22 signs he is pretending not to like you (but he really does!)

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Everyone says he likes you, but you have no idea what they’re talking about.

He’s full of mixed signals — sometimes he’s hot, other times he’s cold. Sometimes he’s obsessed with you, other times he’s nowhere to be found.

So what gives?

Men always struggle when it comes to their feelings, and the last thing they want to do is be too needy and end up tripping over themselves in embarrassment.

Here are 22 signs that he’s pretending not to like you, even though he really does:

1. He Can Always Make Time For You

Need someone for whatever reason? Need an extra pair of hands to help you on moving day? Need a shoulder to cry on because you messed up at work?

He will be there whenever you need him, any time and anywhere.

Even when you’re not asking for his time, he’ll offer it just because he loves spending time with you.

When we make time for a person, that person is important in our lives.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and the way we spend it is what makes up who we are.

You never want to waste time on someone you don’t really care for, right?

2. Sometimes People Think He’s Your Boyfriend

You hang out several times a week, you’re almost always in photos together, and he’s always a part of your stories.

Whenever you meet new friends (or reconnect with old friends), they automatically assume that you two are actually already in a low-key relationship.

When was the last time you assessed your current relationship with him?

Think about it: if you saw your friend acting that way with a guy, in the same way that you act with him, wouldn’t you just assume you’re already in a relationship even without saying it?

And it’s totally possible that he’s completely aware of this “look”, and he’s hoping he’ll trick you into a relationship without even asking for it.

3. He’s Secretly Protective Over You

Being in love means you want the best for that person, and that means you always want to make sure they’re safe and sound.

And while it might be annoying that he won’t admit his true feelings for you, an easy way to verify his feelings is by seeing how protective he is over you.

Here are some ways guys are naturally protective:

  • When you go somewhere shady or dangerous, he always tries to go with you
  • If someone is talking bad about you, he always steps up and defends you
  • If you ever need some help for any reason, he always lends his hand
  • When you get sick or ill, he always reaches out to take care of you

When you ask him about any of this? He’ll say this is just what friends do.

The truth is that you’ve tapped into an instinct men have when they care deeply for a woman.

It’s called the hero instinct.

What this boils down to is that men have a biological urge to protect the women they love. In other words, men want to be your everyday hero.

I know it sounds kind of silly. In this day and age, women don’t need a “hero” to protect them.

But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to feel like they are a hero. Because it’s built into their DNA to seek out a relationship with a woman that makes them feel like one.

The simple truth is that men have a thirst for admiration and respect. They want to protect and provide for the woman they love. This is deeply rooted in their biology.

If you want your guy to fall in love with you, then you need to trigger his hero instinct.

The best way to learn to do this is to watch this free online video.

James Bauer, the relationship psychologist who first discovered the hero instinct, reveals the simple things you can do starting today to tap into this very natural male instinct.

Here’s a link to this excellent free video again.

4. He Loves Teasing You

Joking is one way that guys flirt; it’s one of the reasons why the cute girl in school always had her hair pulled because most guys have difficulty expressing their feelings normally.

Instead of telling you that he’s attracted to you, he’d rather make you laugh and smile with silly jokes and teasing.

Sometimes it might seem that his joking is going too far and that there’s no way he could be attracted to you with all the ridiculous jokes he throws your way.

But here’s the thing: some guys just have no idea how to share their feelings, because it’s not something they do with their friends.

This could be the closest thing to an “I want to be with you” that you’re going to get if you don’t directly ask him for his feelings.

5. He Cares About How He Looks When You’re Around

This guy might not usually be the prim and proper type; some might even describe him as a slob.

If you’ve ever seen his home or the way he dresses (in pictures when you’re not around), you might never expect him to be the type to care much about his appearance (or even his basic hygiene).

But for some reason, he always seems to put himself together when you’re around. He dresses better, he smells better, and he generally just looks better.

He also watches himself in everything he does — he acts more like a gentleman in general, and less like a manchild.

6. He Gets Jealous When Other Guys Are In the Picture

No one wants to be the jealous, crazy psycho boyfriend (or girlfriend), especially when you’re not someone’s official partner in the first place, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get those kinds of feelings from time to time.

When a guy is in love with you, he can’t control his feelings for you even when he’s doing his best to hide them.

Some feelings just have to physically manifest sometimes, and one of those feelings is jealousy.

If you start talking about another guy who’s captured your attention in any way, he might start acting strange or distant, or he might even start talking about a new girl in his life that he’s suddenly interested in.

Either way, he won’t be happy about it; but he knows that it’s not really his place to complain.

7. Want Advice Specific To Your Situation?

While this article explores the main signs he is pretending not to like you, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.

With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences…

Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like not knowing what he feels about you. They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.

How do I know?

Well, I reached out to them a few months ago when I was going through a tough patch in my own relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

In just a few minutes, you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

Click here to get started.

8. He Really Cares About Your Friendship

So why exactly won’t this guy who obviously has romantic feelings for you come out and let those feelings be known?

If he really loves you so much, then wouldn’t he prefer to be your boyfriend rather than just your close friend?

One possible reason is that he just really cares about your friendship, and wouldn’t do anything to mess it up.

Either he knows how important this relationship is for you, or it’s incredibly important for him.

He’s heard all the horror stories of how friends-turned-couple eventually fell out with each other, and he’d rather deny himself the shot of ever being in a romantic relationship with you if it means he can have you forever as a friend.

9. He Has a History of Bad Relationships

He seems like your perfect guy in so many ways, and with feelings as strong as his, you’re almost certain that your relationship would work out.

But maybe he isn’t, simply because he’s been burned by girlfriends in the past.

It might have nothing to do with you at all, but just his personal history of girlfriends and relationships.

Either he’s had several toxic and immature girlfriends or he just got out of a relationship that has left him broken-hearted; either way, he’s content with what you two have right now, and doesn’t want to possibly turn that into another depressingly broken relationship.

10. He’s Slightly Insecure And Loves Your Affirmation

You know that if he asked you out, you’d probably say yes.

You’ve tried to make that clear to him several times, but no matter how much you try to get him to take that step and evolve your relationship, he just won’t do it.

One possible reason is that he just doesn’t see himself as the type of guy who could be your boyfriend.

Maybe he thinks so highly of you that he’s mentally put you out of his league, so he doesn’t want to try at all.

In his head, he just doesn’t deserve you. He loves you but he doesn’t love himself, and you can see this by just how much your simplest affirmations can brighten up his day.

11. He Keeps Sending You Mixed Signals

The thing about this guy is that you never really know how he’s feeling, even when it seems super clear to everyone around you.


Because you’re the only one seeing all his mixed messages, both the hot and the cold.

Sometimes it seems like he’s ready to ask you on an official first date, and other times it’s almost like he couldn’t care less about your existence.

What exactly does this hot and cold behavior mean?

The reality is most men are not good at processing their emotions and don’t know how to act around women they like.

And the reason is simple.

Male and female brains are biologically different.

Generally speaking, women are more in touch with their emotions and men can struggle to deal with complicated feelings, such as developing strong feelings for a woman.

12. He Can’t Stop Laughing When You’re Around

You’ve never really seen yourself as the funniest girl in the room, but whenever he’s by your side, you suddenly turn into Tina Fey.

As much as he loves making you laugh, he also loves hearing your jokes.

And he just can’t get enough of it — you can turn him from the calmest guy in the room to losing his breath just from the laughter.

So do you just have the best sense of humor whenever he’s around? Not likely.

His heart is just filled with joy whenever he’s with you, making every line you say several times more joyful than it would be otherwise.

13. He Never Forgets Your Conversations

He’s always trying to find ways to relate to you which is why he remembers your interactions so perfectly.

To you, you’re just making random conversation; to him, every conversation is an opportunity to get to know you better.

Sure, it’s not entirely uncommon for people to be thoughtful and remember conversations but his attention to detail (and to you specifically) is something else entirely.

He remembers all the little things about you from the little bits of information you give him here and there.

This is even more telling if he’s typically not like this to his friends or other females in his life so it’s obvious that his attention to you is a little more than just a friendly gesture.

You could mention the smallest detail and think it would disappear into the conversation void forever. But not with him.

You could say something so obscure and seemingly insignificant and he’d find a way to talk about it again.

14. He Always Makes Sure You Know About Other Women In His Life

In both good and bad ways. You know when he’s dating someone because he (or his friends or his social media) won’t shut up about it.

You also know when he’s not dating someone because he’s constantly hinting at the fact that he’s looking to find someone.

But even when he is with someone, he makes it a point to mention how she’s not really the right girl for him.

He could be dating the most perfect girl in the world and yet he’s openly telling you that he has sights set on someone else or that he’s looking for someone different.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that he’s setting himself up for you.

He tells you about his love life because he wants you to know he’s desirable but he also wants you to know that there is a space for a special someone in his life.

15. He helps you

When a man has serious feelings for you, he’ll go out of his way to help you. No questions asked.

It doesn’t matter what you need, if you call him, he will come to you.

If you need advice, a ride, some fixed, or just a shoulder to cry on, he’ll find a way to get to you and make sure that everything is okay.

Even if a guy hasn’t told you that he likes you, actions speak far louder than words. And his willingness to help you out at the drop of a hat speaks volumes for his feelings towards you.

Helping you out like this is another aspect to the hero instinct. I mentioned this concept above.

The hero instinct is a new concept in relationship psychology that I think has a lot of merit to it.

Men don’t go out of their way to help you just from the kindness of their heart — they do it because they feel compelled to help the woman they care about.

Stepping up for the woman they care about makes them feel like an everyday hero.

The simple truth is that for a relationship to succeed, it needs to give a man a sense of purpose. It doesn’t matter how good you look, or how much of a firecracker you are in bed, a man won’t fall in love with you unless the relationship makes him feel good about himself.

To learn more about the hero instinct, watch this free video.

Some ideas are game-changers. And when it comes to forging a deep and passionate relationship with a man you love, this is of them.

Click here to watch the free video.

16. He Tries To Know You In Subtle Ways

He tries to get to know you one way or another. He can be in denial and avoid being direct all he wants but in the end, he’ll succumb to wanting to get to know you.

Guys who don’t want to be upfront about their feelings will still try to flesh information out of you, especially if they think they’re being coy.

He might ask you seemingly random questions and compel the group to participate in a truth or dare game just to learn more about you in the most indirect ways he could possibly think of.

Regardless of how he does it, the intention comes across clearly. He’s curious about you in a way he isn’t curious about anyone.

When you’re telling a story about yourself, he seems to always be nearby, waiting to listen. He might not always ask the questions himself but he’ll try to be around to get as many answers as he can.

17. He Makes Jokes About Being Together With You

Maybe he slips up and shows his hand; maybe he does it intentionally in an attempt to be bolder with his feelings.

It doesn’t really matter whether he’s intentional or not, the point is that he still makes jokes about being together with you.

That’s not to say that someone who jokes about being with you is automatically interested in you romantically.

But think about it this way: a friend who has never considered you as a romantic partner is very unlikely to have that thought cross in their mind.

If he ends up mentioning it, either as a joke or a quip, then he’s definitely thought about it at some point in time and wants to see what you think of it.

This is his way of planting the seed in your head and seeing how you react, probably because he’s worried to reveal his hand and learn how you truly feel about him.

It’s one of the ways he tries to learn what you think about him, without asking you directly.

18. He Always Seems To Be Around (Physically or Virtually)

He hovers. A lot. When you’re out and about, he somehow always falls into your line of sight. He chooses to stop at the door knowing he’ll be within your peripheral vision.

He goes out of his way to check up on you and see how you’re doing. He always seems to be wherever you are.

When you say something, he’s there to crack a joke or participate in a conversation.

And even when he’s not physically there, he finds a way to be with you. He texts you, or if he’s trying to play it a little more subtly, likes your post on social media.

19. He’s Extremely Interested In Your Dating Life

Just as much as he wants you to know about his dating life, he’s even more interested in learning about yours.

Whenever you post a new photo with a mystery guy, he’ll find a way to figure out who that man really is, whether personally or through a mutual friend.

Other signs that he’s into you?

Friends are asking you “random” questions about your dating life. You get constant notifications on your phone as if he’s right around the corner waiting for your next post or online interaction.

Seemingly out of nowhere, he tries to prompt you on your dating life to learn about who you’re dating and what kind of guy you’re into.

More often than not, he acts like the self-appointed guardian, rating your guys from 1 to 10.

To make things even more obvious, he’s always joking about the guys you do date in an attempt to poke fun at your relationships and at the fact that none of them are him.

20. Your Friends Just Know It

Your girlfriends know he likes you, they can see it better than you can because they’re not directly involved.

You can deny it all you want, or maybe you truly don’t know what message he’s trying to send because of the mixed messages but your friends can see it clear as day.

Even if you don’t see any of the signs (or don’t understand what the mixed signs really mean), your girlfriends tell you the same thing over and over again.

It’s like they see something that you don’t and are completely convinced that this guy is into you.

The fact that other people see it might just be the final evidence you need to determine whether or not he’s really into you.

21. His Friends Know It, Too

It’s not just your friends but his too. It’s like they have a secret language only their group can understand.

They nudge him around when you’re nearby. They make suggestive jokes towards you. They ask how you two are doing or ask about your dating life.

It doesn’t have to be just explicit jokes and outright actions; just their body language is pretty telling of what’s going on.

What’s more, he seems to be completely embarrassed by all this.

When his friends joke about you and him, he’s the first one to deny it whereas you’re as cool as a cucumber.

When one of his friends slips up, he stares daggers that could pierce if only looks could kill.

He obviously doesn’t want you to know what’s going on in his head which is why his friends frustrate him.

22. He Notices The Smallest Details

Got your haircut? He always seems to be the first person to notice.

Wearing something different? He’ll notice it even if the change is completely subtle.

Even without saying it outright, this guy is so obviously hyper-focused on you because he catches the smallest details, which means he’s obviously paying attention.

The slightest change in tone, a small shift in your posture and he’s already asking you how you’re feeling.

Deleted a post on Instagram? Went offline for a couple of days? Small, meaningless things that would’ve been invisible to everyone are a big deal for him.

For someone who’s not very close with you and feigns interest all the time, he sure does have a strong radar for everything that’s going on about you.

There’s no way around it: he’s obviously keeping tabs on you.

Why do some men have to play so hard to get?

If only it were as simple as meeting someone, dating, seeing if you have a connection and then falling in love.

Instead, you have to sit back and ponder whether or not he’s pretending not to like you.

It’s confusing isn’t it?

If you’re not the type to sit back and let the games play out, then it’s time to take charge in this situation.

It all starts – and ends – with the hero instinct.

This is something I mentioned earlier. If you’ve already triggered it in him, then it’s a good sign that he’s just pretending not to like you.

If not, then now’s your opportunity to do so.

Once his hero instinct is triggered, you’ll know exactly how he feels about you, whether he’s ready to share that with you or not.

If you haven’t heard of this term before, you’re not alone. If you ask me, it’s one of the best kept secrets of the relationship world.

The term was first coined by relationship expert James Bauer, who discovered what he believes to be the key to a happy relationship: triggering the hero instinct in men.

You can watch his excellent free video about it here.

Once you trigger this instinct in a guy, you won’t have to question how he feels about you. You will simply have to work out how you can get him to own up to his feelings so you can finally test out the relationship waters.

He won’t be able to stay away.

So, are you ready to get started?

Click here to watch James Bauer’s excellent free video.

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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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