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If a guy displays these behaviors, he likes you but is hiding it

Handsome guy with green eyes smiling

The truth is that women always know if a male friend is secretly into them. No matter how much a man thinks he’s hiding this information, women usually know. In fact, I’d say that 99.9% of the time, his idea of hiding this fact is a woman’s idea of loudly broadcasting it. 

It doesn’t help that a lot of men befriend women they would date — given the chance. It leaves most of us feeling like there’s an ulterior motive any time we’re friends, just friends, with a guy.

We might have him thoroughly slotted into the friend zone, but he keeps trying to wander outside of those gates despite being shoved back in each and every time. 

The truth is that the best relationships often start with friendship. There’s just a big difference between being friends with the possibility of one day being more and just wanting to be friends. The former can lead to a very cute love story, but the latter rarely does. 

If you’re not sure if your guy friend likes you, there’s one of two reasons.

Either (a) you’re not paying attention, or (b) you like him and are too nervous about the whole thing to accurately determine if he likes you back. Or it’s possible that he’s being weird, and you’re trying to figure out why. 

1. He Jokes About Dating You

I’ve been on the receiving end of jokes from male friends about how we should just date. If that’s your joking vibe, it might not bother you, but sometimes, this kind of joke is really just a hint. He’s taking your temperature to see how you react to the idea of the two of you having a romantic relationship.

If you’re all like, “Ew, gross, you’re practically my brother,” he has his answer — even if it isn’t the one you want. If you laugh it off, he might stay confused or interpreted it how he wants.

But if you get embarrassed and start blushing, he might wonder if you’ve thought about it — and if you’d consider giving it a try. 

2. He Lets You Know When He’s Single

handsome man with brown hair and green eyes, with a green shirt

A guy friend who always lets you know when his status goes back to single likes you but is hiding it. He wants you to know he’s available without taking the risk of asking you out. He might be trying to gauge your level of interest.

It’s indirect, and it might be frustrating for you, but he might not want to risk the friendship by putting his feelings on blast. 

Friends typically tell friends about their breakups, but if it’s a guy friend and he lets you know first, you might start wondering if he only sees you as a friend. If you’re the first person who knows any time he’s back on the market, he might be trying to give you first dibs.

This is uncomfortable if you don’t like him in the same way, so you’ll need to speak up and clarify if you’re not ever going to date him. 

3. He Flirts with You Regularly

In my life, most guy friends flirt. It’s a whole communication style. But there’s a big difference between harmless flirting, and flirting that skirts some lines.

A guy friend who likes you but is trying to hide it just might push the boundaries of innocent flirtation just to see how you respond to it. When he’s into you, he just can’t help himself. 

Some men are naturally flirty, but a man who secretly likes you will be a bit extra flirty with you and less flirty with everyone else. He wants you to know you’re special without having to come out and say it. He’s probably hoping your flirty banter will give him a clear opening to make a move. 

4. He’s Physically Close to You 

A guy who likes you will be all about physical touch. He’ll want to sit close to you, hug you when he gets the opportunity, and just be in general touching distance. In a non-creepy way, hopefully. Look, women do this, too.

In fact, I had a relationship where the guy was completely clueless how much I liked him even though I was practically crawling into his lap to hammer the point home. I kept touching him. It wasn’t intentional.

He was like catnip to me, and I couldn’t help but connect with him. He was on the same page, so it all worked out (for a time, at any rate), but this level of touch is pretty normal when someone has a crush.

Think casual brushing of hands, not groping. It’s innocent and sweet with just a hint of heat. Touching and leaning in are proven indicators of attraction. Plus, it gives you an equal opportunity to lean in and make a move if you feel the same way. 

5. His People Hint that He’s into You

If you meet his friends or family, they likely mention just how much he talks about you. They might even ask if you’d date him. They know he’s into you, but they don’t know if you’re into him.

Don’t be surprised if they try to solve the mystery so he can either make a move or move on, depending on how you respond to their inquiries. You’ll know he’s into you because everyone around him teases him about it mercilessly.

6. People Assume You’re a Couple, and He Doesn’t Rush to Correct Them

This happened to me too.

When you hang out, people just assume you’re a couple. He’s never the first one to rush to correct them either. He might even seem pleased about it.

Maybe you’re totally cool with your platonic plus-one letting people think you’re together or maybe he’s presenting a barrier to you meeting someone you’d actually date. Either way, it might need to be a conversation between the two of you if it happens often.

7. He Would Make a Pact to Be with You if You Don’t Find Someone

You know how people in movies make agreements to be together by a certain age if they don’t find someone else? Well, it happens in real life, too.

Anyone who makes this pact with you sees you as potential dating material, or it would never, ever come up. It’s a little hint that they could see your relationship being more than friends if you were ever open to it. 

Maybe you don’t want to ruin the friendship, or maybe your timing is just off with this person, but know that if you make this kind of pact, you’re both admitting to the possibility that your friendship isn’t purely platonic. I had someone like that in my life once upon a time.

There was always the hint of something more, but the timing never worked out. If you don’t want to miss out and be left wondering what might have been, this is your opportunity to let the relationship play out romantically. 

8. He Hangs Out with You More Than His Other Friends

You can have a close guy friend you hang out with all the time who is only your friend, but it’s also possible that the guy who keeps choosing to hang out with you rather than his other friends likes you but is hiding it.

You’re his favorite person to be around, which is something you might also say about a significant other. It’s not a subtle clue. 

It might even seem like he only hangs out with you this much when he’s single, but even in a relationship, he tries to make time for you. He might even choose time with you over time with his new boo, which is unlikely to ever go over well with a new partner. Just keep in mind that this could be a hint that he’s secretly into you.

9. He’s Always Responsive to Messages from You

Some men aren’t all that consistent about responding to messages throughout the day. However, a guy who is secretly crushing on you is going to have an impressively efficient response time.

This guy isn’t going to leave you on read or ignore your messages if it’s possible for him to respond. He’s going to be consistent in getting back to you because you’re more than a friend in his eyes. 

10. He Drops Everything to Be There for You

handsome guy with dark hair talking with his beautiful crush, a girl with long dark hair

The guy friend who drops anything and everything to be there for you might just be a stellar friend — but he might see you in a more romantic light.

This is yet another clue that your guy friend secretly likes you but is doing his best to hide it. He’s probably not hiding it that well, if we’re being honest here. You see it all the time — especially when he comes running at even a hint that you need him.

11. He Tries to Convince You He’s Dating Material — Indirectly, Of Course

A guy friend who would consider a romantic relationship with you might try to low-key convince you he’s dating material. It’s not like he hands you his dating resume, but he will let you know how he treats someone he’s in a relationship with.

Expect a humble brag somewhere along the way where he lets you know that he knows how to treat a girl right. He might even contrast how dates treat you with how he would — if only you were dating him.

He might not come right out and say that he’d treat you better than anyone else, but he lets you know how he is in a relationship and just how you’d benefit from dating him.

He might make veiled references to his generosity or bedroom prowess. He probably thinks he’s being super subtle about his secret crush, but he might as well rent a sky writer and let the world know. You’re onto him! 

12. He Compliments You Often

A guy friend who likes you as more than a friend will compliment you often. He’s always letting you know that you’re looking good, and he even throws non-physical compliments your way.

He’s practically the president of your fan club, and if you pay attention, you’ll notice that he notices the smallest changes. He’s always hyping you up, and you might notice that it has more of a romantic feel than a friendship one. 

13. He Wishes He Could Date Someone Just Like (Ahem) You

It can be awkward being friends with a guy who wants to date someone just like you — but who really means you. I’ve been there. If you want to date them back, this is not a problem. It gives you confirmation that you can talk about your feelings.

If you don’t like him in that way, it just gets awkward to constantly redirect their attention back into the dating pool and away from you. 

Consider this a massive compliment that he would date you. He thinks you’re cute and would be a great partner. Now you just need to find him someone that’s like you if you’re not into him yourself. That way, you can keep the friendship, and he can find someone who likes him back in the same way. It’s a win-win!

14. He Keeps His Dating Life Quiet

It’s also possible that a guy friend who likes you will keep his dating life quiet. He might not mention dating other people because he’s not in a committed relationship and is trying to leave the door open to dating you.

I’ve noticed this happen before with guy friends who wanted to entertain the potential for dating at a later time. They tend to be reluctant to talk about their potential partners until they know for sure where you stand. 

15. He Tries to Make You Jealous

couple walking in the street, she has long hair and a little red dress, he is wearing a grey suit

On the other hand, some guys will flaunt their partners in hopes you’ll be driven mad by jealousy and confess your feelings.

Even if your relationship is, has been, and ever will be purely platonic, you might have feelings when your best guy friends starts hanging out with his new partner more often.

That’s normal. You might feel jealous in a friend way where you just miss spending time with your buddy. But if you feel jealous that he’s not dating you, that’s a whole other ballgame. In that case, you might be left exploring some very real and very non-platonic feelings for him.

It’s a risk, of course. You might see him dating someone else as a clue that you need to move on and stop looking at him romantically. He’s taking a big chance trying to use jealousy as motivation for you to speak up. He could lose you altogether by playing this childish game instead of admitting his own feelings. 

16. He Doesn’t Think Any Guy Deserves You

A guy friend who thinks no guy is good enough for you might want you for himself. A man who secretly likes you might find fault with anyone you date because you’re not dating him. It makes sense, right? He thinks he’s the best possible match for you, so every other man in the world is going to fall short. 

Plus, he might think that you’ll arrive at this conclusion yourself if he just keeps pointing out the flaws and contrasting them with his many wonderful traits. Is it subtle? Not at all! But is it effective? Only you can say!

What To Do If He Likes You Romantically

This whole situation can be one messy recipe for awkwardness if we’re not careful to manage it. If you’ve confirmed that this guy probably likes you in a romantic way but is hiding it, you might want to know what you’re supposed to do about it.

After all, he hasn’t done anything as bold as admit it. Here are some ideas for dealing with the friend who wants to be more than friends.

Be Brave

If you like him romantically, be the brave one who speaks up and takes the risk. If you don’t like him in that way, be brave enough to confront that, too, and let him down gently. Either way, stop wondering and worrying and start having a frank but kind conversation about your relationship.

Make a Move

Once you’ve had that conversation, you may need to make a move. Either you’ll have to put up some firm boundaries in this friendship because one of you has different feelings, or you might want to initiate the dating aspect of the relationship because you both feel the same about each other.

Or you just might find out that you can go back to being only friends because neither one of you wants more. Either way, something’s going to change with how you interact. Go, stay friends, or take a risk on being something more. It’s up to the two of you.

Be Kind

It doesn’t matter if you like him or he likes you. Please be kind. Be kind to him. Be kind to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re not on the same page. You can still choose to be kind to one another and not take it personally.

You can genuinely like a friend and not see them in a romantic way, and it’s also possible to develop a crush on a friend. Either way, your feelings are valid, so give yourself (and your friend) a break!

Friends — Or Something More

I know I’ve been in a situation where I’ve suspected that there were currents beneath the friendship. In some cases, I’ve pursued them. In others, I was left wondering.

But in most of those cases, I was the disinterested party in a romantic sense. I just wanted to be friends, but I found that many men can’t seem to maintain a just-friends relationship without crossing that line. 

It’s the age old When Harry Met Sally argument. Some people believe straight men and women can be friends without having any romantic motives while others believe that to be impossible because someone always catches feelings.

It doesn’t matter which side of the debate you come down on. Life happens, and we can sit back and search for clues or we can be brave, make a move, and — most of all — be kind.

Sure, it can be awkward to have that conversation, but nothing is as awkward as continuing to wonder and letting it spoil the friendship.

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Elise

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

thank you this was a truly intriguing. THANKS AGAIN!! VERY HELPFUL!!

The Truly Charming