Is he just being nice, or does he want more?
It can feel like a fine line between friendly and flirty. And when it comes to colleagues, it can be tricky to know where to draw the line.
Are you wondering whether or not to read more into his kindness towards you?
If so, then check out these signs a male co-worker is just being friendly and doesn’t like you romantically.
Signs a male co-coworker is just being friendly
1) He’s charming, but he’s like that with everyone
Some guys seem to have the gift.
They are effortlessly charming. They manage to make you feel seen, heard, and a little bit special whenever you speak to them.
Perhaps your colleague is a really charming guy. He’s funny, playful, and attentive to you whenever you two talk.
Although that might sound like more than friendly, the key is that this is part of his personality.
You know he’s a charismatic man. There is nothing different or unusual about how he interacts with you compared to other women (or even men) in the office.
He is probably just being friendly if he treats other colleagues who he gets along with in the same way that he treats you too.
2) You know he is already in a committed relationship
You know for a fact that he’s already spoken for, and he makes no attempt to hide it.
Ok, so affairs and cheating aren’t exactly unheard of. But let’s work from the assumption that already being married or with a partner makes him unavailable.
If he is a bit overly friendly from time to time, he may be just indulging in what he sees as a bit of harmless flirting.
He knows it won’t go any further, so doesn’t see it as a big deal.
If he talks positively about his relationship and is perfectly open about the fact he is taken, then the chances are much higher that he is just being friendly and not looking for anything else from you.
3) He doesn’t contact you outside of work
He’s very friendly at work, but you don’t really chat outside of work.
He doesn’t text or call you, or if he does, it’s always to discuss work-related matters.
He hasn’t added you on social media, and if he has, he never tries to start conversations or particularly interacts with your social media.
The only real contact you have with him is when you’re both at your job. This suggests that he isn’t that interested in getting to know you outside of work.
Although he is friendly, he wants to keep the relationship professional, not romantic.
4) He is friendly, but not very flirty
How can you tell the difference between friendly and flirty behavior?
Admittedly it can be challenging. In fact, one research study found that only 18% of women can tell when a guy is flirting. So it seems most of us are pretty clueless.
Relationship expert David Bennett says the main problem is that the two do overlap quite a lot:
“Without knowing someone’s intentions, flirting and friendly behaviors are often nearly identical, and this makes knowing the difference extremely frustrating for everyone involved”.
When someone is friendly, they will usually try to engage with you by talking to you, asking you questions, and generally being nice to you.
Flirtatious people tend to do all of those things too but they also tend to:
- Look at you for longer (prolonged eye contact)
- Ask more in-depth questions
- Pay you more compliments
- Act differently towards you compared to others
- Are even more attentive
- Try to get physically closer to you
So, knowing that your colleague is being friendly rather than being flirty is about the absence of these sorts of extra behaviors.
5) He doesn’t try to impress you
Any guy who likes you is going to want to try to impress you.
When a guy goes out of his way to try to help you out, do you favors, make you laugh, and generally show off a little bit it’s a clear sign you’ve triggered his hero instinct.
The hero instinct is a psychological theory from relationship expert James Bauer.
It argues that men are biologically driven to behave a certain way when a woman triggers this innate drive in them.
If you’re intrigued to learn more, I’d recommend watching this free video to learn how to put it into action.
I know it can sound a bit outdated that a guy wants to be your hero, but it’s primal rather than conscious. He can’t help it.
So if he isn’t trying to impress you, there’s a good chance you are not triggering his hero instinct — and he is just being friendly.
Don’t forget you can check out exactly how to trigger a man’s hero instinct by watching that short free video.
6) He sticks to small talk
Your chats are polite and even warm, but they don’t go very deep.
The conversation tends to stick to surface-level small talk like “how was your weekend?” or “are you going to that sales meeting on Wednesday?”.
But you’ll notice that he doesn’t ask you any particularly probing questions.
A guy who is genuinely interested in you would ask you things that are likely to strengthen your bond and your relationship.
That means he would likely start asking more personal questions to find out about your likes and dislikes, your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and beliefs.
For example, he could ask you about your family, your taste in music and films, your hobbies, or even your goals and dreams.
The more mundane the conversation topics, the more likely it is that he is just being a friendly colleague.
7) He keeps his distance physically
He’s not touchy-feely with you.
A guy who is into you is trying to actively seek you out and give you their full attention. And that will most likely start to involve subtle forms of physical contact with you.
We’re not talking about anything creepy. After all, you are at work so it’s got to be appropriate.
But when we’re interested in someone we tend to ever so slightly encroach on their physical space a little bit.
In practical terms that can look like gentle touches of the arm or on the shoulder, leaning in slightly when you talk to someone.
Physical boundaries are important. We don’t to cross into someone’s physical space quite so easily.
As highlighted in National Geographic:
“When you talk about inappropriately touching another person, that is a huge invasion of personal space. It takes relatively special social circumstances before it feels comfortable to be touched by someone. Even just sidling up too close to another person can be an invasion of that personal space.”
That means if he is being friendly he is more likely than not going to keep his distance physically.
8) He talks to you about other women
He happily talks about other women — either to you or in front of you.
If he were interested in you romantically, he wouldn’t want to ruin his chances by talking about other women when you’re around.
Whilst he obviously would want to sound desirable, he also wants to sound available. And that means he isn’t going to chat about women he is interested in, attracted to, or dating.
If he openly tells you about dates he has had, women he’s sleeping with, or going out to bars to try to meet women, then he is sending friend vibes your way.
If you’re interested in learning more about what it means when a guy talks about another girl in front of you, then check out our latest video which discusses what it really means.
9) He doesn’t single you out
You’re not the only woman at work that he is very friendly to. Plenty of others say he’s a really nice guy.
Neither do you get the impression that he is trying to single you out in particular.
He doesn’t only come exclusively to you to ask work-related questions, he approaches lots of people.
He isn’t specifically trying to cultivate a friendly relationship only with you and no one else.
When you’re in a group he doesn’t pay you any more attention than he does to anyone else.
10) His attention isn’t consistent
Some men are just really big flirts, and they’ll do it with pretty much anyone, even a colleague at work.
They find it fun, and they enjoy the attention. It’s a bit of a game to them.
Obviously, when a guy is just a flirty type, it’s easier to understandably get the wrong impression from him.
But a good way to gauge his intentions is how consistent he is.
A male colleague is more likely just being friendly if he lays on the charm a bit but then goes back to being fairly unattentive for a while.
Or he is only charming when he has the time but if he’s in a bad mood or busy, he goes back to being strictly professional.
Inconsistencies in his attention toward you suggest he is just friendly.
11) He doesn’t show any signs of jealousy
Jealousy is a powerful emotion. We often can’t help it. It comes spilling out.
If he shows any signs of jealousy, then he is showing interest in you romantically.
On the other hand, if he doesn’t show any reaction to you talking about other guys, he’s probably just being friendly.
It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking without knowing him personally, but there are some clues.
For example, if he asks you about other guys, he might be jealous and fishing for information.
If he doesn’t seem bothered about other guys on the scene, he’s probably just being polite.
12) His body language is friendly, but nothing more
Friendly body language versus flirty body language is another one of these grey areas.
Flirty body language involves a mixture of some of the points we mentioned earlier.
Things like ever so slightly invading personal space, and mixing in some more flirty behaviors.
If his body language is just friendly and NOT flirty then he is more likely to:
- Keep a respectful distance (not invade your personal space)
- Not try to hold eye contact for extended periods
- Not reach out and touch you (or only very occasionally)
- He won’t “check you out” (scanning parts of your body or face)
13) He hasn’t tried to get you alone
Either at work or outside of work, he hasn’t tried to get you on your own.
If he was interested in you he may have found an excuse to work late together, team up on a project, or some other work-related excuse to get closer.
Or he might have suggested grabbing a drink after work or hanging out outside of the office.
It should be fairly easy to casually ask you if you want to have lunch together or go get a coffee. And if he liked you in that way, you’d expect him to do that.
But if he hasn’t made any attempt to see you outside of the workplace then he is more likely than not just being friendly rather than likes you romantically.
14) He isn’t exactly on his best behavior around you
Maybe you are not just friendly with a male colleague, you are actual friends.
So the lines feel more blurred and you don’t know if he sees it as more than that.
I can notice a clear difference between how my guy friends act around me, compared to how they act around women they’re attracted to.
They’re basically a more tame and polite version of themselves. Whereas me, I’m almost one of the guys.
That means I get to hear all the inappropriate jokes, the crass comments, the burbs, the farts, and all that guy energy kind of stuff that they shield a romantic interest from.
15) It’s been a while and he hasn’t made a move
You know what they say ‘time will tell.’
If it’s been a while since you started working together and he hasn’t made any attempts to make a move, it’s probably because he doesn’t want to.
Office romance is common, with stats saying over half of us (58%) have engaged in one.
And a further 18% of people have admitted to randomly hooking up with a co-worker.
Psychologists put this down to the fact that being in close proximity to someone makes us more likely to feel attracted to them.
But it also means that if you’ve worked together a long time, if something were going to happen, it probably would have by now.