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!
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!