First of all, it’s important to note that it’s so easy to miss a joke, misunderstand someone’s intentions, or even miss the fact they’re flirting entirely when texting. But if you know what to look for, the signs will be there. “When someone likes you, their texting habits will definitely change,” Dr. Holly Schiff, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle.
In fact, she says making an effort via text is often one of the first things people do when they catch feelings. Not only is it an easy way to begin the “talking” stage of a relationship, but it’s also a casual way to see if they like you back.
If you spot the signs and are feelin’ their heart emojis, that’s when you’ll want to ask if they’d like to meet up. Once you’re around each other you’ll be able to see if you have good chemistry. (If you’re brave, you could even straight up ask if they like you!) Until that day comes, here are a few ways to tell if someone likes you over text, according to experts.
1. They Reply Quickly
While you can’t expect someone to text when they’re busy at work or traveling, it is a great sign if your possible future partner makes an effort to write back quickly as often as possible. In fact, Schiff says one of the surest signs someone likes you over text is a rapid response. It’s a way for them to show that you’re a priority in their life. It’s also a sign they enjoy talking to you and want to keep the conversation going.
2. Their Texts Are Engaging
They won’t give one word answers like “yep” or “idk.” Instead, they’ll share how they feel, tell you all about their day, and — most importantly — ask questions about your life. Basically, “your texting conversations will be deeper and meaningful,” Bennett says, and it’ll seem to be creating a greater bond.
This will be true even if the person isn’t a huge “fan” of texting. As Bennett says, they’ll still try to do more than pass along facts and information because they know it’s important to you. (Once you get past the talking stage, they might even admit they didn’t like texting but did it anyway because they were excited to talk to you. Aww.)
3. They Let You Know When They’ll Be Busy
If someone likes you, they’ll make it clear when they’re going to be unavailable — maybe because they’re working, going to sleep, or seeing friends — instead of just leaving you to wonder why they stopped responding.
“This is an indicator of consideration for you and that again affirms that the connection is important,” Virginia Williamson, LMFT
4. They Apologize For Being Gone
While there’s no need to gravel after missing a text, it is a good sign if they offer a quick apology for missing your message. “This shows that they are considerate since they don’t want to leave you wondering why they stopped responding to your texts, and that the connection you share is important to them,” Schiff says.
6. They Dish Out The Compliments
Keep an eye out for compliments, which therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW says is yet another sign they like you. They’ll find ways to say you look great, that you’re funny, that they love talking to you — anything that makes it clear they’re interested in you as a person.
Compliments might also be their way of testing the waters to see if you like them back, so go ahead and respond in kind. It can be nerve-racking to flirt via text, but this is a surefire way to start building a connection in the early talking stages of dating.
7. You Use Nicknames
If you’ve come up with cute or funny nicknames for each other, go ahead and be (mildly) thrilled. “Using pet names such as ‘sweetie’ or ‘babe’ are signs they are falling for you,” Hershenson says. Or, at the very least, that they’re willing to flirt and see how things go.
While the person in question shouldn’t be doing this too early — you probably won’t want a “hey babe” from a perfect stranger, for example — it can be a sweet sign, as you get to know each other better, that they like you.
8. They Start Using Heart Emojis
Since it can take a lot of guts to send someone a heart emoji — especially when you actually like them — receiving one should pique your interest, Rori Sassoon, a matchmaker and dating expert, tells Bustle, as it “shows they are adding extra emphasis on sharing ‘love.’”
Again, if they’ve acted like this from day one you might not want to read into it. But if you’ve been chatting for a few weeks and hearts start popping up with greater frequency, it may be their subtle way of showing they care.
9. They Show Concern
Does this person text to make sure you’re home safely? Do they reply quickly when you’re going through a tough time? Do they want to know about your day? “Obviously you can’t see facial expressions or hear a tone when texting,” Hershenson says, but these habits tend to indicate genuine care and concern. And who typically does that? Folks who have a crush.
10. They Start To Open Up
Another way to spot mutual interest is if your text exchange moves past light-hearted chitchat and into more couple territory. You might share secrets, open up about worries and concerns, or text late into the night about your past.
As Sassoon says, these changes can point to a deeper level of closeness and trust. They might even mean the other person has caught feelings since it’s clear they feel comfortable and want you to know more about their life.
11. They Text First Thing In The Morning & Last Thing At Night
“Take note of when someone texts you,” certified coach Randi Levin, tells Bustle, especially if it’s first thing in the morning or right before bed. “If someone is beginning or ending their day with you or showing up repeatedly throughout the day to just say hello,” she says, “you are more significant to them than you may realize.”
It’s meaningful because these texts are coming in at the most intimate moments of the day, Sassoon adds, like when you’re just waking up and still lying in bed. If you’re always saying “good morning” and “goodnight” — even if it’s just via text — it’s clear you’re top of mind and becoming a priority in their life.
12. Their Texts Seem Personalized
It’s one thing to receive a generic “hope your day is going great” text. It’s something else entirely to receive a message that’s uniquely catered to you. It might show that they remembered an important date, like the fact you have a big meeting at work. And if it includes an inside joke? It’s possible that love is blooming. Not only do these texts show this person is invested in your life, Levin says, but the bantery language also shows you’re starting to build a rapport.
13. The Conversation Flows
Another sign is it becomes easy to have texting convos. “If they are into you, they will love the constant flow of conversation,” Schiff says. It won’t feel like you’re running out of things to say or “bothering” them by sending a text. In fact, right when the convo starts to die down, that’s when they’ll send a message to start up an entirely new topic. “No matter how busy they are, they want to demonstrate that answering you and talking to you is a priority,” she says.
14. They Always Remember To Check In
Even if you aren’t texting back-and-forth constantly, you’ll notice that they make an effort to check in at random times to ask about your day, relationship expert Chloe Ballatore tells Bustle.
They might just want to know what you’re up to or see if you’re having a good afternoon, which is a cute way of showing that you’re on their mind. It’s also a good sign if they get big news and reach out to tell you first, Ballatore says. This means they view you as an important person in their life.
Dr. Holly Schiff, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist
Virginia Williamson, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist
Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and dating expert
Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., PhD, relationship expert
Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, therapist
Rori Sassoon, matchmaker and dating expert
Randi Levin, certified coach
Chloe Ballatore, relationship expert
Dr. Christie Tcharkhoutian Kederian, EdD, MA, MFT, marriage and family therapist