15 surprising reasons why he texts you but avoids you in person

You might have experienced having a guy be sweet and cute to you over texts to such a point where you think that maybe you’d be good for each other.

But when you ask to meet up, he gives all sorts of reasons why he can’t come. And when you do bump into him, he tries to run away or pretend you don’t exist.

Men can be quite puzzling, and that’s why in this article I will give you 15 surprising reasons a guy would text you, but avoid you in person.

Why men love flirting over text

Messaging over text, be it by SMS or through social media and chat apps, has become one of the most popular ways to communicate with people. Especially so when it comes to dating.

Men like having easy attention at their fingertips, and text messages are one of the best ways they can get that.

The reason for that is because it doesn’t ask much of them. They don’t have to make all the commitments that they must make to talk to you in person, such as going to the meet-up spot, dressing up, and so on.

It’s also easier to pick and choose what to show you what they want you to see than it is in real life.

And if you don’t like what he’s doing? Easy… he can just text someone else.

It’s flirting (and dopamine overload) without the added risks and expenses.

Surprising reasons why he texts you but avoids you in person

While I gave you the most basic reason men love texting, I’d like to lay down some possible reasons why they’d text you but not follow through in real life.

Here are some of the most probable reasons:

1) He’s painfully shy.

Not all men walk the world brimming with confidence. Some men are burdened by crippling shyness and insecurities.

He might actually be interested in seeing you in person, but he just doesn’t know how he’d even keep his composure. He knows that he’ll just blush and stutter, so he retracts to his safe space, and will just text you instead.

Poor guy. But look at the bright side— at the very least he was able to muster the courage needed to text you, right?

Chances are that he’ll even be honest about his shyness so you don’t have to try guessing.

2) He’s not that articulate.

Speech is a learned craft.

All of us had made mistakes at some point or another where we said the wrong thing or put the right words in all the wrong places.

Everyone will have felt that mortified feeling that comes after having realized that mistake.

And he’s no exception!

He thinks you’re important and he’d rather not mess things up so he prefers text. This way he can be careful about what he says, and how he says it.

There’s no pressure to respond in seconds, so he could afford to take his time and make as many edits as he needs to before he clicks “send.”

3) He can’t commit at the moment.

He might not be avoiding you per se, but that he might not have a lot of time on his hands. Maybe he’s currently concerned about his career, and knows that while he may like you, he can’t give you all of the attention that you deserve.

However, texts can be quick and short, so he can still do whatever he needs to do while waiting for a reply from you.

He might try sending you a couple of texts while he’s at work, for example.

Easy peasy for him to do.

4) He collects and selects.

Some man out there once said, “Collect and Select”, and this guy probably subscribes to that mantra.

You can’t be confident that you’re the only one he’s texting.

He might be trying to reach out to as many women as he wants, see who suits him best, and drop everyone else.

It could be argued that this is the attitude of a playboy, or one who isn’t actually serious about a relationship. One might argue that it’s at least a yellow flag—and to some, it’s outright a red flag.

5) He’s not convinced you’re interested in him.

Maybe he caught you during a bad time, or maybe you’ve been ignoring him and playing hard-to-get, but for one reason or another he isn’t convinced that you’re interested in him.

Give it some thought—is he the kind of guy who gives up too easily? How have you been treating him?

Perhaps you missed a couple of messages from him by accident, or perhaps you overdid the whole “ignore” game. Or maybe he’s convinced that you friend-zoned him.

And so, running off of that assumption, he decided he’d rather spend his energies pursuing other girls. Still, he’d be fine texting with you—it’s not like it demands much out of him.

6) He knows someone who’s into you.

You got off to a good start with your texts. There is good banter, there is an exciting volley of replies. You can feel the nice chemistry in your messages.

So what’s stopping him from meeting up with you?

Maybe he’s staying at a safe distance because he knows someone who’s expressed interest in you (it could even be his best friend!).

He’s doing it out of respect because although he likes you, he wants to do what’s honorable. Or maybe they agreed on a bro code without you knowing and he can’t break it.

7) He’s intimidated by you.

In his texts he gets comfortable—even a bit flirty—but when you’re in person it’s like someone shoved a hot potato down his throat. He just can’t seem to speak right.

He gets so nervous you can feel the air get heavy.

He stammers, he gets sweaty, he spills his drink…

Why is this happening?

You might have a reputation or an aura around you that cannot be easily penetrated. You might be exuding a strong personality so he wants to approach you slowly through texting.

He wants to know if you like him a little before approaching you in real life.

8) He’s afraid of rejection.

There are people who can’t handle rejection very well. Some men avoid it entirely, if they can!

This is probably why a guy will text you first, so that if you ever decide to reject him, at least it will be with words.

As painful as rejection may be, they’re at least easier than him having to stand around and see your body language, or be in the same room as you.

It might seem absurd to talk of rejection so soon, and yet if he thinks this way, it would explain why he would rather text with you and avoid meeting up in real life.

He’ll continue refusing to meet you in person until he’s completely sure you aren’t going to reject him.

9) He just needs an ego boost.

How genuine or honest can text messages get?

If you keep on getting honeyed words from him, but no real attempts at commitment, you might need to ask yourself if they amount to anything at all.

Maybe he’s just doing it to feel good about himself.

He could even be showing off your texts to other people!

He probably thinks that getting replies from you is improving his overall popularity or desirability. The more you show your eagerness, the more he thinks he’s irresistible.

10) He likes to play games.

Do you feel like you’re actually being played?

Surprisingly, as straightforward as texts may seem to be, it’s not that easy to know for sure. In fact, it can be a medium for player-type guys to thrive in.

When he’s texting, it’s effortless to dodge certain serious questions. He’s incessantly replying one minute, and the next he shuts you out like a winter draft.

A player wants to keep you on your toes and make you confused. It’s up to you if you want to play this game with him, or save your time for something else.

11) He’s testing you.

You know that person who needs a lot of assurance before doing something?

They have to be overly secure about all the details, they look up statistics, they ask all their friends for advice—even their parents!

He’s probably that kind of guy.

He texts you a lot, and you have a good conversation going, but he needs to be 100% sure of everything before he moves on to the next step.

This isn’t too bad. Maybe just a little frustrating.

But it begs you to ask the question: What will it take to convince him?

12) He’s actually a tease.

Texting but not seeing each other actually builds up the suspense.

Some guys like a little thrill and excitement—like wearing a blindfold—and this probably turns them on.

If a guy baits you through flirty texts, the tension heightens and the anticipation can drive you crazy. Or so he thinks.

He’s delaying your meeting in person so that when you do,  there will be fireworks.

The way he sees it, he’s trying to build up tension, teasing you and keeping you on edge so that when you do finally meet up, all that tension will lead to a hot, steamy encounter.

13) He projects a different image.

He’s very engaging in his text messages, sometimes even funny.

But texts are simply that—a string of words. Some guys can make you believe he’s different from what he actually is.

Who knows?

Maybe he’s living under a rock, afraid of direct sunlight….and is totally unfunny IRL.

Maybe he has insecurities with his body but talks as if he’s as suave as George Clooney. Or maybe he’s not too proud of his career and is afraid that it will be revealed when you meet.

He wants to put his best foot forward, even if it means exaggerating a bit of his image, just to impress you.

14) He’s scared his actions will reveal his true intentions.

Texting can be a lot of fun because not everything is revealed all at once.

You have to go through a number of messages and some back-and-forth, before you can even be remotely successful…if you’re lucky!

A guy generally has many motives for having to meet a person—especially that from the opposite sex.

Some guys don’t want to jump the gun and choose to string you along for a bit until they’re ready.

There are mannerisms that can give him away about what he really has in mind, especially when you’re out on a date.

Things like him clicking his tongue whenever he disapproves of something, or smirking when he’s got an ulterior motive and he thinks things are going just as he planned.

He probably doesn’t want to seem too eager because he’s waiting for you to show some signs yourself.

15) He could just be a j*rk—plain and simple.

And of course, it could simply be that he’s just a jerk—no more, no less.

There are people out there who like messing around with other people, from toying with women’s hearts to dialing 911 just to tell them dumb jokes or false leads.

And it could be that he’s this kind of person.

Maybe he already has a girlfriend or even a wife, and he’s emotionally cheating on his partner by flirting with other people.

But even if he isn’t taken, he simply enjoys the attention and validation he gets from you, but intentionally ignores you to mess up with your mind (and heart).

Signs he likes you even if he won’t approach

How he texts

Even if texting can get a little delicate sometimes, there are things to watch for to know if a guy likes you, even if he won’t talk to you in person.

  • He texts A LOT.

And replies almost instantly.

He’s interested in making conversation with you and wants to keep it going. He enjoys talking with you. The two of you must be developing a certain chemistry that is worth the adventure.

  • He’s a gentleman.

He actually tells you when he’ll be busy so you won’t be too anxious or left hanging.

This means he’s actually worried and doesn’t want to lose your interest. He’s being considerate and will not hesitate to tell you if he won’t be available for a period of time.

  • He’s asking personal questions.

This is a sign that he wants to get to know you deeper. He wants to know more about you as a person, your life and what makes you tick.

He’s probably taking notes so that when you do meet, he already knows a little about the things you do and maybe what the two of you have in common.

How he acts in real life

If he’s a colleague at work and you’ve already established a good rapport in texting but he doesn’t approach you:

  • He looks your way.

If a guy likes you, you can bet your behind that he’s staring at you one too many times. Or maybe just a shy glance and suddenly look the other direction.

He’s definitely enjoying what he sees if it’s keeping his eyes glued to you.

  • He’s fidgety.

He changes his posture when you walk in the room, or his voice gets slightly louder to get your attention. He fidgets around or acts clumsy, or is extra gentlemanly, even if not directly towards you- just to show that he’s generally a good guy. He wants to earn plus points any way he can get.

If you have common friends and are in the same circle:

  • He’ll be subtle but you know the attraction is there.

Sometimes guys still wish for romance. Your guy probably doesn’t want to be too obvious and aggressive or he may come across as a creep.

He may be orchestrating a scenario where you can interact more naturally as if it was destiny or fate that brought the two of you together.

  • His friends probably know about how he feels towards you.

Check how his friends respond when you’re around. They will probably tease him or nudge him a bit. Or they leave the room to give him more chances to be alone with you.

How you should respond if you like him too

So, assuming the most likely best case scenario—that he’s into you and he’s just shy—you might wonder what else you should do.

It’s frustrating when you know the two of you are totally into each other, but he’s just staying away for some reason.

You can get him to go beyond the messages and actually see each other by following a few steps:

Step 1: Take the initiative.

Be bolder and more playful than your usual self.

Being candid with more personal topics—so long as it isn’t personally harmful or compromising—can also help a lot.

You can try sending him a teasing photo as a reply, smear your texts with innuendo, or smack a teasing emoji at the end of your texts. Push your boundaries a little (though remember to keep yourself safe).

If he’s someone who’s interested in you, but holding back out of shyness or uncertainty, your messages might just push him into being a bit bolder.

Step 2: Drop the formality.

Get him to open up more by letting him know he can be comfortable with you.

Crack a few jokes. Admit to embarrassing situations that the two of you can poke fun at.

Texting might be a good way to communicate with people, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s another person on the other side.

By dropping things to remind him that you exist as a person he can totally relate to, and not just a name or a string of numbers, then you might just get him to open up… and even share his own stories!


Texting is a good prelude to any nerve-wracking first dates since you’ve already broken a few barriers with your messages.

Communication is a two-way process so don’t leave your fate to his workings alone. You can also step up and make things happen if you want.

He may or may not like you. But you’ve probably figured it out by now why he’s avoiding you, so it’s not an entirely hopeless case, is it?

With the way he’s texting, he could really like you—a lot. And that’s something you can definitely work on.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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