How to come to a rational believe about whether someone has a crush on yo

by [anonymous]1 min read14th May 201594 comments

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If you have a crush on someone you usually want to find out if they have one on you too. In my opinion outright asking them is often not a good solution, because if they don't have a crush on you yet it decreases the chance of this ever happening if they know you have one. This believe is based on what I read about love psychology. Hovever I don't really want to discuss the option of outright asking them in this thread, therefore I have not elaborated further how I got to this believe. 

The alternative to asking them is trying to interpret signals that they might give you. However to know how many signals you need before you should believe that they are in love with you, you would need the prior. I have not been able to find anything about the prior of someone being in love with you. Therefore my Idea is to do a survey in order to find out how likely it is that a person you know has a crush on you. The plan is to ask the person taking the survey how many people they know well enough to possibly have a crush on them and how many people they actually have a crush on.

I have created a Survey for this and would be really happy if you would participate. 

The next stepp would be to discuss how certain signals a person can give you raise the probability of them having a crush on you. That part is quite difficult. I think probably the best way would be to check how your friends react to certain situations and what body language they show you and then, if you find out someone has a crush on you, to look up what he did differently from people who are merely your friends. I am currently not in a good position to do this experiment but if someone wants to try or has results about this to share please do so. However I think this part is less important than finding the prior, because most people have at least a general idea about what certain signals mean from personal experience while at least I have no idea at all what the prior might be.

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This post may get downvoted, as I suspect it's of low value and low interest to a lot of readers. You shouldn't take this personally.

For what it's worth, I admire your approach, though it's based on incorrect assumptions. Trying to calculate whether someone is attracted to you will not end well. Researching psychology for romantic reasons will probably also not end well.

People solve this problem by making bigger and bigger signals at each other, until either one side stops making the bigger signals or until the signals are so big you can't ignore them, (also known as "flirting"). If this sounds hard and unreliable, that's because it is. It takes a lot of practice to get good at this. You would be best advised to practice talking to people while trying to figure out how they feel about the conversation instead of carrying out this sort of research.

2skeptical_lurker6yThis prob should be in the open thread.
7ChristianKl6yI don't think so, it's drawing enough comments to have it's own thread.
0hg006yIf that's the criteria for being in a more highly promoted content class, we select for controversy and attention hijackers that compel commentary. Lots of smart people read Less Wrong. If you think it would be valuable for lots of smart people to read your thing (because it's important, valuable, high-quality, whatever), put it in Discussion or Main. If twenty smart people is enough, put it in an open thread.
0ChristianKl6yI consider karma votes to be a better tool to give people an idea whether it's valuable to read something. The open thread format doesn't work well for issues with a lot of comments.
2[anonymous]6yI have no problem with getting downvoted, If my aproach seems stupid to other people it is good for me to know that. I am also aware that you cannot find exact percentages when it comes to what other peole think about you. Hovever as far as I know in general it is important to know the prior of an event if you want to get a feeling about how probable it is. Or am I wrong here? I see that this does not fully apply to flirting because there you have signals that are very obvious and cant be misinterpreted. Hovever you also have ambigious signals. It happens that people flirt and one person gets the wrong impression about what the other meant. If lets say every second person had a crush on you and you flirt with them, then you would not need to do much to be reasonably sure that you understood them right. However if lets say only one in a million people had a crush on you it would be much more likely that signals you got where actually caused by something else. And if this is true the prior would be relevant. The second part of my post about how signals raise the probability might be a stupid, but I still don't see why knowing a rough figure for the prior chance of someone having a crush on you would not be helpfull. Can anyone please explain to me where the error in my thinking is?
7sixes_and_sevens6yIt's important to note that the base rate of people finding other people attractive is different from the base rate of other people finding you attractive. You're way more interested in the second question than you are the first question, but no amount of polling people on the internet can answer that question for you. It's a bit like learning to juggle. You can't learn to juggle just by reading books and imagining how balls get thrown and how fast they fall. To learn how to do it, you've got to throw some balls up in the air. You've got to figure out how your body and brain deal with throwing and catching, and then you've got to learn how to control it. To begin with, you're going to drop a lot of balls, but that's not the worst thing in the world that can happen.
3[anonymous]6yThat is indeed another problem I did not consider. It definitely decreases the value of knowing how many people others have a crush on in general. But still, the fact how many people have a crush on me in particular should be somewhat correlated to how many people they have a crush on in general. Since, as you pointed out, it is impossible for me to get the specific percentage for myself I’ll have to go with the general one. Concerning your juggling comparison. Maybe I did not express myself clearly. If you want to find out if someone likes you, then of course the most important thing is interacting with him/her. It is way more important than knowing the prior. I do not expect that after finding out the prior and reading about flirting signals I will be able to skip Interacting with people. I believe it will help me interpreting the interaction with people the right way. The only way I can see the prior being irrelevant is when flirting signals are 100% perfect filters. Let us say I am flirting with someone and giving a signal and getting a response. If that person gives that response 100% to a person she has a crush on and 0% to a person she does not have a crush on than the prior would indeed be irrelevant. If however this person gives the response with 100% Chance to a Person he/she has a crush on, but also with 50% chance to a person he/she just likes as a friend, then this signal will only help me differentiate between the states "friend" and "love intrest" with 50% probability. And now it becomes relevant on how many of his/her friends this person has a crush. Let us say the person has 10 friends and has a crush on 5 of them. Than on average he/she would give 5 correct positive signals 2.5 false positive signals and 2.5 correct negative signals. So if I get a positive signal, than that means that with a probability of 2/3 that person would have a crush on me and with a probability of 1/3 he/she would not. If that same person would only have a crush on one
1ChristianKl6yFlirting signals aren't just positive and negative. If a girl is nervous when around you when she isn't nervous while around other people and there no real reason to be nervous, that can be a sign that she has a crush. At the same time it can also be a sign that a girl likes you when she's very relaxed while around you, has open body language and is comfortable with physical touch. Crucially more comfortable being touched by you than being touched by other people.
0sixes_and_sevens6yThere are various things wrong with this reasoning, but I don't think you're getting my general point: this entire approach is misguided and it will not lead you to good outcomes.
2[anonymous]6yI accept that you and most people here think this aproach is not helpfull. I will therefor abandon it. However you said that there are various other things wrong with my reasoning even if the aproach was not generally bad. Is my general process of asigning probabilities to believes wrong? Would the thing I did in the following paragraph also be wrong in an abstract scenario, where I would for example want to differentiate between blue and red balls instead of someone having a crush on me or not? " If however this person gives the response with 100% Chance to a Person he/she has a crush on, but also with 50% chance to a person he/she just likes as a friend, then this signal will only help me differentiate between the states "friend" and "love intrest" with 50% probability. And now it becomes relevant on how many of his/her friends this person has a crush. Let us say the person has 10 friends and has a crush on 5 of them. Than on average he/she would give 5 correct positive signals 2.5 false positive signals and 2.5 correct negative signals. So if I get a positive signal, than that means that with a probability of 2/3 that person would have a crush on me and with a probability of 1/3 he/she would not."
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yI haven't yet abandoned this approach and I'm not sure you should do so either. At least not until some more comments on this topic have come in.
0sixes_and_sevens6yMy claim is that your model is far too simple to model the complexities of human attraction. Let's use your example of pulling red and blue balls from an urn. Consider an urn with ten blue balls and five red balls. In a "classical" universe, you would expect to draw a red ball from this urn one time in three. A simple probabilistic model works here. In a "romantic" universe, the individual balls don't have colours yet. They're in an indeterminate state. They may have tendencies towards being red or blue, but if you go to the urn and say "based on previous observations of people pulling balls out of this urn, the ball I'm about to pull out should be red one third of the time", they will almost always be blue. Lots of different things you might do when sampling a ball from the urn might change its colour. In such a universe, it would be very hard to model coloured balls in an urn. As far as people being attracted to other people are concerned, we live in such a universe.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yProbably. But that doesn't mean that it can't be modelled. Or are you instead claiming that it shouldn't be modelled? The first can be remedied by better models - and starting with a simple approximate model surely isn't a bad first step. The latter can't be fixed by modelling obviously.
1Gunnar_Zarncke6yFor what it's worth I don't think it is of low value and it is of interest to me. If only because I tried to answer this same question too.
0bogus6ySignals are one part of the solution of course, but one thing that's really important in practice is showing off: doing things and acting out behaviors that will give the other side a good impression of yourself. The nice thing about doing this is that you're sending all sorts of positive signals at the same time. Good qualities of course, but also saying that you know what sorts of showoffs are appreciated. It's also a good signal that (a) you're attracted to them yourself, and would feel good about it if the attraction was mutual, but (b) you also value your autonomy and know that mutual attraction cannot be counted on. You most likely are not going to get clingy and dependent - a prospect many are worried about. All in all, I'm not sure what other things could successfully send this kind of valued, targeted info. Of course there's a big amount of subtlety in showing off as in anything else, but if there's one thing you want to keep in mind about the rational and game-theoretic side of relationships, maybe this should be it.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yIs that so? If yes I'd like to really highlight that because at least for me that would be new and valuable information (introvert speaking here). Or is this a culture-specific 'protocol'?
5ChristianKl6yThe extend to which people engage in plausible deniable signals is culture specific. I know a guy who's good with women who goes by the principle that whenever he would like more intimacy with a woman he voices that desire in the NVC way. For him not standing up for his own desire would be not respecting himself enough to believe his desire is important. There are social circles where it works to say: "Hey, I would really like to interact with you and feel uncomfortable because at the moment I don't see a good way to start an interaction. I would like to cuddle with you today." There are cultures and social circles where girls play hard to get, there are cultures where they don't.
5sixes_and_sevens6yI'm pretty sure flirting works more or less the same in most of the Western world. As a general strategy for gauging interest with plausible deniability, I imagine it's universal.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yWhy? Because it is 'too rational' (in the straw-vulcan sense of not emotional enough)? Some time ago there was a post about the Law of Gendlin being problematic on emotional topics [http://lesswrong.com/lw/8s3/issues_with_the_litany_of_gendlin/] but I don't think that is settled. Also if the base-rate for crushes and infatuations were known you could calibrate yourself against that which would help to better deal with rejection and lack of crushes.
5sixes_and_sevens6y1) It's largely pointless in terms of one's behaviour and psychological well-being. If you have an all-consuming infatuation and you're not acting on it, the reason for not acting probably isn't because some test statistic hasn't crossed a predesignated threshold. 2) The whole sentiment of "I will calculate your love for me" is attached to a cluster of non-attractive features that probably get binned as "creepy". No, this isn't right. No, this isn't fair. But it is the case. 3) The notion of a "prior" on other people being attracted to you is essentially asking "how attractive am I?" This is information that can't be deduced by observing other people's romantic behaviour, any more than you can measure your own height by reading about other people's height. Your attractiveness is not some inherent frequency by which people think you're attractive: it's made up of all the attributes and behaviours that people like about you. Maybe you should figure out what those things are and how to make them shine more, rather than trying to guess the odds on any given person finding you attractive.
0[anonymous]6yQuite sure HughRistik went over this, but the creepiness factor is pretty much the research of the whole routine flirting stuff that happens. Courting is the right word, I think. But it's specifically that, though. Interestingly I think it's not uncommon for people to take a few actions, add them up and say "this person likes me". The opposite is quite true, too. The problem with those is that they're rather imprecise, so we can't know for sure. Unlike the research method which will recursively build upon itself until it has a good model. Precise vs imprecise, that's pretty damn creepy.
0[anonymous]6ySince not everyone thinks my approach is totally wrong like it seemed in the beginning I will re-enter this discussion although I said that I would abandon the approach. I did plan to abandon it, not because I understood why it was completely wrong but because I saw the massive dislike of it as enough evidence to believe it is wrong. Concerning 1) As I mentioned my point was not to do nothing, try to analyse and then come to some kind of result whether another person likes you. It is to assign probabilities on whether that person has a crush on you in order to decide how to act. Concerning 2) If you decide to do certain things in the process of flirting you always assign probabilities to whether to person has a crush on you or not. If this would not be the case than there would be no development in the flirting process. You would give exactly the same signals at the beginning and at the end. You only progress to more obvious signals because based on what you have seen before you think it is more probable that that person likes you. The only question is do you let your subconscious assign the probabilities or do you make a conscious effort to do that. Most people will let their subconscious assign the probabilities. I agree that a lot of people will find it creepy if I decide to make conscious decisions here, but A) I do not have to let them know that I make a conscious decision and B) those people would probably also have problems with me making conscious decisions on other issues where they do not and if a person is not willing to accept that that is how I make my decisions it is probably the wrong person anyway. Concerning 3) yes my attractiveness something specific to me. But my attractiveness is not the only factor deciding how likely it is for someone to have a crush on me. I am not sure how to explain this properly, but in a world where every person would only have a crush on someone once in his/her entire life the chance of someone having a crush on me wo
0ChristianKl6yMaybe it's even right. It's behavior that makes people uncomfortable. I don't see a reason why people shouldn't shun you for making them uncomfortable.
2OrphanWilde6yI'd argue it's behavior that -should- make people uncomfortable. "-I- will calculate -your- love for -me-", as a thought somebody might express, screams "predator" in my brain. Anybody for whom this is a natural approach to other people doesn't see other people as complex minds, but as collections of variables. Variables that are quite easy to shift and adjust if they possess even relatively poor manipulative abilities.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yThat seems to be the phrasing. "I wonder whether he loves me" sounds quite natural and expresses the same uncertainty.
2OrphanWilde6yWell, yes. But phrasing matters. The choice of one word over another reveals something of the thought processes underlying the statement. Calculation implies something to be calculated, something that can be calculated, numbers that can be nudged this way or that. More, anybody -capable- of reducing the complexity of somebody else's mind to simple equations is in a position of intellectual dominance over them, a mind of a greater order of magnitude; in order for a mind to be calculable, it can't be reflective. Calculating somebody else's mind requires that they not be able to calculate the fact that you're calculating them, not be able to reflect what's going on in your mind, even as you are able to reflect what is going on in theirs. This, by its nature, is not going to be an equal relationship. In the context of saying it to somebody, you're telling them that you are in a position of considerable power over them. In the context of saying it to somebody whose affections are unknown, this statement of power becomes a threat. "You don't love me now, but I can -make- you love me, because I know what all the numbers are and where to find them and what they mean."
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yhm, yes, what you say sounds right. There surely are more powerful minds than others. People who can model others better than vice versa. And this brings power. But this a) doesn't depend on being communicated (and the OP didn't indicate whether it was meant to be communicated) and b) may also come from experience (more likely so as I read all these comments here). What you seem to imply is that the OP accidentally or not would (want to) intimidate. And I can't read that. Surely one should never signal 'I can control you' to anybody - whether it be true or not. But that is not at issue here, or? And then there is the question of whether it would be preferrable to have as a partner someone who is a match at this. Who would understand you when you think analytically about people.
4OrphanWilde6yIt is an issue. There's heavy overlap between analytical approaches to regarding other human beings and psychopathy. That's what the "creepy" signal, in part, is signaling. It's "creepy" in a there's-a-spider-wearing-a-human-face-looking-at-me sense - human beings don't do that kind of thing, thus, you can't be a human being. As a rule, you don't want to communicate that you're not a human being. There are... severe social recriminations for doing so. Intimidating somebody on those grounds is like having the spider pull its human face off and stare at you with mandibles clicking. It's no longer concerned with looking human; you're now food. So no, it's not something you want to do, in any case, including when looking for other "spiders wearing human faces". If you're merely analytical, you're sending the wrong signals. If you think about other human beings analytically, and want to signal that to find other people who think about other human beings analytically, there are socially safer signals to use. Cynicism, for example.
5Nornagest6yNot sure how true this is. It's a trope, to be sure, thanks partly to Hannibal Lecter and his various imitators. But I haven't seen much in the wild to show that analytical thinking about other people is well correlated even with basic lack of empathy towards them, let alone full-blown psychopathy. (Lack of sympathy, sure, but that points towards a cluster of personalities more in the neighborhood of autism or Asperger syndrome. Perhaps what's going on in pop culture is some sort of outgroup homogeneity/all-weird-people-are-equal effect.)
0ChristianKl6yEmpathy is basically about engaging in actions because you feel an emotional impulse to engage in the action. The person who can push the fat man from the bridge needs to shut of their empathy to do so.
0OrphanWilde6yPsychopaths are generally charming and manipulative. "Hannibal" is probably closer to a true psychopath than the "I will calculate your love for me" concept, because Hannibal doesn't -need- to calculate, he already knows; he's read it in your body language. Knowing what you're thinking is what -enables- him to be charming and manipulative. It's important to distinguish that psychopaths aren't necessarily analytic, they just share the most dangerous qualities in common with analytic people - the ability to tell, at a glance, that a man used to be fat, and a subtle suggestion that he's letting himself go will result in an emotional breakdown later that evening.
2Jiro6yI wonder if psychopaths are actually charming and manipulative in general, or if this is survivorship bias; any psychopaths that aren't would get immediately caught and destroyed, either literally or figuratively.
0ChristianKl6yIn our society we have few lynch mobs that kill psychopaths. To the extend that we succeed in catching psychopaths, those people that get caught are the basis for psychologists who study the traits of psychopaths.
0Jiro6yConsider what's going to happen to a psychopath who isn't charming and manipulative. He's going to try to take advantage of people, but without the traits that make him able to do so successfully, he's going to constantly get caught doing it, fail, and burn through all his social capital. Constantly trying to take advantage of people and failing has a good chance of leaving you dead, in jail, in poverty, or homeless. You may be right in the sense that nobody diagnoses him with psychopathy, but being caught doing bad things without a diagnosis is still being caught doing bad things, and still has a pretty negative effect. The best he's going to be able to do is recognize that he doesn't have the skills to take advantage of people and not do it, in which case he'll be mostly indistinguishable from a normal person.
0Lumifer6yYou seem to be assuming a particularly stupid psychopath, one who doesn't realize in which way he is different from neurotypicals. Let me offer you some alternatives. A "psychopath who isn't charming and manipulative" can enlist into the armed forces (or become a prison guard, a cop, etc.). He can lead an entirely normal life faking socially-acceptable amount of interaction and be considered just an introvert. He can become an extremist for a cause.
0ChristianKl6yStudying psychopaths who are in prison is easier for psychologists than studying psychopaths who aren't in prison. Being in prison doesn't get one out of the reference category but more likely to be in the reference category. If you go throw the Hare checklist, how many of the points only apply when a person actively tries to take advantage of others? Maybe the point about "Cunning/manipulative" and "Parasitic lifestyle" but most of the items don't. It seems to me that you argue against a concept of psychopathy that doesn't have much to do with it's clinical definition.
0Jiro6yOf course you are correct. So change that to "The best he's going to do is hide it, because he doesn't have the skills to take advantage of it and not hiding it will get him into trouble."
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yI assume 'you' refers to any reader. To be sure, just for the record: I do think analytically about everything - including people. But I'm not very good at putting myself into other peoples shoes, so I have difficulty modelling them. Thus my analysis of individuals is probably not better then most peoples modelling by experience. But one can still analyse peoples behaviors on average - and that is what I do and what I immediately (mis)read from the OP. How do people react on average? What can I expect over the long run. I do empathize strongly just in case you are wondering. So no, I'm no spider wearing a human face. That is actually a good recommendation. It doesn't help me because I can't stand the negativity but it gives ideas how to signal. Comments about politics probably also count. Or meta comments about social activity in general. Do you have any positive examples?
2OrphanWilde6yYou're interested in more than a partner who thinks analytically - they have to be reasonably optimistic, as well. So comments about optimistic philosophies might work; Leibniz, maybe. "Progressive" ideologies are generally fairly optimistic, so politically, you'd want to talk about, say, John Dewey, Ralph Nader, Lester Ward, etc. Nietschze is a mixed bag; his early stuff is quite pessimistic, but his latter works are much more optimistic. Alternatively, you can find correlations. My experience suggests you might find exactly what you're looking for in Swing dancing partners.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yThank you very much!
0ChristianKl6yMost people do feel emotions when they wonder whether or not another person loves them and those emotions affect behavior. If you try to do a calculation you push those emotions away, you try to let the numbers instead of your emotions affect your behavior.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yIndeed. Or more precisely I try to inform my emotions with the numbers. But yes, the first impulse is to really understand what is going on before feeling what that means. And this gap is felt by the other side how wellmeaning it may be. But on the other hand it avoids the other way around: Being manipulated by spontaneous expression of emotions.
2ZacHirschman6yIt seems to me that this discomfort is not a necessary product of the behavior. It may even be a cognitive bias, on the order of thinking that unconditional love is more powerful than conditional love. I submit that a rationalist should expect his or her prospective partners to "calculate their love" and not be afraid of the results. Your statement has a nice "should" in it. The reason for people not to shun you is because their discomfort is based on a (debatably) flawed heuristic. In many cases, discomfort is a natural part of changing one's mind. I can see, though, why romance would be an exception. Discomfort due to unrequited affections, for example, is not evidence of an impending paradigm shift. Discomfort due to a rational calculus, however, might indicate a high likelihood of irrationality.
0ChristianKl6yNo, it has shouldn't in it. Shouldn't is the negation of should. It seems to me that way. I did have a reference experience with a Grinberg teacher who could switch that mode of anxiety on and off by conscious decision. She demonstrated it during a talk and it felt uncomfortable to me. I though to myself: "You made your point, it feels uncomfortable, can you now move on?". She has more physical presence than people who are shy by their nature. Yet that's a matter of degree. By interacting with people who do provide honest feedback I discover that I sometimes do make people uncomfortable by being in analytical mode. I think that if you have a nerd with bad body odor it's mostly that he feels uncomfortable with social interactions to the extends that his body produces substances to get other people to keep distance. Why would you make a girl feel that with whom you would want a relationship to the extend that you are interested enough in her to ask her out? If a girl does flirty to make you smile and instead of smiling you go in your head and think about whether or not that signal means that she likes you, you don't make the interaction fun for her.
1ZacHirschman6yI'm looking at the possible causal relationships between certain actions and resultant discomfort. As I understand your argument, you believe that certain actions by one person will always result in discomfort by the other. I disagree, and I submit that the discomfort is a product of the original action and its response. In other words, if someone has made you feel uncomfortable, it may be possible for you to reduce that discomfort independently of the precipitating action. Your discomfort may be due to an irrational bias. This would be a reason not to shun someone for making you feel uncomfortable. There is a difference between analyzing an action and communicating that you are analyzing an action. To speak to your concluding example, "smiling back" and, "[going] in your head and think about whether or not that signal means that she likes you," are NOT mutually exclusive. With practice, you can do both at once. I would call this leveling up.
4Epictetus6yBecause it's procrastination. The problem at hand is that one has trouble reading social signals. Any solution will involve lots and lots of experience (i.e. gathering enough real-world data for your brain to build the right mental structures). Trying to build a mathematical model seems like the sort of thing where you can put in a lot of work and pat yourself on the back for the effort, all while avoiding actually dealing with the problem.
-1Salemicus6yUnfortunately there is the common failure mode where Alex keeps making bigger and bigger signals, while Billy makes no signals at all, but A interprets everything B does as maybe some kind of signal. So this method still relies on being able to tell, at least to some extent. If you aren't good at reading other people's signals, then the following heuristic is a pretty good one: * If you like A, and you are wondering whether A likes you, the answer is no. * If you don't like A, and you are wondering whether A likes you, the answer is yes.
5Luke_A_Somers6yFully agree with first part. Last part is wrong. Better solution is, if you are in doubt and are bad at reading signals, ask a friend.
3bbleeker6yThis worked out well for my husband and me. I had told him I'd had a dream in which we were making love, and he asked a friend if that meant I liked him. And they told him yes, of course (or I'd not have told him even if I'd had the same dream). Been together for ~20 years now.
3Luke_A_Somers6yI'm impressed that he could possibly fail to interpret that as a very direct hitting-on with high certainty.
2pinyaka6yThis heuristic is terrible if you're trying to find a romantic partner since following it consistently will always lead you to believe that the people you're interested in and whose reciprocal interest isn't clear to you are not interested in you. If you live in a society where your potential partner isn't supposed to make overt signals about their romantic interests (because of gender roles or something), this may result in never finding a partner. Also, suggesting that people who "aren't good at reading other people's signals" should condition anything based on the presence of uncertainty about reciprocal interest seems like it'll produce inconsistent results at best. In this case, I think they should take the potential failure mode and increase signaling until A (or a trusted friend) gives a unambiguous signal.
2skeptical_lurker6ySo, whatever you want, the other person wants the opposite? That's an awful heuristic! Remember, reverse stupidity is not intellegence!
4Salemicus6yNope. The rule is conditional on "wondering." For the vast majority of people I meet, it doesn't occur to me to wonder whether they have a crush on me. So if I'm wondering whether they like me, something unusual must have triggered it. Similarly, if I like someone and they like me too, most of the time I don't wonder about it, I know. So if I'm still puzzled as to whether they like me, then it's because they don't like me, but I'm trying to read non-signals as signals.
5skeptical_lurker6yMaybe you're overoptimistic, and try to "read non-signals as signals" but other people might be under-confident and not see signals which are there because they have difficulty imagining that someone could like them. Of course, if you are even remotely credence calibrated in this matter, then uncertainty signifies ... uncertainty.
-3[anonymous]6ySounds like an rather fun thing to solve although I have a feeling you could probably find the answer in a certain book. I'll twist your quote around and say the readers are low value. Don't let the haters get you, OP. At least you have a girlfriend.

Dude, you are overthinking this and I'm speaking from experience here, but if you don't know one way or the other, you have to make some sort of a move. I dunno whether its best for you to ask him or her for a drink and 'see what happens' or drop subtle hints or just be upfront about it, but you have to do something and then if you are rejected then there are other fish in the sea.

Otherwise, the longer you leave it, the weirder it gets. Once you have become good friends, you are no longer asking them out for a casual drink, you are asking them for a serious relationship.

I have not been able to find anything about the prior of someone being in love with you.

You're just asking them out for a drink. That's all. Unless you are following 19th century social norms, you are allowed to go out with someone you are not yet in love with, and while falling in love may take time, generally people make up their minds about whether they find each other attractive pretty quickly.

When I was 16, I spent a lot of time "analyzing signals", and it never went well.

A twelve-year-old sixes_and_sevens had the 1988 print of Psychology: The Essential Science and The Definitive Book of Body Language. He was not a hit with the ladies.

Jeremy tried to be an interesting person. The trouble was that he was the kind of person who, having decided to be an interesting person, would first of all try to find a book called How to be an Interesting Person and then see whether there were any courses available.

--The Thief of Time

2sixes_and_sevens6yI like to think I was tilling a rich, inner garden [http://theoatmeal.com/pl/senior_year/pe].
-1Gunnar_Zarncke6yBut does that mean that it was the wrong choice to try? Could you have known better than to try? And would it have made a difference if you hadn't tried? There seem to be a lot of intellectual youths who concentrate their mental energy on every analysis - because they enjoy it. And for many of these it pays off much later. After they became successful at whatever they analysed. Not because of the misapplications of an analytical mind.
4ChristianKl6yIn most cases the alternative to trying to analyse signal to understand whether or not a girl likes you is to ask her out. Furthermore if you are in your head analysing body language signals that's likely not enjoyable for the girl with whom you are interacting. She feels like an object that get's analysed instead of an agent whose actions effect you directly. It can also be read as simple fear by the girl, when you are tense because you are focused on determining whether or not she likes you and how much. The person from whom I learned NLP, Chris Mulzer wrote an article about body language: https://www.kikidan.com/news/koerpersprache-deuten-bei-mann-frau.html [https://www.kikidan.com/news/koerpersprache-deuten-bei-mann-frau.html]It's a quite funny article if you manage to read it on a deeper level. Among other he tells men that they are supposed to treat it as sign of interest when a girl touches their hair. Of course it's no sure sign of attraction and Chris knows this, but telling guys to treat it as a sign of interest is still good because the first main lesson of the article is to assume by default that woman are interested.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yThis is all nice and well and I mostly agree. But... it doesn't answer the question. The question is can (and should) an analystical person just switch off analysis - esp. during youth.
2ChristianKl6yThe question is: "Is an analytical person willing to pay the price of not being able to have certain social interactions that the can't have if their analytical filter is on all the time?" You can make the case that math is more important and that it's vital to be able to learn to think numerical in high stakes situation. Vital enough that you are willing to pay the price. I don't have a problem with a person making an informant choice to do so. On the other hand I think few people make that choice in an informant way. It's nearly impossible for me to have a well intimate well flowing Bachata or Salsa dance when I'm in analytical mode. It's not compatible. Are there instances where I spend a few days in my head and then when I'm going dancing I don't succeed to leave analytical mode? Yes, there are. Are there times when the trade off is worth it? Yes, there are but there a price to be payed. But let's say you want to become an academic psychologist who is really good at understanding humans body language. You don't care about social outcomes but only care about knowledge. Is it beneficial to be 100% of the time in analytical mode? I don't think so. You don't perceive enough information that way because you likely only operate on what you visually perceive. In theory you can perceive another persons heart rate by seeing how their skin changes color. There are video based computer solutions [http://www.vitalsignscamera.com/] that do that. I don't know anyone who can bootstrap that analytically but I do know people who asked me: "Your heart rate seems high. What's up?" It's not that those people don't do any analysis, analysis has it's place. But it's not effective to have it always on.
0OrphanWilde6yHow do you control what "mode" your brain is in? I've -noticed- that my brain has modes, I noticed it when I was a teenager, but have been completely unsuccessful in finding any kind of internal levers to shift modes. (That's not entirely true - spending time around people who are in the mode I want to be in will put me in that mode. But that's -extremely- difficult to do, and it works in the reverse, as well - spending time around people in the wrong mode can pull me out of the mode I want to be in.)
3ChristianKl6yThat effect is also why it makes people uncomfortable. If you are in your head and a person openly wants to interact with you it draws them into their head as well. Different people have different sensitivity to that. A straightforward way to get out of your head is sports. If your heart beat is at 160 while you run a marathon, your analytical mode is likely of. There might be a few people on LW who are stable enough in their analytical mode to still have it working in that situation but most people will get kicked out. That's a blunt way. I think that tacking up martial arts is more yielding than picking up running as a hobby. Discussing the advantages of various forms of physical activity isn't something I want to go into that this place, but if you lack physical activity, it's key. Another that's relevant to this conversation is being connected to your emotional desire. If you have a desire to spend time with a woman, saying: "I really enjoy spending time with you. I would like to spend more time with you, are you free on Thursday?" That's nonviolent communication (NVC). You don't ask: "Do you have a crush on me? I need that information to decide how to interact with you." You feel into your desire and put it in words to allow the other person agency. You don't hide information from them but are open. If you do that with strong emotional desires it get's you out of your head. But don't go out and memorize that line word by word. If you memorize it word by word and say it in the mirror till you say it flawlessly you aren't in touch with your emotions in the moment. Reciting memorized lines won't get you out of your head and the emotional impact on the other person is less and as a result the changes of the other person reacting positively are lower as well. Whether you can open with every desire will be different in different social environments. At work it might not be appropriate to voice every desire but I think it's very worthwhile to move in other ci
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yI can switch modes relatively easy now. But it took a long time of experience. But it came with the ability to enter the modes at all. My dominant 'modes' were neutral and flow and a fair bit of happyness. As a teen there was no need to switch between these or other modes. Of course I preferred it that way. I avoided situations that could make me angry and/or worked to prevent them. Real life had some challenges in the end - but with the conscious experience of these undesirable states came the ability to consciously switch (more or less). An example: Recently I made a night life club tour for the first time. It was interesting and enjoyable and I switched a lot between enjoying the fun and observant flow. The flow was not exactly 'analytical' but close. .
0Lumifer6yNot switch off, but first, realize that the error bars are very very wide and that his model is probably inappropriate, anyway :-); and second, realize that some things, like learning to ride a bicycle, require experience which cannot be replaced by analysis.

People are in general very, very bad at spotting signs of interest. This is not unique to you. - The non-verbal communication channel for "I'd like to get to know you in a romantic fashion" just does not work very well at all.

Trying to become adept at reading it is, of course, possible but unless you have sky high social intelligence to begin with, I do not recommend it.

What you need to do instead is figure out how to express unambiguous, unmistakable interest in a way that does not scare the shit out of potential romantic partners. If someone ... (read more)

First of all, crushes can get to the state where it is really hard to think rationally about them (Love and Limerence by Dorthy Tennov includes several example of irrationality). So I recommend trying to think rationally, but always consider the possibility that you are completely or partially wrong.

Second, realize that your own estimate of their attraction to you may very well be in the statistical noise range. From "Benefit or burden? Attraction in cross-sex friendship" by Bleske-Rechek et al. your estimates of their attraction is much ... (read more)

Here a poll corresponding to the survey as proposed.

I took the freedom to extend it somewhat.

How many people do you know?(*) [pollid:965]

*) People you know for the purpose of this question are those you know well enough that you could have a crush on them. As a reference take people whom you have seen on more than 5 days in the last half year and had at least 5 hours of private conversation during that time. Please only count the people of a gender you are interested in. Do not include family members. (no, I can't offer a "see results" on th... (read more)

While generally this approach seems like a bad idea, the kind of thing our kind of people do in their teenage years with no success and look back on with varying degrees of embarrassment like others in the thread have reminisced on, the survey to calculate priors seems like a useful and good idea. Like maybe you can't get the signal-perceiving ability of neurotypicals from books and have to get that stuff drilled in by experience, but having a prior to work with is one point where this approach might actually help you out.

But, you need to be careful about ... (read more)

I upvoted this because I'm interested in the same question, I like the methodology. I'm inclined to upvote almost any nontrollish newbie post to encourage participation but that's not the reason here.

But I really suggest spell-checking. A typo in the title is an indicator of low quality esp. here on LW and sets a vote achor even LWs can't seem to ignore. Note that you can still fix typos by clicking on the edit button below your post (the pencil).

Could you give a reference for love psychology?

One problem I see is trying to see the signals that would raise the crush probability ... While you would also need to see the signals that would make that probability drop.

The sensible route seems in my opinion to be what signals would they give me if they didn't have a crush on me ?, as you seem to be going the confirmation bias route otherwise.

I'm also one of those for whom the whole "You're overthinking this, don't think, stay natural" simply does not work. I appreciate the idea of such a survey to get a prior though, it seems like a great idea.

Are you sure you don't want to ask about the respondent's age and relationship status in the survey?

0[anonymous]6yMight have been a god idea to do this in the beginning, hovever I do not expect to get many more answers so adding it now will probably not leed to any reliabel results. in fact I think the total number of answers will be so low that it will be impossible to devide the sample into subgroups and still have enough answers in each subgroup to get reliable results. Also I wanted to keep the number of questions as low as possible in order to encourage people to participate.

My own past experience is that I'm awful at reading signals. I'd been taken by complete surprise in the past to learn that some people had a crush on me and my initial response had been to either disbelieve it or else assume it wasn't serious. Sometimes it would dawn on me mid-conversation that the other person had a markedly different idea of where things were headed and I'd be left trying (and failing) to disengage gracefully.

I don't think I need to have spend 5 hours in private conversation with a girl to be interested in her to the extend that I want to ask her for a date. I don't think that "know well enough that you could have a crush on them" is a meaningful category.

However I think this part is less important than finding the prior, because most people have at least a general idea about what certain signals mean from personal experience

Physical intimacy is a signal that a person likes me, but without knowing the baseline for the other person it means little.

0[anonymous]6yHave you got any advise on how to rephrase tis definition? The Idea was that everyone knows best for himself how long it takes do develope a crush on someone. Hence the category "know well enough that you could have a crush on them" . Hovever i was not sure that everyone would be able to define this for himself therefori addet the backup category. If you dont need 5 hours to find out if you would want to go on a date with a girl, than you know what "know well enough that you could have a crush on them" means for you and you should go by your personal definition.
1ChristianKl6yI don't think that "developing a crush" is a good way to think about the issue. If a girl that I consider attractive both on a physical and mental level asks me for a date and I'm not in a relationship I go with her on a date. I don't need to develop feelings for her before that point that make her special. To me having a crush suggests thinking about the other person when one isn't in their presence and wishing to be in their presence. Actively desiring to have a relationship. If I know that one of my female friends who I consider attractive both on the physical and mental level is in a stable monogamous relationship I'm less likely in a state where I actively desire a relationship with her. If however her circumstances change and she leaves her old relationship and wants to go on a date with me, why should I reject that?

I took your survey and recommend the following changes:

  • Allow zero as an allowed value. I tried to set 0 and failed.

  • Consider allowing non-integer values (I considered 0,5)

  • Add a text field for comments (I wanted to give the above feedback there; it also allows simple anonymous feedback in a way LW doesn't - beware trivial inconveniences)

  • Consider to add a field to give personal estimate of crush-ratios - you can use the to report calibration

Note that you could much increase participation by adding a LW poll of the same. I can do if you don't know how.

0[anonymous]6yI dont know how, so you do it
0OrphanWilde6yDownvoted. "Can you point me at information on how to do this" would be a better sentiment, or "I don't know how, and the changes don't have enough value to me to figure it out; I'd be happy to install any changes you make, however". Demanding somebody else's time, OTOH, is just plain rude.
4[anonymous]6yPlease read before you downvote: He wrote: "I can do if you don't know how" he offered me to do it for me. So how is it rude to accept an offer?
4OrphanWilde6yRetracted the downvote; my apologies.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6y"so you do it" is rude. I take no offense as I see that you seem to have difficulty with the language. You could have said "please feel free to post a poll". And I will shortly.
2[anonymous]6yOK, sorry I am not a native speaker and I did not percieve it to be rude.
0ChristianKl6yI think the issue isn't so much that "you do it" is always rude but that it's vulgar. In the same way that abbreviating "you" with "yo" in the thread title is also vulgar. You might try more formal language on LW.
0Gunnar_Zarncke6yNo harm done. I'm neither. But for posts in Discussion I recommend proofreading. According to his user page [http://lesswrong.com/user/Gjm/] Gjm offers proofreading. Maybe you send him a private message?

Eyes dilate when they look at you, they seem happier around you than when not, they introduce conversational topics that are about you or them but not other people, open body language (varies slightly by culture) directed towards you in public situations, very open body language in private situations, they laugh at your stupid jokes, they share secrets about themselves, they are enthusiastic about talking about sex, they are prone to affectionate touching (shoulders, chin, and upper arms in particular, at least in the US).

It's actually very easy to tell wh... (read more)

2Lumifer6yIt sounds like you're describing how to recognize a successful relationship. At the "OMG I don't know if s/he likes me" stage, body language is more likely to be tense and stilted, there will be blushing, and stammering, and painful silences, and all the general awkwardness... By the time of "very open body language in private situations" all the important questions have already been answered.
2OrphanWilde6yThose particular symptoms, while obvious from the outside perspective, are pretty much undetectable from the inside perspective, because they're the result of two people who are paying more attention to how they are coming off than they are to the other person. Embarrassment, nervousness, fear, uncertainty. These dispel themselves with a little bit of awareness; if, for example, the other party embarrasses themselves, and you're aware of it, it's very easy to rectify by sharing an embarrassing story of your own - and most people will do this automatically. If you embarrass yourself - well, again, you're worrying too much about how you come off, and not paying enough attention to how the other person is responding.
[+][anonymous]6y -8