Ask A Guy: If A Guy Is Mean To You, Does That Mean He Likes You?

Hi Ethan,

So I have a boy problem. Girls were brought up to understand that when a guy is acting like a jerk towards you, it really means that he likes you and wants your attention. I’ve been talking to this guy for a few months, and I’ve known him for a while before that. Sometimes when we talk, he’s flirty and sweet. But other times he can be such a jerk, and he ends up insulting me or something. I’m just confused. Does he like me? Please help!

While rudeness alone is not generally a clear indication of a guy’s interest in you (I’m pretty sure that the dude who cut me in line at the bank this morning wasn’t concerned with getting my number), I’d agree that such disrespectful displays can signify a guy’s romantic feelings for you when interspersed with obvious flirtation.

It’s an unfortunate habit that goes back for many as far as elementary school, when we don’t quite know how to express our emotions in dealing with the opposite sex. Humans often lash out in fear when faced with something we don’t quite yet understand — which is often why younger boys feeling the first rushes of hormones might tease or prod girls they feel an attraction towards. Frustratingly, females tend to mature (both physically and mentally) earlier than males do – so by the time you’re fairly in tune with your emotions, the guy you like might not be as caught up.

Traces of such childish behavior may haunt a guy through high school, when he’ll fall back on being a jerk as a defense mechanism to cover insecurities and protect himself from getting hurt. Most likely, the guy you’ve been talking to is lacking dating experience, and is afraid of being rejected – he’d rather be the “hurter” than the “hurt-ee.” On the other hand, his hang-up could be caused by an external factor: for example, if you’re in different social circles, he might be feeling pressure to distance himself from you in front of other people because he’s foolishly worried what others will think.

Either way, as long as both of you go without confronting the issue, his bad behavior will likely persist. If you’re into him and want to give this a chance, I recommend making the first move: go ahead and ask him out! On the other hand, if you’re not quite sure you trust him yet, you can call him on his nonsense, and ask him (in private) why he feels the need to be mean to someone who likes him. By revealing your own feelings, you’re killing two birds with one stone!

Good luck!

Ethan Fixell is a writer and comedian from New York City best known as one half of comic “dating coach” duo Dave and Ethan. Ethan also gives weekly advice in the video series “Dude Seriously?”. Follow Ethan on Twitter!


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  • Slime Gurl

    There’s this guy, I heard he likes me, and I like him,but he’s nice to me and very sweet, but when he’s around his friends he’s a jerk! When they are gone and I’m mad, he wonders why? We haven’t talked for a long time, and he acts like I don’t even exist, but I catch him staring?

  • Soniyah

    I would agree with everything you said but I have experienced the same thing as described above by the other girl and I tried asking the guy to prom, but he said no and that another girl had asked him . Well if he really did like me wouldn’t he turn Her down ??? And !! He’s bought a teddy bear and card for her too

  • Erica

    So this guy at first was kinda mean to be, but now he’s kinda teasing me. I was really surprised that he wasn’t mad at me because of this one incident. What does this mean? Also, I don’t know if I like him for not. Help??

  • Layla

    Hi Ethan,
    So this guy that i like, is really mean to me. I “tried” to make him jealous. (To test if he likes me.) By writing to another guy (That kinda likes me. And i like him JUST A LITTLE.) And then someone with an anonymous user writes to me:”You like (That guy that i like)” And i said:”What?” And then the anonymous user said:” Don’t look at him, he’s mine. And someone said that you stared at him. And don’t stare at him” And i was like:” It’s the boy that i like, who’s writing to me with an anonymous profile. Because we go in the same school.” And now, he has changed him self so much, i remember that cute guy who wasn’t that rude. And now he just wanna get attention. He’s changed the way he looks, by getting a LITTLE bit attention. And i’m so hurt of his comments, that i’m used to it now. I just don’t know why i deserve this? He writes to a 100 of other girls, and he writes his name on my profile and said that i like him?? And said that i shouldn’t “stare” at him. And stuff,

  • emma


    There this boy I like but he says I’m mean but that’s mot all he calls me names,kicks me,and makes jocks about me and my friends say that he likes me and all plus he’s relly cute

    – pinky

  • Jourdyn

    Hi ethan,
    Ok so there is this guy i like but he’s being mean to me and it’s very harsh does this mean he likes me please help me

  • Julia

    So I like this guy but we don’t talk much . He likes me to but who would make the first move if we’re both scared … I really do like him so what should i do

  • Madison

    Hi Ethan,
    Okay so I really like this guy, but he is really confusing on if he likes me back. We were at a hotel for a tournament last weekend and he told me to meet him on the third floor, where no one we knew had rooms. When I went he brought me into this like closet thing and we made out. Was that him making a move or just using me? I tried to talk to him about it, but he never really answered my question fully.

  • amy

    Hi Ethan ,

    Is it weird if you ex likes you and you like him back again ? Should the girl make the first move or should we wait untill the guy makes the move ? If the girl asks sometimes the boy rejects and they feel embarrassed.

    • celsa rigsby

      Well u need to make the first move by starting with hi and how r u