13 reasons why guys ignore you even when they like you

It can be super confusing when you think a guy likes you, but he avoids you.

Did you already hook up but now he is acting distant? Have you been chatting for a while and then out of nowhere he started to pull away?

Maybe it hasn’t gotten that far yet and it just seems like he runs every time you see him (even though you sense that he’s into you) or perhaps he’s suddenly stopped replying to your messages.

The irony is that going silent and truly ignoring someone is always essentially about sending them some kind of message, albeit in a passive way.

Working out what that exact message is will depend on your individual circumstances. Here are the 15 biggest reasons why guys will ignore someone they like.

1) He’s not actually ignoring you

The first explanation that we need to eliminate from the list before going any further is checking that he really is ignoring you in the first place?

Understanding what on earth is going on in someone else’s head feels like a big guessing game at the best of times. When romance comes into the picture, it’s ten times as challenging.

Most of the time in life we all just go around projecting what is in our own mind onto somebody else.

Are you certain that he is giving you the cold shoulder or is there a chance you may be being a bit paranoid?

It makes total sense that in matters of the heart we feel a lot more sensitive. But that hyper-alertness means we’re also prone to a bit of melodrama from time to time too.

If it’s been 2 weeks — you’ve called twice, sent 3 messages, and still heard nothing from him— ok, yes — it looks like he’s ghosted you. But on the other hand, if you waved at him in the parking lot earlier today and he didn’t wave back, the chances are far more likely that he just didn’t see you.

Before you read too much into things, make sure you’re not looking for problems that aren’t even there.

2) He doesn’t want a relationship

Why would a guy purposely ignore you after he has already admitted that he likes you or after you’ve had a few dates? It might depend on what he is looking for.

Liking someone doesn’t mean that you necessarily want to take things any further or that you’re ready for a relationship.

If he’s not in a place in his life where he wants to develop something serious, he might find it an easier solution to back off before it gets to that stage.

Perhaps he is worried that if things continue as they are, you are going to want more from him than he is prepared to give right now.

3) He thinks you’re coming on too strong

Dating is a weird tightrope balancing act that we all try to walk.

It’s probably why so many of us spend hours dissecting with our friends what they said, what we said, and what it all could mean.

Because, like the Fairytale of Goldilocks, getting it “just right” feels like a whole lot of trial and error.

We’re told to show that we’re interested in someone, to give them signs and signals that we like them. But we’re also told not to show our hand too soon or you might scare him off.

Personally, I think it’s always good to be fairly transparent about how you feel with someone. Most men won’t feel threatened if you make it clear that you like him.

If you showing some interest means he suddenly freaks out, then the chances are he isn’t really that interested in the first place. Most sincere men won’t be scared off by that.

If you have to play games to keep his attention, you’re better off without him.

Having said that, there is a chance that sometimes our initial excitement when we start getting to know someone means that enthusiasm bubbles over into being pushy or a bit “too much” — and so he backs off or starts to ignore you as it’s all too intense.

4) He’s protecting himself

Rather than pointing the finger straight at him for why he is ignoring you, it’s worth asking — did something happen that could explain suddenly explain why he has put a wall up?

For example, if he likes you but feels betrayed, knocked back, or has been left questioning if he’s going to get his heart broken — his self-defense mechanism might be kicking in.

Most of us at some point or another when we’re mad or disappointed at someone have probably decided to give them a dose of the silent treatment as some kind of passive-aggressive punishment. I know I have.

Whether the threat to him is real or imagined, he might be thinking that withdrawal is his best protection.

But trust me, withdrawal is never the best policy. 

The best thing you can possibly do in this situation is to take responsibility for yourself instead of getting wrapped up in who’s right and who’s wrong. 

I know it’s tough, though. And that’s why I’d love to recommend Rudá Iandê’s Love and Intimacy Masterclass — a free resource that helped me gain invaluable insights into my own relationship dynamics.

After doing a mini codependency questionnaire as a part of a masterclass, I understood that often, protecting ourselves from each other can be a sign of underlying codependency. 

So, if you also want to test your codependency levels and form a healthier, more fulfilling relationship, I wouldn’t suggest a better starting point.

Click here to access Love and Intimacy masterclass.

5) He likes you, just not enough

One thing that might be happening is that you’re absolutely right and he does like you but he just doesn’t like you as much as you think he does or wants him to.

If in the beginning he came on pretty strong but that has slowly deteriorated, there’s a chance that the buzz has worn off for him.

Romance and dating can feel like a pretty fickle world at times. Sometimes it’s almost as if they loved you on Tuesday, but by Thursday they’re over it.

Especially if a guy is quite emotionally immature or emotionally unavailable, his feelings may be very quick to run from hot to cold.

There are also some men that are only ever in it for the thrill of the chase, but once they’re got your attention it’s not as exciting anymore.

6) He thinks you’re not interested and has given up

If the guy who has suddenly started ignoring you was super interested not long ago but has apparently stopped pursuing you — he could have decided to cut his losses.

There may be more social pressure on men to be the ones who go after women, but he’s got feelings too.

Rejection isn’t any easier for guys than it is for girls.

If you’ve hurt his pride or not given any signs to him that you like him, at some point — if he knows what’s good for him — he’s bound to give up.

It’s healthy self-preservation when you think about it.

If he has been consistently contacting you and you haven’t really been giving anything back or maybe even asked you out and you turned him down — it’s likely he’s decided to move on.

7) He thinks you’re being clingy

To most people being a bit clingy or needy is a turn off.

Of course, the tricky part is defining what clingy behavior actually looks like. After all, some of us genuinely want to hear from our beau 10 times a day and for others, that’s an insane amount of contact.

Because we’re all different and we all have our own expectations going into these things — one man’s clingy is another man’s affectionate — so it’s not that either person is in the wrong. It’s just about communication and finding the right balance between you.

If you think that you have been spending a lot of time together recently (no matter how great it was) or you’ve been talking a lot, consider who has been driving that.

If it’s admittedly more you than him, he could just be signalling that he wants a bit more space.

He could like you, but he also likes his friends, family, career, and interests too and wants some more time for all the things he enjoys.

8) He’s embarrassed or shy

He goes bright red whenever he sees you before quickly making his excuses and getting the hell out of there.

Let’s face it, his body language and actions are kind of giving the game away.

Rather than hating your company, he likes you a bit too much but doesn’t quite know what to do with himself.

It’s nerve-racking talking to someone we like, especially when you’re shy, and not everyone feels like they have the skills to flirt.

Let’s put it this way, when it comes to the fight or flight response, this guy is definitely a flight type.

If it’s easier for you, try putting him at ease or sending him a message instead of putting him on the spot in person. That way you can give him some reassurance and the opportunity to think about what he wants to say without as much pressure.

9) He only wants to be friends

Maybe you have misinterpreted like for like, and now he’s trying to make things clearer by avoiding you.

Whenever two people who get along well begin to get to know one another, there’s always going to be a danger that one person will want more and the other doesn’t.

It’s the old “When Harry Met Sally” dilemma of: can men and women ever really be just good friends?

Of course, they can (sociologists have even proven it) but every now and then it’s going to lead to confusion when one person misunderstands the situation.

In this instance, that could be you.

If he suspects that you have misread things and doesn’t want to lead you on — he may be trying to do the noble thing by backing off.

He could even have been guilty of sending some mixed signals, with what he thought was just a bit of harmless flirting, only to realize later that he has given you the wrong impression and now knows that was a bad idea.

10) He’s playing it (too) cool

Can ignoring someone be a sign of attraction? Yes, it absolutely can. But it usually depends on how much he is ignoring you.

There’s a chance that he doesn’t want to be too obvious about how he feels, but has misjudged it and now it just looks like he’s ignoring you.

You might think this sounds kind of dumb but I know that in the past when I have liked someone, I’ve been guilty of this.

I worry that how I feel is so totally obvious to everybody, so I inadvertently go too far the other way and end up ignoring the one person in the room I really want to be talking to.

I guess this one falls into the same category as that old playground tactic of teasing someone you like. What can I say, human behavior is weird sometimes.

So for this type of guy, true love is when he ignores you.

There is a line though and although it’s perfectly plausible that a guy you know likes you may not pay you as much attention as you’d expect or be as talkative — it’s pretty unlikely that he would totally ignore you.

So if that’s what he’s doing, there could be more going on than just his terrible chat up techniques.

11) He’s got a lot going on

This might sound like BS, but there is a chance that he’s not ignoring you per se, he’s just got a lot happening right now.

Similarly to the first point on the list, how much he deserves the benefit of the doubt will probably depend on the particulars of his behavior.

But there definitely is a chance that he’s not intentionally ignoring you — he’s just genuinely busy.

Our priorities shift and change depending on what is happening in our life and you may have just fallen down the list, which isn’t a bad thing.

If you were further up before, it’s understandable that in comparison you could feel a bit ignored right now.

But if he’s already mentioned that a lot is going on at work, he has some family stuff to sort out or he’s spending the weekend with his buddies — he might just be indisposed but will get back to you when he can.

12) You’re not the only one he likes and there’s someone else on the scene

Once upon a time, it must have been so easy.

Back in the courting days when you would have a chaperoned date or two and then he would promptly ask for your hand. (Although back in those days you were also stuck with him forever, even if he turned out to be an absolute jerk)

Instead, nowadays we patiently wait for him to ask us out, only for him to just disappointingly add you on Instagram. **rolls eyes**

Although I’m joking, it definitely can feel sometimes like modern dating and romance, in general, is less committed.

If he likes you, has been showing interest, but that has started to fade, he might be keeping his options open or like more than just you.

In a world where the next date is just a swipe away, we have to face the possibility that there are more people on the scene than just us.

13) He’s freaking out

Freaking out can cover everything from “he likes you but doesn’t know what to say, do or how to behave”, all the way to “he likes you so much that he’s a bit scared about it all”.

Feelings can be pretty overwhelming at times.

If you’ve been seeing one another for a while and it’s very clear that he is into you, some bigger emotions may have suddenly caught up with him.

Or he may be having a hard time expressing what he thinks and feels.

We think it should be all happiness and hearts, but in reality, a lot of romance can actually feel a bit uncomfortable at times.

Sadly, love doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so we can be left at a loss over knowing our best next steps. If he doesn’t know what to do, he might decide running away is his best bet.

What to do when a guy who likes you is ignoring you

Maybe there are a few things on the list that have set some alarm bells ringing and you suspect that could be what is going on.

So now what? Well, you probably have a few choices:

• You can decide to talk to him about what the heck is going on and find out for sure.

Because, as we’ve already said unless you have a crystal ball handy, the only real way we can ever know how someone feels is by asking.

Even though communication is usually the best way forward, in this situation, it might not feel like that is an option for you (if he really has been totally ignoring you).

• You could give him some space and see if he comes around or quits ignoring you.

If it was only in your mind or circumstantial because he had some things going on, everything could resolve itself on its own eventually without you needing to do anything.

• Of course, you might decide that whatever is going on with him, you simply don’t have time or energy for it. In that case, it’s a matter of #boybye #thankyounext.

But, if you really want to find out why he’s ignoring you even though it’s clear he has feelings for you, don’t leave it up to chance. 

Instead, try taking a deeper look not just at your relationship with him, but also at your relationship with yourself.

And if you’re not sure where to start, watching this free Love and Intimacy masterclass from the modern shaman Rudá Iandê might be the best thing you can do for your relationship right now.

It really helped me understand my own emotional needs and could do the same for you. 

Click here to access the free masterclass.

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

I ruined my marriage by cheating: How I plan to fix it

How to take charge in a relationship: 19 effective tips