Signs He’s Into You but Afraid to Admit It: A Guide to Unmasking His Heart

Starting a Relationship

There is a big difference between a guy being a “nice” guy and a guy being attracted to you. – Matthew Hussey

By: Milena J. Wisniewska

So, he’s always around, dropping “subtle brags” and mentioning little details about you. He could be falling in love with you but too shy to admit it. 

But how can you tell for sure? Sometimes when a guy is nice to you, you’re left wondering whether he LIKES you likes you, or is just being a good friend.

Oh, the uncertainty! 

Dating is supposed to be fun, but he’s acting all hot and cold, and it’s giving 2008 Katy Perry.

Some men won’t make a move until you practically slap a neon sign to your forehead saying, “GO FOR IT!” But don’t worry! We’re here to crack this beautiful, fearful riddle of a man. 

Let’s decode those mixed signals like Alan Turing cracked the Enigma code.

Key takeaways:

  • Watch for consistency between his actions and words to decode mixed signals.
  • Look for signs of interest like nervousness, helpfulness, remembering details, trying to impress, prioritizing time with you, and genuine concern for your well-being.
  • Understand that men may hesitate due to fear, insecurity, or lack of communication skills.
  • Use clear communication and gentle encouragement to help him express his feelings.

How to Handle Mixed Signals

A man who gives off mixed signals can make reading the signs feel like solving a puzzle with half the pieces missing. One minute you’re the Pam to his Jim, and the next you’re the Toby to his Michael.

But there’s a method to this madness — watch how his actions align with his words over time. 

For instance, if he often makes plans but cancels at the last minute or speaks about his interest in you but doesn’t follow up, take notes, girl. 

Think of Mr. Big’s behavior toward Carrie in Sex and the City. That guy was the epitome of inconsistency. Team Aidan Forever!   

On the other hand, let’s not underestimate the role of communication and personal insecurities. Don’t be so quick to write him off based on mixed signals alone.  

According to a study on nonverbal behavior, people can give mixed signals due to inner conflicts, insecurities, or just feeling awkward about expressing emotions.[1]

We love to oversimplify things. You’ve got relationship gurus saying, “If he likes you, you’ll know, and if he doesn’t, you’ll be confused.” But it’s just not that simple. 

At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of imperfect individuals, “skippering these meat boats” and doing our best to be vulnerable while trying to minimize the hurt on the way. 

Most of us seriously overestimate how clearly we come across, so it’s crucial to hit the brakes and observe his behavior over time. 

How to Tell if a Guy Likes You

According to Dr. John Gray, author of the bestselling Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus, “Men may be from Mars, but when it comes to love, their signals are often universal.”[2]

Decoding his signals can be as tricky as attempting to understand quantum physics after one too many glasses of grape juice. 

So, grab a seat, and let me give you a masterclass on the art of decoding signals and reading between the lines.

He’s nervous around you

One of the signs that a man is into you but too scared to say it is that he’s nervous around you. 

In a study published in Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, authors Hughes et al. observe, “Participants reported most frequently experiencing increased attentiveness, smiling, staring, heart rate, giggling/laughter, blushing, and difficulty concentrating” around those they found attractive.”[3] 

Picture Chandler Bing trying to ask you out — fidgeting, stumbling over his words, and turning a shade of red that could rival a tomato. 

So, if you catch him blushing or awkwardly dropping his coffee, give him a friendly smile and maybe a light joke for encouragement.  

He goes out of his way to help you

Ever noticed how Mr. I-Don’t-Know-How-To-Express-My-Feelings suddenly turns into a superhero, swooping in to save the day when you’re in despair? 

In his must-read book, The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman explains how “. . . acts of service . . . require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.”[4]

If he’s volunteering to walk your dog in the rain, fixing that flat tire, surprising you with your favorite coffee, or just generally making your life smoother whenever he can, take the hint. 

He’s saying, “I care.” 

He remembers details about you

When a guy is really into you, he pays attention to every little thing you say and do. 

But, like, not in a creepy way.

He can recall that you like your coffee with two sugars and a dash of cinnamon. He knows your gym schedule and remembers your dog’s birthday.

You may have mentioned your love for The Office once, and the next thing you know, he’s dropping Michael Scott quotes. Coincidence? I think not.

So, when he casually plays your go-to karaoke song in the car or brings up the fact that you’re allergic to pineapples, take it as a sign that he’s into you more than a cat is into laser pointers.

He tries to impress you

Gray’s analysis of male behavior goes on to tell us that “men are motivated when they feel needed.”[5]  

That’s why they parade their skills and talents in front of you like peacocks showing off their tails.

You might want to roll your eyes at these not-so-humble brags, but try to take it all in stride. As cringy as it might seem, he’s just trying to impress you and show how he can be of help. It’s . . . adorable.

But there’s a difference between trying to genuinely dazzle you and being straight-up arrogant. Arrogance comes across as suffocating and self-centered. Watch out for the “Let’s talk about you — what do you think about me?” guy. (Seriously, someone once said that to me . . .)  

If he’s genuinely trying to impress you, it’s his way of saying you’re special without actually saying it.

He prioritizes spending time with you

When a guy is into you, he’ll bend over backward to spend more time with you — even if it means ditching his weekly NBA & pizza night to watch Bridgerton with you. 

Notice if he’s the one initiating plans, suggesting new activities, or just casually showing up wherever you are.

So, next time he’s “coincidentally” at Trader Joe’s on Saturday morning or proposing a spontaneous road trip to that lake you once mentioned months ago, take it as a sign he prioritizes you. It’s not stalking — he’s just smitten!

Side note: Sometimes it’s stalking. Read our article all about dating violence and learn the difference.

He opens up to you emotionally

Men can be as mysterious as the Phantom of the Opera, hiding behind their metaphorical masks. But as James Baldwin brilliantly put it, “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”[6] 

So, when he reveals his true face to you and starts sharing his deepest thoughts and genuine feelings with you, it’s a sign. 

Keep an ear out for those moments of authenticity. If he’s opening up about his dreams, his childhood, or that he cried during Toy Story 3 (I mean, who didn’t?), then it’s a pretty good indicator that he trusts you and wants you to be a part of his internal world.

He introduces you to his inner circle

That’s a big one. When a guy introduces you to his inner circle, it’s like being handed a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, except instead of candy, you’re getting a taste of his world. 

If a man is really into you, he won’t keep you hidden away like a secret menu item at Chipotle. Nope, he’s going to show you off like the latest iPhone model at a tech expo.

You might score an invite to his best friend’s house party or his cousin’s swanky destination wedding, and when you show up, it’s like everyone’s been waiting for your grand entrance. You’ve been name-dropped before, and now people are excited to meet you.

He wants you to meet the people who’ve seen him through bad breakups, regrettable haircuts, and some seriously questionable fashion choices.

So, if you’re hanging out with his mom, fist-bumping his bros, and making regular appearances in his Instagram stories, you’re not just a guest star; you’re on your way to becoming a series regular. 

He shows genuine concern for your well-being

A guy who’s genuinely into you will show concern for your well-being. He’ll ensure you’re warm and comfortable and be there to listen when you’re feeling down. He’s like a good friend but with a hint of spice.

He might surprise you with your favorite takeout after a tough day, or he’ll simply be there to lend an ear when you need to vent about a frustrating coworker. He checks on you before your big work presentation or that nerve-wracking job interview.

He’s your personal cheerleader, but without the pom-poms (unless he’s got a secret cheerleading past he hasn’t told you about). His actions scream, “I genuinely care about you,” even if he’s not screaming it with pom-poms.

Conclusion

If your witch instinct is telling you that you’ve got yourself a secret admirer, but you want to know for sure, there are ways to test your suspicion without a Ouija board. 

Pay attention to whether his words and actions align over time. Look for signs like fidgeting, going out of his way to help you, or trying to impress you. If he constantly wants to hang out, shares his childhood trauma with you, and introduces you to his inner circle, he probably cares for you.

Give him a little nudge and see if he spills the tea. But be patient and communicate clearly — no smoke signals.

When all this waiting around feels like watching paint dry, remember: You deserve someone who’s all in. If he’s still too scared to act on your hints, it might be time to find someone who’s less Hufflepuff and more Gryffindor. 

Happy decoding!

FAQs: Navigating Your Love Maze

How does a guy act when he has feelings for you?

When a guy has feelings for you, he acts differently by showing more interest in your life, making an effort to spend time with you, and being more attentive and caring. He might also go out of his way to help you, remember important dates, and show signs of nervousness or shyness around you.

How do you know if a man is thinking about you?

You know a man is thinking about you when he’s frequently contacting you, asking about your well-being, or bringing up memories. Additionally, if he shows genuine interest in your life and remembers important details you’ve shared with him, you’ve likely been on his mind.

How do you tell if a guy is fighting his feelings?

You can tell a guy is fighting his feelings for you when he seems distant, avoids deep conversations, or tries to distract himself. These behaviors can be signs that he’s struggling to come to terms with his emotions. 

References

1. Carney, D. R. (2021). Mixed signals. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. https://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/magazine/summer-2021/mixed-signals/

2. Grey, J. (1992) Men are from Mars, women are from Venus: The classic guide to understanding the opposite sex. HarperCollins.

3. Hughes, S. M., Harrison, M. A., & de Haan, K. M. (2020). Perceived nervous reactions during initial attraction and their potential adaptive value. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 6, 30–56. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-019-00127-y

4. Chapman, G. (1992). The five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Moody Publishers.

5. Grey, J. (1992) Men are from Mars, women are from Venus: The classic guide to understanding the opposite sex. HarperCollins. 

6. Baldwin, J. (1963). The fire next time. The Dial Press.

Author

  • Milena J. Wisniewska

    Milena might not be a relationship professor, but she's definitely been through it all, learned her lessons, and is here to spill the tea. She combines the wisdom of renowned relationship specialists with her own romantic adventures to offer relatable and practical advice.

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