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8 Possible Things It Might Mean When A Guy Smiles At You

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A smile is always a wonderful gift to receive.

But it can be a confusing one too.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had a glowing smile, or even multiple smiles, bestowed upon you by a guy, and you’re not sure how to interpret them.

Chances are that you’re here because you like the guy in question. You wouldn’t have bothered searching to find out why he has smiled at you if you didn’t care about his reasons.

But seeing as you’re here, you’re probably hoping that we’re going to tell you a smile means he feels the same way you do.

Before you get your hopes up, it’s important to realize that a smile isn’t a guarantee that he likes you.

It could mean any number of things, and you’ll never know for sure what’s going on inside another person’s head.

But if the smiles he’s been giving you are combined with other signs of attraction, they could well be an indicator that he likes you back.

No two smiles are equal.

Smiles can vary an awful lot. In fact, there are 19 types of smile according to scientists. So make sure you notice the details.

Does the smile seem genuine? Is he smiling with his eyes too (that’s called a Duchenne smile in case you’re interested)? Is it a toothy smile? Is he making proper eye contact with you? Does he give a little wave at the same time?

A thin-lipped smile that doesn’t reach the eyes is very different to a full-on grin.

So don’t fabricate the situation in your mind or let your feelings cloud your judgment.

Be honest with yourself about the kind of smiles you’re getting, and whether they seem to be reserved just for you, or if everyone’s getting them.

What’s the context?

Before we get into what those smiles might mean, it’s important for you to take a moment to consider the context.

Because it’s when you take these signs out of context that you can end up interpreting them in completely the wrong way. You might clutch onto them as evidence to back up something you want to be true, rather than something that actually is true.

Do you know this guy? How do you know him? What’s the relationship between you, if there is one at all? Is he a friend, a friend of a friend, a workmate, or a total stranger?

Was the smile out of the blue, or were you in conversation with him? Did it feel natural for him to smile at you in that moment, or did it seem out of place?

Have you seen him smiling at other people in the same way, or was this particular smile reserved for you?

Did he seem to be in a particularly good mood in general?

Always remember to take a step back and calmly look at things in context before getting excited about what that broad, attractive smile might mean.

8 things it might mean.

1. He’s trying to get your attention.

Smiling at someone is a great way to politely get their attention, whether you need something from them or just want them to notice you. (Heck, getting the attention of our caregiver is one of the main reasons we smile as babies, so we’re well versed at it.)

He might be trying to get your attention for all kinds of reasons, like needing your help or advice. But there is always the possibility that he wants you to notice him so that he can start to win you over romantically.

2. He wants something from you.

He could be smiling at you because he knows that giving someone a winning smile is an effective way to win them over and get them to do what you want.

After all, it’s much harder to say no to someone who’s asking you for something when they’re giving you a genuine, warm smile, isn’t it?

Some people are especially good at turning on the charm when they want something from someone. It’s not manipulative as such; it’s a way of creating or reinforcing a bond to persuade you to agree to their request.

So, think about the nature of the relationship between you and whether he might want something that he thinks you can give him, whatever that something might be.

3. He’s attracted to you.

Of course, a smile can be a sign of a romantic or sexual attraction. A big smile can indicate that he’s attracted to you and would like to get to know you better in a romantic sense.

Even a shy smile might mean there’s attraction there; he just hasn’t got the confidence to do something about it.

It’s hard not to smile when you’re face to face with someone you like, so if he can’t quite seem to hold his smiles back when he’s around you, then you might be in with a chance.

And if he smiles when you catch him looking at you, before possibly looking away, that’s often a good sign that he likes you.

Of course, there’s a difference between romantic attraction and pure physical attraction, so if you want something more than just sex then be wary of any suggestive smiles he throws your way.

4. He wants to be your friend.

But we don’t only smile at the people we’re romantically or sexually attracted to. Smiles are also a great way to forge a friendship with someone, whatever gender they may be.

Perhaps the two of you get on well and have things in common, and his smiles are meant to tell you that he enjoys your company and would like to be your friend.

5. He’s a naturally smiley person.

Some people are just naturally happy and optimistic. They tend to spend their days smiling, and aren’t shy about directing those smiles at all the people they come across.

So don’t automatically assume that his smiles have something to do with you.

Maybe he’s just an upbeat, positive person at all times, or maybe you’ve caught him in a good mood on that particular day.

Maybe he’s just having a great day or week, and everyone he comes across is currently being blessed with his glowing smiles.

6. He’s shy or nervous.

A smile can be an indication that someone is feeling shy or nervous in the situation they find themselves in.

People often smile to cover up their nerves, or can’t stop themselves from smiling when they’re in a situation that makes them uncomfortable. It acts as a kind of defense mechanism or shield against the world.

You can always tell if it’s a nervous smile, as although their lips might be smiling, their eyes probably won’t look all that convinced.

It might be that he’s nervous around you because he likes you, but on the other hand he might just be naturally shy around new people or feel awkward in the situation he’s in, irrespective of the way he feels about you.

Again, context is key!

7. He’s glad to see you.

People smile when they’re happy. And your presence might just make him happy. Simple.

You don’t always have to read into a situation quite so much. You can just accept his smile at face value, as proof that he’s happy that you’re there in that moment, and that’s that.

Take it as a compliment, and enjoy it, but don’t overanalyze it.

8. You smiled at him.

If someone bestows a smile on you, you smile back, right? After all, smiles are contagious.

So don’t get too carried away with your imaginings if you were the one who smiled at him first.

He might just be returning your gesture, probably without giving too much thought to what he’s doing, what it means, or what you’ll think it means.

What should you do next?

Whilst it’s important to be able to read and interpret these small signs, it’s even more important not to get bogged down in the details and obsess over whether or not the way he smiled at you means he likes you.

If you like a guy, then by all means spend a little time thinking about what his smiles might mean. Daydreaming about this kind of thing is all part of the excitement of attraction.

But don’t let yourself spend too much time analyzing whether he gave you the same smile he gave the girl next to you, whether he seemed nervous around you, or whether he was smiling from his eyes.

Focus on the bigger picture and all the signs he’s given you, not just his smiles or lack of them.

And, most importantly, listen to your gut. Be honest with yourself about whether there’s real potential for something to develop between you.

And whatever you do, don’t let the situation drag on forever. If you like him and he’s given you some signs that the feeling’s mutual, then bite the bullet and ask him out, or just tell him how you feel about him.

It’s a scary thought, especially in a society in which we’re still taught that he should be the one to make the first move, but the worst he can do is say no.

The prospect of rejection may seem horrible, but if his feelings are not those of romance or attraction, at least you’ll be free to move on and stop wasting your valuable time analyzing his every move and every smile.

And who knows, take a leap of faith and you might be rewarded by an even bigger smile than the ones he’s given you up until now, and the start of something new.

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About The Author

Katie is a writer and translator with a focus on travel, self-care and sustainability. She's based between a cave house in Granada, Spain, and the coast of beautiful Cornwall, England. She spends her free time hiking, exploring, eating vegan tapas and volunteering for a local dog shelter.