42 Signs He’s Pretending Not To Like You, But Really Does! (2024)

Are you confused where you stand with a guy you like? This guide should help. It features the telltale signs he’s pretending not to like you.

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients better understand themselves and the people closest to them. 

That’s why I’m excited to share this guide with you.

So, let’s dive in.

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Signs He Is Hiding His Feelings For You

Why Would A Man Hide His Feelings? 

Your love life would surely be a lot easier if men were upfront about their feelings. Sadly, it’s all too common for men to be sending mixed signals or pretending they don’t like you.

Sometimes, guys act this way because they’re afraid of rejection and want to wait for signs that you like them.

Savvy guys may realize that sending mixed signals and giving you the occasional cold shoulder is sometimes more likely to make you chase their affection.

Some guys hide their feelings because they’re emotionally unavailable. (Here’s a guide to get through to them).

Also, not every guy is a hopeless romantic ready to burst into a coffee shop and declare their love. Some would rather spend time getting to know you first.

Whatever the reason is for your dream guy hiding his feelings, it will aid your dating life to be able to know when he is doing so.

So, read on for our list of signs that a man is pretending not to like you.   

Signs He Is Hiding His Feelings For You

Below, you’ll find a list of the most obvious signs a guy is hiding his feelings for you, separated into four different categories. The more of these signs you spot in a man’s behavior, the more sure you can be that he secretly likes you. 

Signs He’s Pretending Not To Like You
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How Do You Know If A Guy Likes You But Is Scared?

A lot of men get anxious about talking to their secret crush. If this is the case, you’ll usually notice these subtle signs.

1. You Catch Him Staring At You

If you catch this guy staring at you a lot, there’s a good chance he wants to talk to you but is too afraid.

2. He Can Always Make Time For You

This is one of the clearest signs that a man is attracted to you, even if he’s too scared to admit it.

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

If a guy seems overly concerned with his appearance around you but doesn’t ask you out, that’s a good sign that he’s pretending not to like you in a romantic way because he’s scared.

4. He Always Finds Reasons To Talk To You

This is the opposite of the man who just stares. It’s less creepy, but this guy is also most likely also too scared to ask you out.

5. His Behavior Changes Around You 

If he acts differently around you to his female friends, you’re not friends. Most likely again, he’s pretending not to like you that way.

6. He Remembers Everything About You

There are ‘good friends’, then there are men who remember all of the smallest details you tell them. The latter usually wants something more than friendship. He is more than likely pretending to only want you as a friend, because he’s scared of revealing his feelings.

Related: Clear Signs Your Ex Is Pretending To Be Over You

7. He’ll Notice Small Changes In Your Appearance

Again, this is another sign that he wants to be more than best friends, but is scared to admit it.

8. He Gets Flustered When He Talks To You

This is a clear sign he’s developing strong feelings that he can’t handle. If he’s not stumbling over his words around your friends but he is around you, what does that say? He clearly feels differently about you. Probably, he secretly likes you and is nervous to mess things up.

9. He Can’t Be ‘Normal’ Around You

If he’s always putting on a performance, showing off or making strange jokes, you can be sure he secretly likes you. Men wouldn’t do this around someone they don’t like.

10. He Fidgets

A classic sign of social nerves. This wouldn’t happen if he didn’t like you. 

11. He Blushes

Another sign of romantic nerves that wouldn’t happen if he just wanted to be your male best friend. 

12. His Friends Tease You Both

Maybe his male friends know that he has a crush on you. If this happens, you can expect them to tease and make jokes at his expense.

13. He’s Overly Respectful 

Most friends tease each other. If he’s never teasing or making jokes, it could be because he’s too nervous to “be himself” around you and make the wrong impression.  

14. He Gets Sad For Seemingly No Reason

This is one of the more subtle body language signs. It might occur when he wants to make a move but can’t find the courage. It also happens when something tells him you’ll never be a part of his love life. It’s hard to spot, because he’ll usually pull himself together and go back to pretending not to like you pretty fast.

Related: How To Tell If A Guy Likes You But Is Hiding It

How Do You Know If He’s Hiding His Feelings?

These are the most obvious signs to look for that a man is hiding how he really feels.

Hiding His Feelings
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15. He Filters Himself

A key sign of hiding one’s feelings is to filter their words. If you often notice that he wants to say something but doesn’t, there’s a good chance this guy likes you but is afraid to make the wrong impression.

16. He Puts On A Front 

If it seems like he’s playing a character, that’s usually because he’s hiding his feelings. If he’s one guy around you and someone else around his friends, it’s usually because he’s trying extra hard to hide his feelings.

17. He Loves Teasing You

Some guys will hide their feelings by never teasing you. Other guys go the other way and tease you way too much, as a way of proving they’re not interested in a passionate relationship.

18. He’s Slightly Insecure

Insecure guys are the most likely to hide their feelings around women they like.

19. He Tries To Get Closer To You In More Subtle Ways

Rather than admitting he wants to get emotionally or physically closer to you, he’ll find excuses to do so.

20. He’s Been Hurt By A Woman

If this guy has been heartbroken recently, he’s more likely to be protective of his emotions by hiding his feelings.  

21. He Asks Your Friends About You

If you two have mutual friends, don’t be surprised if he asks them personal questions about you. This is his way of hiding his feelings from you, while still gathering data.  

22. Compliment Him To Find Out How He Really Feels

If you give a reasonably obvious sign you like him, he’ll often find the bravery to ask you out on a date. That’s if he was pretending not to like you, of course. Either way, you’ll have finally found how out he feels.   

How Do You Know A Guy Is Pretending?

Here are some clear signs to look for that a person is being dishonest. You can take the following signs as indicators he’s pretending to like you as well. 

23. It’s In His Eyes

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and you can always get a reliable hint of someone’s feelings by keeping eye contact with them.

24. He Has Bad Eye Contact

If a guy can’t keep eye contact, this is one of the most reliable signs he’s being dishonest.

25. Nervous Laughter

If he can’t stop laughing, that’s another classic sign that he’s pretending or hiding something. Either that or he’s really nervous because he likes you so much.

26. His Body Language Will Give It Away

When we are pretending, our body language will usually not be congruent with our words. There are plenty of body language signs that a guy will show when he’s attracted to you. Look out for unnecessary proximity and physical contact to start with.

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

This is an unsubtle way of pretending not to like someone, but it’s incredibly common among guys. He wouldn’t brag about other girls if he didn’t like you, but he will if he’s pretending not to like you. 

28. He Makes Jokes About His True Feelings

Here’s another unsubtle way of pretending not to like someone that’s so common among guys. They’ll often make jokes about being together, or about never ever being together. The thing is: most jokes have an element of truth hiding in them. It wouldn’t be suitable to joke about personal things like this if he actually didn’t like you. 

29. You Might Notice His Friends Laughing 

If you’re hanging out with a mutual friend and this guy is planning on spinning a ruse, the third person might usually be on it. If he’s paying attention to your conversation and finding it amusing, there’s a good chance there’s a trick being played.

30. There Are Holes In His Stories

When someone is fabricating a story, there are usually noticeable plot holes. Keep a look out for them.

31. You’ll Get An Inkling

Most women are socially savvy enough to be able to tell when a guy is being dishonest. It’s deeply rooted in their psyche. Trust your inner voice when it tells you something isn’t adding up.      

32. He’ll Be Honest When It Matters

When your emotional well-being is at stake, most guys are kind-hearted enough to stop pretending and be serious. 

Signs He Pretending Not To Like You Over Text

The signs he is pretending to like you might extend to digital communication. Here are some of the signs to look for.

Not To Like You Over Text
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33. He Always Texts You Back

If he always texts you back, that’s a pretty obvious sign that you’re more of a big deal than what he’s pretending.

34. He Always Finds Reasons To Start Text Conversations With You

This is even more of a dead giveaway that you’re important to him, even if he doesn’t say so in the messages themselves.

35. He Always Replies To Your Social Media Stories

That’s another sign that a guy likes you a lot, even if his replies don’t make that immediately obvious.  

36. He Doesn’t Block You

When a guy really doesn’t like a girl, he’ll block her. If you’re not blocked, that’s another sign he’s pretending.

37. He Texts You ‘By Mistake’ 

This is a classic strategy of an immature guy pretending not to like you. Either he’ll send you a saucy message and pretend it was meant for someone else, or he’ll pretend a friend sent it to you on his behalf. 

38. He Bad Mouths Your Ex-Boyfriend Or A New Guy You’re Dating

This is normally something a guy will only be brave enough to do via text. Either way, if he didn’t like you, why would he take so much interest in your dating life?

39. He Sends Selfies

This just isn’t something that a guy would do if he didn’t like a woman. Even if he’s sending death stares instead of smiling, a guy would usually only send selfies to impress a woman romantically.

40. He’ll Diss The Things You’re Doing

If a guy sees what you’re up to in your social media posts, he might send a message making fun of it. Again, would a guy who truly didn’t care about you be spending time doing this?

41. He’ll Show You What He’s Doing

If he’s sending you photos of what he’s up to, he’s probably trying to impress you, even if he doesn’t admit it.

42. He’ll Booty Call You 

It’s a bold move, but it does occur as a ‘hail mary’ attempt to make something happen. However, a guy pretending not to like you will still maintain that it would be purely physical. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Men Hiding Their True Feelings

Let’s round off the article with the answers to some frequently asked questions about men hiding their true intentions.

How Do You Tell If A Guy Is Pretending To Like You?

It’s not common for guys to pretend to be attracted to someone when they’re not. Still, if this is the case, he’ll find it difficult and unnatural to show positive body language towards you. He also won’t be showing too many of the subtle signs he likes as you more than a friend.

If A Guy Knows You Like Him How Will He Act Around You

If he’s attracted to you, he’ll most likely find the courage to make a move. After all, the main reason guys hide their feelings is that they’re afraid of rejection from a woman who doesn’t feel the same way.

If they’re not attracted to you, they might make an effort to avoid you or make it clear that they only see you as a friend. 

What Does It Mean When A Guy Pretends Not To Notice You

This could be a sign that he likes you, but is nervous to talk to you. On the other hand, it could be that he doesn’t like you and doesn’t want to talk. The only way to know for sure is to start a conversation with him and look out for the signs mentioned in this guide.

How Do Women Hide Their Feelings?

For a deep exploration of the signs that a woman is pretending not to like a man, check out this guide on Clear Signs That She Is Scared Of Her Feelings For You.

Any More Questions?

Thanks for reading my guide on the signs he is pretending not to like you.

If you have any personal questions on this topic or would like to add some other signs to this list, feel free to leave a comment. 

I will spend time replying to the comments – and it would be great to hear from you. 

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.