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He Says He Just Wants to Be Friends But Acts Like He Wants More (Here's Why)

by Sonya Schwartz

Do you have feelings for one of your male friends? 

Maybe he’s told you he wants to be “just friends”, even though his actions say different?

Perhaps you’re looking for help navigating the transition between friends and lovers? 

If so, you’re in the right place. 

The guide below explains why men say they want to be “just friends” and what you can do about it. 

However, if you’re struggling with this situation, I urge you to read the next few sentences carefully. 

I wasted so many years investing time in men who wouldn’t reciprocate my affections. 

I obsessed over “friends”. I got into relationships with emotionally unavailable men. For years, it felt like I’d never be good enough to be anyone’s long-term partner. 

Thankfully, I was able to turn it around, and I want to share how...

It all started when I learned about a powerful aspect of male psychology called the ‘Hero’s Instinct’.

This is a deeply-embedded primal instinct, which massively impacts how a man feels about the women in his life. 

When I learned how to activate this psychological trigger, it made a huge difference to my dating life. 

Suddenly, instead of seeing me as “just a friend” or “a bit of fun”, men were beginning to view me as a potential long-term partner. They’d open their heart. They’d show affection. They ask me to commit to them (read my personal story to learn how I made it happen).

It seems as if few women are aware of the Hero’s Instinct, but it’s actually very simple to activate. 

If you’re hoping to make a bigger emotional impact on a special guy, you’d be well advised to learn how I discovered the power of the Hero’s Instinct.

In the meantime, the guide below will reveal what’s going on with the guy who wants to be “just friends”.  

From a fear of commitment to just liking the attention he gets from you, if the guy you like has told you he just wants to maintain a friendship with you but acts like he wants more by flirting or asking you out on dates, then the following explanations could be why.

He’s Scared of Commitment

A fear of commitment is one of the most common reasons for a guy to try and maintain a relationship with a woman, but act like he wants more. If the guy you like always flirts with you, asks you out and stays at your house, but maintains that he just wants to be friends - you might have a commitment phobe on your hands.

It’ll be clear to you if he’s afraid of commitment, as you’ll notice that he’ll do anything to avoid a relationship, such as dating lots of women and not getting too involved with anyone, so if he tells you he just wants to be friends but treats you like more than that, then this might just be the reason.

Just like with women, men can develop a fear of commitment for a number of different reasons. Whether they’ve never had a real relationship before, they’ve been cheated on in the past, or they watched their parents go through a tricky divorce - a fear of commitment can stem from anywhere and cause a man to avoid a relationship at all costs.

If you think the guy you like might be afraid of commitment, you should look for the following signs:

  • He’s got a lot of female friends
  • He’s never been in a relationship
  • He keeps women at arm’s length
  • He has a lot of casual relationships
  • He goes on a lot of dates but they never progress
  •  He ghosts women when things start to get serious
  • He never gets emotionally invested in women

If you think that a fear of commitment might be the reason he doesn’t want your relationship to progress to the next level, then it might be worth having a conversation with him about his reasons. If he’s got a deep-rooted fear of commitment, then it might be difficult to change his mindset, so it might be worth trying to find a man without any commitment issues!

It’s also worth considering whether you’d really want to pursue a relationship with someone who has commitment issues, as they can be emotionally unavailable and generally difficult to maintain a relationship with.

He Doesn’t Want to Ruin Your Friendship

If the man you’re interested in tells you he just wants to be friends with you but is acting like he wants more, it might be because he’s afraid of ruining your friendship, especially if you’ve known each other for a long time.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

It can be difficult to turn a friendship into a relationship, and only a lucky few people are able to do it. Being friends first can be a good basis for a relationship, not only do you know each other incredibly well, but you can avoid the awkward first-meetings with friends and family too, as you already know them!

However, turning a friendship into a relationship can also be awkward too. Not only can it be difficult to sleep with a good friend for the first time, but getting to know each other on a more intimate level doesn’t always work and can lead to a break down in the friendship.

So if you’ve been good friends for a long time and he tells you he just wants to stay friends with you, but acts like he wants more, he might be afraid of losing not only you, but his friendship group too.

If this is the case, you need to have a discussion about how important your friendship is to both of you and establish whether or not the two of you are actually compatible as a couple, as opposed to just on a sexual level. If you both think it could work between the two of you, then it might be worth trying to pursue a relationship with each other, but agree that if it doesn’t work out then nothing will change in your friendship group.

This will help to alleviate his worries and see that you’re mature enough to deal with any situation which may arise from the two of you dating.

However, if you have a discussion with him about the situation and it’s clear that he just wants to keep you as a friend, then you need to address the situation with him and let him know that the way he’s treating you isn’t acceptable.

Whether he just flirts with you when he’s drunk, or often invites you out for dinner or drinks, if he treats you as more than a friend, but maintains that a friendship is all he wants, then you need to tell him that he can’t have it both ways and he needs to choose. He can’t have his cake and eat it too!

He Likes The Attention He Gets from You

Whether you’ve been friends for years or you met a matter of months ago, if a man tells you he just sees you as a friend, but acts like he wants more, it might be because he likes the attention he gets from you.

A man like this can often come across as a bit of a player, charming women, flirting with them, but never settling down or dating someone seriously. If you recognise these signs in the man you’re interested in, it might be that he just likes female attention and isn’t ready to settle down.

Any single person would be lying if they said they didn’t enjoy getting attention from the opposite sex, so if he can have your undivided attention so the two of you can flirt when he sees you without having to commit to a relationship, then why wouldn’t he?

Additionally, if the two of you are sleeping together, but he still maintains that you’re just friends, then he’s getting the best of both worlds. Not only is he getting the girlfriend experience without actually having to commit, but he’s also able to go out and get attention from other women whenever he wants, which isn’t fair on you.

If you’re not happy with the way he’s treating you, then you need to have a conversation with him and tell him it’s unacceptable, especially if you’ve got strong feelings for him. By telling you there’ll never be anything between the two of you, but then giving you false hope, he’s playing with your emotions and stringing you along - preventing you from finding someone who would be willing to commit to you.

If he doesn’t respect that and continues to play with your feelings and emotions, then it might be worth evaluating whether you even want to keep him around as a friend, let alone a potential boyfriend!

It’s Bad Timing

Whether he’s afraid of commitment, has just got out of a serious relationship, or just isn’t ready to settle down, the guy you like might just want to maintain a friendship with you to keep you where he wants you until he’s ready to settle down.

If a man tells you that he wants to keep you as a friend, but is always flirting with you and acting like he wants more, he might actually want more, but just not at this point in time. So if the guy you like wants to keep you around as a friend, it might be because he sees potential between the two of you, but you’ve just come along at the wrong time.

Whether he needs a few months to get over his ex-girlfriend, or he’s going through a busy period at work - a man who tells you he wants you around, but won’t commit to you, might just be biding his time until his life is a little less hectic.

Although it’s great news that he’s interested in you and isn’t just leading you on, you need to evaluate whether or not he’s worth waiting for. A guy who can’t see your potential and want to snap you up immediately might not actually be worth waiting around for. After all, if he’s willing to risk losing you to another man, can he truly see what you’re worth?

If you still want to wait for him to clear his head and be prepared to develop a relationship with you, you need to consider whether or not that’s something you want to deal with. Not only might you have to watch him flirt with other women and not be able to do anything about it, but not being able to act the way you want to with the guy you really fancy can be completely draining and leave you feeling stressed, unhappy and insecure and actually lead you to resent him instead.

So before it gets to that point, it’s important to talk to him about the way you feel and ask him whether he thinks he’ll ever be ready to start dating you. If the answer is no, then you know exactly where you stand and you can talk to him about the way he treats you.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

However, if the answer is yes, not only is that great news, but you can also find out how long he thinks you might be waiting for and whether or not you want to stick around for that long.

He’s Letting You Down Gently

This one might not be that easy to hear.

If the guy you’re interested in tells you he just wants to be friends, then he might just be trying to let you down gently to avoid hurting your feelings or making you feel insecure.

If you think he acts like he wants more than a friendship with you, then you should evaluate the way he acts around other women too, as it might just be that he’s a flirty person. If you notice him treating his other female friends the way he treats you, then it that should make it clear that he is, in fact, only interested in maintaining a friendship with you and nothing more.

It’s also common for men to tell women - and women to tell men - that they just see them as a friend to let them down gently after a first date, so if you went on an amazing date with this guy, but he texted you the next day to say he saw it on more of a friendship level, then he might just be sparing your feelings.

Alcohol, being caught up in the moment and poor judgement on his part can all be contributing factors to him acting like he wants to be more than friends with you. However, upon contemplation he might realise that the two of you aren’t compatible and he’s not interested in seeing you again, leading to him telling you he just sees you as a friend.

If this happens to you, it can be hurtful. However, you need to cut your losses and move on to a guy who you really click with.

So whether he’s scared of commitment, or just had a few too many beers, if a guy tells you he just wants to be friends but treats you like more, it’s important to have a conversation with him to stop him from leading you on any further.


What Does It Mean When A Guy Says He Just Wants To Be Friends For Now?

If a guy says that he just wants to be friends with you for now then he likely isn’t attracted to you. If you have told him that you like him more than a friend and he doesn’t feel the same way then he may tell you that he just wants to be friends. He may also like you back but is hiding his feelings for you.

What To Do When He Just Wants To Be Friends?

If he just wants to be friends when you have told him that you like him then it is important to remember that you can’t force someone to feel a certain way about you. If he doesn’t feel the same way about you as you do about him then it is important not to put pressure on him as you may lose him as a friend too.

How Do You Tell If He Just Wants To Be Friends?

If you have told a guy that you like him and he doesn’t respond positively or he doesn’t say that he feels the same way he may just want to be friends. It will usually be quite clear that he just wants to be friends if you have told him that you are attracted to him.

What To Say To Someone Who Just Wants To Be Friends?

If you have told someone that you like them and they respond by telling you that they just want to be friends, it is up to you how to respond. If you want to stay friends with this guy then make sure to tell him that this is what you want and hopefully you can maintain your friendship. If you can’t be friends then you have to be honest with him.

Is He Interested Or Just Being Nice Signs?

If you are looking for signs whether he is interested or just being nice to you then pay attention to the way he acts around you. If his body language completely changes when he is around you he is likely interested in you. If he smiles when you are around and brushes against you when you are talking then he is likely interested in you.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

6 comments on “He Says He Just Wants to Be Friends But Acts Like He Wants More (Here's Why)”

  1. I have a question I have been seeing this guy and mainly talking due to covid but it has come down to now that he is going to be moving for work and he doesn’t want to get into a relationship right now but can only offer me as being his friend, but hasn’t contacted me since we last saw each other on Sunday but kissed me many times and told me I am the sexiest woman he has met in a long time. Am I stupid to stay his friend ?

    1. I am in a similar situation. We met on a dating site. I’ve been seeing this guy for only a month. He will be getting deployed for 10 months and after that him and his buddies will be going to another country to have some “fun” before returning home. I am not happy about the “fun” part at all. He clearly stated to me that he just wants to be friends and wants no relationship, but yet when he’s around me, he’s very affectionate and we have had been I intimidate few times. But yet he got jealous when his friend was talking to me. He got upset when I couldn’t return his phone calls at that moment. He told me he didn’t want to see me anymore then called me 20 mins later to apologize. He knows I want more but I am going along with the friend thing even though it is killing me. Thing is we both really like each other and have a good time when we go out. He thinks I’m so pretty, sexy, kind, sweet, caring. So I don’t understand why he is playing with my head. This morning he texted me asking me why I was viewing his profile and asked if there was something wrong. I told him I was deleting my msgs and going to delete my account. I told him I had noticed he changed his profile picture and then I told him I only wanted to be with him until he left. He told me he can only be friends with me. It’s like he got defensive or something. He told me he didn’t want any drama or complications and did tell me why finally. He said we will keep in contact while he is deployed. I will probably lose him anyway because he was talking about accepting another position in another state when he comes back or take job they offered him to stay here . I wanna have some hope that maybe he will eventually want to take it further some day. I really just want to come out and tell him how I really feel but I already know he knows how I feel.
      So yeah.... I know exactly how you feel. I say just stay friends and see where it goes even tho he says he just wants to remain friends with a benefit if that is the case.

  2. I have the same problem this guy I met on line but just wants to be friends he works out of town a lot but comes home on weekend we text every night but he has never spend the night over night with me what is wron with this picture

    1. Same thing is happening to me right now. The fact of dating and be friends first is so confusing. At first before we met he was so excited but I told him friends first so he don't think that I want to have sex or kissing on the first date (it's weird for me) so after we met, texting for 2 weeks or so I asked him what he thinks and he told me wants to be friends first I seemed to be a very good person and he does not want to rush things yet, want to know me better. It was fine for me. Now we have a month talking and flirt sometimes but he did not make the decision yet I really like him and don't know if is a good idea keep following his flow. I don't know if I'm wasting my time to maybe ended up like friends.

  3. I have known a guy for a year he got my number from a friend when out to his friends for dinner than lockdown. We text he would FaceTime me at least twice a day he done all the running. We met but social distanced no holding hands. My birthday he bought me a huge balloon with perfume, I thought this was a sign then he tells me we are just friends. I sleep over his every weekend in his bed no sexual contact. This is driving me mad what shall I do

  4. I have been seeing a guy for 4 months. He is 15 years older than me. I am in my 50's. When we first got together he said he didn't want a serious relationship and neither did I as I just got out of a 3 year relationship. But I ended up having g very strong feelings for him. We got very intimate and I would stay the night often. He quit getting out because of Covid but asks what we could do to be together. After Christmas he blows me off but then we talked. He said I'm too young for him, blah blah. We talked it out and then he says we are good. So we continued spending time together. Then just two weeks ago he blows me off again then I get a text saying it's not working. So I called to get reasons, which I did not get.. but we talked for 45 minutes. He said he just wanted to be friends and he would always be there for me. This was Sunday. Then Friday he texts me in the afternoon. I was short with him. He said he was going to stop at the club where I bartend but had to help his daughter. I told him it was probably best. He said ok. Then that evening he text to see if I was at my local FOE. I told him yes so he asked if he could stop by and have a drink with me. So I said yes. We hung out for a couple hours then I went to his house and spent the night. But then Sunday night I went to his house to watch football. At one point I asked what happened Friday. Did he have a change of heart. He said friends get together for drinks right? I said yes but that was more than friends. He said he didn't want to be without me completely but wanted to be friends. So now I'm st a loss because I thought he was finally wanting a relationship with me. Will he ever love me and want to commit??

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