How to Tell Someone You Like Them
By Jess Novak
When you have a crush on somebody, whether they’re a longtime friend or someone you recently matched with on Bumble, it can be hard to figure out how to let them know. “You don’t necessarily have to say ‘I like you,'” says Candice Jalili, dating expert and author of Just Send the Text. Everyone and each situation is different, so it might be better to test the waters rather than telling your crush that you’re interested in them right away. Or you might just want to put yourself out there and tell them exactly how you’re feeling! The truth is, there isn’t just one way to tell someone that you like them.
If you’re feeling like you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. “This is a skill like any other that you can learn how to be better at,” says marriage and family therapist Beverley Andre. For guidance on how to tell someone you like them, read on for expert advice and tips on sharing your feelings with a crush.
Show your interest with your actions
If you’re shy or want to test the waters before telling a crush that you like them, consider a gesture rather than directly sharing your feelings. “For instance, if this person loves lattes, you could offer to make a coffee run and put a cute message on the cup,” says Andre. Or if you haven’t met yet IRL, consider sending your Bumble match a link to an article or a funny meme about something they’ve expressed an interest in, whether that’s a band they like, a favorite sports team, or a TV show they enjoy. Rather than telling them outright, showing your interest with your behavior can help you tell if they’re feeling it in a way that can put you both more at ease.
Boost your confidence beforehand
Once you’re ready to tell someone you like them, it’s a good idea to prepare before you make your move. “You can’t fake confidence, but you can become more confident,” Andre says. “And the best way to feel confident is to practice. Try out what you want to say either solo in the mirror or with someone who makes you feel safe.” Once you have your opening lines down, consider some other confidence boosters that can help you out in the moment, like wearing an outfit that makes you feel good, or playing a song that gets you pumped up right before you see your crush or send your Bumble match that all-important message.
Name your feelings
If you’ve been chatting with your crush and suspect that they might be interested, now is a great time to carefully tell them how you feel—and that’s true whether this is someone you know from work or a Bumble match you’ve been chatting with. Dr. Thomas Lucking, psychotherapist and director of SiliconValleyTherapy.co, suggests you say to them, “‘I really enjoy spending time with you, and I’m feeling positive about this. I’m curious if you also feel that we have a good connection here?”
He notes that words like “connection” and “curious” are especially good to use because they’re more observational and neutral, allowing your crush to explore their feelings for you in an open setting. This is better than telling them bluntly, “I like you and I want to move this relationship further,” which could put them in the position of having to acknowledge your feelings without having the chance to explore their own. This might make them feel pressured, which could ultimately scare them off.
Ask a question
For a less direct approach that still starts the conversation, you can try asking an open-ended question. Jalili suggests asking your longtime crush, “What do you think it would be like if we dated?” Or if you’re talking to someone on Bumble and you feel a connection, consider saying something like, “I’m really enjoying chatting with you. Would you like to move it to text, or meet up sometime?”
Most importantly, be your most authentic self and ask a question that feels genuine and will elicit a similarly legit response. “It will be so much more rewarding if you put yourself out there and they like you for you,” Jalili says. Once your question has been answered, you’ll know the score, which means you can either start planning a first date or moving on. While the latter may sting, knowing is better than not knowing.
Ask them on a specific date
If you want to take a bold approach, consider asking your Bumble match on a date complete with a day, time, and place. This is an incredibly attractive move that highlights that you’re serious, Andre says. “It shows them what your intentions are and indicates that you’ve thought of an actual plan.” How your crush responds to your proposed plan will help you get an answer from them about whether or not they’re interested.
Go with what makes you feel the most comfortable
Once you’ve decided that you do want to tell your crush that you like them, it’s helpful to decide how you want to convey that message. “Do what feels comfortable to you, and if that means sharing your feelings via text, then go for it,” says Jalili. “Especially if this is something new, doing it over text can make it seem more casual and playful.” This is especially true of a Bumble match—you’ve already established you have great chemistry, so a bold move could lead to an excellent in-person date, after all.
But if you’re unsure whether or not you have a real connection, flirt first and gauge their response. “Shift the conversation in a potentially flirty direction,” Jalili says. “Stick to conversation starters that have the potential to take a romantic turn, then follow their lead.” For instance, you could bring up a movie you want to see and casually mention that you haven’t had anyone to see it with, Andre says. Alternatively, you could send them a message telling them that you’ve been thinking about how great their smile is, or ask them if they’d consider being your plus-one to a friend’s party.
If you’re telling your crush that you like them in person, remember to pay attention to body language. “Some people won’t express how they’re feeling verbally,” Andre says, adding that if you notice that they stiffen up, it could mean they have reservations. “On the other hand, if they start smiling a lot, you can use that as a cue to move forward.”
Telling someone you like them can be scary, but it’s the best path forward: after all, if you let this crush build momentum without clueing the other person in, that can create unfair expectations, wasted time, or hurt feelings. Ultimately, you need to make some bold choices in order to get what you really want out of life—so be intentional, then just go for it.