The female mating call is usually “you’re so funny!”
For me though, I just try to make conversation at any possible time. If there is an awkward silence and then she continues to try to keep up the conversation, she wants to date you so. Hard.
I stare deeply into his eyes while I talk to him, like this:
I remain silent and hope they get the hint.
I don’t do subtlety. I do “hey, I like you, wanna go out?”
Sorry for the wall of text you’re about to read.
First and most importantly, you must assess the degree of separation. Your sister’s best friend? She’ll be much more subtle in dropping hints (If she does at all), vs. a stranger (she might send a drink over with a note). The more relationships that are on the line if you hooked up, the less obvious about her interest in you she’ll be. If you have a suspicion though, ask your common connections, jokingly, what they think about you guys as a couple.
If the mutual connection scoffs of the idea of you two getting together, assume they have an in with her and she’s not interested. People love to play matchmaker, if they don’t jump at the chance, my guess is, is that she’s already expressed a disinterest. Alternatively, bring up you two in a roundabout way. “X always dates bad guys, she needs a man,” one who possesses traits you have, see if others get the hint. Sort of like inception- plant the idea in their head, they’ll think they’re genius for having thought of setting you two up. Likewise, if they’re trying to set you up with someone who’s not her, say something that the random girl is lacking, that your interest has, (eg., “no that girl standing by the bar doesn’t do it for me, her hair isn’t long enough for my taste” if your assumed girl has flowingly long hair).
Stranger at the bar? This is easy. Is she making eye contact with you? Has she walked by more than twice? If the answer is yes, she’s trying to make it painfully obvious without making it painfully obvious that she wants you to come over and talk to her. If you think you’re getting a vibe, pretend like you recognize her from somewhere. If she immediately blows you off, apologize and walk away. If you seemed to have piqued her interest, stick around for a moment and offer to buy her a drink. Don’t be too pushy if she declines– simply say it was nice to meet her and hope she has a wonderful evening. Walk away. The biggest exception to this is if she’s a bartender/waitress/stripper/in a job that requires her to be friendly. Always assume she’s just being nice because of her job, not because she’s into you unless it’s blatantly otherwise.
Those girls in-between? Mutual friends, etc? A few tips, corroborated from multiple women:
I’ve never, ever, “accidentally” texted a guy. Never. Countless females have backed this up. So if you get a text at 10PM or 2PM saying “hey how have you been!?” or, “What’d she say to pick up from the store?” It’s not an accidental text, it’s us trying to get you to talk to us in a surreptitious way. It’s childish, I know, and I’m sorry, but it’s used incredibly sparingly and usually only for those situations in which it’d be otherwise awkward to just randomly text someone, (eg., the sister’s best friend as used above). I will add though, that I’ve outgrown this since my early twenties. I’d never do this now as I find it’s too game-playing and unfair. (Ladies, just be upfront, though, seriously). I’m sure it does accidentally happen though, so tread carefully and be casual about it. Just strike a conversation and see if she continues chatting with you…
Curious if she’s checking you out at a party and/or if you’re out someplace? Check the reflective surfaces. Women are crafty and don’t like being obvious when we check people out. But you bet your ass every time we pass a mirror/window/glass/aluminum siding, you’re getting checked out.
Start to pay attention when she talks about dating. If she checks out other men in front of you, and comments on their attraction, she’s probably not interested. If she’s bringing up the topic, but never saying that she’s dating and/or trying to hook you up with any of her friends, she might be interested, and trying to gauge what you’re looking for. If she hasn’t tried ever hooking you up with anyone, that might be a sign that she’s interested, as I mentioned before, women love to play matchmaker, and if she hasn’t with you, it’s because she might be trying to keep you for herself!
TL;DR, women are subtle and sneaky