Once upon a lifetime ago, kids used to scrawl I love SOS in their notebooks when they didn’t want to reveal the identity of the someone special they had a crush on. Only the closest of friends were clued in on the secret identity because there was an element of fear in revealing it. You could be rejected. You could be ridiculed. You could feel foolish because you were rejected and ridiculed. And if the person actually liked you back? Well, there was embarrassment involved with that, too. You’d risk children following you around on the playground pairing your names and singing k-i-s-s-i-n-g.
I’m not sure what the text equivalent of this scenario is now, but I do know that the risk of ridicule is even greater with access to social media. Happily, as adults, it’s unlikely anyone will follow you around teasing you for your crush, but it’s still possible to experience fear when you love someone but aren’t sure of their feelings.
15 Signs Someone Secretly Loves You
Want to know if someone secretly loves you? There are signs. Here are at least 15 of them.
1. They Crave Quality Time with You
Someone who loves you genuinely craves quality time spent in your company. They want to be near you, and they’ll make time for you. They genuinely appreciate your presence.
While this probably describes all of your inner circle, it’s also a sign that someone secretly loves you. They don’t just like it when you’re around. They do their best to organize their schedules to spend time with you. They go out of their way to make it happen.
2. They Include You in Their Future Plans
A person who secretly loves you will include you in their future plans. They’ll mention something they’re doing next year as if you’ll be there to participate. They’ll include you in upcoming events. This could be wishful thinking if you don’t share their feelings, but it’s also hopeful. They don’t want to imagine a future that you’re not in, and if this means they have to keep their feelings to themselves, they’ll do that to avoid losing you.
3. They Get Jealous if They See You with Someone Else
Your inner circle probably doesn’t get jealous when you’re dating someone. They likely want to hear all about it. But someone who secretly loves you might display hints of jealousy about your relationships. They might act differently when they see you with someone else. You could get the very real sense that it brings them pain to see you romantically linked to anyone who is not them. They might be trying to hide their feelings, but jealousy could be a sign they secretly love you.
4. They Always Show Up for You
A person who secretly loves you will always show up for you. I don’t just mean they ride to the rescue when you need roadside assistance. I mean that they are responsive to texts, calls, and other attempts to connect. They’ll cancel their plans if you need them. They aren’t trying to be doormats. They just love you enough to want to be there to support you no matter what.
5. They Remember the Little Things
If you want to know if someone secretly loves you, pay attention to the little details they remember. While everyone with a social media account might be reminded of your birthday or other significant occasions, you’ll notice that someone who secretly loves you will remember the most innocuous details of your life. It might seem strange until you remember that having feelings for someone means that you treasure every fact about them as though it’s precious.
6. They Always Look at You
Unless the one who secretly loves you has a visual impairment, you’ll notice that they’re always looking your way. They might think their glances are covert, but you sense their gaze upon you. Sure, that could be creepy if you don’t return their feelings, but they likely aren’t trying to be disturbing. They just can’t help but feel pulled your way. Their eyes gravitate to you when you share space with them.
7. They Stay Attuned to Your Feelings
Someone who secretly loves you might be the first to sense when your feelings shift. They stay attuned to everything about you. A bad mood or sad day won’t go unnoticed. They won’t just ask if you’re okay. They’ll genuinely seem to care and will even go as far as to offer support even if you don’t want to talk about how you’re feeling or why you’re feeling that way.
8. They Keep Their Romantic Relationships Private
Another sign that someone secretly loves you is that they keep their romantic relationships private. While you might spill the details of your own, they don’t seem to like talking about their potential or current partners. Instead, they deflect when you bring it up.
It might seem wrong that someone who secretly loves you could be involved romantically with someone else, but they might genuinely be trying to move on because they either suspect you don’t feel the same or know it for sure. They might not want to talk to you about it because it is a reminder that they can’t have the romantic connection they want with you. It might feel more comfortable to just avoid the subject altogether.
9. They Let Themselves Be Vulnerable Around You
A person who is secretly in love with you may not want to reveal it for fear of being rejected, but they might let their guard down just enough to be a little vulnerable with you. They might tell you something they’ve never told anyone else. They’ll open up to you in a way they don’t do with other people because you mean that much to them.
10. They Try to Impress You
Don’t be surprised if the person secretly in love with you tries to impress you all the time? This might be their way of assessing your feelings while trying to show you that they’re a good catch. They want you to think the best of them, and they might even exaggerate a little to look good in front of you.
11. They Don’t Think Anyone is Good Enough for You
There’s a trend you might notice when someone secretly loves you. They never think any romantic partner is good enough for you. They’re constantly critical and dismissive of partners who don’t treat you right. They might even hint that they would treat you better while reminding you just how much better you deserve. Because they love you, they want the best for you and want to see you happy. It might seem selfish, even self-serving, but they don’t want to see you get hurt or taken for granted.
12. They Distance Themselves When You’re in a Relationship
When your relationship status updates, you might notice a bit of coldness in your relationship with someone who secretly loves you. They’ll likely distance themselves from you when you’re not single because it’s a clear reminder that you aren’t available to them — or possibly even interested in them.
They likely distance themselves for multiple reasons. They don’t want to have to keep seeing you with someone else and spending time around the person you’ve chosen. They might need space to process their feelings, grieve, and move on. They might take your choice of someone else as a personal rejection. They may realize that staying in your life while they have feelings for you might not be a healthy choice.
13. They Hint at Their True Feelings
Someone who secretly loves you likely hints at their true feelings. If you’re paying attention at all, you’ve probably noticed this already. You just might feel uncomfortable confronting it if you don’t feel the same. You might also doubt their sincerity if they tend to be a flirtatious person. The hints come in many forms, and their secret crush might not be so secret anymore.
14. They Try to Make You Happy
Someone who secretly loves you is always going to try to make you happy. They want you to laugh and smile. On bad days, they’ll do their best to cheer you up. They don’t mind being silly or even ridiculous with you if it means that you feel better. They might even realize you don’t feel the same but still prioritize your happiness — because that’s what true, unconditional love looks like.
15. Their Friends Tease Them About You
Do mutual friends tease him about you? Do they joke about the two of you being together? It’s possible that they’re in on the secret. They know he loves someone special and that someone is you. Their teasing could be meant to push you both together or at least get the secret out in the open.
What To Do When You’re in on the Secret
Now that you know they secretly love you, you have to decide what it is you plan to do about it. The answer could be nothing. If you don’t feel the same, you’re under no obligation to clarify that fact if they don’t make a move. You’re within your rights to treat their feelings as their problem and go back to living your best life.
But … there are other ways to handle this, too. If they’re making you uncomfortable with the constant criticism of the people you date and the persistent hints that you’d be better off with them, you can speak up and clarify that you don’t have romantic feelings for them. You can make it clear that it’s making you uncomfortable and you value their friendship and only their friendship. If they don’t respect that boundary, you’re well within your rights to stop communicating with this person even if they do secretly love you.
You can also consider the way that they love you. Have the feelings become unclear because they are lonely? Do you feel like you’ve sent them mixed messages when you were lonely? Do they want a casual hookup, or do they see you as a long-term soulmate connection? They might genuinely love you, but that doesn’t mean you know what they want from a relationship with you.
If you feel the same about them, this is a prime time to let them know with a few hints of your own — or say it straight out. Ask them on a date. Tell them how you feel. There’s risk involved, but if you’ve seen all the signs, it’s a pretty safe bet that making a move could work out for you. Yes, it’s possible you’ve misread them, but it might be good to clear the air by talking about what you’re noticing rather than speculating about it.
Maybe someone special secretly loves you, and you just don’t see it. You might be secretly loving them and busy talking yourself out of the fact that they could ever return your feelings. Get out of your own head and pay attention to how they act when they’re around you. You could find that your secret crush is crushing on you. All the signs are there — if only you’ll heed them.
Originally published on The Truly Charming