The early days of dating are sort of like a dance – attraction is expressed by one person, and the other moves in response, showing the attraction is mutual. The dance goes back and forth between us and the object of our affection, each of us pulling different moves to show the other how interested we are.
But sometimes, one of us plays hard to get. One person feigns aloofness by taking a while to text back or alternating between enthusiasm and distance. Playing hard to get is, of course, a tactic to keep the other guessing and thus more invested in achieving the outcome they desire.
And then, there are those times when the line between playing hard to get and playing… not at all is blurred – the times when we can’t tell if he’s just being coy or isn’t actually interested in us at all. How many of us have had a crush like Ginnifer Goodwin’s in He’s Just Not That Into You, where we’re so desperate to believe someone likes us back that we’re willing to ignore blatant signs that, well, he’s just not that into us?
So what exactly are the signs that a guy isn’t playing hard to get, but actually isn’t interested in us at all?
1. He Takes Days To Text Back
We’re all well-aware of the dating “rules” that we can’t text back before a certain amount of time has passed. But if a guy’s into us and confident about it, he couldn’t be bothered with making sure the “right” amount of hours have passed. If a guy is into us but shy about it, he’ll still text back within a day – he won’t want to go longer without talking to us. So if he regularly takes days to respond, he’s sending a clear message (by not sending anything at all) that we don’t cross his mind.
2. He Hasn’t Followed Up after the First Date
The moment we get home from a magical date, all we can think about is when we get to talk to them next. If he were truly into us, he wouldn’t waste any time and would let us know soon after the date (within a day) that he wants to see us again. If it has been longer than that, even if he isn’t totally uninterested in us, he’s just not interested enough. Guys will chase after someone they really want.
3. He’s Keeping His Options Open
Dating apps and our general shyness towards labeling anything makes it difficult to know when we can expect exclusivity. But if a guy is into us, he won’t be interested in looking anywhere else or investing his energy in a different relationship. If he continues to use dating apps or is hitting up bars known for attracting singles, even if he hasn’t met up with anyone else, it’s an undeniable sign that he’s keeping his options open for when he makes his exit.
4. He Keeps Canceling
We’ve all had to cancel a date before, even one we were really looking forward to. Canceling once shouldn’t necessarily make our spidey senses tingle, but if canceling dates, or just neglecting to contact us about planning something when he’d said he would, becomes a trend…then he probably doesn’t care enough to actually follow through with seeing us again.
5. He Breadcrumbs You
Breadcrumbing is easily misinterpreted as playing hard to get – after all, both actions include leaving little “breadcrumbs” of attention, such as an occasional call or text, in order to keep the other person interested. The difference is that when he’s breadcrumbing, this dynamic isn’t actually leading to anything. He doesn’t have any intention of pursuing a relationship after a will-we-won’t-we dance, but just enjoys having someone interested in him. When a guy breadcrumbs us, it’s mostly about boosting his own ego.
6. He Doesn’t Do Anything Sweet or Romantic
Even guys who wouldn’t call themselves touchy-feely romantics will try to woo a girl with something special if he likes her – flowers, a candlelit dinner, a sweet note, a donut “just because.” Every guy’s thoughtful, romantic gesture will look different, but if he’s into us, he’ll be actively trying to show us by wooing us with romance.
7. He Never Reaches Out First
If he wanted to, he would. He wouldn’t care whose “turn” it was to text or leave us waiting by the phone to reach out. When a guy’s interested, even a shy one, he’ll make it clear by initiating at least half of the time. If we find that we’re always the ones initiating all communication, it’s probably because he didn’t feel the need to talk to us in the first place.
8. He Lets You Plan All the Dates
There’s nothing wrong with alternating between who gets to plan the date. After all, dating should feel equal in the sense of how invested we are. And when a guy likes us, he’ll constantly be thinking of new adventures to go on with us. If we’re the only one bringing up checking out the new French restaurant or going roller skating by the beach or going to a comedy show, and we’re getting zero date suggestions from him, he’s showing how little interest he has.
9. You Never Have His Full Attention
It’s not always easy to part ways with our phone – our whole life is on there. But at the same time, we shouldn’t have to beg a guy, assuming he likes us, to put his phone away during dinner or a movie. While never checking his phone isn’t realistic, a guy who’s actually interested in us won’t be regularly reaching for his phone. But if we feel like we never have his full attention for more than a minute because he keeps checking those notifications, he’s telling us that whatever’s happening on Instagram is more interesting to him than we are.
10. He Hasn’t Introduced You To Anyone
Introducing his girlfriend to friends or family is a big step — but a guy who sees a future with us will be excited to take that step. If we’ve been seeing him for a while already, and we might’ve already introduced him to our people, but he keeps coming up with excuses and reasons to not introduce us, it’s probably because he doesn’t see the relationship lasting.
11. He Doesn’t Ask for Details about Your Life
When we’re falling for someone, we crave to know everything about them. We want to know their childhood pets’ names and about the time they were the lead in the school play and what their favorite band in high school was. We want to know about their parents, their aspirations, and their fears. If he’s not bothering to learn any details about us, he’s making it clear that he’s not that into us.
12. He Isn’t Jealous at All
Jealousy is a double-edged sword in relationships – there’s a healthy way to express it, and an unhealthy way it can manifest. Toxic jealousy looks like constantly checking up on us when we’re out with friends or accusing us of cheating with zero evidence. But healthy jealousy is acknowledging that we’re with someone that others would want to be with and being protective of our relationship. If a guy couldn’t care less about whether or not other guys attempt to pursue us, he’s saying that he doesn’t see us as a prize that can be taken away.
13. He Said He Doesn’t Want a Relationship
We women have this need to prove to ourselves that we can change what a man wants – that even if a guy clearly states he’s not interested in a relationship, our beauty and wit and perfection will make us irresistible to him, making him change his mind. We think that getting him to change what he said he wanted will prove that we’re loveable and valuable. But in the interest of honesty, we can’t make a guy want something different. We can’t ask for a clearer sign that he’s not into us than him having the opportunity to begin a relationship with us and rejecting it.
14. He Has Talked about Other Women
We might assume he’s just trying to make us jealous by bringing up other women, or asking our advice about a girl he knows. And maybe he is, but that isn’t what truly matters here. What’s being said without actually being said is that he’s not interested in us nearly enough to not want to blow his chances by talking about other women to us.
15. He Doesn’t Try To Impress You
Dating always involves some kind of attempt to impress. Maybe it’s in the form of bragging about a semi-famous person he sort of knows, or taking us to an Italian restaurant just so he can show off that he’s fluent in Italian. We’re constantly trying to set ourselves apart from the other romantic “candidates” our date might have. But if he’s not bothered with trying to impress us, and even seems like he’s waiting for us to prove why we’re worth his time, he’s most definitely not into us.
A guy will make it clear if he’s just not that into us. He’ll leave us waiting by the phone, put the least amount of effort into seeing us again, or seem unbothered by the idea of us going out with someone else. As much as we want to tell ourselves it’s just a game he’s playing, chances are, he’s just not that interested.
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