17 Subtle Signs He Likes You But Is Playing It Cool

They say girls are from Venus and men are from Mars – but it sometimes feels as though a Martian would be easier to understand than a guy.

I get it: One minute a guy seems to really dig you and the next he’s performing a vanishing act.

What gives?

Well, here’s the thing: Despite the reputation, a guy can take his time to work out their feelings for you just like you take your time figuring out your feelings for him.

Yup – he’s human after all!

The good news is that there are 17 signs he gives away that let you know that he genuinely likes you – but is playing it cool.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at what these are. 

17 Subtle Signs He Likes You But is Playing it Cool

1. He Lets You In On His Life

Even the most unusual things about his life – such as a new project he’s working on or a new band he recently discovered – are the things he shares with you.


It’s hard for you to figure out. But if he’s into you, sharing even the most random things in his life with you is a strong sign of his feelings

2. He Attentively Listens To You When You Speak

It even surprises you how much he remembers including small details!

You could tell him anything, such as what you ate for lunch last night or how an argument with your friend ended, and he will remember it.

This is certainly something to look out for because guys are generally poor listeners. If they’re not distracted by something, they’re either not listening simply because they’re not interested. 

But if a man is able to be “all ears” with you, it’s another good sign that he likes you but playing it cool. 

3. He Shows Hot and Cold Behavior

He might be doing this on purpose but he might not be.

And if he is giving you mixed signals on purpose? Don’t be too angry with him. 

See, a guy knows that if he pours his heart out to a girl straight away, he will come across as too “needy.”

And even if he doesn’t appear needy, the game is already up – you know he likes you and, for some girls, the straightforward nature of this approach is boring.

So instead, even if a man likes you he will be hot one minute and cold the next. This kind of behaviour might be frustrating for you but it also raises your interest and makes him more excited. 

And this is often (though not always) why guys do it. 

4. He Gets Excited When He Sees You 

This sort of thing is a natural reflex. When we see someone we like and who makes us smile, we invariably smile.

A guy who likes a girl is no different. He will see you, smile and maybe even wave at you. 

Of course, this alone isn’t enough to determine that he genuinely likes you. But it is at least a good indicator that you’re someone he’s warmed to. 

5. He Mirrors Your Body Language 

There have been a lot of studies into how mirror neurons impact human behaviour.

In general terms, mirror neurons allow us to build stronger bonds with another person by mimicking their behaviour.

For example, if you run your hand through your hair and he then does the same thing with his own hair, it shows that there’s a connection between the two of you. 

It could even be the case that if you sit forward, he sits forward. By doing this, he is – unconsciously I might add – strengthening your bond. 

Think of it this way: If he doesn’t mimic you in any way, the two of you are detached.

But when he copies your behaviour (subtly), it means you are very much in his mind. 

6. He Tries to Make You Laugh

A guy simply won’t give it his all to impress someone he doesn’t really like. It’s just the way of things!

But if he really likes you, he’s going to do all that he can to make you laugh. 


Because guys know that laughter releases the so-called happy chemical in your brain called dopamine. The more you laugh at his jokes, the more dopamine will be released in your brain.

Over time, this will enable you to create positive associations between hanging out with this guy and feeling good. You’ll want more of him and his jokes! 

So even if he doesn’t explicitly say he likes you but is instead trying to stay cool, the fact that he tells lots of jokes and tries hard to make you laugh says a lot. 

7. He Has Given You a Thoughtful Gift

Does he always need a reason to give you a present?

Well, probably. Otherwise, it’s kinda creepy. 

So if he does happen to give you a random present for no discernible reason (it isn’t your birthday, right?), you should join the dots. If he’s trying to make you laugh, if he’s telling you everything about his life and he’s even giving you gifts now, it probably means he secretly likes you (but just won’t tell you). 

8. His Pupils Dilate When He Talks To You 

While you shouldn’t look into his eyes at all times (because it’s weird, duh), you need to make eye contact with him from time to time. After all, it’s a form of flirting and it shows that he’s got your undivided attention.

What’s more, you’ll be able to see whether or not his pupils are dilating when he’s talking to you. 

Studies have shown that our pupils dilate in response to a boost in the so-called love hormones, oxytocin and dopamine. In other words, his pupils will dilate if he really likes you!

So, without realising it, and without being able to do anything about it, he will give you a huge sign that he’s into you.

9. He Stares At You 

If you’re doing something innocuous, such as preparing your bag or checking your phone, and you notice him staring at you, what does it mean?

Well, if you catch him out and he blushes, it’s a sign he likes you.

Or, if you catch him out and he smiles, it’s also a sign he likes you. 

What can I say? Men like to admire the women they’re into! 

Just to clarify, though, if he stares at you continually and makes you feel awkward, that’s not a good thing. 

10. He is Always There To Help You

No girl wants a handyman who’s there to solve all their problems (after all, you’re an independent woman).

But men are biologically wired to provide for their girls. This means if he likes you, he will always be there for you.

For example, if you need a lift home tonight and your friends are busy, he will step up to the plate.

If you need something fixed, he will rush over to help. Sometimes, you don’t even need to ask him for help – he’ll be there anyway. 

He does this because he genuinely cares about you. 

11. He Acts Nervous and Awkward 

Guys sometimes get awkward around the girls they like. It’s just human nature. 

The main reason they get awkward is that they fancy you and they don’t want to screw this up.

Not that you’d know any of this because he’s playing it cool, right?!

Unfortunately for him, his nerves will often betray him. He’ll start blushing or get really awkward.

12. He Asks Personal Questions 

There’s a difference between a personal question and an invasive question.

An invasive question is any question that oversteps boundaries and makes you feel uncomfortable.

A personal question relates to something interesting about you that you don’t generally tell other people unless they ask. This could relate to your past or your hopes and dreams for the future. 

If you’ve noticed he’s been asking a lot more personal questions of late and is generally taking a bigger interest in your life, take it as a clue that he wants to get to know you on a deeper level. 

13. He Tries to Get Closer to You 

When a guy likes a girl, he’ll do anything to get closer to her.

Sometimes his moves will be subtle, such as changes in his body language, and sometimes they’ll be more direct. 

Here are some things to look out for:

  • He’ll sit next to you at a restaurant as opposed to across from you
  • He’ll lean forward during the conversation (and rarely sits back)
  • He’ll initiate physical contact
  • He stands as close to you as possible when you’re chatting standing up without being invasive

14. He Asks Your Friends About You 

He probably thinks he’s being as cool as a cucumber by not telling you directly that he likes you. But one of the biggest ways he can give himself away is by asking your friends about you.

Yep, while he might not have asked you out just yet, he might be putting the feelers out there by gaining some info on you from other sources. 

Maybe he’ll ask your friends what kind of music you’re into or what your idea of an awesome first date is. 

Or maybe he’ll ask a few questions about your past relationships and whether or not you’re looking for something romantic at the moment.

So if your friends spill the beans and tell you that he’s been asking doing a bit of nosying, this is a very strong indicator that he has a secret crush on you.

15. He Flirts With You

Okay, so he doesn’t tease you all the time (because that would be cruel). 

But when a guy makes a habit of teasing a girl, it isn’t because he doesn’t like her and wants to mock her. On the contrary, it’s because he likes her a lot.

Teasing is a form of flirting. It’s got sexual undertones and it can be a great way of lightening the mood and helping the two of you bond. 

So if he’s been gently mocking you lately – such as teasing your lack of crazy golf skills or that thing you do with your hair – don’t be offended. Instead, play along and be glad of the fact that this guy is expressing his interest in you. 

16. He Will Preen Himself 

If a man wants to impress you by looking good, it’s natural that he’ll spend time to preen himself. The more he preens himself, the more he’ll boost his attractiveness in your eyes. 

Take note of how he looks when he’s with you:

  • Has he taken the time to smarten himself up? 
  • Is he wearing cologne? 
  • Has he fixed his hair? 

You’ll probably notice that he checks himself out in the mirror, too – just to make sure that he’s looking good in front of you! 

17. He Texts You a Lot and Responds Immediately

You’ll be able to gauge just how fast he’s replying, as well as how often he’s texting, by comparing his rate of text with other guys you’ve known who were just friends. 

If it turns out that he is for sure texting much more and much faster than the average guy, it’s a strong sign that he likes you. 

Look at it like this: The more he texts, the more eager he is to talk to you. 

After all, why would he be in a rush to text you if he wasn’t interested? 

Frequent texting is a sign that he enjoys talking to you, wants to get to know you more and he wants to use texting to forge stronger bonds with you. 

How to Respond When He is Playing it Cool?

If he continues to play it cool, it’s important to know what you need to do in order to keep him interested in you.

If you do the right things, he might even reveal his feelings sooner rather than later and ask you out on a date. 

Here are some tips:

Stay calm: The most important thing is that you don’t break ranks by asking him outright if he likes you or not. Let him ask you out of his own accord.

Be patient with him: If you decide to rush him and pressure him, you will only open up a gap between the two of you. Be patient while he figures out his true feelings.

Talk to your friends: What are their opinions on this? Do they think he’s worth it?

Discuss it with him: If things drag on for way too long, don’t be afraid to let him know how you feel about him. Then, the ball is in his court. 

Why is He Playing Cool if He Likes You? 

  • He may be hesitant to communicate due to a fear of rejection: The most obvious reason he hasn’t asked you out yet is that he truly doesn’t want to feel the pain of you turning him down. He is afraid of rejection.
  • He may be taking his time to communicate: In other words, he likes you but he’s just not ready yet. 
  • He is not sure what he wants at the moment: You don’t know what this guy has been through and what he’s going through right now. It could be that he recently got out of a relationship and meeting you has left him feeling confused about what to do next so he is hiding it.
  • He may feel intimidated by you: Some girls don’t realise how strong their personality is. Stronger your personality is, the harder it is for for a shy guy to ask you out. It’s possible he likes you but he is very shy person.
About Will Titterington

Will Titterington is a highly sought-after relationship coach and author, with a passion for helping individuals and couples build and maintain healthy, thriving relationships. Will loves connecting with new people from all around the world and is always up for a good laugh, and takes joy in making others smile.

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