When you're trying to work out if someone is into you, we look for clues in their behaviour. Making eye contact, fiddling with their clothes and leaning towards you when they speak are all subtle signs of interest.
But what about when you're not meeting someone in real life, but trying to find a connection online? How can you tell if a match is getting the feels? You study their DBL of course.
DBL or Digital Body Language is the non-verbal subtext to our digital interactions, which give subtle yet readable indications of our emotions.
Think the emojis we add to messages, punctuation we use (or don't), message length and response time. It’s the digital cues that could suggest a dater is into someone — or not. And it seems singles are using it more and more to try to read a potential love interest.
A recent survey by Hinge found that more than half of daters spend time stressing over whether a match is actually into them.
It's little wonder therefore many are turning to digital cues to try to get a steer on signs, with over three quarters (77%) believing DBL reveals a lot about a potential match’s interest and 56% admitting to overanalysing someone’s DBL.
Before committing to going out with someone in real life, 69% of daters say they rely on decoding their digital body language.
But if you're not used to scouring emojis for clues someone is interested, how can you tell if someone's DBL is positive.
Moe Ari Brown, love and connection expert at Hinge says it can be tricky to figure out a match's phone habits, particularly in the early days which are often fulled with anxiety, but there are some key signals to look out for which can help you navigate DBL and determine if someone is interested or not.
Digital body language signs a date is into you (or not)
Initiates the conversation
Taking the time to look at someone’s profile and reply to a prompt is a great way to make it clear you’re interested in chatting.
"Three out of four Hinge daters say that initiating a conversation is a strong indicator that someone is interested," Brown says. "So, instead of waiting around for someone else to kick things off, step outside your comfort zone and try sending the message first."
Brown suggests analysing if a potential date is using open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing and replying with empathetic responses.
"When someone takes the time in their day to message you back and forth and ask questions, it makes you feel special," he explains. "So it’s no surprise that messaging consistency is one of the most important DBL cues for daters."
Making you wait
If someone’s communication is off, Brown says they could be deprioritising the relationship or subconsciously getting in the way.
"You won’t know the difference unless you tell them what your standards are around communication and see if the communication improves," he says. "If things don’t improve, it’s a clear sign that they aren’t aligned with your communication needs."
Of course we all make typos from time to time, but when it comes to answering profile Prompts or messaging a new match, Brown suggests taking the extra time to read over what you’ve written.
"39% of daters told us they get 'the ‘ick' from bad spelling or grammar," he adds. "Taking time to reread your message might just be the difference between landing that first date and spending another night scrolling through TikTok."
According to Brown this is one of the most over-analysed DBL signs out there! "Does it show you’re too eager or is it just a casual stream of thought? Only 13% of daters say double-texting gives them 'the ick', so it’s time to put the fear aside and embrace it. Show them you are interested and want to chat," he suggests.
DBL 'rules' for daters
Don't assume that a lack of texting indicates a lack of interest
"Of course this can be a sign of how someone feels about you but that’s not always the case," explains Logan Ury, Hinge's director of relationship science. Instead she suggests paying attention to the actions and intentions behind their words.
Set expectations from the beginning
If you like to text, don’t be afraid to ask your match how often they like to be in touch in between dates. "And if you don’t like to text, let someone know that they shouldn’t read too much into your texting style," Ury adds.
Try positive reinforcement
If you’re hoping to hear from someone more often, Ury suggests trying positive reinforcement. "When someone texts you, let them know how much you enjoy seeing a message from them," she says.
Ask for smaller effort texts
Ury suggests letting a potential match know that you understand they don’t love texting but you’d appreciate hearing from them in smaller ways, such as sending a 'thinking of you' text or a meme that reminds them of you, to show you’re on their mind.
Sex and relationships: Read more
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The top five worst single dating habits and how to fix them (Yahoo Life UK, 6-min read)
This is why women experience nosedive in romantic love while men don't (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)