to tell you she’s into you.
Of the remaining 80 percent, 31 percent say they would “try to extend the date,” and 49 percent of women say they would try to subtly touch their date.
All this in mind, the best way to gauge if she’s interested is to create “kiss friendly” conditions on your next date and then just go for it. Walks through parks in broad daylight work in romantic comedies starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan; I would not recommend this scenario for two nervous people trying to break the touch barrier.
There is a reason most people “do drinks” as first or second dates; liquid courage is not a bad thing. Next time you two hang out, meet at a dimly-lit bar where you can sit next to each other. This will make any touching (arm, leg, etc.) more natural, because you can always play it off as a mistake if need be. But, let’s be honest — she’s into you, and she most likely will not recoil ala Belle and the Beast.
Only 20 percent of women will tell their date they’re interested using words.*
Another tip — consider picking a bar near her house so you can walk her home. A walk home is the perfect time to try any of the following pre-kiss moves: hand holding, arm around the waist, etc. Then, when you drop her off, you can go in for the goodnight kiss. And, who knows, maybe that will turn into the goodnight M.O.
The most important thing to realize is that sometimes you don’t know until you try. Remind yourself: she’s agreed to go out with you. This is evidence enough that she’s interested, and that she most likely will be thrilled to kiss you.
*May 2017 Hinge survey
Molly Fedick is the Editor-in-Chief of IRL. She has written extensively on the role of technology in modern dating for publications including Glamour, NBC, the Chicago Tribune, Elite Daily, and Huffington Post. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @mylifeasmolly. Send Molly questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.