A Woman’s Guide to Reading In-Between the Lines

In Advice and Encouragement, Dating, For the Ladies, Relationships by Debra Fileta

After a “Man’s Guide to Reading In-Between the Lines” hit the blog last week, I got a lot of great response from everyone about it.  Men and women can speak very different languages when it comes to love and relationships– and we’re all in favor when that chasm can be bridged by better communication and speaking up about our differences.

So, due to the many requests from you ladies–I decided to tackle the sequel post, but even better–to hear it from a man’s perspective.  I asked my husband John to write a guest post on the topic, and give us ladies a little insight into the seemingly simple–yet all at once completely confusing thought processes of a man.  Enjoy! And leave him some feedback! — Debra


I vividly remember the day Deb and I met for the first time.  I was instantly interested.  I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off of her, but I tried to play it cool.  Through our next few interactions, I wished there was a way to know what she was thinking or if she was interested (THIS guide would have helped).

It happens all the time.  You meet someone, they catch your eye, you become friends–and the next question is this: are they interested?  From a man’s perspective, and looking back at the early days of my relationship with Deb, here are some ways a man might show you he’s interested in moving from friendship into something more:

1. He takes initiative.  The first thing I did when I got home after meeting Deb was think, “When is it too soon to call her?” I couldn’t wait to dial that number that she had scratched down for me on a torn envelope (Pre-iPhone days–this was the was only thing I could find to give her after asking for her number).  Instead of calling right away, I sent her a casual email talking about some of the highlights from the conference that weekend where we’d met–and told her how much I had enjoyed meeting her.  A few days later, I called her for the first time and that was the start of a really great relationship.

If a guy is interested–he will try to connect with you.  Whether it’s by email, phone, or text-he’ll take a step in your direction.  I don’t think the initial form of communication is as important as the steps that come after that.  Obviously you can’t build a relationship on text or emails alone, but sometimes those are ways that guys will send their feelers out to see if you’re interested.  Every time I called or emailed Deb–she always responded.  And so the conversation continued.

A guy who is interested, will keep putting things out there.  If you find that you are constantly initiating contact with limited to no response–he’s probably not interested.  

2. He gives meaningful attention.  I was never much of a flirt.  So for me, when I gave Deb attention—it was a big deal for me.  That might not be true for all guys, so I think it’s important to differentiate between flirtatious attention and meaningful attention.  It might be fun to have a flirtatious start to a relationship- but meaningful attention is always a lot deeper and more significant.

For me, meaningful attention meant listening carefully as I interacted with her, paying attention to details and trying to find out who she really was.  It meant connecting about likes and dislikes, books we were reading and movies we’d seen, and things that God was teaching us.  It meant showing her that I was listening and remembered those things, like when I sent her a copy of “The Sandlot” in the mail when she mentioned it was one of her favorite movies to watch growing up.  If a guy is into you, he will give you the kind of attention that demands a response–and should be uniquely given to you (aka he doesn’t treat every girl he interacts with this way – because if he does, that’s a problem!).  At this point we weren’t in a dating relationship, but I was slowly putting out the vibes that I was interested.

3. He gives his time:  When Deb and I met–we were living in two separate states, so I couldn’t just drop by, pick her up, or go hang out.  One of the clearest ways I could show her my interest was by giving her my time- time after work, and time on the weekends to try and talk on the phone and connect.  At first it was short periods of time and casual conversation- but as the weeks and months passed, it became more and more significant time, and more and more significant conversation.  We actually spent so much time on the phone, that I had to switch phone carriers (again…pre-iPhone and unlimited minutes) because I was racking up some major phone bills.  Eventually, as our relationship grew deeper- I made it a point to take the time and fly out to see her face to face–and she did too.

When a guy is into you–he’ll give you his time.  Not his leftover time after he does everything he wants, but he’ll sacrifice to give you his time.  That may mean emails on his only break at work, phone calls during the football game, or updating you with what he’s up to even on busy days.  It means inviting you to get-together for dinner, coffee, or just stopping by to say hello.  Even in the hustle and bustle of life- we always have time to connect with other people and if he’s interested in you–he’ll make that time.  If you find that you’re not getting that kind of time–then be really cautious of the time you’re giving to him.  Because time and the giving of ourselves are two of the most precious commodities we have.

4. He’ll give you respect.  One thing I made sure to do to show Deb that I was interested–was focus on only her.  I didn’t go out on other dates- or give my attention to other women. There was an exclusivity in my interest that made the attention and time that I was trying to give her so much more valuable.  Additionally, I didn’t ask for more than I was giving.  As we were in the friendship stage–we weren’t physical in any way.  You should be very cautious of any guy who demands or pursues the physical without a clear commitment or investment in the above areas.

In my mind, I was head-over-heels for this girl from the day we met– but I took my time and didn’t want to rush.  We didn’t actually start a relationship until months later, and though I didn’t explicitly state my interest in words during those first few months (though I did later on)- I did explicitly initiate interactions, gave her my full attention, devoted my time to our growing relationship–and above all, respected her through the process.

Women, remember that you are precious daughters of the King, and should expect nothing less.  

When it comes to reading in between the lines, sometimes there’s a lot more going on than what we’re saying.  Hopefully the above guide will help to you remember that actions always speak louder than words.

To read all about our love story and learn how to take the next steps in YOUR relationship, check out my wife’s book True Love Dates.  


John Fileta currently resides in Pennsylvania, with his wife and four kids.  He’s been “True Love Dating” since 2004 😉  He loves good books, woodworking, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  He has no blog or instagram, but highly recommends you read this one!  

DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, bestselling author, relationship expert, and founder of the Debra Fileta Counselors Network. She’s written six books including Choosing Marriage, True Love Dates, Love In Every SeasonAre You Really OK? ,Married Sex and RESET. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast answering listener questions about love, relationships, and mental and emotional health. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter or book an online session with her or someone from her team today!

Resources and Upcoming Events: