Dating can be tough. You never really know where you stand with someone, and it can be hard to tell when they're just not that into you.
But don't worry, because I'm here to help!
Today, I'm going to share 25 signs that he's pretending not to like you – but in reality, he's totally into you. So read on, and see if any of these signs sound familiar!
What Are The Signs He's Pretending Not To Like You?
1. He knows the details of your dating life
If your guy friend is always the first to know when you break up with someone and he seems particularly interested in all the ins and outs of your romantic life, it could be because he wants to be in a relationship with you.
If he keeps asking about who you’re dating and what you’re looking for in a relationship, it might be because he wants to ensure that you’re not waiting around for him.
He might also ask about your dating personality—whether or not you like making the first move or if you’re more passive— because he is trying to figure out if that lines up with his own personality.
2. He likes to tease you
If he's pretending not to like you, he may tease you a lot.
Teasing can be a sign that someone cares about you, and it can also be a clue that they're feeling pretty comfortable around you.
If your guy is teasing you often, it's probably because he likes to see you smile and laugh.
It makes him happy to make you happy and feel good.
And if he's doing it when no one else is around, it could be even more of an indicator that he really does like you because he isn't putting on a show for anyone else—he's just enjoying spending time with you.
3. He envies other guys in your life
This is one of the real telltale signs he’s pretending not to like you, as it shows that he doesn't like the thought of you with another guy.
He wants all your attention and doesn't want to share you with any other men out there.
If your guy is going out of his way to ensure that he's the only one in your life, he's definitely dropping some hints that he likes you.
He will be a little jealous when other guys are around and will make this known.
If you haven't figured it out by now, then know this: if a man likes you and wants to keep on seeing you, then he won't want other men around when they're with you.
4. He cares about your friendship together
If the guy you like pretends to be more interested in your friendship than he is in a romance, it's because he really cares about your friendship.
He doesn't want to risk losing you as his friend, and he may not want to ruin the trust that you have for him.
If you're talking regularly, he definitely considers you a friend.
He may be concerned with becoming friends first and potentially starting something later.
If this sounds familiar, it could mean that he's shy or scared and wants to take things slow.
It could also mean that this is the way that he likes to get to know someone or become close with them before jumping into anything else.
Maybe rushing into anything romantic isn't his style.
5. He’s looking for compliments from you
If he’s pretending not to like you, but he actually does, this means that he’s shy, and wants to get some sort of affirmation from you before he makes a move.
He might be asking you for your opinion about him, his friends, or his family members as well.
He may ask you if his new haircut looks cool on him or ask for your opinion about his musical abilities.
He may be interested to know about your likes and dislikes in men and if the qualities you’re looking for are all there in him.
Asking these questions will give him the confidence that he needs to approach you in time and boost his self-esteem a little bit too.
6. He remembers your conversations
He remembers your conversations, not just the casual conversations you had when you first met.
No, he remembers the conversations that were made months ago.
He’s memorized the time and place they happened, no matter how forgettable they may have seemed.
He has his own copy of our stories in his mind. They’re saved there like your favorite song or movie quote.
This isn't random memory retention either: he's paying attention to what's important to you.
If a guy can remember details about your preferences, ideas, jokes, goals, dreams, compliments, stories, etc, he finds everything about you important enough to remember.
If a guy likes you in this way (and is not an idiot), he will be sincere about it.
You can tell by his actions and overall behavior that he wants to make sure these details stick with him for as long as possible.
7. He helps you whenever you need it
One of the pretty surefire signs he’s pretending not to like you is his strong tendency to help you.
If he's always there for you when you need him, whether it's a ride to the airport at three in the morning or some last-minute advice on how to change your oil, it's probably because he really likes being around and helping out someone who matters that much to him.
Sure, maybe he just wants an excuse to see you again. But maybe he genuinely enjoys lending a helping hand.
8. He jokes about being together
If he is joking about being together with you, then it’s a sign that he has thought about being together.
Joking can be a way for him to do this without feeling like there is pressure on either of you.
He might make jokes about getting a pet together, moving in together, or going on holiday together.
Or if he thinks something would work better with another person, he might reference you as the other person.
9. People assume you’re together
If you’re out at a party with him and someone says, “Hey, you two are so cute together! Have you been dating long?” this is a good sign.
It also means that people probably think he’s your boyfriend.
They believe this is because they don’t see any other man in your life, and they can tell how close the two of you are.
If people start asking you why the two of you aren’t together yet, it means that they believe he loves you.
They just don't understand why the relationship isn't more solidified.
10. His friends know about you
If you didn’t have this guy in the friend zone, he would have already mentioned you to his closest friends by now.
When a guy likes you, he wants to know everything about you.
His friends will be able to tell if he has been asking about you or not.
If he doesn’t talk about you and barely mentions your name, then most likely he isn’t into you like that.
But if he constantly mentions things that remind him of you around his friends or how cute or cool your recent project at work was, then bingo!
He really likes you and just needs to get over himself long enough to actually talk to you without being so awkward.
11. He makes time for you
You’re one of his priorities, making this one of the signs he’s pretending not to like you.
If he really likes you, then he wants to be with you, even if it means rearranging his schedule to do so.
Even if he’s busy, he will find a way to make time for you because he knows that what you have together is special and worth the effort.
He answers your calls and texts because he doesn’t want to leave you waiting.
After all, every second that passes without hearing from him feels like an eternity in your eyes.
12. He’s protective around you
Guys are protective of the people they care about.
If a guy has a crush on you, his natural instinct will be to make sure you’re okay when you’re around him.
This can mean insisting on walking with you home, looking out for your safety and well-being as soon as your presence is announced in any setting, and monitoring who talks to you (and for how long).
He might even butt in if another guy tries talking to you!
If this happens, know that there’s no need to feel awkward or offended; it means he cares about your time and wants to protect it.
In fact, this gesture shows that he likes spending time with YOU specifically—and maybe only YOU.
13. He cares about his physical attributes when you’re around
If you’re constantly seeing him in a nice shirt and new jeans, this is because he wants to impress you.
Guys who want to look good for their girl will not hesitate to buy new clothes, get a haircut, and make sure they are looking good.
They will want you to know that they are making an effort and trying hard to impress you.
A man will do anything if they think it will help them win the girl over.
If he makes sure he looks handsome every day when he knows he is going to see you, it means that he really likes you and hopes that your eyes will fall on him as his have fallen on yours.
14. He has a history
If he's told you that he's had one too many bad relationships or has trust issues due to a past relationship, take this as a sign that he likes you (but is afraid to admit it).
He might be acting distant because of his fear of getting hurt.
If a guy likes you but is scared and not sure what to do about it, the last thing he wants is for you to think he doesn't like you.
Sometimes, guys keep their distance and act like they're not interested; it allows them to protect themselves from being hurt again.
15. He confuses you with mixed signals
He might be sending mixed signals by being hot and cold with you because he's unsure about his own feelings.
Men aren't great at reading their own emotions, so they might be feeling very strong but have no idea how to decipher them.
He could also be afraid of rejection and is waiting for you to make the first move, which can be hard if he doesn't know whether or not you like him back.
16. He laughs around you
Laughter, as we all know, is the best medicine.
If you're so lucky to have a guy who can make you laugh and can't stop laughing with or at you—he's probably into you.
Laughing is infectious, and it's a great way for someone to show that they're attracted to someone else.
Plus, if he laughs at your jokes (even if they aren't funny), he's willing to suspend his disbelief and judgment for your sake.
If he makes you laugh genuinely, that’s even better because that’s a sign of how much he likes being around you and how good of a time he has with you.
If your guy laughs at the smallest things you do, like how you move or talk or dress or write, these are all signs he’s pretending not to like you – but actually does.
17. He tells you about other women in his life
If he talks a lot about other girls, it’s a good sign that he’s scared to tell you the truth and is trying to throw you off.
He could be talking about how cute his coworker is while at lunch, or he can mention a date he had with someone else.
While this might seem like bad news for you, it’s actually good news.
He definitely wants you to know that other women are interested in him and make sure you know he’s not interested in them.
This is his way of showing off for you – it might feel like a subtle form of bragging at times if you don't notice what's happening.
But really, he’s just trying to make himself seem like an attractive option so that when the time comes for him to ask you out finally, your answer will be yes.
18. He gets to know you in depth
He asks you many questions about your life, but not just the standard “getting to know you” type questions.
Those are easy enough to turn around and ask him, so he focuses on things that will tell him more about you as a person.
He doesn't just want to know what your job is, but he also wants to know why you work there, how long you've been doing it, how much you like it, who's in charge of hiring at the company, and whether they're looking for new employees right now.
When a man takes this kind of deep dive into getting-to-know-you territory with someone who isn't his girlfriend yet or isn't even on her way there, it's usually because he's crazy interested in her and willing to do whatever it takes—including violating social norms—to make sure she knows it.
19. He’s around you either physically or virtually
If there's one thing you can count on, it's that he'll always be there.
Whether he pops up unexpectedly at work or is online when you log onto Facebook, he's a regular presence in your life.
It doesn't matter what time of day or night it is; if you need him, he'll come running.
20. Your friends know it too
Your friends just know it! Sometimes, they can sense a vibe you might be too deep in to notice.
Other times, they've noticed something the two of you did and want to remind you that he is into you.
As much as your friends sometimes get on your nerves, remember them when you need someone to help navigate love.
They'll always have your back.
Whether he's pretending not to like you or not, if your friends notice things about him that stand out from other guys around him, like being extra nice, then maybe something is up.
You never know until you try chatting with him some more.
21. He knows the minor details
If he notices the smallest details about you, then that's one of the significant signs he’s pretending not to like you.
You might be surprised to find that he remembers everything you say — and even more surprised when he shows up with your favorite snacks or takes your advice on what show to watch next.
He pays attention to what you say and cares about what you have to say, so just know that it's okay to share essential feelings and opinions with him because he'll care.
22. He tries to make you laugh
Laughing is a natural way to bond with someone and establish a connection.
When you're around someone you like, it makes sense that you'd want to make them laugh — but if there's one place where this is more important than any other, it's when you're trying not to reveal your feelings.
If he's faking that he doesn't like you but really does, he'll go out of his way to make sure that all of your interactions are fun and lighthearted.
He'll crack jokes and try his hardest not to show just how much he cares about making you smile.
He might even try to impress you by making some jokes at his own expense.
23. He makes excuses to be around you
A guy who is really interested in you will find a way to be around you.
He may make up an excuse about how he was in your neighborhood and wanted to say hi, or that he accidentally ended up on your street.
He might stop by your office to say hello, or ask if you want to hang out sometime.
Maybe he has an extra ticket to something and wants you to join him.
It can be difficult to know if someone likes you more than a friend.
Sometimes they show it by being unusually friendly – texting often, emailing, calling, stopping by your desk – but not necessarily flirting with you in any way.
They may also ask for advice or help on things that they could easily do themselves.
These are all signs that someone is trying to get closer and spend more time with you because they like you.
24. His actions don't match his words
Maybe he's telling you one thing, but his actions are saying something completely different.
In which case, pay attention to his actions.
Maybe his actions are more consistent than his words, and you should trust the actions.
Particularly if his words claim that he doesn’t like you but his actions reveal otherwise, observe attentively.
25. His eyes linger longer than usual
The eyes are the window to the soul. It's an old saying, but it's true.
Everyone can see a person's emotions reflected in their eyes, and what they reflect is very telling.
Have you ever noticed that you can't look away when you look at someone with strong feelings for them?
If he has strong feelings for you and doesn't want to be obvious about it, he will do his best to hide them by avoiding contact with your eyes.
But if you catch his eye and he stares at you with open admiration?
That's one of the signs he’s pretending not to like you and that he likes you more than just as a friend or acquaintance.
Why Do Some Guys Pretend Not To Like You When They Do?
For starters, men have always been afraid of vulnerability.
There's a stigma where showing emotions makes you fragile and weak – particularly for men.
If a guy has a crush on you, he may be afraid to admit it because it makes him vulnerable.
The fear of rejection or being laughed at is just too much for him.
Another reason why guys might pretend not to like you is that they're insecure about your feelings toward them.
They might feel like they're not worthy enough to be with someone as great as you, so they don't even bother trying.
They might also be afraid that you'll reject them or make fun of them, which would make it easier for them if they just pretended like they didn't like you in the first place.
Maybe he just wants to take things slow and see how things go between the two of you before he admits his feelings for you.
It's possible that he likes you, but doesn't want to rush into anything too soon, so he pretends like he doesn't have feelings for you.
What To Do If He's Pretending Not To Like You
If he’s pretending not to like you but actually does, this is your chance to tell him how you feel.
Especially if he resonates with all the signs he’s pretending not to like you, he’s probably just afraid of rejection or failure.
You can either confront him about his feelings or make the first move.
It doesn’t have to be this grand romantic gesture, but you can start by asking him to hang out or by texting him.
Sometimes guys just need the assurance that he’s not alone in their feelings, assuming you feel the same way.
What If He's Really Not Interested?
Sometimes people are too afraid to admit when they're interested.
Sometimes they realize after the fact that they should have been more forward with their feelings from the beginning.
And, sometimes, a guy just isn't that into you.
It's hard not to take it personally when someone rejects your advances.
It can make you question everything about yourself and your worthiness of love and affection.
But, remember that rejection is not a reflection of you as a person —it's a reflection of your compatibility as partners.
If he isn't interested in you romantically, that doesn't mean no one else will ever feel that way about you.
It only means this specific person doesn't see eye-to-eye with you on that front.
So if he doesn’t show any of the signs he’s pretending not to like you above, it’s time to accept this and move on.
I'm a full-time freelance writer with a love for writing self-improvement, relationships, mental health, and lifestyle articles. Check out my other articles here on Subconscious Servant, or also Thought Catalog (that’s where I express myself in a more creative form ✨).