21 Signs He Likes You But Is Playing It Cool (Or Is He Playing Games?!)

It can be really confusing trying to look for signs that a guy likes you, especially if they are not making it very obvious.

You don’t want to read into signs too much, but you don’t want to let him slip between your fingers if there is a chance that the two of you could have a future together.

Sometimes a shy guy won’t give the most obvious signs.

You might be nervous to ask him how he feels outright. Plus, he might be too nervous to show his true feelings for you, and because of this, he tries to play it cool.

To help you figure out whether or not there is something more than just friendship there, take a look through these clear signs he likes you but is playing it cool!

Signs He Likes You But Is Playing It Cool

Guy and girl beiing flirty - what are the signs a guy genuinely like you?

He Listens When You Talk

So many people are not able to listen, to actually take the time to hear what someone is saying and pay attention to them.

However, this changes when you are interested in someone, as you want to take in as much as you can when they talk.

One good sign that a guy might be genuinely interested in you or truly cares about you is when he really listens to you.

He will give you all of his attention when you speak, makes eye contact, and won’t be distracted. If you’re talking, he will be engaged and not just waiting for his turn to speak.

You’ll notice he’ll remember the subtle things you mentioned in passing. When a man likes you, he’ll simply pay more attention to everything you say and do.

His Body Language Gives It Away

He might try to play it cool to hide how he is feeling, but he will not be able to hide his body language very well!

Hiding strong feelings for someone is almost impossible to do. There are so many psychological signs that give it away.

His body language will simply change when he is around you, and there will definitely be subtle signs to pick up on that show that there is more to his feelings for you.

Some of the body language to look out for include:

  • His body will face towards you, both his chest and his feet, and his posture will be directed in your direction.
  • He will make more eye contact, whether he notices or not.
  • He will adjust his shirt, correct his hair, or do other things like this to try to make himself look better in front of you.
  • He will blush more when you speak to him or when the two of you joke around.

He Wants To Get To Know You

Many people don’t take the time to get to know people who they do not think will be in their lives for too long. They simply wouldn’t want to spend the time and effort getting to know them for no reason.

If he takes the time to get to know you and asks you about your life, even in a non-romantic way as he is trying to play it cool, then it is a sign that he does feel something for you.

If he is really trying to play it cool and doesn’t want to ask you himself, he might then ask your family and friends more about you: what you like, your hobbies, even if you are seeing someone, to get to know you more without letting anything on.

You might not even be aware that he has been asking around about you, but when you talk to him, you will notice that he knows more about you than you have let on. (In a non-creepy way, hopefully!)

He Finds Reasons To Be Around You

Group of friends taking a picture together

If he had to come out and ask to spend time with you one-on-one on a date or even just hang out, it would be quite clear what his feelings are.

He wouldn’t want to do this if he is trying to play it cool, but this doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t still want to spend time with you.

To get around this, he would find reasons to be around you, such as joining the same study group as you, hanging out with the same group of friends, or planning hangouts with other people and inviting you just to be able to see you.

Being around you would make him happy and feel closer to you, so he will do what he can to see you more often without making it too obvious.

He will just approach you as any other guy friend in the early stages, but you’ll see he makes excuses to be near you. These ‘excuses’ can be one of the most obvious signs he likes you but is playing it cool.

Read Next: Signs He Only Wants You For Your Body

He Encourages You

When you achieve something great, or if you are striving towards something, then you will likely notice that he is there congratulating you or cheering you on.

All the other guys in your life will be supportive, but he will seem even more so. Like a best friend or family member, his happiness for you will seem deeper and more than a standard ‘congrats.’

He would be proud of you, and he would want you to do well because he likes you, but he would do it in a way that would make it seem more friendly rather than more romantic.

However cool he wants to play it, he won’t be able to hide how happy he is from you, and he will be there along the way to encourage you.

He Wants You To Know More About Him

Guy and girl talking giving all his attention during the conversation

If he secretly likes you, not only will he want to try to get to know more about you, but he would want you to know more about him. He will want to have you involved in his life and to know who he really is.

Once again, he wouldn’t do this in the most obvious way as he would still want to play it cool, but he will begin sharing with you more, letting you know more about his past, his hobbies, his fears, what he wants out of life, and more.

Guys often find it really difficult to let people in, so if he does this, then it shows that he really does value you and trusts you. He likely sees you as someone that will be in his life for some time.

Letting you in and giving you more information on his life makes him feel closer to you, and it sets a foundation for something to happen in the future too.

He Makes Physical Contact With You

There is definitely a difference between a romantic, intimate touch and a touch from a friend. Physical touch is a very obvious sign as the touch can linger or happen more often.

He would be playing it cool, but he would always want to feel close to you, so the physical touch you get from him would be somewhere in between this.

He won’t hold your hand or give you cuddles, but he would definitely try to be in physical contact with you more than normal.

He possibly would try to sit next to you whenever he can, hug you hello and goodbye each time, and would really just try to find any opportunity he can to touch you and show some affection without being too obvious about it.

He Is Always Available

If he likes you and wants to spend time with you, then he will always make sure that he is available whenever you invite him out or need him.

Even if he has plans, he will probably try to drop what he is doing or cancel with others to make time for you.

He would jump at every opportunity to see you and spend time with you, and even though he might not be making it completely obvious that he is into you, this is a good indication that he is!

Actions definitely speak louder than words. When a guy likes you, he will go out of his way to make time and be available.

If you know he leads a busy life and has a full schedule, this can be a clear sign he likes you but is playing it cool,

He Tries To Invite You Out One-On-One

He might be too nervous about inviting you out on a date and call it a date, but he would still want to spend one-on-one time with you, so he would invite you out on a date in disguise.

This could be done in many different ways, and he will probably try to explain the one-on-one time together as it not being a date and just being friends.

He could invite you as his plus one to a wedding and say that he just didn’t want to go alone or say that he has a spare ticket to an event and thought you might enjoy it.

It is likely that he isn’t just using you to fill a space or take a spare ticket, and he is using this as a way to spend more time alone with you and see where things might go.

Especially if you know there are other girls and guy friends in his life he could have invited, but he took the time to invite you for one-on-one time.

He Asks What You Look For In A Partner

His feelings for you would mean that he views you as a potential partner, even if he does not want to make it known right now.

He would be approaching the situation with caution to try and gauge how you feel about him first and whether or not there is a chance for you two to be together.

One way he might try to find out how you feel, or if there is potential, is to ask you what you look for in a partner or ask a more general question, such as what women want.

He would use your answers to see whether or not he fits your ideal picture of a partner, or you may notice he makes little shifts to be more your ‘type.’

If you say you like men that are well-read, you may notice he picks up a book or two, and casually mentions it in passing.

He Responds Quickly

Girl checking phone and smiling to herself

How often have you been left on read, or someone has taken so long to reply that you can tell that they aren’t very interested in the conversation?

Even though he might not admit it, he would show that he likes you by replying to you quickly and getting back to you in a short amount of time.

There might be times when he is busy, whether at work or at school, but once he has a chance, he will get back to you, and he won’t leave you hanging for too long.

For the times when he can’t reply quickly, he will apologize and let you know why he has taken so long to get back to you.

He wouldn’t want you to think that he isn’t interested when he doesn’t reply quickly, and he will want to keep the conversation going as much as he can without it going dead.

He Jokes About Your Relationship

As he is nervous about coming right out and saying that he likes you, he would try to see how you feel about the possibility of a relationship first to determine what his next steps should be.

One way he might do this is to make jokes about the two of you being together, such as “wouldn’t it be funny if we ended up together?” or “we look like such a couple in that picture” or something along those lines.

These subtle hints show that he has thought about the two of you together, and they are a non-serious way for him to put the idea out there to see how you react. 

He Asks About Previous Relationships

One way to get to know more about a person is to find out about their past relationships. This gives an insight into the type of person you like, what your deal breakers might be in a relationship, and even how much you are going to be committed to a new relationship.

For him, this would be important to find out, to figure out if he would be your type and if there are any deal breakers that you might not be okay with when it comes to him.

He won’t make it too obvious, but he will ask about how long your last relationship was, what your ex was like, and even ask why the two of you broke up.

His interest in your past shows an interest in you.

Most men don’t care about a girl’s love life unless they are interested in her (or they’re really good friends.) So if he’s inquiring about these intimate details, you can be certain there is something a little deeper there.

He Tries To Help You

Men like to be seen as a hero, especially for the person they are interested in. In this case, he would want to help you wherever he can and come to your rescue in a situation, no matter how small.

It could be helping you change a tire or helping you out of a sticky situation. He would not be doing this if he wasn’t interested in you and if he didn’t want you to see him as someone, you could rely on in tough times.

It would also make him feel better about himself and what he could offer you as a potential partner if he knows he can be there for you when you need him, no matter how big or small the issue might be.

Reminds me of this scene from Friends haha

Friends Scene: Ross asks Joey, 'are guys nice to strange woman for no reason?' Joey replies 'No only for sex"

Gotta say, it’s a sitcom and meant to be funny – but the fact that it’s true for many (MANY) men is what makes it humorous.

He Acts Differently Around You

The way he behaves around you would be different from how he behaves around other people, especially others in your same group of friends.

If he is usually shy and reserved, then he might seem more extroverted around you and more open to conversation and appear more fun. He would want to try and win you over without making it too apparent.

Alternatively, if he is usually outgoing and the center of attention, he could be quieter and more unsure around you because he likes you, and you make him nervous, and he doesn’t want to act on it just yet.

He would try to dampen his apparent attraction to you in person to play it cool, which can definitely cause him to act differently than he would with other people.

He Tests The Waters

Testing the waters - dipping your toe in the water slowly

The reason he might be playing it cool when he likes you is that he has no idea how you feel toward him. He doesn’t want to put himself out there and make himself vulnerable just for you to reject him.

One way he would try to see how you feel about him, and whether or not it is the same way he feels about you, is to test the waters and see how you react. If he flirts slightly or suggests that the two of you should be together, that could be a major sign of interest.

This could be him acting charming towards you and seeing whether or not you respond positively or shut him down.

He might also try to do this in a group of people, being extra visible and extra funny, and see if you respond to this as well.

He would be looking for signs that you find him charming and funny and that you don’t just shut him down.

He Remembers Things About You

A guy who is interested in you, even when he is still playing it cool, will remember small details about you.

You might make a comment in passing about a band you like or your favorite movie, and this will be something he remembers.

If you find that he brings up these small things, and remembers small details you have told him, especially about yourself, then it is a good sign that he does actually like you.

He wouldn’t be paying much attention to someone he does not have feelings for.

He Compliments More Than Just Your Looks

Someone who likes you for you, and not just what you look like, would compliment you on things more than just your looks.

He might compliment you on your resilience, your humor, your intelligence, or even your taste in music!

He would not be doing this in a way that seems overly romantic, but taking notice of these non-physical attributes does show that he sees who you really are and appreciates you.

The specific comments and compliments also show that he pays attention to who you are as a person.

He’s Hot And Cold

This is one of those mixed signals that is truly infuriating.

But sometimes, when someone likes you, but they’re playing it cool, they can be hot and cold.

They may come on strong one day and feel embarrassed the next, especially if you didn’t reciprocate. This can cause him to seem to be playing games.

Regardless of how confident he is, if a guy genuinely likes you and he doesn’t feel you are reciprocating, he can feel hurt and pull back.

This can come across as mixed signals on your end but it’s just him protecting himself.

He Asks For Your Advice

It is typical for a friend to ask another friend for advice, but you might notice that he suddenly starts asking you for advice and for your opinion more. On top of this, he really does listen to what you have to say.

This is a sign that he trusts your opinion and values your insight, which does also show that he likes you but is still playing it cool.

Even though he is trying to hide how he feels, he won’t be able to resist showing that he does value you and thinks that you are someone he can go to in time of need.

You May Also Enjoy: 19 Things Guys Secretly Love But Won’t Tell You

You Feel A Spark

Sometimes, the only sign to look for is whether there is a spark between the two of you, and this is something that just cannot be explained.

The two of you would light up when around each other, and both seem genuinely happy, although maybe a little nervous when you spend time together.

Yes, it can be daunting just going off a feeling of a spark, in case you misread the situation and he doesn’t actually feel the same way.

But sometimes, it is an undeniable connection between two people, and you can trust your gut and go out on a limb and see what happens!

What To Do When You Think He Likes You But Is Playing It Cool

Guuy and girl flirting on the street

If you think he likes you, but he is just trying to play it cool, and you really like him too, then it can be a tricky situation to navigate.

You can’t be completely sure of the situation and you also don’t want to risk being hurt. Here is what you can do:

Show Some Signs Back

You might not want to make yourself completely vulnerable and put yourself out there fully before you know how he feels (he’s doing the same)

But you would also want to give some signs that you do have an interest in him and that there are some feelings there.

The best way to do this then is to give some subtle indications that you do see him as more than just a friend.

This could be increasing your physical touch where appropriate, inviting him out to spend time with you in a casual setting, or upping your flirting game a little more.

Do what you feel comfortable with, but try to make it a little more obvious that you are interested, and let him respond from there.

You May Also Enjoy: 20 Signs He Sees You As Girlfriend Material

Ask Him Outright

If you are feeling brave and you do not want to waste any more time guessing how he feels, then you could just ask him outright.

Ask if he sees you as more than a friend and if he has just been trying to downplay this.

Hopefully, if you do like him, he will say that he likes you too, and you can go from there, but there is also a chance that you have misread the situation.

Either way, at least you won’t be wasting too much time guessing and figuring out mixed signals!

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