A new study done by researchers Joshua Hart and Rhea M. Howard found that men often have misperceptions about how interested women are in them. In many scenarios, a friendly nod or a flirtatious glance will make men think that a woman has a crush on them, when in reality that isn’t the case.
This is a reflection of men’s attachment styles. The study said men who tend to be more anxious in being attached to their partner are more likely to have these misperceptions.
“If you view yourself as being flirtatious, that biases you to seeing others as behaving similarly,” Hart wrote in the study. “We see in reality what we wish to see, not necessarily what’s there.”
To find this, researchers had about 500 men from the U.S. answer a survey about the different relationships they have in different scenarios. One of the questions asked men to rate how interested they think a woman would be if she were to smile at them in a social setting. The majority of men believed that a friendly smile or wave meant that the woman was romantically interested.
This isn’t the first study to find that she’s just not that into you. Back in 2008, research from Indiana University and Yale found that if you’re not looking for the warnings signs., and that men will sometimes misread emotional signals and body language as signs that a woman is interested in them.
The study — which asked about 280 men and women from Indiana University to look at images of women based on their level of friendliness, how romantically interested they were, their sadness or if they were going to reject their partner — found that men mistook 12 percent of the photos for romantic interest, where as women only misinterpreted 8.7 percent.
“Researchers chalk it up to women’s more developed ability to read others’ signals, and men’s tendency to oversexualize social situations or miss the message entirely,” CNN reported.
But let’s remember: this misperception of interest is also something women experience. The self help book “He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys” — which inspired a movie with the same title — details how women will sometimes misinterpret the behaviors of men who aren’t interested in them. In some cases, women will analyze male behaviors to figure out the truth behind whether or not these men have romantic interests.
No matter the gender, this idea that your crush or romantic interest isn’t interested in you could potentially backfire if you’re not looking for the warnings signs.
For example, 25 percent of Americans have what’s called an “avoidant attachment style,” which means they don’t trust people and will hide their emotions. So it’s completely possible that your crush is into you, but just doesn’t show it.
There’s also the possibility that someone who is interested in you will stop being interested in you because you think they’re not interested in you. That’s a mouthful. Here’s how Juliana Breines, Ph.D., explains it:
“The self-fulfilling prophecy … is one of the most well-established findings in the field of psychology. It refers to the process by which our expectations influence the way we behave and interpret others’ behavior, which in turn can elicit the very behavior in others that confirms our expectations,” she wrote.
Breines also said the phrase that he or she “isn’t into you” promotes the wrong idea about how we should talk and think about relationships and romantic scenarios.
In that sentence, “you” are the object, which means that the other person has control of the story and crush. She suggests, then, that people learn to seek out what they want in someone to find a better fitting relationship.
She said people should turn inward and ask themselves, “What about what you want and who you’re into?”