Literature taught me things that schools didn’t. Like vampires can’t travel on water, single men of fortune seek brides, and being jealous of international Quidditch players for liking your nerdy best friend is one of the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection. Whether it’s the Victorian era or the modern world, love is still as complicated. Or maybe love is simple, it’s just the people who are complicated.
It would appear simple and logical for one to express their feelings to the person they like. However, many people would rather jump in freezing water. Because when people express their feelings toward other people, they desire reciprocity. And if there isn’t any, it either crushes them or makes them distant. But personally, if I like someone who I think also likes me, I would always want to know if he is just scared or not interested in me.
19 Signs He Likes You But Is Afraid Of Rejection
Are you scrolling down this page, wondering, “Why is he holding back his feelings?” Let’s try to answer that question. Psychologists associate fear of rejection with evolutionary psychology. Fear is an internal alarm system designed to help with survival in the event of a threat. Fear is essential for a person to stay off things that could harm or cause pain, be it a charging bull or a cruel bully. Events that harm you in some way like touching a hot pan or an apathetic partner create a learning condition to avoid such events later.
So, he is afraid of getting hurt again. Or, it’s his insecurity about his looks. According to research, people often underestimate themselves when it comes to their attractiveness. It’s possible he considers himself average in comparison to you. Or it’s possible that he believes you’re attracted to someone else. Either way, he won’t risk his bond with you by expressing his feelings and making everything awkward. Trust me, this happens more than you think. He really likes you but is scared. Let’s have a look at the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection:
1. You often find him around you
One of the undeniable signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection is that you’ll find him available when you need him but not in a creepy stalker way. If you need a handyman, he will come to your place in one holler. If your date stood you up, he’ll come to pick you up. If you’re just looking for someone to grab a quick snack with, you’ll find him waiting with two subs outside your building. He knows when you’re working, what you like, and so can predict what you’d be doing on an average day. So, it’s not surprising to find him around you.
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2. His friends know you
That can be surprising if the two of you don’t have any mutual friends. His friends appear to know some sort of inside secret about you. You’ll find them passing messages with their eyes to him. They appear to be considering you. And they’ll say only nice things about him. They may let slip something that you told him earlier, which is a sign that he talks about you to them. In case you do have mutual friends, they often ask you about him, and what you think about him. It’s almost like they want to know what sort of feelings you have about him. This is definitely one of the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection.
3. Your conversations are fun
Even when it’s only small talk. When a guy likes you, he tries to keep you happy. He’ll know how to keep a conversation going with a girl. He’ll try to make you laugh, crack jokes, and keep you engaged. You’ll find him talking about the things you love. He’ll appear genuinely interested in anything you say. He’ll be a great listener and be able to provide his opinion on it. You would not want to wait to meet him again just to talk to him. But, he would also avoid topics that may be unsavory to you and may result in a disagreement. This is one of the signs someone likes you but is afraid of rejection.
4. He goes to great lengths to be agreeable to you
Why do guys get scared and back off? Because they don’t want to mess up their friendship with you. That is why they do whatever is possible to keep you happy. If you’ve entered into some sort of disagreement, more often than not, he’ll be the one to agree with you. Most of the time, the two of you do things you suggest, go to places you like. He’ll apologize for things that you might have not even considered offensive. He’ll give you an upper hand in most things, so you like his company better than others.
5. Your eyes connect with him a lot
All the stuff they say about eyes being the windows of the soul begins to make sense when your eyes connect. The right amount of eye contact is one of the biggest turn-ons for a guy. He always looks at you with soft, reverent eyes. If you find him in the opposite section of a crowded room, your eyes often connect with him. Usually, you spot him looking at you when you least expect it. He’ll take his eyes off you instantly, but it’s one of the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection. If you really want to make sure, get a friend to notice him.
6. He is quick to reply to you
Even if it’s at an ungodly hour, he always replies to your texts or calls. You can always ask him for help or suggestions, and he really tries to help you instead of just giving you wikiHow instructions. And not only when you ask for help. He offers to help when he sees you struggling with something, even if it’s just a lost earpad of an earphone, and offers you his own so you won’t have trouble attending Zoom classes or meetings.
7. He trusts you
He asks you for your opinion on things, whether personal or general. Or he asks you to help him buy something for his mother or for himself for something important. He will also follow your suggestions if you give him any, showing that he trusts your judgment. Asking for advice is also a sign of emotional attraction from a man. With time, you will find him divulging unsavory things about his life, like any previous relationships or traumatic events, things people don’t often tell strangers. You’ll learn about his past relationships which will be one of the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection.
8. He wants to spend time with you
Either you hang out together or with friends, he ensures he’s there if you are. You’re often talking, either by text or by phone. He even cancels or reschedules any engagements if you ask him to meet up. If he can’t, then he appears genuinely sorry. He sends you pictures when he’s traveling. When he gets back, he comes to see you with stories and gifts. He always seems to be making plans to see or do things with you. He just loves adventures with you.
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9. He tries to impress you
He knows how to talk to women and impress them instantly. You will notice him being extra careful with his clothes. If you point out a certain color that you like, he’ll start to wear that color more often. He will begin to take an interest in things you like and will tell you his own experiences to show his knowledge, particularly about his accomplishments (but in a humble way).
You will also notice body language cues such as his face being directed at you or the tips of his feet being pointed toward you. Sometimes, there’d be a light touch. When you move in crowds, he’ll shield you with his body. But he’ll avoid situations or experiences that might show him in a poor light. This is one of the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection.
10. He remembers what you say
You tell him about an obscure incident from your childhood and he will be able to recall it the next time it comes up. Why is this important? Studies show that when we remember an event, it’s possible that we’re not remembering the original event, but the last time we remembered the incident. When someone can recollect an event that is special to you, it creates a bond between the two of you, and this will be part of the distorted image that you remember the next time you think of the event.
11. He is awkward around you
As much as we like to believe, even the suavest men go to pieces in front of someone they like. They’ll try to hold the charm, but you do get a glimpse of him trying to keep the act from falling apart. Awkwardness is one of the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection. He’ll drop things, make unintentionally funny statements, bump into things, and be awkwardness incarnate. This reaction to a nervous situation is one of the signs he likes you but is afraid of getting hurt.
12. He creates a safe space for you
He laughs at your jokes. Even the ones that are not funny, especially the jokes that are not funny. When someone tries to make you trust them, they try to create a comfortable environment around themselves. He tries to create a space where you can say even the silliest of things without worrying about any judgment. This is called ‘holding space for someone‘. You’ll find you’re able to trust him with your secrets or your insecurities, but at the same time, he refrains from saying things he feels you’ll find suffocating, for example, your association with your ex. Also, if you’ve gone through a breakup recently, this could be why he is holding back his feelings.
13. He is shy about his love life
One of the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection is that he is not boastful about the number of women he has gone out with or how his relationship was with them. He’ll tell you about them if you ask, but he won’t broach the subject on his own. He has had some rough experiences in love. Though he genuinely appears to have moved on, it’s obvious to you that he is afraid of getting hurt again. If you do run into his ex, you’ll notice body language cues such as shrinking his body or avoiding eye contact which tells you that he doesn’t want you to see him in presence of her. This is a way for him to avoid any conflict that can hurt his relationship with you.
14. He flirts with you
One of the signs someone likes you but is afraid of rejection is that he flirts lightly with you, but never goes overboard. He is far too scared to destroy the friendship you have and so stays well within the friend boundary. He flirts with his eyes but his flirtations rarely go into a sexual area. He looks at you appreciatively when you look good. He’ll comment over a social media picture with some flirty lines, lean in to whisper a compliment in your ear, or grab an olive from your cocktail glass all the while maintaining eye contact. Just keep looking for such visual cues.
15. He knows what you like
One of the biggest signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection is he knows you intimately but keeps to his boundaries. If you go out, he’ll know what you’d most likely order, but he doesn’t assume that you want him to order for you. He’ll respect your agency while making a note of your likes. He’ll know if you’re allergic to certain foods, if you like certain foods more than others, you’ll even find a stack of your favorite chocolates at his apartment just in case you visit. He’ll also know what kind of books or movies you like. And he does it all without appearing suffocating.
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16. He hates anyone who gives you a hard time
Any professors or managers who give you a hard time are instant enemies to him. If he has some influence, he’ll try to make the situation favorable for you. If he can’t, then he’ll berate these people so you feel better. He’ll also suggest solutions so you can work around these people. You’ll notice that he looks out for you, but doesn’t go overboard. This tells you that he really likes you but is scared of appearing clingy.
17. He hates your toxic ex
With a vengeance. Especially if your ex didn’t treat you right. Why do guys get scared and back off? Because they suspect that you still have feelings for your ex. His reaction to your feelings about your ex is one of the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection. You’ll often find him slipping into a sulking silence if you talk about meeting your ex. If you suggest that your ex is trying to contact you but you’re not interested, he’ll tell you passionately about the reasons to never take back the ex who dumped you. If you two run into your ex, you’ll notice obvious visual cues, like broadening of shoulders and trying to look tall, as an attempt to ward off your ex.
18. It’s obvious to others
Any friends of yours who see the two of you hanging out will be able to spot the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection. When people like someone, their body language often gives them away. Your friends, even if you won’t, will be able to see these clues. People who don’t know you, like the waiters or the shopkeepers at the places you go to, will often confuse you for a couple. One of the signs he likes you but is afraid of getting hurt is that he will never correct them. But when you do, he looks downtrodden.
19. You can see the heart in his eyes
Going a bit Disney here, but you can see visual cues to know someone’s feelings for you. He looks in your eyes without a break for several seconds, synchronizes his body movements to yours, and follows certain traditional dating rituals such as paying for a meal, opening doors for you, and pulling out chairs for you. Psychologists suggest such behavior is indicative of one’s interest and if it were me, I would use these cues to identify if he’s plain scared or not interested in me.
It appears simple that one would be inclined to express their feelings toward the person they like, but societal factors come into play leading to a fear of rejection. However, the signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection will manifest nonetheless. There are books and books about people who had pined for someone only to find out in the very end that their feelings were mutual, often when it was too late. If you too realize that you have feelings for the guy who really likes you but is scared of rejection, you better get to him before he decides to move on.