Why Do Guys Flirt When They’re Not Interested In You?

He’s all smiles around you. He laughs at your jokes, tells you how great you are, and always seems to want to be around you. In other words, he’s sort of your ideal guy. The problem is, he never makes a move to take things further. If you did, you’d soon find out that he’s either not into you or doesn’t actually want a relationship. So, what gives? Why do guys flirt when they’re not actually interested in you?

How do you know when a guy is flirting?

  1. He compliments your physical features. Generally speaking, a guy who’s flirting is going to aim his compliments at your more visible features. He might praise your new haircut or tell you how good you look in a certain outfit. In a lot of cases, he’ll tell you straight up how hot/beautiful/pretty you are.
  2. He tries to impress you. Maybe he brags about a promotion he got at work or how heavy he lifts at the gym. Even when guys aren’t interested in you, they might flirt by bigging up themselves and their accomplishments. You might not think anything of his boasting, but he wants you to think he’s hot stuff.
  3. He makes regular and prolonged eye contact. If a guy is staring at you from across a room, he’s either a creep or trying to flirt. (Let’s hope it’s the latter.) If he never averts his gaze when you’re chatting and you often catch his eye randomly and find he’s already looking at you, that means something.


  1. He always tries to make you laugh. Who doesn’t want to feel good about being the reason someone else is smiling? If this guy seems like he’s constantly trying out new stand-up material, he’s trying to make you laugh. And he’s flirting.
  2. He goes out of his way to text or start conversations with you. Yes, people of all genders can just be friends, and it’s possible he’s just looking for a pal. However, if he’s going out of his way to get in touch regularly via text or initiates conversations in person a lot, you can guess it’s more than friendly.
  3. He finds excuses to touch you. Why would he be handsy if he wasn’t flirting with you? Physical touch is one of the most common and obvious ways men show interest. If he can’t keep his hands off you, that tells you all you need to know. (However, don’t be afraid to speak up if he’s making you uncomfortable or being inappropriate).

Why do guys flirt when they’re not interested in you?

  1. He’s bored. He has nothing better to do and thinks flirting is a fun way to pass the time. To him, it doesn’t mean anything. He’s just chilling out and enjoying himself with some friendly banter in your direction. He doesn’t expect you to take it seriously because he doesn’t mean it seriously.
  2. He likes the attention. If you respond positively when he flirts with you, his ego gets a stroke. He feels desirable, wanted, and powerful. It’s great that you’re joining in on the teasing behavior because it makes him feel good about himself. That’s an addicting feeling.
  3. He doesn’t even realize he’s flirting. This is one of the less likely explanations for why guys flirt even when they’re not actually interested. Maybe the guy just has a flirty personality and he’s not cognizant of how he’s coming off. Of course, if he’s a grown man, he probably isn’t all that clueless.

It’s possible that…

  1. He’s brushing up on his skills. Some guys flirt with women they’re not interested in because they’re not very good at flirting. By practicing on you, he’ll be better when it comes to a woman he does actually want to date. To him, it’s very simple and a really smart move. To you, it’s annoying and potentially even a bit hurtful.
  2. He’s trying to make another woman jealous. Well, that’s obnoxious. If there’s another woman he’s dating or he wants to be dating but whose attention he can’t grab, this is a possibility. He may start flirting with you in order to make her jealous or pique her interest. It’s terrible, immature behavior, but you’d be surprised how common it is.
  3. He thinks you’re flirting and is just trying to be nice. Maybe you’re being friendly and he mistakenly thinks you have a thing for him. He doesn’t want to tell you he’s not into you like that, so instead, he flirts “back” to be nice. It’s strange how quickly wires can get crossed!

How to know a guy isn’t interested even if he’s being flirty

  1. He never actually makes a move to ask you out. This is pretty obvious. If he’s into you, he follows up his flirting with an invitation to hang out or go on an actual date. If this isn’t happening, it’s because he’s not really interested.
  2. He actively encourages you to talk to/date other guys. Even though he flirts with you, he’s clearly not interested in taking things further if he actively pushes you to other guys. He either shows positive interest in men you’re dating or even suggests guys you should give a chance. This isn’t a good sign.
  3. He can go days or weeks without talking to you and it’s no big deal. While you shouldn’t be attached at the hip with the person you like, you do want to see them if you like them. This guy goes without your company for ages and it’s no big deal. Clearly, you don’t matter to him that much.
  4. He’s open about the other women he’s dating. He tells you about women he likes and is open about pursuing them. He doesn’t think it’s a big deal because you’re not together, right?
  5. He never tries to get to know you on a deeper level. This is one of the biggest tells. When you like someone, you want to know about them. Who are they and what makes them tick? He’s never going to find out because he’s not interested.
Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love.