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Do you have a soft spot for a certain guy?
Do you suspect he likes you back, but you’re not entirely sure?
You’re not the only one…
Human beings are incredibly complex creatures, and we can sometimes have a pretty hard time reading each other’s signals.
When you throw romance into the mix and members of different genders are trying to understand each other, it’s often hard to be sure if there are feelings there.
These things are never straightforward.
It would save an awful lot of time and angst if, when we liked someone, we all had the guts to just stride up to them and tell them.
But, on the other hand, if we’re honest, it would take a lot of the fun out of it.
That ‘do they, don’t they’ can be stressful and even painful, especially if it goes on for too long, but it also spices life up a bit!
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably got an inkling that a guy likes you, but you think fear is holding him back.
There are all kinds of reasons why a guy may be nervous about making a move.
Perhaps you are friends, and he’s worried about ruining that.
Perhaps either he or you have an ex that makes things complicated.
Perhaps he’s scared by the strength of his feelings, or isn’t sure if he wants something serious, so doesn’t want to make a move until he’s figured that out.
Perhaps he’s worried that you don’t like him back.
Women don’t have a monopoly on fear of rejection, much as we might feel that way sometimes.
Whatever it is, here are a few signs to look out for that show that he’s hiding or repressing his feelings as a result of his fear.
Take the time to consider whether these things apply to your situation. Knowing what they mean can help you decide what to do next.
1. He acts differently around you.
If he likes you, you’ll notice it in the way he behaves around you. It will be quite different to how he acts with other female friends or colleagues.
If he turns on the charm, it’s quite likely that he isn’t scared of his feelings, but is simply biding his time and allowing them to develop.
But if he’s anxious about the situation, he’s likely to show signs of nervousness when he’s around you.
For example, he may suddenly go very quiet or struggle to get his words out. Or he might go in the opposite direction and talk very quickly and at great length to avoid awkward silences.
2. If you’re friends, his behavior has changed.
Is he a good friend of yours?
It’s always awkward when you develop romantic feelings for somebody you thought was safely in the friend zone, and you have to be a very good actor to not let the change in your feelings show.
Have these stopped or become less frequent or warm?
If he’s suddenly being more formal and distant, it could be a sign that he’s worried about giving his feelings away and is trying to act ‘normally.’
Of course, it is anything but normal if you’re used to him acting one way and he now acts differently.
3. You catch him looking.
Catching him staring at you is one of the simplest but biggest giveaways that there are feelings bubbling underneath the surface.
After all, when you fancy someone, you can’t help but watch and admire them whenever they are nearby.
But if you return his gaze, he’ll look away. He is scared of revealing his feelings for you by maintaining eye contact.
4. He makes jokes about liking you.
If it’s rejection that he’s scared of rather than, say, commitment, he’ll want to figure out how you feel before asking you out.
Guys will often do this by making some kind of jokey comment about liking you or the two of you going on a date…
…but they do it in such a way that if you react badly, they can just laugh it off. They can pretend they didn’t mean it and spare their egos any lasting damage.
If your reaction is encouraging, after doing this a few times he might eventually feel confident enough to ask you out or tell you how he feels.
5. You’re always bumping into him.
If he’s trying to figure out whether or not the feeling’s mutual, he’s probably going to find creative ways to spend time with you in order to do just that.
If he’s scared of rejection, he’s going to want to spend enough time in your company to figure out what your response would be if he did pluck up the courage to ask you on a date.
He’ll be drawn to you, so he’ll probably end up at a lot of the same social events.
If you’re colleagues, he might end up grabbing a cup of coffee at the same time as you more often than could be chalked up to coincidence.
6. When you’re together, it’s amazing.
If things have gone beyond making eyes at each other and you’re already spending time together, whether they’re official dates or not, you’re probably getting mixed signals from him.
You have a wonderful time together and you get on like a house on fire, but you don’t really text each other or have much contact in between times.
That’s a sign that he can’t help but let his guard down when he’s with you, but fear takes over when you’re not there and he convinces himself he doesn’t actually like you that much (or that you don’t like him in that way).
Whether there’s nothing going on between you at all or you’ve been on a few dates, he’s probably going to have ups and downs if he’s feeling the fear.
One minute he’ll be staring at you lovingly, and the next he’ll have convinced himself that it’s all wrong or got a bit overwhelmed and suddenly become all distant.
8. He seems to get jealous.
He’s probably not going to admit it, as that would lead to an awkward conversation, but you might have noticed that his demeanor and body language changes when he sees you talking to another guy.
He might go a bit red, grit his teeth, or stare at you without even realizing what he’s doing.
That’s because, fear aside, he can’t help liking you.
He is unable to keep his jealousy in check, as he is almost as scared of you getting together with someone else as he is of his feelings.
9. You just know.
Listen to your instinct.
If everything about the way you interact is screaming at you that he likes you, he probably does. It’s hard to hide our feelings for any length of time.
Make sure you’re entirely honest with yourself. Admit whether you just want it to be true and are inventing signs where there aren’t any, or you genuinely are getting the vibes from him.
What can you do about it?
If you’re getting all the right signals from a guy you like, but nothing is actually happening or moving forwards, it can be highly frustrating.
What you can do about it largely depends on what you think he’s actually scared of.
You might not always hit the nail on the head with this, but you should be able get an idea from his behavior what it is that’s holding him back.
If you suspect it’s fear of rejection that’s keeping him quiet, the good news is that there’s plenty you can do to calm his worries.
Engage with him, listen to him, make eye contact and smile.
If he makes jokey comments about liking you, joke right back, and let your body language show that you’re open to the idea.
Or, if you think he might never get up the nerve or you don’t want to waste time waiting around, then take the bull by the horns and tell him how you feel.
If you’ve got a good friendship going and you think that fear of messing that up is what’s standing in his way, then, again, it might be down to you to take the lead and tell him how you feel.
When you do, reassure him that your friendship is just as important to you and is something you want to preserve, so he knows you’re both on the same page.
If, on the other hand, he is afraid of commitment or simply isn’t ready for a relationship right now, making the first move might not be the smartest strategy.
It may just scare him off, which obviously you don’t want.
In that case, you have a decision to make…
…are you happy to just keep signalling your interest and waiting for him to get into a place where he does want to take the next step?
Or, should you cut your losses, move on, and leave yourself open to finding someone who is ready to commit to you?
You’ll know in your heart of hearts what the right thing to do is.
Be kind to yourself, and enjoy the rollercoaster!
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