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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  • Katy

    Well I like a guy since last year and his friends have been telling me this since that time and I started liking him when one of his friends came and told me that he has crush on me and he was there too but he was shy and blushing then he stopped his friend from telling me and his friend came and told me that he was joking. After that I started noticing him and liking him and he was always looking, staring at me and smiling and after that I realised his friends all started noticing me and looking at me and several times they came and told me that he likes me and he was there too as the last times smiling, blushing and being shy and his reactions were like he really likes me but when my friends asked two of his friends about if he likes me or not they said no but with different reasons!! I also felt that he liked me and also before his friends start noticing me and telling me that he likes me we chatted about 2 times but he didn’t tell me anything and he said he doesn’t want to add me and on our second chat I asked him why are u looking and staring at me and he said I never do that!!!!! Now, last year is gone and he is still in my school and I still like him. His friends are still doing the same things as they were doing last year like telling me that he likes me and wherever we pass by each other they start calling him and all these stuff and he also still acts like the way he was last year. This year he also said hi to me once for our first time and he was so nervous and shy while saying hi to me and once his friends and my friends tryed to make us talk or say hi but we were both too shy and we were both walking away but his friend said that he wanted to talk to me and I have to talk to him too but we both lost our chance and actually I didn’t say hi but one of his friends told me that he actually did but me and my friends didn’t hear anything and while these happening one of his friend said that they were joking but it didn’t seem like that. So one of my friends went and asked one of his friends again but this time he answered something differently. He said that he my crush used to like me but now he wants to forget me and thats why he is ignoring me a bit and looking at me less than before and he also said the reason why that he wants to forget me is that he still likes me. And nowadays, he is being mean to my friends and also me!!! His reactions and everything are same as before even he gets jelous, sad and angry when I’m with other guys and he gets sad and angry when someone hits me just like before!!! He also cares when I’m sick or not okay in the classes and when the teacher asks me whats wrong he turns and looks at me kindly and pays attention. I know this comment is so long and I’m so sorry for that but I want to know, do u think he likes me ?! And he is so shy to talk and all these stuff so what can I do to get him ?! Can u please help me. I really like and want him…

  • 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