4 Ways To Tell If A Guy Likes You (Or If He's Just Playing With Your Head)

Warning, proceed with caution.

How To Tell If A Guy Likes You Or If He's Just Playing With Your Head getty

As a love and dating writer, people ask me a lot of questions. They are usually things like, "How do I get a dead hamster out of my [insert random orifice here]?" and "Where are my keys?" (That second one comes almost exclusively from my boyfriend and, thus, does not count.)

Another big question that often comes my way, particularly from single women looking to meet a man they like enough to be with him exclusively(in what human beings like to call "a relationship"), is how to know if a guy is playing you or really likes you and wants something serious.


I hate using the term "player" because I think it reduces the complex subject of love to little more than a game.

That said, there men and women out there who prefer to amass countless sexual romantic partners the way tech nerds collect keyboards, and it is understandably upsetting to discover this is true about someone you hoped might be a prospective long-term mate.

And while it's easy to tell if the guy you're casually dating has too many actual keyboards, it can be far more difficult to determine whether or not he's feeling things as deeply as you'd like him to.

RELATED: 9 Intense Mind Games Men Play & Why They're Signs He Doesn't Want A Relationship With You


There's no list of particular behaviors that every single man who is less than genuine about his intentions always does, which is, frankly, the reason so many of them are so successful at leaving women feeling confused about what's going down.

So, I decided to consult with some men I know who most definitely play mind games — including one who played me — to ask them what it is that makes them so skilled keeping women unclear about what it is they really want.

Indeed, I learned at least 4 signs to look for when you're not sure if it's serious and keep wondering how to tell when a guy likes you.

1. If he seems too good to be true, he may be playing you.

"For me, it's about showering her with attention, with gifts, with constant eye contact. I want to make sure she feels like she's the most special, most important person in the world. Once I've got that locked up, it takes a lot of bad behavior for her to even doubt me."

At the beginning of a relationship, it's normal to flirt and coo and say cheesy things to each other, but guys who play games take this noise to the extreme.


They send flowers to your house the day after meeting you. They send you letters via old-school snail mail. They tell you they feel something they've never felt before with you, and that they're excited to see where it takes you both.

These guys probably even mean it (a little)! But, aside from in some rare yet adorably cute instances, if a guy is coming on so strongly, if he's sweeping you off your feet so hard that you're looking around for the hidden cameras, then there's a solid chance he's a player.

Romantic gestures are insanely sweet, of course, but a relationship, a real and lasting one, it can't be built on them alone. 

2. If he's playing games with you, he may be avoiding real intimacy with you.

"It is amazing what not answering a woman's texts for a little while will do."


You know all those stupid "rules" that come along with dating? Like, don't text too much, wait a specified number of days to call him back, don't be the first person to say I love you, don't let him see you sweat, always be the person who the other person likes more... All that terrible bilge?

Those, my friend, are "rules," and you know what has rules? Games.

A man who relishes following the rules isn't a hot rebel, he's a Poindexter who values the thrill of the chase over the thrill of making a real connection with someone as bomb as you are, Bambino! (I don't know why I called you all bambinos, but I kind of love it, so it's staying in.)

RELATED: 8 Signs He's A Player And Will *Never* Commit To You


3. If he's avoiding real intimacy with you, he may not want to get serious with anybody. 

"I don't think I even knew I was a player until I started to get serious with one girl. The idea of not having sex with anyone else felt like death. The closer we got, the more people I hooked up with just because I was bugging out."

There's nothing wrong with having casual sex, provided you are being safe, healthy and honest about it. However, if the man you're into is doing it because he's trying to sabotage what they two of you could have, then he isn't someone with the maturity to handle a real relationship.

There are, of course, plenty of relationships where the people in them agree to have sex with others, but the operative word there is "agree".

If he's using sex as a weapon, or as an escape, it's because he can't handle the kind of intimacy that a sustained relationship requires. Your vagina is not a game of Battleship. He doesn't get to take blind shots at blowing up other women's phones just to keep you in line. If he's sexually incontinent, he's not the one. 


4. If he says he doesn't want anything serious right now, he's not serious about you.

"It's situational. I don't identify as a player but I have no plans to date anyone exclusively. The way I see it, I am upfront with the women I meet online about what I want, and I'm upfront with the women I meet at bars about what I want.

If a woman thinks we're in a relationship just because I enjoy having sex with her, that isn't because I tricked her. It's because she's refusing to get the memo."

It's often hard to believe a man who says he doesn't want a commitment and that he's just looking for sex.


I don't think this is because we women are stupid or naive. I think it's because when a man is confident and honest enough to say exactly what he wants, it's a major turn-on, and we're willing to delude ourselves in any number of ways just to make it "okay" to sleep with him. 

When a man tells you that he's not (at least, currently) monogamous or that he likes you a lot and loves having sex with you, but that he doesn't want to settle down, he's not being a jerk, he's being honest and he's telling you upfront exactly what he's all about. 

The key to identifying whether or not a man is serious about you really comes down to a matter of communication.

Listen to what he has to say, and remember that there's nothing wrong with having some dirty, hot sex with a guy who isn't boyfriend material if you want to. Just make sure you know that's the case before either of you go there. 


RELATED: If Your Guy Does These 7 Things, He's Playing You For A Fool

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.