Back when you were a kid, how you like someone boils down to four different kinds: “like-like,” “sorta-like,” “maybe-like,” and “bored-like.” Every third grader knows these concepts, although they might not explicitly define it as such. However, somewhere along the line, we got a little muddled-headed, romance has gotten a bit more confusing, and next thing you know, hitting the girl you like gets you on the evening news.
But fear not! I’m here to bring you back old-school style – back to the days when pump-up sneakers were cool and knowing all the lyrics to Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” makes you awesome (or at least, clears you of getting beat up) on the playground. Now frankly, I’m not gonna tell you anything mind-blowing. It’s pretty much like any psychological analysis. It’s one of those things where you’re like “oh, I knew this” but you have never really been able to pinpoint a way to explain it. And really, seeing as how your third grade self knew this stuff before, you probably always had these ideas in the back of your mind. Anyway, onward to the analysis.
I’ve decided to start at the top and work my way down. And for the sake of simplicity, I’m just speaking from the guy’s perspective as the “receivee” of the “like”. In other words, I’m trying to help the guys understand why that girl may or may not like them. Ladies, don’t hate and get all “you’re a sexist pig!” on me. It applies from your side too. Guys act in the same way. So just flip this idea around to make it apply to you.
First up, we have the idea of “like-like.” This is the simplest one. This is when you actively like someone. So for most guys, this is when a girl pursues you hard-core. She drops the hints, bats her eyes, or clubs you over the head and then say “I like you, idiot. Take me out on a date.” If she has gotten to this level of trying any method to get you to notice her, then she likes-likes you. However, for most people, they never get to this level. This leads to…
The idea of “sorta-like.” This one is a step down from “like-like” because the girl never makes a move. Now, you may be wondering “Well, most girls are shy. Does that mean she likes-likes you or just sorta-likes you?” Well, my friend, even if a girl is shy, she’s working in ways to get you to understand her feelings even if she’s not doing a good job. So she likes-likes you then. However, with sorta-like, the girl can go on without having you in her life. However, she likes you enough where if you finally admit your feeling or ask her out, she’ll be delighted and say yes. She doesn’t want to put herself out there, and somewhere in the back of her mind, she has convinced herself that she doesn’t really like you that much. Her not wanting to put herself (I understand this sentence is grammatically wrong, sue me) out there is the difference between “like-like” and “sorta-like.” If she had liked you enough, she would have been willing to put herself in a more vulnerable position.
These last two likes are similar, but there are subtle differences. Pay attention kiddies! First up is “maybe-like.” This one provides hope for all those “nice guys” out there who’s gunning for that girl who is just a little bit out of their league (*whew* what a long sentence). We’ve all had that situation where we’ve asked a girl out and she said yes. And you go “whoopee” and you take your best shot at making a great impression just for the whole thing to fizzle out quicker than Josh Harnett’s acting career. When the girl answered yes to your date request, she liked you enough where she thought “hey, it can’t be that bad ” or “hmm, this could be a nice meal.” It’s because she “maybe-likes” you. If she did not like you at all, she would have just said no. Now this is not “sorta-like.” If it was, her heart would be a-fluttering and she would be counting down the minutes until you two actually meet. Instead, she’s going back and forth in her mind whether this is a good idea. It may turn out that you make a great impression or whatever hang-up she had before has vanished, thus leading to a great relationship. But it could also be that she realizes this is not worth the hassle and it doesn’t lead to more.
Finally, we have “bored-like,” the cruelest of them all. “Bored-like” is as it sounds. It’s when a girl goes out with you because she’s well…bored. Now, she likes you or have some attraction to you. But her affection towards you is not at a high level. She doesn’t “like-like” or “sorta-like” you. She’s just bored, lonely, or need something new and exciting in her life. In some situations, this is the girl going for some stud boy-toy. In other circumstances, it’s the girl trying to see if she can make you do things for her. But in all cases, it usually leads to heartbreak, as the guy usually is not aware that the girl only “bored-likes” him back. This is different from “maybe-like” in that in that scenario, she has feelings for the guy, but she’s not sure if it’s romantic feelings. “Maybe-like” is analogous to the friend zone idea. And with a girl who maybe-likes you, it usually involves getting out of that zone. But with bored-like, it’s more of a blasé feeling.
So there you have it, all the different levels of “like” explained in third-grade terms. Now, to add some caveats. First, these are explanations of “likes,” not explanations of feelings within a relationship. They represent the thoughts and feelings before anything has started but they all have the potential to lead to real relationships. Second, a person does not have to be stuck in a single “like” level. For example, a person may sorta-like someone and for the longest time, they may be content that nothing is happening. However, they might grow frustrated or something might push them to become more active. Thus, they begin to try to make something happen, even if it’s subtle. This puts them into the “like-like” range. And lastly, like anything in psychology, I’m not sure what you can take from these explanations. Sure, they’re a great way to read a situation. But can you use it to bump yourself (as a receivee of the like) out of a maybe-like target zone to one of a sorta-like? I dunno. I’ll have to think about that. But use it how you see fit and see if you agree with my simplistic interpretations of how we like each other.