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How to tell if a shy guy likes you: 27 surprising signs

While there’s something to be said about big, burly, loud, and strong men, there’s a whole other category of guys that appeal to women known as the shy guy.

He’s the strong and silent type, but also mysterious and interesting.

Is it that he’s ignoring you or is he just shy? It’s enough to drive you mad, right?

You just want to know if he’s into you.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the world of shy guys so you’ll know for sure if he’s just taking his time getting to know you or isn’t interested at all.

Check it out.

27 surefire signs a shy guy likes you

Here’s what you need to know first: shy guys aren’t playing games. This is a confidence issue.

He might be dying to talk to you, but isn’t sure if you’re into him.

This game could go on all night long, so rather than wonder what’s up, read the signs as you see them.

1. He’s sneaking glances your way

Why doesn’t he just come over and talk to you already, right?

Well, shy guys need to ease into things to make sure they don’t get burned in the process.

While your patience is running thin on him, he’s over there wondering if you’ll publicly humiliate him and send him packing or graciously accept his offer to buy you a drink.

For shy guys, it’s hard for them to imagine an inbetween response. That’s why they keep waiting.

But his attention and eye contact never lie.

So if you catch him looking at you all the time (and he looks away when you catch him) then you can bet your bottom dollar that he likes you but he might be shy about it.

2. He protects you

A surefire sign a shy guy likes you is if he wants to protect you from the little and big things in life.

Does he make sure you’re safe when you cross a busy road? Or does he put his arm around you when you’re feeling vulnerable?

Then chances are he likes you a lot.

And I think this protective instinct is especially evident in shy guys. While shy guys aren’t always comfortable expressing their feelings for you, they won’t shrink away from protecting you with their actions.

There’s a fascinating new concept in relationship psychology doing the rounds which explains why men are so protective of women.

It’s called the hero instinct.

The simple truth is that men have a biological urge to provide for and protect women. It’s hardwired into them.

By making your guy feel like a hero, it unleashes his protective instincts and the most noble aspect of his masculinity. Most importantly, it will unleash his deepest feelings of attraction.

I know it sounds kind of silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives.

But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to feel like a hero. Because it’s built into their DNA to seek out relationships that allow them to be a protector.

The hero instinct is a legitimate concept in relationship psychology that I personally believe has a lot of truth to it.

And there’s an art to making a man feel like a hero. There are phrases you can say, texts you can send, and little requests you can use to trigger his hero instinct.

To learn more about them, check out this free online video by James Bauer. He’s the relationship psychologist who first discovered the hero instinct. In the video, he explains everything you need to know to trigger the hero instinct in your shy guy.

Some ideas really are life-changing. And for romantic relationships, I think the hero instinct is one of them.

Here’s a link to the video again.

3. He’s lighting up your phone

He might not string two words together when you’re around each other in person, but he can’t say enough to you online or via text.

That’s because the phone and computer provide a safe space where he can’t see your reactions and you can’t see his.

He gets to think about what he’s going to say before he says it.

The only drawback of this form of communication for shy guys is that they can’t always interpret the funny or off-side remarks you might make and he’ll think he’s said the wrong thing.

Try to get him on the phone if possible so you can at least hear each other’s voices.

But if seems like he is talkative to you through messaging apps then you know he really wants to chat with you.

When he feels more comfortable, he’ll start acting like this in real life, too.

4. You’re 100% sure this guy is into you but isn’t making a move

Probably one of the most infuriating parts of dating – or trying to get a date – is that you feel like there is a connection and you’re positive he’s feeling a connection, but he’s not doing anything about it.

The good news is this is 2020 and there’s no need to wait around for a man to make a move. If you want to find out what he’s made of, ask him out.

If he says yes to any advance you make, then you can bet your bottom dollar that he likes you.

5. He’s a clutz

Shy guys aren’t necessarily clumsy, but when a girl they like walks into the room, they might turn into a clown or do really stupid things while trying to avoid doing really stupid things.

It’s just how things work out. I

If you think he’s trying to impress you and it’s going horribly wrong, remember that he’s making an effort and that’s a good thing.

6. His friends are taking all the shots

He might be tight-lipped about how he feels, but his friends are going to be dead giveaways about his feelings.

Watch how they interact and talk to you and about you around him.

If they are teasing him and picking on the two of you together, he’s probably into you. They would know.

And if you want to know for sure, ask one of them. Yes, it feels like 9th grade, but it’s a great way to get information.

7. He talks to you differently than other women (when he does talk to you, that is!)

He might give you more of his attention when you speak or listen more intently than when other women are speaking.

Imagine you’re at a bar with some friends and he is asking you a lot of questions, which might be annoying at first, but if you realize he’s just trying to get to know you, it becomes endearing.

He hasn’t asked a single other girl a question about themselves all night. He’s into you.

8. He’s always smiling around you

Take it from a shy girl, shyness is hard. And because of that, you don’t get real smiles from us very often. Sure, the polite smiles that don’t reach the eyes are our go-to. But, that’s not real.

If you catch the shy guy you like always smiling ear from ear around you, there’s a good chance that he likes you. He thinks you’re fun and entertaining, and that’s one of the best reasons to like someone.

9. He’s always wanting to help

No one wants to help you move, clean your apartment, or pick up your dry cleaning. But shy guys who like you want to help. They will go out of their way to help you so that they can spend time with you.

They may not outrightly say that they like you, but this is a big sign. He doesn’t care what it is that he has to do, he’ll do it for you. The best part about it is he won’t judge you for it.

He definitely likes you, but he might be too afraid of rejection to admit it.

10. He’s a good listener

Shy guys are great at listening, but they only spend time with people that they actually want to listen to. If you’re sitting down and he’s listening intently to what you’re saying, that means he likes you.

Whether you’re already friends or have just met, this listener is doing it because he enjoys your company and likes spending time with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a big game or a work assignment, he’ll hang onto your every word.

11. He tries to be in your world

Even though he’s shy, he tries to hang out with you and your friends. Chances are, he doesn’t love being around your BFF. But if that means he gets to spend more time with you, he’ll do it. Honestly, he’ll even risk being friend zoned because he wants to be around you more.

Though it may seem totally different than other guys you’ve liked in the past, this is just his way to show that he’s interested in what you’re interested in—even if he seems like the awkward third wheel.

12. He fidgets and blushes

Most of the time, he’ll probably sit and listen to you. But when he does talk, it may come out funny. Shy guys are known for stammering and stuttering. Plus, he may fidget his fingers or blush. This just means he’s nervous.

And the reason for his nervousness? You. It’s a good thing. He wants to impress you, and as embarrassing as it may be for him, he’s doing it in the best way that he can.

13. He shares things about himself

Once he starts getting to know you more, he’ll let yourself into his world. The thing with shy people is that they often feel awkward or embarrassed about who they are. And chances are, they’re pretty introverted.

As you get to know him, his personality will come out more. Then, he’ll share some of his secrets with you. Don’t take this lightly—shy guys don’t share secrets about themselves very often.

14. He only has eyes for you

Do you ever go out with him to another scene and there are plenty of hot girls around? Well, most guys would have some wandering eyes. But a shy guy? He only has eyes for you. He  may not be admitting his feelings, but he definitely isn’t looking for anyone else.

Even if there are other women trying to get to know him, he’ll probably be awkward around them and look to you for some assurance. Trust me, it’s not because he thinks you’re his BFF. He wants to spend time with you.

15. He stops responding when you talk about another guy

Nothing is worse than hearing the person you like talking about another guy. So, if you bring up a guy and your shy guy seems to shut down or get a little bit annoyed, that means he likes you. He may roll his eyes, subtly say something, or flat out get annoyed.

If this happens, pat yourself on the back. This is definitely a sign that he has feelings for you.

16. He loves what you’re doing

We don’t usually love what someone’s doing unless we care about them. Shy guys are the same. Because they may be scared to tell you how they really feel, he’ll talk about how much he loves the things that you do.

Plus, he may even tag along for some of the things that you do just to show how much he cares about you.

17. He’s following you on social media

Possibly the best place to be friends, the shy guy will definitely start by following you on social media. He wants to see what you’re up to, and without making himself known, he can gather this info on social media.

If he gets enough courage, he might even like or comment on your photo. But, don’t expect the shy guys to be sliding into your DMs. 

18. His friends tease him

When you walk by him, do you see his friends whispering about you? This could be while you’re at the bar, at work, or if you’re younger, at school. When his friends are teasing him about you, that means he’s been talking about you.

They’re probably pressuring him to make a move—but we know that’s not going to happen. Their teasing is in hopes that you’ll find out he likes you and make a move yourself.

19. He knows the small details of your life

Shy guys are good listeners, especially when it comes to those tiny details. Maybe you mention one time that you like jolly ranchers. Then, he’ll remember that and always make sure he gives you jolly ranchers.

Even though you won’t remember mentioning jolly ranchers, he does. He remembers it, and he uses it as a way to show that he cares about you. It’s super cute, and it will take you by surprise a lot too.

20. He’ll try something new

He might be used to sticking to a routine, but when he meets you, he’ll try something new if you want him too. Though shy people often have a hard time trying new things, he’ll get uncomfortable if that means he gets to spend more time with you while doing it.

Just don’t expect him to be super happy about it. Though he may put up a little bit of a fight, pretty soon, he’ll do it for you.

21. He’s polite

Get used to having a true gentleman around. When he’s shy, he’ll open up your doors and do things for you that you may not usually get from the man that is constantly getting girls. Shy guys have studied up on their etiquette, and they want to impress.

In fact, he may be so polite at times that you’ll wonder if you’ve been friend zoned. It can be hard to decipher every once in a while, hence the next sign…

22. You get mixed signals

Are you sure that he likes you one day and then hopelessly confused the next day? Unfortunately, this can be normal with shy guys. They have a hard time talking about it all, and so some days they may show that they care and other days they may disappear.

It’s not that they’ve changed their minds. It’s the fact that they aren’t sure how you feel, so they don’t know whether or not their investment is worth the time.

23. He’s given you a nickname

Don’t count the shy guys out—they know how to come up with the sweetest nicknames. If he’s given you a pet name, even if it’s adorable or dorky, that means he likes you. Sure, it may be something you’d rather never hear him call you again, but that’s just his way to tease you and flirt with you.

Plus, he wants to see how you react to the nickname. Make sure you let him know that you like it because he’s using it for you.

24. He touches you

Words can be hard for shy guys, so he’ll try to communicate with you through touch. It may not seem like much, but a gentle touch on your shoulder or arm can speak volumes to them. So, if you notice that he’s been touching you, whether it’s on your arm, leg, or maybe even putting his arm around you or holding hands, that’s a good sign he’s crushing on you hard.

It doesn’t have to be a monumental touch. He doesn’t need to kiss you to show you that he cares. You’ll probably have to do that.

25. You catch his gaze

Do you look behind your shoulder at him and find that he was already looking at you? If so, get used to the lingering gazes. Because they aren’t forward with their feelings, they will look and glance at you.

They’re probably thinking about how much they like you, so it’s pretty cute. And when you catch him, he might turn red and move his gaze back to his computer or notebook. You can turn back around knowing that he has feelings for you.

26. He cares

Do you find him asking how your day is going or what’s happening in your life? If so, he cares about you. This is always a good thing. Shy guys don’t give up their hearts easily, so when they care about someone, they do so deeply. 

He’s showing you in a small way that he hopes your day is going well, and if it’s not, he’s there for you.

27. He finally tells you

Eventually, even shy guys will tell you that they like you. It may take them longer, and you probably will make the first move, but don’t worry. Once they tell you that they like you, they’re yours. Make sure to give them lots of signals that you feel the same way. It’ll make it easier for him to open up.

In Conclusion: How to tell a shy guy likes you

Shy guys may not be as open and forthcoming as the other men in your life. But make no mistake, they like you just the same.

If they do, then you have to make sure your relationship is a passionate and long lasting one.

But there’s one crucial ingredient to relationship success I think many women overlook:

Understanding what their guy is thinking at a deep level.

Let’s face it: Men see the world differently to you and we want different things from a relationship.

And this can make a passionate and long lasting relationship — something that men actually want deep down as well — really difficult to achieve.

I know that getting a shy guy to open up and tell you what he’s thinking can feel like an impossible task. But I’ve recently come across a new way to help you understand what’s driving him in your relationship…

Dating a shy guy doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to have lots of fun or do wild and crazy things together – it’s just that he’s protecting his heart.

As you get to know him, you’ll probably come to find that he’s been shot down hard or had his heart broken before.

He might be weary because he thinks you’re out of his league or he doesn’t have a shot.

Try to think of it from his perspective: you’re amazing and outgoing and beautiful. That’s intimidating.

Cut the guy some slack and just ask him out. He’ll be glad you did. And so will you.

Men need this one thing

James Bauer is one of the world’s leading relationship experts.

In his new video, he reveals a new concept which brilliantly explains what really drives men romantically. He calls it the hero instinct. I talked about this concept above.

Simply put, men want to be your hero. Not necessarily an action hero like Thor, but he does want to step up to the plate for the woman in his life and be appreciated for his efforts.

The hero instinct is probably the best kept secret in relationship psychology. And I think it holds the key to a man’s love and devotion for life.

You can watch the video here.

My friend and Hack Spirit writer Pearl Nash was the person who first introduced the hero instinct to me. Since then I’ve written extensively about the concept on Hack Spirit.

For many women, learning about the hero instinct was their “aha moment”. It was for Pearl Nash. You can read her personal story here about how triggering the hero instinct helped her turn around a lifetime of relationship failure.

Here’s a link to James Bauer’s free video again.

New video: He reveals the truth about chasing emotionally unavailable men (hint: don’t do it!)

Lachlan Brown

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 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
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