You meet a guy. He’s so attractive you feel like you’re going crazy. But you can’t just outright tell him how you feel, can you? So you dip your chin, plaster a coy smile and look up at him. He smiles back, asks you something you won’t remember later and you both giggle.
The mating dance has begun, and then – nothing.
He never asks you out. He never makes a move. He never tries to take things further than flirting. Things end where they started. It’s frustrating and confusing and makes you wish you were a mind reader so you could figure him out.
Why do guys flirt when they are not interested? In a word, because it’s fun. But it’s not always so simple, so I’ll give you more details in more words.
Why Do Guys Flirt When They Are Not Interested?
Flirting makes us feel good on a chemical level. It comes as no surprise that sexual attraction makes people irrational and impulsive. If you feel like you’re going crazy when you’re really into someone, that’s because you are.
Arousal and flirting are connected to the brain’s limbic system – the part of the brain that controls survival instincts. This means that when you’re around a potential partner, your intellect shuts off and your impulses take over.
When a guy flirts with you, his brain gets flooded with chemicals that make him feel good, like dopamine, and give him a rush, like adrenaline. It’s thrilling and makes him feel like he’s won something.
But why do guys flirt when they are not interested? Because it’s a low-cost, low-risk high, and to go past flirting he would need to turn his brain back on. So unless he’s sure that it’s worth it, he won’t go from flirting to dating.
What Are Some Reasons Why Men Flirt?
A lot of people like to flirt a little when an opportunity presents itself, but if it goes on for a while without moving forward, it can become annoying. Here are 22 reasons why men flirt with you but never make a move.
1. He likes attention
It can’t be denied that getting positive attention feels good. Being in the spotlight flatters the ego and works wonders for self-esteem. Everyone likes to receive compliments and be praised.
The guy who’s flirting with you might just be enjoying the attention you’re giving him because it makes him feel good. Maybe it never even occurred to him to take things further.
On the other hand, he also might be a serial attention-seeker who needs people to be interested in him to feel good about himself.
If that’s the case, consider yourself lucky that you never got into anything serious with him because one person is never enough for someone like that.
2. He’s a natural flirt
Usually, flirting is how you tell someone that you’re attracted to them but for some people, flirting is just how they relate to others.
This guy never has to wonder how to flirt. Most of the time, he doesn’t even mean to do it – the compliments, the jokes, the winks just come out and sweep you off your feet without a second thought. You’re left wondering what happened while he goes on his merry way.
If you’re not too stuck on this guy and you think you can handle his flirting without falling for him, you can keep playing this game with him for some casual fun.
But be careful if he’s a little too cute – you don’t want to get hooked if it’s not going anywhere.
3. He’s unaware that he’s flirting
And then there are those people who flirt without any intention or self-awareness. He’s probably the type of guy who doesn’t pick up on non-verbal cues, so he doesn’t even realize that he’s leaving a flirty impression.
He’s talking to you, being funny and kind and because he doesn’t recognize that what he’s doing could be interpreted as interest. This type of guy is often oblivious to signs that someone likes him and could probably use some relationship advice.
4. He wants to feel desired
Flirting boosts confidence and self-esteem, so if a guy isn’t feeling attractive, he might be flirting with you because it makes him feel wanted. In this case, his behavior has nothing to do with you specifically.
His ego needs a boost, and there’s nothing quite as flattering as the attention of a beautiful woman. You’re attractive, so flirting with you is making him feel better about himself. He’s never had any intention of taking it to the next level, because it was never about that.
5. He’s lonely
If he flirts with you without directly asking you out, he might just be lonely. He’s not looking to connect with you, just trying to escape loneliness.
There are plenty of reasons why he might be lonely but unwilling to start something. Maybe he just got out of a relationship, or he’s been single since last year and still hasn’t moved on.
Maybe he moved to a new city and just needs a friend, but he’s looking for one on Tinder.
Whatever his reason, if he’s lonely and only wants your company, it’s up to you to decide if you’re okay with that or if you’re not interested.
6. He’s bored
This guy has nothing better to do, so he’s trying to have some fun. You just happen to be around. Casual flirting is an exciting way to kill boredom, but if you’re hoping he means it, you might get disappointed.
You know how when you’re bored, you check Instagram, close the app, then open it immediately again? There’s nothing new because you’ve seen it all a second ago, so you’re bored but still don’t know what else to do to pass the time.
That’s how he feels, only instead of social media apps, he’s flirting. Check out these comebacks for an overly flirtatious guy if he gets too annoying.
7. You’re fun
Flirting is fun. Flirting with you even more so.
If your personality is interesting and exciting, and you’re a pro flirt yourself, he might simply be enjoying the back-and-forth. Maybe he’s not looking for anything, but because you’re so skillful at flirting back, he can’t stop.
Unless you’re into it and keeping things casual is fine with you, you might enjoy verbally sparring with him. He’ll probably never try to get to know you on a deeper level, but, without a doubt, the game you’re playing is electrifying.
8. You’re new
Some guys zoom in on a single woman they’ve just met and hit on her without ever planning to get serious because, for them, it’s all about the thrill of the new. This kind of guy will get over you real quick, as soon as the novelty wears off.
It’s a good idea to stay away from guys like him because even when they finally take the plunge and enter into a relationship, they’re always ready to bail for someone new and exciting.
9. He’s responding to your flirting
One of the reasons why he’s flirting with you without doing anything else might be because he’s doing it to be nice. If you were the one who started flirting and he didn’t know how to react except flirt back, maybe that’s all there is.
It would be better for both of you if you stopped flirting, but he might not even realize that he’s sending you the wrong signals.
Instead of wondering if he’s flirting with you and why, the best thing you could do is stop flirting with him and see if he’ll stop as well. If he does, he was probably just responding to you.
10. He’s used to flirting with you
If flirting has become common behavior between the two of you, he might be flirting because he doesn’t know how else to interact with you. This often happens between friends who start flirting as a joke, but then one of them starts taking it seriously.
Try communicating with him without flirting or just ask him if he’s interested. Be prepared that he might say no, so if you want to keep him as a friend, deal with it before you get in too deep.
There’s always a possibility that he is interested, but for some reason, he’s hiding it. One of the possible explanations might be that he thinks you’re not interested, whether or not that’s true.
Have you ever mentioned someone else or given him any other reason to believe that you’re unavailable? You might have mentioned something in passing that made him think so even if you don’t remember.
Or you might just be really bad at flirting. Guys need you to make things really obvious for them, so step up your flirting game to make him realize that he has a chance with you.
12. He likes you but not like that
It’s possible that he likes you, but not in a romantic way. This guy wants you to be his friend, and he might not even realize that you’re interpreting his actions as anything but friendly.
You might have given him your phone number thinking he asked for it because he was interested in you and he gave it to you because he wanted to make a friend.
At this point it’s not too late to decide whether you like him just as a potential romantic partner or if being friends with him is something you’d be interested in.
13. He likes you but won’t admit it
I’m sure you liked someone in the past but you didn’t want to admit it even to yourself. There are lots of reasons why someone might refuse to acknowledge their true feelings, and he might be in one of those situations.
If he likes you but he’s pretending he doesn’t, he probably has his reasons. Maybe he has something going on in his life that he has to focus on. Maybe you remind him of someone who hurt him. Maybe he’s just not in a good place at the moment.
He’s flirting to be around you without moving things along. He’s interested, just not enough to admit that he is.
14. He likes you but thinks you won’t work
Attraction isn’t always enough for a relationship. If he thinks that things wouldn’t work between you, maybe he thinks that flirting is as far as the two of you can go.
If you’re playing hard to get, maybe he believes that you’re not interested. If you’re very different people, he could be thinking that it’s impossible to bridge your differences. If he’s still hung up on an ex, he might be waiting until he’s ready.
You could wait for him to change his mind, or step up your game. Use some flirting tips to get his attention.
15. He likes you but you’re “not his type”
Even though attraction is impossible to predict and can happen at any time and with anybody, some people think that they have a definite type and refuse to stray from what they’ve imagined.
For this reason, they don’t even realize that they like someone because that person isn’t what they were supposed to be. He might not know the exact reason why he’s not interested, but he can’t stop himself from flirting with you.
If he likes you but, for one reason or another, you don’t fit the mold of what he believes to be his type, he’s trying to convince himself that he’s not into you.
16. He’s unsure
His problem might be that he’s not sure of his feelings or yours, so he’s flirting because he’s trying to figure it out. He probably has trouble reaching a conclusion and needs a little push.
If he doubts his own feelings, knowing for sure that you like him will make him like you back.
This happens when someone is insecure. He doubts what he sees and hears and questions his feelings, so he might need you to help him make the first move.
The best way to do this is to be very clear that you’re interested. This is no time for subtlety, because a guy like this might not be sure even if you openly tell him.
17. He changed his mind
It’s entirely possible that when he started flirting with you, he fully intended to take things further, but something changed and he doesn’t any longer.
One reason for this could be something that happened in his life that made a relationship between you impossible. Another is that, after talking to you, he realized that your compatibility isn’t as high as he had hoped.
It’s also possible that you’ve done something that put him off. If you like him and want him to change his mind back, figure out what it was, brush up on your flirting moves and don’t give up.
18. He’s stringing you along
If he’s not attracted to you, then why is he flirting with you? There are guys who like to keep backups and he might be one of those. He doesn’t want to be with you, but he wants to keep you hooked just in case he changes his mind.
Don’t waste time trying to make him choose you, because guys like this never fully commit – they’re always waiting for someone new to come along. He’s probably a regular user of dating apps even when he’s in a relationship.
Do yourself a favor and get out while you’re still unattached.
19. To make another woman jealous
If he already likes someone but this other woman won’t give him the time of day, he might be using you to try to make her jealous. People who don’t know how to get the attention of someone they like use this tactic often.
In his mind, it will happen like this: he flirts with you, she sees it and realizes that she wants him all for himself. Sometimes this works, sometimes it’s in vain, but it’s best for you to get out of the storm if you notice that this is what’s going on.
Manipulation is a terrible way to start a relationship and it’s best not to get involved.
20. He doesn’t want a relationship
Flirting is a way to show attraction but it doesn’t have to mean that the other person is interested in an actual relationship. Sometimes people do it even though they know that it won’t lead anywhere – flirting can be its own purpose.
He’s the only one who knows why he doesn’t want to be in a relationship and it doesn’t really matter. Trying to change his mind won’t succeed, so it’s better if you don’t even try.
If you’re interested in him because you want to be together, spare your feelings and stop flirting with him. But if you’re cool with keeping things casual, then there’s no harm in playing with him. Not every flirtation has to end in romance.
21. He’s already in a relationship
If he’s a married man or in a serious relationship already and he’s flirting with you, just say no. It doesn’t matter if you believe that flirting is cheating or not, it won’t end well for you.
He might have problems in his relationship or he’s doing it because he’s a jerk, but the reason why has nothing to do with you. It doesn’t matter how flirting with women that aren’t his girlfriend or wife makes him feel and you shouldn’t care about it.
He flirts with you because he wants something from you – attention, intimacy, sex – but it’s not your problem. Tell him upfront that you don’t want anything to do with him and stop all contact.
This is the best way to protect yourself. Don’t let him use you.
22. He’s not actually flirting
Of course, there’s a chance that it’s all in your head.
It’s possible that because you like him, you think he likes you too. If he’s friendly and funny and you’re attracted to him, it doesn’t take much to let wishful thinking make you convinced that he feels the same.
You might have been misinterpreting his behavior because you were looking for signs of flirting where there were none. If he’s a charming guy who makes people comfortable in his company, it’s easy to get the impression that he’s interested.
This should clear up the confusion, if you’re wondering why do guys flirt when they are not interested.
Some men do it because they’re needy and insecure and sometimes because they want to feel good. Others do it because they’re unhappy or if they don’t care how it affects you. Sometimes, it’s just fun or their way of relating.
Depending on how you feel about it, you can ask him to stop, ignore him or go along with it.
As long as you don’t endanger your heart by hoping that he’ll change his mind, you’re good. If he’s flirting with you to be cute, you might end up becoming friends if that’s something that you’re okay with.