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Why Guys Act Distant When They Like You (17 Reasons Why They Back Off)

Last updated on July 29, 2022 by Sonya Schwartz

Is your crush acting distant? 

Are you wondering if it’s possible that he actually likes you in spite of this behavior? 

Would you be willing to make a move on him if you were sure he was attracted to you? 

If so, you’re in the right place. This guide reveals the telltale signs that a man likes you and is hiding it. 

However, before you dive into the article, you need to read the next few sentences very carefully.

I wasted time so many years investing into guys who weren’t willing to show they loved me. 

Even when I hooked up with these guys, they’d never want to commit to me. 

I was only ever seen as “a bit of fun”. Nothing more... 

It felt like I wouldn’t ever be good enough to become the girlfriend of a great guy…

Thankfully, I was able to turn it all around...and you can too.  

My dating life transformed when I discovered a little-known aspect of male psychology called the ‘Hero’s Instinct’. 

This is a deeply-embedded psychological trigger, which plays a powerful role in how men feel about the women in their life.

It can be the difference between being seen as “a bit of fun” and a woman worth investing in. That’s how it worked for me, anyway (read my personal story to learn more). 

It’s easy to learn how to trigger this way of thinking in man. 

If you want to make a lasting impact on your crush, click here to learn how the Hero’s Instinct transformed my love life. 

Of course, it may be that your dream guy already has serious feelings for you, even if he’s not showing it. The guide below reveals how he’ll act if this is the case. 

17 Reasons Why Guys Act Distant When They Like You

I remember liking this guy once and I would get so nervous whenever he was around I could barely speak. As a result, I would ignore him so he couldn't see how embarrassed I was. 

But do guys maintain distance when they like you? I thought it was only girls that got anxious. Perhaps men are as easily intimidated as girls are? 

But what if a guy is acting weird around you and you want to know why? 

Has a friend acted distant in the past, or started to avoid you and you don't know what to do? Or do you keep catching a guy sneaking looks at you but he hasn't approached you yet? 

Whatever position you are in, such a situation can be baffling, but don't worry. There are many reasons why guys act distant. 

1. He thinks that you don't like him

We have this image in our minds that the male species is super confident and imagine that every girl likes them. However, this is completely wrong. 

They are just like us in some respects. No one wants to be rejected, so if he has the slightest inkling you don't like him he won't ask you out. Instead, he’ll keep his distance. 

2. He is nervous about approaching you

This is one of the biggest reasons guys act distant. Women are so used to men asking us out that we don't get to understand how nerve-wracking it can be. 

Is it like pulling teeth getting him to spend time with you?
The key to solving is understanding men on a much deeper emotional level. The number #1 factor that causes men to behave this way is actually relatively easy to change with a few subtle things you can say to him.

Take this quick quiz to see if he actually likes you!

You are putting yourself on the line when you ask someone out. You are making yourself vulnerable and open to rejection. Some men just aren't good at it. Maybe he lacks confidence or has low self-esteem?

3. He likes you too much

Most people want to find their soulmate and live happily ever after. If you find that person it can be overwhelming. Love is a powerful emotion, and if you feel like you are falling for someone it can produce intense feelings. 

Perhaps this guy hasn't felt like this before or in a long time. He might be scared of his feelings and just wants some distance to sort out his emotions. 

 4. He is just busy

he is just busy

When we like someone we expect to get their full attention. However, we have no idea what is going on in their lives. We assume it must be pretty much like ours. 

But some people have lots of commitments, more than one job, or an ailing relative. Their priorities may not be focused on their love life right now. This doesn't mean he doesn't like you, it is simply a matter of time. He doesn't have much and he is spread thinly. 

5. He thinks you are out of his league

What would you rate your attractiveness out of ten? On a good day with good lighting and plenty of notice, I can muster a 6, but we have all seen people who are tens. 

This guy might be acting distant because he genuinely feels you won’t be interested in him. He thinks you are way too pretty or intelligent or funny and that’s why he’s maintaining distance around you. 

6. He has seen you reject other men

One of the not-so-obvious reasons guys keep their distance when they like you is when they don't dare to make the initial move. Perhaps he is not sure about how you will react. Maybe you are always with a group of girls and he cannot get close to you? 

If you have rejected the advances of other men he may not want to approach you. Perhaps he has the impression that you are picky or a little aloof? If this is the case, don't be too obvious. Act friendly and see what happens.

7. He is already seeing someone

We cannot help who we are attracted to, even when we are in a committed relationship. It is possible that he has noticed you and is showing all the signs that he is attracted to you. 

However, when it comes to making a move he won’t because he is already in a serious relationship. This might seem as if he is giving off mixed signals but it’s actually a good sign. It means he is a good guy

8. You intimidate him

Just as we have less confident men, girls are becoming more so. We earn the same amount, we are independent, and don't rely on men anymore. 

Perhaps your confidence shines like a beacon that attracts him but also scares him off. If you have noticed that he appears wherever you happen to be, or that he keeps looking at you, perhaps this is his defense mechanism.

9. He is a player

he is a player

Just as there are good guys and shy guys, there are also the bad types. These players don't date one woman at a time. They like to have several on the go at once. They are not interested in sticking to one relationship and are after sex, not love. 

So while he may seem initially interested in you and now he is keeping his distance, have a look into his past if you can. Talk to other girls that have dated him and get the low-down on his past relationships. That will give you a clue to the type of guy he really is. 

10. You were good friends, now he is attracted to you

Sometimes when a guy friend is distant, it is because he has suddenly realized he is attracted to you. Now he feels nervous around you because he wants to take the relationship out of the friend zone

He may want to reveal his true feelings. However, he has no idea how you will react. If you think you are in such a situation, it is time for an honest conversation about your feelings. 

11. Things are moving too fast for him

First dates are exciting and sometimes we can get carried away with enthusiasm. If the guy thinks you are coming on too strong he may back off to let the situation cool down. This does not mean he has no feelings for you. 

He might be acting distant because he wants to keep things casual for the time being. If you like this guy then allow him space. Don't make him the be-all and end-all of your life. 

12. He is playing hard to get

If the person in question is a bad guy, he might deliberately distance himself from you. He may even compliment you one day and then ignore you the next. This is a tactic called ‘push and pull’ where the guy will be nice to you and then treat you poorly. 

They are designed to make you act needy. These childish mind games have no place in the 21st century. If you think this is the case, my honest advice is to ignore the guy or tell him to grow up. 

13. He is not sure if you are in a relationship

Are you the type of girl that gets on with men more? Are you constantly surrounded by guy friends? Or is your best friend a guy? Men are easily confused when it comes to girls and friends of the opposite sex. They automatically assume you must be dating one of them. If this is the case, make it clear on social media that you are very much single. 

14. He has just come from a committed relationship

No one wants to be the rebound girl. If you know that this guy has just come out of a painful relationship, it makes sense that he is acting distant. Give the man space to work through his emotions. 

He might be feeling hurt or afraid of starting a new relationship too quickly. Then again he may have relationship issues in his personal life which make him start acting distant. 

15. He’s afraid of getting hurt again

Newsflash! Men have feelings too! They get hurt after a breakup just as easily as we do. He may have been in a serious relationship and was ready to take it to the next level. Then he was dumped and is now scared of risking his feelings again. 

The way to approach this situation is gently and casually. He will have his barriers up and be on the defensive. Show him that he can trust you and give him time to come out of his shell. 

16. He is a natural flirt with everyone

he is a natural flirt with everyone

Some men are natural flirts and genuinely don't realize they are giving off signals that they like you. You may feel an unquestionable connection one day, and then see him chat someone else up the next day. 

This doesn't necessarily mean the guy is a player. However, it does show a lack of commitment on his part. He is obviously not looking for something serious, so if you are – my advice is to move on. 

17. He is scared of commitment

The final reason guys start acting distant is one of commitment. Some men really battle with the thought of settling down. To them, they are not gaining a stable and loving relationship, they are losing their freedom. 

Men like this will show you at the beginning they are interested in dating. However, when the time comes to move to the next level and get serious they get scared and back off.

FAQs

Do guys get distant when they catch feelings?

Some guys start acting distant if they realize they have strong feelings for the woman. It will look as if he has lost interest but really he may just want to maintain distance for a while.

Not everyone is confident in such situations. Then again, it is possible he has other stuff going on in his life. Maybe he noticed you and wanted to spend time with you, but now something else has come up.

Why do guys push you away when they like you?

There are many reasons why men push you away when they like you. They might be struggling with their own emotions, or they could fear getting involved in a relationship.

Perhaps he wasn’t expecting to fall in love and now he has caught feelings for you he starts acting distant. You can usually tell if he likes you by watching his body language.

Why do guys seem interested then back off?

There are some men that fear getting involved too quickly, others may have many women on the go and want to play the field. If a guy likes you he will want to see you.

However, life and people are complicated. Perhaps his previous relationships ended badly and now it looks as if he is losing interest. In reality, he’ll feel anxious but he’ll respect some space from you.

When a guy acts distant, what should you do?

If you want a guy to stop acting distant you can either be straightforward and honest with him. Ask him outright if he likes you and wants to date you. Or you can play the same game he is. Be around wherever he is but maintain your distance.

Let him see you having a fun time and if he likes you he’ll stop acting distant. If he still doesn’t approach then perhaps he doesn't have feelings for you after all.

How do you tell if a guy is scared of falling for you?

Watch how he behaves around you. Does he stammer or blush when you are near? Or is he dismissive and rude to you? Does he tease you when you are together?

Maybe he acts as if he is not interested, but he is always around. My advice is to keep things casual and not put any pressure on him. He may have been hurt in the past and reluctant to commit to even the most casual of relationships.

In Conclusion

Men can be weird, can’t they? It appears that they have just as many insecurities as women. However, because they are the ones who are supposed to be confident and ask women out, it is unusual when they act distant. 

If you think a guy likes you but is scared of approaching you, be patient, gradually build up his trust, and don’t pressure him. Eventually, he’ll come around. 

Do you feel like all you think about is him, but he only thinks about himself?
This doesn't mean he doesn't like you. You have to understand how he is wired. Once you do, you'll find there is a subtle thing you can say that to him that will drastically change how he shows his emotions towards you.

Take this quick quiz that looks at whether he actually likes you or not!

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...

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