17 Subtle Signs A Guy Likes You But Is Playing It Cool

What’s going on with that guy you like?

One moment, you're sure he's into you; the next, he is as cold as a winter's night. 

You may ask yourself, “Is he playing me?”

The truth is usually more complicated than that. 

It's likely this guy is figuring out his feelings for you and giving you mixed signals.

But what if you better understand the telltale signs a guy is playing it cool? 

Knowing them is the key to reading through his behavior and discerning if he is romantically interested in you. 

Why Won't He Talk to Me If He Likes Me?

It can feel like the ultimate rejection to be ignored by someone you have feelings for.

But there are often reasons for this behavior that aren't so obvious. Here are a few potential reasons why the guy of your dreams isn't talking to you:

  • He is afraid of rejection: One of the most common reasons a guy is playing it cool is because he fears getting rejected if he makes his feelings known.
  • He is intimidated by you: It is possible that this guy sees you as a strong, confident woman and is too scared to approach you.
  • He is taking his time: It is possible that the guy is interested but wants to take things slow and is waiting for the right moment to make a move.
  • He isn't sure what he wants yet: It is also possible that the guy is still making up his mind about what he wants from a relationship and is testing out the waters with you.

As you can see, none of these reasons have to do with you specifically. They're all about him and his ability to express himself.

So don't take it personally if he is playing it cool.

17 Subtle Signs He Likes You But Is Playing It Cool

These subtle signs that a guy is into you, combined with your own intuition and feelings, will help you determine if the relationship is meant to be.

1. You Catch Him Gazing At You

If you catch him looking at you and then he quickly looks away as soon as you see him, he is likely interested in you. Does he blush when you catch him staring? It’s another clue he’s crushing on you. 

woman saying hi to two guys at street cafe he likes you but is playing it cool

He may also maintain unwavering eye contact during conversations, captivated by everything you say. Or he may have difficulty looking you in the eye because he is shy or nervous around you.

These behaviors belie his otherwise cool demeanor.

2. He Tries to Make You Laugh

Is your crush always telling jokes or trying to make you laugh? Many men will try to be the center of attention when they like someone.

It's easier for a man to reveal his feelings if he makes you laugh, as it is less direct than expressing his emotions outright.

He may become more comfortable showing his feelings as the relationship progresses. But in the early stages, he may use his wit to captivate you before revealing his more intimate thoughts. 

3. He Is Nervous Around You

If your crush is fidgeting, stuttering, or blushing around you, it suggests he likes you but is playing it cool. He is trying to compensate for his nervousness by pretending not to be interested, but his body is giving away the truth.

4. He Frequently Helps You Out

Have you noticed this guy always volunteering to help you out by giving you a ride, doing your chores, or helping you with your projects?

He'll do anything to spend time with you, including tedious activities he probably doesn't enjoy doing in other scenarios.

He could be helping you out to get more time with you and gauge your chemistry. He hopes you will eventually become interested in him if he is helpful enough, and things may progress to the next level.

5. He Touches You

If your guy is always finding excuses to touch you, this is a sure sign that he is interested in you. He will subtly brush his hand against yours when talking to you or give you an impromptu hug for no reason at all.

He may also make sure always to position himself closer to you. He may sit by you when you're out with a group of friends or lean in close when talking to you.

These are all signs that he is trying to get closer to you but is playing it cool.

6. He Suggests Activities for the Future

If he suggests future activities, such as going on a hike next weekend or catching a movie in the coming week, then he is definitely interested in you.

He is showing you his interest by initiating plans for the future rather than just focusing on the present.

Even though he isn't calling it a date, he is still trying to make sure that there is something planned between you. He hopes this will eventually lead to a date but is playing it cool not to appear too eager.

7. He Talks About You to Others

If your friends or family members tell you that they've been talking about you with him, then he likely has feelings for you. He may mention it to a friend every time he sees you or asks family members for advice about what to do.

It can be hard to know if he is talking about you when you're not there. But it's a sure giveaway if you speak to his friends, and they respond with a knowing smile or let you know that he's mentioned you before.

8. He's Protective of You

Your man will naturally become protective of you if he is into you. He may be subtle about it, but he will ensure that nobody is trying to take advantage of you or is bothering you.

He may start to make comments such as, “You really shouldn't be talking to that guy,” or, “I don't think you should be walking around here by yourself.” These are signs that he is concerned about your safety and wants to protect you.

9. He Is Attentive

Is your crush always listening to what you say and hanging on to every word? Does he actively listen by nodding, maintaining eye contact, and giving relevant feedback? Then he is probably interested in you romantically.

He is consciously focusing on you and is likely trying to make a good impression. He is hoping that by being attentive, you will be more interested in him as well.

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10. He Compliments You

Another sure sign your man is into you is if he is constantly showering you with compliments. He may compliment your looks, intelligence, or sense of humor.

These comments are just a step below flirtation and a way for him to express his feelings for you without being too vulnerable. It is also a way for him to gauge your reaction and determine if you feel the same way about him.

11. He Is Jealous of Other Men

Have you noticed that your guy is not too happy when other men pay attention to you? He may comment about them or try to show off in front of them. He may even act competitive and try to prove himself to you.

While this isn't always a healthy sign, it is a sure way to know that he is interested in you. If the relationship progresses, he should learn to be more secure with himself and less possessive of you.

12. He Is Open About His Feelings

When your crush is in a group of people, does he share his thoughts and feelings more than others in the room do? Does he open up to you in a way that is different than when he is with other people?

Open communication is a sign of vulnerability and interest, so if your man opens up to you, he is likely interested in taking things further.

13. He is Thoughtful and Kind

Is your guy always going out of his way to offer you small acts of kindness? Does he bring coffee to surprise you or cheer you up when you're in a bad mood?

He is clearly going above and beyond to ensure you are happy and is likely hoping these small gestures will eventually lead to something more.

14. He Answers Your Messages Right Away

Whether it's a text message, social media DM, or a call, your guy is quick to respond to you. And he’s eagerly waiting to hear back from you.

For many men, it can be hard to show affection in person. So if he is constantly texting you or answering your calls, it is likely a sign that he is interested in what you say and open to talking with you more.

15. He Remembers What You Said

Are you impressed by your crush's ability to remember the small details you mentioned in passing? Does he always recall conversations or events from days ago?

If so, then his memory is likely a sign that he is paying close attention to what you say and is trying to remember it. He may even do sweet things like bring you your favorite snack because you mentioned it, or he always sees you with it.

16. He May Bust Your Chops

Most signs he likes you more than you think have been sweet, but sometimes a guy will employ reverse psychology to try and get you to like him too.

He may not be the type of guy who is comfortable expressing his emotions or is scared of getting hurt. If your man is making jokes at your expense, then he may be trying to cover up his feelings for you and make things less awkward.

He may say things like, “Oh, I see you like that shirt. You wore it yesterday.” But honestly, he doesn’t care how often you wear it.

Just be sure he is being playful and not hurtful when poking fun at you. It's easy for men to go too far with this one.

17. He Tells You What He's Looking For in a Relationship

Another way a man can subtly drop hints about his interest without directly saying it is by letting you know what he likes in a relationship.

He will mention the qualities he's looking for in a partner, and if you fit the bill, he's undoubtedly letting you know that you're his type. 

He may also mention his long-term relationship goals, such as wanting to travel the world, have kids, or buy a house.

If he shares these intimate details with you, then there is no doubt that he is hoping to take things further and is looking to you as his potential partner. And this is great for you because it gives you an idea of what dating him could look like down the line.

How to Respond When He Is Trying to Play It Cool

What's the best way to respond when you suspect a guy is playing it cool but has feelings underneath his demeanor? Here are some tips to help you get through it.

  • Give Him Time and Space: One option is to respond to his coolness with coolness. You can give him a bit of space and time, allowing him to sort out his feelings if he's shy or unsure.
  • Be Bold: Another approach is to be bold. A bit of flirtatious encouragement from you is all he needs to step his game up. You can directly compliment him, suggestively touch him, or take the initiative with planning a date.
  • Ask Him Questions: Healthy communication is important from the start of a relationship. It's never too soon to discuss feelings and thoughts, as long as you're respectful. So ask him if he's interested in you, or if you want to be less direct about it, you can ask him if he's open to a relationship. You may be surprised by how forthcoming he is with a bit of prompting.

Final Thoughts

The early stages of a relationship can be stressful and confusing, especially if you're unsure about how your crush is feeling. But it is possible to decode the subtle signs that a guy is into you, even if he is playing it cool.

Pay attention to his body language and words and how often he communicates with you.

And remember to check in with yourself during this process as well. Are you feeling excited and hopeful when you are around him? Or is this an uncomfortable or somewhat draining situation for you? 

Your woman’s “spidey sense” will give you the answers to know the best next steps.