15 Signs He’s Pretending Not to Like You But Loves You

Do you have a crush on a guy but are unsure of his feelings for you?

Or you’ve been dating for a while but the state of your relationship is questionable and you don’t know how to name it? 

The signs he’s giving are unclear, and you’re not sure of his true feelings for you which is understandable.

One moment he’s interested in you and the other he totally ignores your presence. That’s confusing. 

But if you’ve noticed signs of his liking towards you, without a clear signal from him making clear his attitude towards you, there might be chances that he’s trying to pretend he doesn’t like you.

Why would he do that? 

There are several reasons for that.

He may pretend not to like you because:

  • He lack self-esteem, 
  • He is in a relationship currently, 
  • He doesn’t have the time for a serious relationship. 

However, in this article, we’ll go through the top 15 signs showing he is pretending not to like you.

Trust your inner voice and go through these signs as they might show what he truly feels for you. 

15 Signs He Is Pretending Not to Like You 

1. He Looks Away When You Catch Him Looking At You

Eye contact gives out the first clues about someone’s affection. A guy likes you if he’s observing you carefully and attentively. He’ll dare to stare at you even when you’re in public spaces or work environments. 

But he knows women are skilled at catching these hints so he’ll avoid eye contact for long periods.

The most common scenario involves cases when you catch him staring at you, but he moves his sight away quickly. 

Guys find it hard to hide their feelings when looking into the eyes of the girl they like. It feels as if a girl staring into their eyes is reading their mind and learning that they like her.

He’ll aim to avoid this. 

Especially, if he’s a shy guy with feelings for you or the anti-social type of guy who rarely maintains eye contact.

So, the next time you catch them looking at you, note it down as it is one of the telltale signs he is pretending not to like you. 

2. He’s Exhibiting Positive Body Language Signs

Positive body language can tell others about us more than we’ve ever thought. It subconsciously shows how we feel through gestures, bodily movements, and facial expressions. 

Love and affection are intense feelings. It’s impossible not to display them in one way or the other through our body language. Here are some body language signs showing he likes you for real: 

  • He gets closer to you physically. 
  • He has a deep tone of voice (men deepen their voices in front of someone they like).
  • He mirrors you (he imitates your behaviors and expressions), etc.  

Think of the last time you had a conversation with other friends.

Was his body, and especially his feet, facing your direction or another way? Such subtle signs point out he is attracted to you but is pretending not to like you.

3. He Doesn’t Use His Phone Around You

Our smartphones are an endless source of entertainment. 

We rarely put them away unless we’re in the middle of something interesting, useful, or in the presence of people we care about. 

If he prefers conversing with you instead of playing with his phone, it shows that he genuinely cares about your attention.

Even if he doesn’t show intimate feelings, this clue reveals that he enjoys your conversations deeply. 

Observe him from afar when you can and notice if he behaves in the same way with his group of friends.

Does he use his phone as infrequently as he does when he’s with you or he behaves differently in your presence? 

But even when he stays on his phone, he’ll engage with you by showing interesting videos, writings, or social media posts.

If this is among other signs we’ve mentioned, he’s just pretending not to like you but he does.

4. He is very talkative online

When it comes to communication, a man will be more reserved in person than when communicating online. There’s less tension when you’re talking online because you’re not facing each other. 

Therefore, he might be more talkative online, unintentionally revealing his affection toward you.

What should you look for when speaking online if you want to see if this guy likes you?

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Well, if he does, he’s likely to: 

  • Respond quickly to your messages. 
  • Use emojis and show vulnerability. 
  • Write long texts and open up about sensitive topics, etc. 

Guys don’t often express themselves, but when they do, it’s because they really trust and feel close to you. Even though he will always find “solid” reasons to talk to you, they’re mostly excuses. 

The true reason he keeps texting you so often is that he likes you but he’s not yet ready to express it. However, he wants to develop an emotional bond because he feels safe talking to you. 

5. He Is Secretly Protective Of You

Men are hard-wired with the hero instinct, which might betray them when hiding their feelings. He’ll want the best for you and whenever your well-being or dating life status are “threatened” he’ll show up. 

Maybe you’ve noticed this from the fact he’s always the one to accompany you home whenever you have late shifts/classes. He might even change shifts just so he can finish at the same time as you. 

Other situations where someone who likes you will show his support include: 

  • Offering help when you’re sick or ill.
  • Becoming defensive whenever someone speaks against you. 
  • Joining when you’re asked to complete a difficult task or go to a dangerous place alone, etc.

If you see that he’s protective of you more than of other women around, it shows that he feels a different level of sympathy toward you. He’s fallen for you but isn’t ready to say it out loud and leaves its actions to express it. 

6. He Is Always There When You Ask For a Help

How do you distinguish between a man who’s needy and one who wants to win your heart?

Simple, the man who wants to win your heart is not desperate. Someone who likes you won’t be bothered when you say ‘no’. 

For instance, he invites you to have a coffee or go watch a movie but you’re busy. Normally, someone who’s needy will keep insisting to meet, and hold grudges when you refuse him, but he doesn’t mind. 

He’ll show up whenever you need help regardless of these trivial refusals because he doesn’t have any attachment issues a needy man would. 

Even though he might delay his replies a little, or appear a bit colder than usual, those characteristics imply he’s mature. As long as he shows up whenever you need help, that’s a good sign he is pretending not to like you. 

7. He Gives You A ‘NO’ For An Answer But Ends Up Doing It

Actions tell more than words about one’s feelings. 

If he insists that he’s not at all interested in you romantically, but keeps caring and providing help when you need it, he might be acting insensitive when he actually likes you. 

This behavior shows that they care about you and are paying attention to your needs, even if they try to downplay their feelings. Of course, it could also be a sign of genuine concern and a desire to be there for you. 

However, if combined with other behaviors like nervousness around you or compliments disguised as jokes, it could be a clue that he is into you, but trying to hide it by pretending the opposite. 

Pay attention the next time you ask him for a favor and he’s busy. At first, he says “No” but then comes to help. He doesn’t want to feed you expectations until he manages to reschedule his matters to help you. 

8. He Is Giving You Mixed Signals 

Social expectations and biological differences cause men to be so secretive and cold about their feelings. Unlike women, who express their emotions more openly, men are expected to be more reserved. 

That’s why he switches from hot to cold and vice versa. He’s convinced that he shouldn’t go too far with his feelings, fearing he’ll appear weak, which leaves you baffled. 

But there could be other reasons why he behaves this way when he likes you: 

  • He wants to push you into pursuing him (it’s just a dating game). 
  • He’s dating more than one person at the same time.
  • He’s not completely sure of his feelings for you. 

Generally, when a man sends mixed signals, switching from being all day available for you to ghost mode, he’s just pretending not to like you.

Otherwise, why would he send mixed signals?    

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9. You Can Feel Him Getting Jealous 

Just as affection is difficult to hide, the same goes for jealousy. For a man who has feelings for you, seeing another man close to you is not fun at all.

If this guy likes you and he’s just pretending he doesn’t, then his bubble of hidden feelings will burst and you’ll notice him displaying signs of jealousy such as:

  • He talks negatively about guys you’re interested in dating. 
  • He always interrupts when you’re having fun talking with other men. 
  • He either asks a lot of personal questions when you talk about other guys or changes the subject immediately.
  • He avoids leaving you alone with other guys. 

A man who likes you will highly dislike other men and become envious of them. Pay attention to jealousy signs and you’ll confirm if he likes you. 

10. He Acts Different Around You

Feelings make it hard for us to keep our cool. Especially, love and jealousy. A man who deep down likes you will always behave differently than normal when you’re around. 

It can be because he can’t help it or because he wants to attract your attention. If he knows your interests and tries to impress you without explicitly telling you that he likes you, it can be a sign of affection. 

Some of the sutble signs you might notice include such changes in his behavior: 

  • He blushes, fidgets, or looks around frequently. 
  • He has mood swings when you ignore him. 
  • He cracks jokes aimed to make you laugh, etc. 

Whenever he suddenly appears sad or mad when you don’t pay attention to him, he’s probably into you but is afraid of rejection.

11. He Is Competitive When You’re Around

The alpha male instinct takes him over when you’re around, and this is a sign he wants to impress you because he wants to capture your attention.

When there are other guys around, he’ll start getting competitive because he wants to establish himself as the best in front of you.

He’ll not only try to outperform others but also aim to offer the best help when you need it. 

When you’ve told him what type of men he likes, he’ll try to embody that figure or outshine others around you who share those characteristics. 

Even if he pretends that he doesn’t like you, these signs make it crystal clear he does. A man rarely competes with others unless theres’ a worthy prize at stake: the attention of someone he likes. 

12. He Doesn’t Mind When You Interrupt Him 

What can you expect from someone who likes you? 

Attention is the first and foremost thing you can expect. So whenever you talk, he’ll listen carefully but most importantly, he’ll let you interrupt him. 

We tend to highly value the opinions of someone we like. 

Therefore, if he shows a willingness to listen to you talk for long periods of time, and even allows you to interrupt him, it’s a sign he likes you indeed. 

On the other hand, if he has no respect for your opinions and constantly interrupts you, it’s a sign he doesn’t like you. But if he does, it means that he cares for your relationship to grow and prioritizes you. 

If a man allows you to interrupt him you’re either an expert on the topics, someone he respects, or someone he likes/loves (or all of these together.) 

13. He Remembers The Small Details & Things About You

Details are everything when it comes to having an intimate relationship. A clear sign he likes you is implied by the quality of the conversations he brings up. 

The more personal and relatable they are to you and what you’ve discussed, the more it says about this relationship. If he remembers details you’ve shared about your life perfectly such as: 

  • your phone number, 
  • your favorite color, movie, place, 
  • your family members, special events in your life, etc.  

it means he’s created feelings for you, but he’s hiding them. 

These details stick in his mind because details attached to strong emotions (like love) are stuck in the brain for a long time. He might not be straightforward about it, but he is simply pretending he doesn’t like you.  

14. He Doesn’t Talk About Other Girls With You

Even though he hasn’t made a decision yet about what he will do with these feelings for you, he wants to keep tabs open.

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That’s why he’ll avoid mentioning other women in the conversations with you. Or even when he does, he mentions them in an uncharming manner, as if he’s trying to tell no one appeals to him at the moment (except you). 

The reasons why he would avoid this are: 

  • He’s afraid you’ll feel uncomfortable. 
  • He doesn’t want you to think he’s hitting on someone. 
  • He’s implying he’s single and has no other romantic interests. 

Think about it for a moment: friends always share who they’re crushing on unless this person is sitting close to them. 

15. He Cares About His Appearance When You’re Around

Men don’t put much effort into their appearance unless they care about impressing the people around them. You could have noticed that he’s messy with his home, workspace, or in organizing his belongings. 

But the moment you’re around him, he pays immense attention to his looks and organizes his stuff. Now, that doesn’t happen by accident. He is aiming to impress you, even though it seems quite normal to you. 

In case he starts wearing clean clothes suddenly and smells good (sometimes overly perfumed), just because you’re around, your presence might be the reason behind it.

What To Do About A Guy Who’s Pretending Not To Like You?

The response depends on your feelings about him. Do you feel something for him, or you’re already with someone else? 

If you’re in a relationship or dating someone else, you should spend less time with him so you’re distanced and he forgets about you. Or have a conversation and explain to him that you consider him just a friend. 

But if you want to learn more about his feelings and intentions towards you, and maybe know him deeper, consider these three approaches:

1.1 Use A Push & Pull Method Or Banter To Test How He Feels About You

Teasing goes a long way, and push-and-pull it’s a helpful technique to help you discover his feelings for you. 

Through jokes or banter and a silent observation, tease him about being a couple together, and bring up intimate topics. Use this method up to a certain point and don’t be manipulative as you might hurt him. 

Three steps to put this method into practice include: 

  • You start by introducing an intimate topic with a joke. 
  • He either gets nervous or seamlessly continues the joke. 
  • You then switch topics right away. 

However, we suggest you don’t use this method too often, especially if he’s sensitive because he might feel manipulated and lose faith in you. Once or twice should be enough to gauge his interest.

2.1 Be Upfront & Ask

Why play games when you can just ask him? Sounds risky, right? But it’s the best way to avoid hurting yourself by creating fake scenarios in your head.

Make the first move and save yourself the heartache. You can do this either through texting or face-to-face, even though the latter is better. 

The ideal situation would be to find someplace where he’s alone so you can have a quiet conversation together. Before you take the courage to do this: 

  • Do your research to make sure he’s single. 
  • Back up the hunch he’s pretending not to like you with signs like the ones above. 

Don’t rush into conclusions without listening to him fully. It’s normal to get emotional but no matter how he reacts, you should stay calm. Listen to his version of the story without interrupting him and then decide the next step. 

3.1 Take A Step Back & Give Him Some Space

Time is a magical elixir. Leave the situation in its hands and you might see it develop in an unimaginable way. 

Trying to spot all the signs, look for confirmations, and come up with scenarios to prove his feelings can drain you. Focusing too much on him leaves you with no power to be your authentic self; the one he fell for. 

Step back for a while and let things unravel. Maybe he needs time and space to process his feelings. When he notices you’re more conscious of this relationship (because you’ve seen some signs) he’ll be more attentive too.

However, if he wants things to move to the next stage, he’ll take the next step and open up about his feelings. He won’t pretend forever. But it’s up to you whether you’ll wait for that moment or make a move.  

Gletjan Muco
About Gletjan Muco

Gled is a highly sought after relationship and self improvement expert, known for his unique blend of expertise in technology and human nature. With a passion for helping individuals reach their full potential, Gled inspires and guides individuals on their journey towards self-discovery and growth, leaving a lasting impact on all those he works with. Whether you're looking for clarity and direction, or seeking to express and develop yourself, Gled is the expert to turn to.

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