The rules (unspoken or otherwise) of dating can be tough for people to wrap their heads around. Maybe they struggle to understand social cues or are encountering more reserved personality types they’re not yet familiar with.
Say someone started a new job or is going into their first year of university. It can be challenging to be suddenly thrust into a brand-spanking-new group setting filled with exciting new people and social territories.
Don't overlook that shy guy; some fantastic and fun personalities can get lost in the crowd of the more boisterous bunch.
People can be shy for all sorts of reasons. And no one's immune to falling for the shy guy. If you find yourself crushing on someone you might dub a 'shy guy,' you might be baffled by their shyness. Everything you've been taught about dating tells you that if the guy isn’t brazenly inserting himself into your life, then he doesn’t like you all that much.
It’s safe to say that this idea is both incredibly old-fashioned and downright absurd. The modern world of love accounts for the shy girl, the shy guy, and the red-faced shy person.
You don’t need a bold protective instinct, fending off other suitors from the lady you like in the bar anymore. I mean, you can do that, but many people have grown to appreciate the subtle signs of a shy guy, you know?
These subtle signs can be a bit too... well, subtle. That's why I'm here to point you in the right direction. So, here's how to tell if the shy guy likes you:
- Physical Touch
- Eye Contact
- Small Talk
- His Friends Will Leave Hints
- Social Media
- Facial Expressions
- Kind Gestures
What is a Shy Guy?
Let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing here. A shy person, by definition, is someone who is generally timid and nervous around big groups of people and those they aren't close to. These behaviors could indicate social anxiety or simply a person's natural state.
It’s important to note the difference between shy and what might be classed as ‘introverted’ to ensure you’re not reading your guy all wrong.
Difference Between Shyness and Introversion
An introverted person would be someone that actively prefers their own company or exclusively the company of their small circle. It isn’t necessarily related to finding social situations nerve-wracking; for example, they could be outgoing and boisterous in big groups. This wouldn't be the case with a shy individual.
If you don't know him very well, you might mistake your crush's aloofness or introspective nature for a lack of self-confidence. Just because he's not super outgoing, it doesn't mean he's struggling with self-esteem. This is an easy distinction to miss.
Here are some telltale signs of shyness to make sure you understand your crush:
- They opt for reacting rather than talking.
- They'll laugh and nod along but won't contribute to the conversation.
- Mumbling or speaking quietly. They might look scared to say something.
- Unassertiveness. (Although they will want to stand up for themselves, shy people's nervous natures can take over and hold them back.)
- Excessive blushing, shaking, stuttering, or strange breathing.
If you’re still unsure, pay close attention or just straight up ask him (in private)!
If you manage to label him a shy man correctly, then your next steps will be different from what you're used to. The 'symptoms' of shyness can really change the flow of dating. You might be used to guys just coming up to you and making the first move, throwing seamless conversation your way like there's no tomorrow, and generally making it obvious that they want you.
When dealing with a shy guy, you will need to read between the lines and clue onto some crucial signs. Luckily, that's what I'm here for.
Signs The Shy Guy Likes You
As we've established, a shy person expresses himself differently from a more confident person; shyness will affect how they flirt and communicate. You should look out for the little details, adapting yourself to a whole new world of romancing.
1. Physical Touch
If he can't rely on getting his words out to flirt with you or let you know how he feels, then try and spot any instances where he finds any reason at all to touch you or be near you. Has he gone to remove a strand of hair or fluff on your clothes that you could've easily shaken off yourself?
Maybe in a room full of empty seats, he keeps choosing the one next to you? Or the old classic, the coy touching of knees under the table. Light physical contact is quite a subtle way of gentle flirting, and it's easy to miss if you don't take a second to stop and look at them.
Another little detail to watch out for is how he reacts to you touching him; maybe he is so shy that he wouldn't initiate any physical contact but wouldn't shy away from you hugging him, leaning on him, or generally being in close contact.
Someone who isn't interested in you would probably back off from those situations, so see how he reacts. If he's smiling, lingering, blushing, or reciprocating, then I've got some excellent news for you!
2. Eye Contact
You must have heard the old psychology trick: 'In a room full of laughing people, you'll look at the person you love the most.' In a group of laughing and smiling people, you're more likely to try and make eye contact with the person you feel the most socially close to.
Subconsciously, a shy person might be putting it right out there that they like you or feel comfortable around you with nothing but their eyes.
While it's not a foolproof method of deducing their undying love for you, this one can hint at a sense of closeness.
3. Small Talk
A shy person will probably avoid the awkwardness of small talk at all costs. Even the most confident of the bunch can find themselves reeling at the thought. So if he's the one coming up to you for small talk, chances are he really wants to talk to you.
Any indication that a guy is trying to get to know you or is asking you questions about your life is a good sign. But when it's a shy guy coming out of his comfort zone to do those things, it's an excellent sign.
I know for sure that my shy friends aren't going up to random men or women just to ask how their weekend was. If they're doing this, it means they're definitely interested in you in some capacity.
4. His Friends Will Leave Hints
Think back on the times you've spent with him, in the company of mutual friends, or having a chat with him and his best friend. Do you remember any moments when they might've made a little joke about you two getting together, or his friends teased him for blushing around you or sitting next to you?
I'm betting you thought it was just a bit of banter between close friends, but it's a pretty clear sign that a shy likes you when his friends make all the hints and moves for him in his place. They're trying to get the message across and probably having a bit too much fun teasing him about his crush on you, which he has definitely told them about.
Next time you're hanging out in a group setting with him, take note of his friends' reactions to you and him talking. It can be more telling than you ever realized.
5. Social Media
The holy grail for a shy person is how social media can reduce feelings of embarrassment or shame from just being themselves. Hiding behind a screen can create a real sense of safety for shy people.
One of the clearest signs that a shy guy is into you is if he makes an effort to talk to you online. Is he liking your cute Instagram posts? Is he posting an enthusiastic 'Happy Birthday' on your wall? Is he cracking jokes and making interesting conversations in your DMs?
If he is, chances are he's interested and getting a boost of self-confidence from the safety of his screen.
6. Facial Expressions
Much like physical contact, you can tell a whole lot from a person's facial expressions. He could be tilting his head toward you when you talk, raising his eyebrows when he sees you, or matching his facial expressions to yours as you're talking or telling him a story.
Matching someone's expressions is an unmistakable sign of empathy and an attempt to bond, relate, and engage with another person. If he's doing this, it's a telltale sign he cares enough about you to be interested in what you're saying, and he clearly wants to keep talking to you.
Pay close attention and watch his face; if his mouth can't tell you he likes you, then his eyebrows just might!
7. Kind Gestures
What better love language is there than acts of service? A truly subtle way to signal feelings for someone is to do nice things for them. It could be bringing you your favorite food, offering to hold your heavy bag, or asking if you need help with anything. It really is all in the little things.
He might just be a friendly guy, but look carefully and see if he's doing those things for everyone or just you. Is he generally kind and helpful to the whole class or office, but you're the only one whose favorite Subway order he remembers and brings in?
Realistically, a shy guy is much more likely to show you how he feels than to tell you outright, and he might be showing you through his little acts of kindness.
Why Not Ask Him?
We've established that if he's shy, he probably isn't going to come and tell you he likes you. But really think about it; what's stopping you from doing that?
There's no shame in taking the reigns and telling him how you feel. However, asking him if he's into you should be done with some mindfulness of his possible social anxiety or a general aversion to confrontation.
Approach the topic gently, and be lightly flirtatious and enthusiastic so he knows you like him too! Hopefully, this will allow him to let his guard down and tell you how he feels.
Alternatively, if you're of the shy persuasion yourself, hop on your phone and have the conversation over text. This removes the potential awkwardness of a real-life chat and gives you both time to think and write out your responses between messages.
In all seriousness, being shy or having social anxiety can be really difficult for some people. Delicately approaching how they feel about you is crucial if you want some kind of relationship. You definitely don't want to make him feel more uncomfortable than he already does!
Watching how they behave around you can help you figure out if they're into you or just being friendly. It's so easy to miss the subtle signs of human affection. Take a breath, stop and look around you because you never know what people might be trying to tell you without words.
Having a more reserved or nervous personality type does not mean a relationship would be any less. In fact, shy people are often really relaxed and even the absolute life of the party with people they're super close with.
Don't overlook that shy guy; some fantastic and fun personalities can get lost in the crowd of the more boisterous bunch. Take the time to really bond with him and get to know the person under the nerves; you never know what treasures you'll find!