A little less than two years ago, a stranger approached me at a Las Vegas bar to say my friend’s new boyfriend seemed like a catch. “That guy really, really likes your friend,” she said as they danced a few feet away. “I can tell by the way he looks at her.” In May of this year, they got married, which came as a surprise to no one because they’re so happy together. One of our very first hints was how lovingly he eyed my buddy from the very beginning.
A new study from the University of Chicago backs the theory that it’s clear someone is hooked by the manner in which he or she gazes at the other. So anytime someone wants to mock you for making more out of a glance than necessary, go ahead and throw some science in their face. Love is complex and certainly can’t be measured, but here are some signs your crush (or future partner) is really, really smitten with you.
They look at you (not just your butt) adoringly
As the University of Chicago’s research suggests, a person’s eye activity could reveal whether said individual is in love or lust. Researchers had male and female students look through photographs and report whether they experienced love or feelings of sexuality while viewing each image. When they reported feeling love, their eyes tended to stay on the faces of the people in the pictures. When they began having sexual feelings, their eyes shifted to the bodies.
In a nutshell, the way a person looks at your face (and not just other parts of you) may determine just how psyched he or she is about you. The study also gives new meaning to the phrase “wandering eye!”
They genuinely want to know how your day was
When you have job interviews, surgeries or other significant events in your life, and your crush wants to hear all about them it’s a sign they really care about you. It’s not just the way they eye you, but how they treat you when you’re away from each other, even for short periods of time.
They’d always rather have you around
I stayed at my boyfriend’s house for five nights last week, but when I finally got home last night, it felt weird not being around him. The next morning, he text messaged me at 9:30a.m. to say he’d fallen asleep in front of the TV the previous night and wished he’d called me instead. Alone time is important for all couples, but you know someone truly adores you when they’d prefer to have you over ample alone time. There’s a chemical explanation for all of this: Our brains release Oxytocin, a bonding hormone, when we’re falling for someone. “Oxytocin makes us feel good when we’re close to family and other loved ones,” according to the National Institute of Health. So obviously, if someone makes you feel good, you want to spend as much time with them as possible.
They call you their girlfriend
It might seem basic, but I think we’ve all encountered commitment-phobes who refuse to put a title on things, at least when others are around. When someone calls you their girlfriend, they’re telling the world they’re invested in you and you alone.
You hold hands in public
This is similar to the “girlfriend” declaration, but it might actually be sweeter. When someone holds your hand in public, they tell everyone you’re together without even having to say anything. Holding hands is also adorkable, and it might actually be the secret to a long, loving relationship. Earlier this year, a couple of 73 years said it kept them close all these years: “We still hold hands. Holding hands and talking.”
They say your name a lot
A few months ago, I re-watched Titanic and was surprised by how much Leo and Kate say each other’s onscreen names. Every other line, it’s “Jack!” or “Rose!” They’re constantly saying each other’s names, so it was funny to come across fellow Giggler Jessica Tholmer’s identical observation in a Titanic post, “[M]aybe you have not noticed how often Jack and Rose use each other’s names … one time someone told me that our names are subconsciously our favorite word, so hearing it over and over makes you feel closer to the person using your name.” I believe it! Famed self-help author Dale Carnegie backs this up. “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” he writes. It can be a powerful way to influence someone, but it’s also something you do to make a person feel special and important. And that’s a good sign.