What To Do When A Guy Ignores You

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated May 2, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

No one likes being ignored, especially in a romantic context. Sensing that you’re not seen or heard can be perceived as a form of rejection, which research indicates can activate the same areas of the brain as physical pain. So when a guy you like doesn’t reach out, stops responding to your texts or calls, or otherwise shows signs that they’ve lost interest, what should you do? This article will walk you through a few different possible explanations for this type of behavior and give tips on ways you might handle it.

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What does it mean to be ignored?

Ignoring someone or giving them the “cold shoulder” means intentionally not paying them any attention. If you’ve sent messages to a guy you're interested in or have called him and he hasn’t responded, he could be ignoring you. If he avoids you when you see each other at work, school, or in the neighborhood, this could be another sign of ignoring you. So what does it mean when a guy does this? Unless he’s explicitly stated them, it may not be possible to know the motivations behind this behavior. However, there are a few possible explanations.

First, it could mean that he’s not interested in pursuing a connection with you and is avoiding the potential awkwardness of saying so. That said, it’s possible that there’s another valid reason. For example, if you’re frustrated that he’s seemingly giving you the “silent treatment” or not texting back as often as you’d like, you might consider the possibility that he simply has a different communication style, preferences, or schedule than you do. He might not like texting, or can’t be on his phone while he’s at work or school. This could be the reason you’re not getting many or any messages from him. 

Or, he could simply prefer less communication with romantic partners. Perhaps you like to stay in touch more than the average person, or perhaps he likes to stay in touch less. Having an open conversation about your own emotional needs and how much of this type of attention you each need to feel prioritized can get you on the same page with someone you’re dating. Otherwise, read on for other possibilities and options. 

What to do when you’re ignored by a guy

If differing communication needs aren’t the root of the problem, there are some other possibilities to consider. These depend on who this person is to you: whether he’s a crush, or whether you’ve already begun a romantic connection by going on a date or two.

If he’s a crush

If you’re ignored by a guy you have a crush on, there are a few different possibilities when it comes to the motivations behind this behavior. First, it’s possible that he’s simply not aware that you’re interested in him. Sometimes, what feels like overt romantic cues to one person may not even be noticed by another. If your crush seems to be ignoring you, it could be that he just doesn’t realize you like him. To change this dynamic, your best option is typically to let him know about your feelings more directly. 

If you’ve expressed your feelings or otherwise know that your crush is aware of them, it’s possible that he likes you back but is nervous or worried about his own emotional well-being. It can be hard to work up the courage to talk to someone you like, and your crush could be feeling the pressure. Or, of course, it may be that he doesn’t feel the same way about you as you do about him. While it could save everyone a bit of time and energy if they expressed this instead of leaving you wondering, understand that it’s difficult for many people to be so straightforward and honest about their feelings. 

If your crush is ignoring you, your main options include:

  • Express your feelings. Being vulnerable can feel scary, but it’s often the only way to gain the potential opportunity to date this person. If you feel your crush has been intentionally ignoring you because he doesn’t know how you feel, you might consider telling him that you’re interested and see what happens. Even if he doesn’t feel the same way, you can take comfort from the fact that you were honest and put yourself out there.
  • Move on. If your crush knows you like them but they still seem to be ignoring you, it might be a sign that it’s time to move on. They may not feel the same way about you, or they could be involved with someone else, uncomfortable with your dynamic—such as if you’re colleagues in the same workplace—have a different sexual orientation, or have some other reason they don’t want to have constant contact or pursue a relationship. In this case, you may want to accept the circumstances and move on.
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If you’ve been on a date(s)

The experience of a person ignoring you after you’ve been on a date with them is colloquially referred to as “ghosting”. It means that the person seems to have disappeared without a trace because they haven’t contacted you since, which can be a confusing, frustrating, and hurtful experience—especially if you enjoyed your time together so far. As nice as it might be to have the person tell you directly that they’re no longer interested, ghosting often seems like an easier option for many people, particularly in the digital age. 

If he is ignoring you, your main options include:

  • Inquire casually. Generally speaking, there could be a number of explanations for why a guy you’ve been on a date(s) with isn’t responding to your messages or calls. He could have a genuinely busy schedule, he could be stressed about work or family, or he could simply not be the type of person who’s good at maintaining a regular texting cadence. Your first option is to send one more message inquiring casually about when you might be able to see him again and offer him the chance to respond and potentially explain.
  • Inquire directly. You could also be more direct, sending him one more message to let him know that you sense that you’re being ignored—and to ask why. If you feel confident that there’s no other explanation for his behavior but that he’s attempting to ghost and you want to confront him in a straightforward way, this is a possible option.
  • Cut your losses and move on. Most people want to date someone who’s excited to be with them. If you’re already being ignored by someone you’ve only been on a few dates with, it may not be a promising start for a relationship that’s characterized by mutual care and affection. That’s why you may choose instead to put this person in your past. You might send him one last message to inform him of your decision, or you might choose to leave things as they are and move on.

Other tips for coping when a man ignores you

When you’re being ignored by a guy you like, it can be tempting to inundate him with messages or calls. You’re likely wondering why he’s behaving this way and is looking for a resolution. Sending lots of messages is unlikely to get you the outcome you’re looking for, though. Instead, it might annoy him, or he could interpret it as a sign of emotional immaturity or insecurity. If you want to know why he’s been ignoring you, sending one polite but direct message and moving on if you don’t get a response—or don’t get the response you want—is usually best. Also, if he asks or has asked you not to contact him, it’s important to respect that boundary.

Waiting for someone you like to stop ignoring you can take a toll on your mental and emotional health, which is why it’s also recommended that you take care of yourself and your needs in this situation. It may be wise to avoid investing too much time or energy in someone who doesn’t seem to be interested in you so you can use that time and energy somewhere more fruitful or fulfilling. You might also prioritize self-care during this time in the form of spending time with friends, looking after your health, and speaking with a therapist if you believe you could benefit from support.

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How a therapist can help

If you’re facing challenges in your romantic life, you might consider meeting with a therapist. They can provide a nonjudgmental, safe space in which you can express and process your feelings. They can also help you recognize if you’re engaging in any distorted thought patterns that may be hindering your romantic life and can assist you in building strategies that can be useful in the dating world, such as communication skills, boundary setting, and conflict resolution.

Financial constraints represent a barrier to seeking mental health care for many, which is where online therapy can be helpful. Since virtual therapists don’t have the same overhead costs that those with brick-and-mortar offices do, virtual visit costs are often more affordable. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can meet with a licensed therapist via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging for a cost that’s comparable to most insurance co-pays. Research suggests that online and in-person therapy can be equally effective in most cases, so you can typically choose the format that works best for you. 


Being ignored can cause feelings of hurt and frustration, especially if it’s by someone you like. In general, your options in this scenario are to express your feelings with this person and/or ask them why they’re ignoring you or to cut your losses and move on. For support with challenging elements of your dating life, you might consider meeting with a therapist.

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