Take the complexities of modern life , throw in a couple of bad experiences and it’s likely your ideas about love and romance have changed shape over time.
Or maybe just simply ceased to exist.
Unrequited love, game-playing, infidelity or being ghosted by that person you actually thought you were having quite a nice time with are all risks we must face.
If only there was a way it could be easier .
One team of scientists in the US seem to think there is. They’ve narrowed down seven ways we’re able to tell if someone is feeling a little more than platonic towards us.
According to the New Scientist , in a study of heterosexual relationships, 90 University of Montana students demonstrated 158 techniques of deducing if a friend they fancied, fancied them back.
While we can’t promise that these tests end in a ‘happily ever after’, we’ve featured the top three to help you identify someone who thinks you’re worth it.
Also known as ‘fishing for compliments’ or being a friend in need, this is the most popular approach to scoping out another person’s feelings.
The enamoured pal does this by coming out with self-deprecating statements, essentially trying to get their friend to pay them compliments and lavish them with praise, showing how much they care.
The other endurance test is called ‘forced choice’, where the lovestruck friend tries to see if the object of their affections will drop everything to help and support them.
And watch out for button-pushers. Friends who misbehave and wind you up are trying to see how much you’re willing to put up with.
We’ve all heard the old saying “three’s a crowd”, and when it comes to matters of the heart, a lot of the participants would throw someone else into the equation to see how their crush felt and reacted.
Also known as a ‘fidelity check’, and often used once a relationship has become romantic, this method involves engineering a situation which tested how their love interest responded to mild temptation (i.e. being left alone with someone attractive).
It also encompasses the classic ‘show them what they’re missing’ gambit by making sure you’re seen with members of the opposite sex – and that your crush gets to hear about it.
3. Jokes and borders
As adults, things have hopefully moved past the school playground stage, where another child would demonstrate their affection by basically hurting you / wiping the contents of their nose on you.
But we still show our affection in a roundabout way. Indirect suggestion tests include joking about how we really feel about someone we like, and allowing physical proximity and touching to do the talking.
So keep an eye out for increasingly tactile friends – and the ones who pull your leg about a pact to get married if no one else wants you.