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Most of the time, when a woman is into a guy, she either comes off as indifferent or definitely interested. But we don’t want to come off as either of those. We want guys to know they have a chance, but we don’t want them to think we’re easy. And navigating that in-between ground can make things very confusing for men. Here’s how:

You’re keeping things too serious

You fear being blatantly flirty so you keep the conversation serious. It’s a great and compelling conversation, but there is no room for a flirty comment. He’s confused because you talk to him all night, but it seems like you could just as well be in a job interview.

You’re inviting him out with friends

You do this so you don’t rush things. You do this so that you can see how he acts around others and you can get to know other sides of him, without that pressure of a one-on-one date. That’s fine, but you still need to make him feel special. Spend most of the night with him otherwise he’ll think you view him as the rest of the friends there.

You’re focusing on everyone else

You’ve been on a date or two. He knows you’re interested, but when you’re both at the same bar or party, you talk to everyone but him. You’re doing this because you want him to know that he can have space. You don’t want him to think you can’t handle your own at a party so you overcompensate by never talking to him. And he wonders if you’ve decided you just want to be friends.

You talk about exes in front of him

You would do this before a guy is sure if you like him. Maybe in a group setting where he is trying to feel out if you’re flirting with him or just being nice. It’s just another decoy—a way to make it seem like you’re not totally his yet. But he reads this as “she just wants to be my friend. Girls don’t talk to guys they like about exes.”

You’re not dressing up

You’ve hung out a few times, and that’s the problem. No one ever called it a date. You both called it “hanging out” and you showed up in jeans and a hoodie. Maybe a fitted long sleeve shirt. Maybe. You don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard, but he interprets this as you see him as just “one of the guys” and not someone to impress.

You text him like a friend

You send him funny YouTube videos, or you quote a movie you two were talking about or saw together. It’s always funny, but never has a hint of flirtation. You’re trying to show that you can be fun and not overbearing, he thinks you’re looking for a buddy.

You joke about flirting with other guys

Maybe you joke about giving the flirty bartender your number. Maybe you come back from the bathroom and say “sorry it took so long. Had sex in the bathroom.” You’re trying to be funny, but he thinks “there’s no way she’d say that in front of me if she was interested.

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