Men aren’t very good at dealing with their feelings, especially romantic ones.
They’re not used to communicating their emotions.
Even on their good days, their best intentions can get lost in translation.
It can be even more confusing when a guy has developed feelings for you that he wants to ignore.
His hot-and-cold behavior will leave you wondering if he’s interested in you or you’re just reading too much into things.
So how can you tell if someone likes you even if he doesn’t make a move?
Here are 18 signs to look out for if you think he may like you, but he is confused about his feelings:
1. His behavior towards you is inconsistent.
When a guy who is fighting his feelings likes you, he cycles between two moods.
The first is a period of friendliness. This is when it seems like this guy really likes you because he treats you so well.
He doesn’t talk about other girls and deliberately spends a lot of time with you.
However, he’ll switch to his other mood: coldness. He’ll suddenly cut off communication and avoid you for weeks.
You might think you did something to upset him but don’t worry. You probably didn’t do anything wrong.
This inconsistent behavior is a sign that this guy is confused about his feelings.
He’s trying to process his emotions but he can’t be rational when you’re around.
Until he reaches a conclusion and figures out how he wants to proceed, he’ll hold you at an arm’s length.
Aside from being confused, he really wants to hide his romantic attraction towards you.
He needs to ignore you because you might notice that he likes you and he’s afraid you won’t feel the same way.
If he really likes you, he’ll admit those feelings to himself (and to you) soon enough.
2. He’s always staring at you.
Guys who like you tend to gaze at you because he’s interested in what you look like and what you’re doing.
When he stares, it doesn’t feel creepy or stalkerish. There’s more affection or sweetness in the way he looks at you.
There’s a good chance you won’t catch him in the act though.
Every time you turn around or try to meet his eye, he will probably look away.
He doesn’t want you to notice that he was staring so he’ll act as though nothing happened.
Observing someone’s body language is a key to understanding how they truly feel about you.
People are usually unaware that their bodies send subconscious signals so they’re totally unguarded about it.
Even guys who are experts at acting cool and collected won’t be able to control the way his body is naturally drawn to you.
Common body language signs that express romantic attraction include:
Eye contact: Confident guys tend to hold eye contact with girls they like to show that he’s paying attention to her. Sometimes, prolonged eye contact leads to a moment of chemistry and the guy will look away first. This is because he doesn’t want to have these feelings and he definitely doesn’t want you to know said feelings exist.
Mirrored gestures: It’s a sign that a guy likes you if he mirrors your body language all the time. When you sit in a particular way or take a drink, you notice that he does the same. Mirroring someone is his body’s subconscious attempt to show you that you both match.
Attentive posture: Whether you’re sitting or standing together, a guy who is interested in you will always be facing you. It could be his whole body or just his feet turned towards you. He tends to position himself in places that are closest to you. This posture is meant to alert you that you command his attention.
3. He gets jealous of other guys.
Jealousy is a telltale sign of someone being romantically interested in you.
Even if the guy is trying his best to bury his feelings and hide them from you, he won’t be able to control himself if another guy steps into the picture.
Even though he has no right to feel jealous, his insecurity will get the best of him.
He might think you’re out of his league. He also probably can’t stand the idea that you would be with someone else who isn’t him.
Some classic signs of jealousy are:
- Acting like you’re an item when another guy approaches you
- Exhibiting anger or frustration when you mention someone else
- Warning you off a guy or telling you that you deserve better
- Being rude and dismissive to another guy, even though he’s usually pleasant and polite to most people
This territorial behavior is a remnant of evolution when male animals would get competitive against rival mates over a female.
In fact, you might even see him show a bit more boldness and initiative because he thinks he’s up against someone else.
He would dress up better, send sweet and thoughtful gifts, and make more appearances in your life.
4. He makes excuses to speak to you.
Receiving random calls or messages from a guy is a sign he’s interested in you.
Usually, they approach this by asking you seemingly innocent questions as an excuse to talk to you.
If you’re working together, he might ask a question about the office.
He might not really care about what’s going on though.
He just wants to initiate contact with you through a basic conversation starter.
Being connected on social media also helps him because it’s easier to start talking to you.
He may comment on your post or reply to your story or your vacation photo could be a jumping off point for him.
He might not really want to know where you spent the holidays but he really hopes this triggers a long conversation with you.
For him, the bonus of popping into your inbox is that you won’t be face-to-face so he doesn’t have to play it cool.
5. He feels protective towards you.
Men who care about you will always try to protect you. It’s part of their natural instincts.
They are more likely to walk you home at night or pick you up from work to protect you from any bad situation.
When someone or something upsets you, he will react immediately.
He is angry when experience something negative and will be the first to help you.
He will defend you against harsh words or negative criticism, but only when you’re not around because he doesn’t want to explain why he cares so fiercely.
However, he will shrug it off when you try to thank him for this treatment and say he would do the same for anyone.
Does he really?
If he does it for your other female friends, then he’s saying the truth. If not, it’s a special treatment reserved for you because he likes you.
Of course, protectiveness doesn’t equate to being over-protective or possessive. Protectiveness without boundaries could be a red flag.
If he tries to keep you from being independent, gets aggressive when you spend time with others, or even exhibit physical violence towards you, it’s best to stay away from him.
6. He prefers to hang out with you in a group.
A guy who secretly likes you is more than willing to spend time with you.
Even if he seems cold and distant when he’s not around, he’s going to stay by your side when the opportunity is there.
He wants to spend time with you because he likes being around you and wants to see if you fit well as a couple.
However, he also wants to limit how much time he spends alone with you because he’s afraid his feelings for you will intensify.
The solution to this dilemma is that he will invite you to hang-out.
It is unlikely that he has the guts to actually ask you out on a real date.
You might be asked to join him at after-work events or meet up with his friends for dinner.
Spending time in groups works best for him because he can be around you with less pressure on him.
7. He won’t say no if you’re the one asking.
Guys who are romantically interested in you want you to see that you can rely on him.
Although he doesn’t want to admit it, you’re his weakness.
When you ask him for a favor or mention something you like, you’re sure that he’ll be onboard with it.
Even if he’s uptight and serious, he would even agree to something completely silly as long as you’re asking him. In his own way, this is how he shows you he cares.
8. He wants to protect you
A surefire way you can tell he might like you is if he makes an effort to protect you.
For example, subtle gestures like facing his body to the side of the traffic when you’re crossing the road, or placing his hand on your back when you’re walking in front in a busy area, are excellent signs that he’s naturally playing the protector role.
He is doing this because he loves you and he wants you to be safe.
There’s actually a psychological concept that explains why men are so protective of the woman they love.
It’s called the hero instinct. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
According to this theory, a man will only fall in love with a woman when he feels like he is her provider and protector. Someone that she genuinely admires for what he does for her.
In other words, men simply want to be your hero.
I know it sounds a bit silly. In modern times, women don’t need someone to be their “hero” to save the day.
And I couldn’t agree more.
But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to feel like they are a hero. After all, it’s built into their DNA to seek out a relationship with a woman that makes them feel like a hero.
Men have a thirst for admiration and respect.
They want to protect and provide for the woman they love. This is deeply rooted in male biology.
And the kicker?
A man won’t fall in love with a woman when this thirst isn’t satisfied.
So if you’re making him feel these emotions, then it’s likely that he is falling for you.
However, if you don’t make him feel this, he will feel like less of a man. Emasculated. And he will lose interest in you.
So, if you want your guy to fall in love with you, then to make sure you’re triggering his hero instinct.
By finding ways to make him feel like your hero. There’s an art to doing this which can be a lot of fun when you know exactly what to do.
But it requires a little more work than just asking him to hold your hand across the road or carry your heavy bags.
The best way to learn how to trigger the hero instinct in your guy is to watch this free online video.
James Bauer, the relationship psychologist who first coined this term, gives a terrific introduction to his concept.
9. He is always helpful.
Helpfulness is sometimes a misleading sign. Friends are usually willing to help you out in doing stuff, right?
The difference between a friend and a guy who likes you is that he will volunteer to help you out.
Sure, your friends would do you a favor every now and then.
However, would they surprise you by washing your car because you were so busy over the weekend? That’s unlikely.
These little acts of devotion with no warning or prompting from you are a sign that he’s thinking of you constantly.
He wants to show you that he’s a dependable person to be with. So even if he never turns up at your doorstep with flowers, he’s showing how much he cares in his own way.
10. He’s nervous and awkward sometimes.
When a guy develops feelings for a girl and realizes he has these feelings, he will become awkward and nervous the next time they meet.
The realization that you like someone takes a toll on you. He wants to act normally but his feelings are getting in the way. This leads him to struggle with his behavior.
Classic displays of nervousness include:
- Being unable to look you in the eyes
- Bouncing his leg around
- Fidgeting with objects like pens, buttons, or his hair
- Fiddling with his hands
- Touching his face
- Speaking in a higher-pitched voice
- Stumbling over his words
To be fair, some people do exhibit these signs simply because they are naturally shy.
However, watch out if the guy is calm and confident around others but panics when you’re in view.
This random awkwardness will be worse if you run into him unexpectedly because he wasn’t even prepared to meet you.
Don’t judge him too harshly if he suddenly loses all his conversational skills. He’s probably trying really hard to juggle between being composed and fighting off his feelings for you.
11. He always asks you questions.
Men don’t really engage in very long conversations; not the way women do.
They are more likely to zone out if someone bores them or irritates them.
On the contrary, they will participate in the conversation if the object of their affections is there as well.
A guy will even take the initiative to ask questions because he wants to learn more about you.
To him, everything about you is interesting; even mundane things like your favorite food or TV show matters a lot.
After all, it’s uncommon to ask all these personal questions to someone you’re not interested in.
Aside from wanting to know you better, a guy who likes you will also ask you for your opinions.
It may be because he values your judgment on critical decisions. It’s also possible that he asks for your opinions so he can adapt and appeal to you more.
12. He downplays his connection with other women.
A man who secretly likes you will always downplay his connection to another woman.
The girl you saw him talking to the other day is just a co-worker and the woman calling on the phone is his sister.
He will automatically emphasize that he’s not pursuing anyone romantically because he wants you to be certain that he is available.
On the other hand, some guys may also do the opposite. He won’t correct the (wrong) impression that he’s seeing another woman or he’ll intentionally bring up a girl and mention she’s attractive.
He does this because he wants to see you react with some jealousy. This is often motivated by his own frustration in his feelings towards you.
To be sure, observe how he is around other women. If he’s brushing off their advances or refusing to go on a date when you’re around, then it’s likely that he’s interested in you.
13. He remembers everything you say.
Guys who have a crush on you will tuck away everything you tell him in a mental note. It doesn’t matter how seemingly insignificant it is because he’s interested in you.
He’s paying close attention and remembering each detail to share in your life.
Maybe you mention that you’re having a meeting tomorrow and he texts you to ask how it went.
Or you might have posted online how much you’re craving your favorite snack and he buys it for you.
When you like someone and care about them, you’ll put in the effort and really listen to them.
13. He’s an avid follower on your social media.
In person, a guy who is trying to hide his feelings for you will look aloof. It might not even seem like he’s listening when you’re talking to others.
However, he’s probably trying to learn everything about you. This brings him to your social media.
It is a little stalker-y but your online presence is a safer option than interacting with you in person because he doesn’t want to be obvious.
He’ll read through your Facebook and Instagram posts or comments just to see what you like, what you’re up to, and who you’re with.
He might even comment on your Tweets or send you DMs just to start a conversation.
Not only will his “research” prepare him for the next time you see each other, but he’s also hoping that this opens more chances to connect with you.
14. He buys you stuff.
Men typically cannot be bothered to shop for presents for a girl they don’t have feelings for.
Of course, good friends or coworkers tend to buy gifts for you when there is a special occasion. If he is buying you stuff and the vibe doesn’t feel platonic, then something is going on.
You can usually tell by the nature of the gift if he is trying to show you how he feels. It isn’t necessarily expensive but a lot of thought and effort would be there.
A guy who cares about you will come up with something unique, personal, and meaningful because he’s trying to say that he understands you.
Don’t get your hopes up if the present is something that is unromantic or impersonal. If he’s not exerting his imagination to give you something you would love, he doesn’t feel that way about you.
15. He tries hard to impress you.
A guy who is interested in you will try hard to impress you.
This is different for every guy but it could be one of these two options:
Danger-seeking: Guys who catch feelings for a girl tend to do dangerous things to impress them. He might get into a fight on your behalf or take physical risks just to prove that he can. It may not be the wisest thing to do but men who are in love don’t think rationally.
Preening: Male birds court female birds through preening. In some species, the male birds are born with flashy, colorful feathers they use to attract a female mate. Other male birds perform a dance number as part of their courtship ritual.
The same goes for human males. Guys want to win your approval by flexing their car, primping their appearance, or talking about the gym.
They want to look good in front of you and show themselves off to their best advantage.
When a guy does these strange actions, don’t rule it out as a negative thing right away. You might just be misinterpreting his intention to awe you.
16. He plays it cool when other people notice your chemistry.
When two people share an obvious connection, other people are quick to notice.
In fact, many people like to bring up the palpable chemistry they’re feeling by mentioning how you two would make such a good couple.
If a guy is trying to conceal his feelings for you, he will definitely brush these remarks off.
Guys don’t want to let anyone catch on to the fact that they’re attracted to you.
They don’t want to give themselves away so they’re going to be extra dismissive about you.
He will talk about how you’re “just friends”, “one of the guys”, or even mention another girl to drop the topic.
This extreme behavior is a sign that he’s still denying his feelings for you.
17. He often mentions your name in conversations.
A guy who likes you will always bring you up in conversations.
Many people naturally talk about their loved ones because they’re always thinking about them.
When you talk to parents of young children, for example, the topic inevitably circles back to their kids because they can’t really help it.
Guys who have feelings for you will act the same way.
When you’re in a group, he’ll mention what you’re up to or he’ll ask for your input.
Even when you’re not present, you might hear he brought you up again in front of common friends.
Despite all the effort he puts into hiding how he feels about you, his train of thought gives him away.
On the other hand, he becomes overwhelmingly happy if he hears that you mentioned him.
Any guy who secretly likes you will definitely appreciate it if you bring up his name when you’re with mutual friends.
Hearing you talk about him to other people is the only way he’ll know you’re interested in him, without having to ask you directly.
18. He says and does sweet things unconsciously.
Some men don’t realize that they have become an honorary boyfriend even if everyone else does. A guy who likes you (but doesn’t want to admit it) may perform sweet gestures subconsciously.
Instead of saying he’s interested in you, he shows it by saying sweet things, giving small presents, or displaying a commendable level of effort and support towards you.
Even if he doesn’t realize how involved he is in your life, his actions betray a genuine affection for you.
The Next Step Is Yours
There are several reasons why someone would want to hide his feelings away.
It’s likely that this guy is fighting his feelings because he was scarred by his previous relationship, he dreads being rejected, or he’s simply not ready for a commitment yet.
You may want to create some distance between yourself and the guy if you don’t like him back.
You don’t have to tell him what you’re doing; it’s kinder to give him the space he needs to move on and avoid getting rejected by you.
On the other hand, you should talk to him if you are sure that he likes you and you like him back.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect him to reciprocate right away even if you confess to him first.
He has to work through the issues that are bothering him. The best you can do is to reassure him that you understand why he isn’t ready to admit these feelings.