The Secret Language Of Like

Sneaky ways to let your crush know you like him…without saying a word.

Brandon has gotta be the most boss boy to ever eat tater tots in a school cafeteria. Not only is he an ultimate hottie, he’s captain of the boys’ b-ball team, student council prez, an honor roll staple, plus a totally friendly, funny guy.

You’re seriously crushing on him, but you’ve never been brave enough to do anything but look at your feet as you pass his locker. How can you let Brandon know you think he’s all that when you’re too freaked to speak? It’s not a prob! The most effective type of crush communication isn’t about what you say—it’s about what you do. Actions really do speak louder than words.

Showing a boy you like him in a very subliminal way eliminates any potential for embarrassment—it’s not like you’re writing him a gushy note that he could show to his buds or post on the Internet. Dropping hints rather than shouting it out also puts the ball nicely in your crush’s court. He’ll be all curious and intrigued if you play things low-key, and if he digs you back, he’ll show it by chatting you up. Here’s our tried-and-true list of smooth moves.…

THE EYES HAVE IT. Great eye contact is ultra-effective when it comes to flirting. Still, many girls lock up at the thought of actually looking straight into a boy’s baby-browns for any length of time. It is nerve-wracking at first! If you feel the same, try this step-by-step game plan:

1. Shake off any self-doubt. Some of the uneasiness people feel about direct eye contact has to do with the fact that the other person is going to look back just as closely. Zap jitters by reminding yourself you’re gorgeous inside and out. Nobody except you is focused on that microscopic zit on your chin, and your crush is a lucky guy because you’re looking his way. Don’t ever forget that!

2. Practice your gaze in the mirror. This way, you can perfect a confident, positive look of interest. Be sure to smile, too! Rehearsing also helps you avoid lovey-dovey doe eyes. Hold eye contact with your reflection for a full minute if you can. This will get you comfy keeping your eyes on your crush when the two of you finally chat. Don’t stare, glaze over or forget to blink!

3. Be way casual. Don’t fix your eyes on the guy from a distance like a tiger hunting down dinner. Pretend you just noticed him right before you reach him, then catch his gaze and flash a smile as you pass. Check out his reaction: Does he hold your gaze and smile back? If so, good. Repeat this process a couple times, until one of you is bold enough to strike up a conversation.

MAD SKILLS. Impress your boy from afar with your incredible talents. You can do this so undercover, it’ll look effortless! Say he’s the one coordinating your school’s charity concert. You know he’s into punk…but bet he doesn’t know you’re a totally skilled drummer.

Volunteer your band for the show, and be sure to tear up the skins with a drum solo. He should be totally impressed with your music finesse, and now that he knows you’re tuned in to the music scene, it’ll give you guys something to talk about.

SENDIN’ OUT AN SOS. Does the dude you dig rock American history class, while you can’t even remember if Benjamin Franklin invented the lightbulb or the automobile or what? If so, ask him for homework help. You’ll score a few private moments in the public library—just you and him. What an excellent opp!

Some rules to remember: Don’t make your study sessions all about doing that eye-contact thing—actually pay attention to your books as your crush explains stuff to you. If you don’t, he could think you’re totally wasting his time. Also, don’t fake that you’re lost in a subject if you’re really pulling down A’s. Only hit him up for the tutoring if you really need it. Otherwise, you’d be over-playing him.

THE MESSAGE MILL. We don’t need to tell you that having your BFF chain e-mail the entire freshman class about your crush would be a huge honking disaster—so don’t even think about it! Instead, spread a compliment about your dream dude.

Let’s say Jason’s in all-state chorus and performed an amazing solo at the assembly. Afterward, in a voice loud enough for him to hear (but not loud enough to be obvious), say, “You know who’s the best singer in the whole school? Jason! His solo was so awesome!” Your girls can help you out by saying, “Oh, he’s standing right behind you!” You can then turn around, seeming oh-so surprised, and say, “Wow, I didn’t even see you standing there!”

GO, TEAM! Cheering on his excellent free-throw percentage is always a winning plan. Be careful, though: Don’t act even remotely stalker-ish. Never attend his games by yourself—it’ll look weird. Just go with your crew, have a great time and, afterward, very casually pass him by—once—smile, and say, “Hey, that no-look pass you made was impressive!” A genuine pat on the back for a job well done scores major points.

SAFETY IN NUMBERS. Does your crush travel on the outskirts of your friendship circle? Use group activities to your advantage. In addition to bowling nights and mall trips, suggest your group throw a bash for your bud who has a birthday coming up.

You be in charge of the invite list, and make sure his invitation is the first one to fly into the mailbox. Better yet, ask him and a bunch of other guys to help you and the girls pull this party off. A day of painting “Happy Birthday” murals and stringing up streamers can be bonding in a big way. Be sure to give him props for his excellent ideas.

BE A GROOVY LISTENER. When the ice is finally broken because your sneaky-smart strategy has paid off, be sure to tune in carefully to what your crush has to say. Guys love girls who listen well—it makes them feel interesting, which in turn makes them feel good about themselves, which in turn makes them feel good about you for making them feel good about themselves! Got it? Cool.

Complement the listening with a compliment. While he’s telling you about that giant trout he caught at the lake last summer, take in all the details, and then say, “Whoa! You must be a really amazing fisherman! I’ve never had a chance to go fishing myself, but I’ve always wanted to try it.” Bingo! He’ll start talking a mile a minute—he’s gonna want to teach you everything! Next thing you know, you’ll be out on a lake in a canoe with your cutie.

This is not to say that you have to clam up totally about your accomplishments—no way! Your crush is, of course, going to want to know all about you. Which brings us to…

OUR FINAL HINT. Whenever you’re around a boy you’re crushing on, the most important thing you must do is be yourself. Yes, your get-to-know-him tactic can be a tad sneaky, but do it in a way that leaves your integrity intact. Be genuine, be relaxed, and don’t be afraid to show him that you’ve got a sense of humor. Let him see the true-blue essence of you! Being comfortable and confident with who you are sends out the best message of all.

-Lisa Mulcahy


7/31/2009 7:00:00 AM