When A Guy Ignores You, What Does It Mean?

By: Corrina Horne

Updated January 14, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Audrey Kelly, LMFT

There's nothing quite as confusing as the single's game. There doesn't seem to be any set rules. You spend time with a guy who has been giving off signals for weeks, but then when a guy ignores you, you're left in the dark. The more you try to indicate you're still interested, the more he seems to push you away. But when you try to ignore him back, it just doesn't feel right. You are positive that chemical attraction is still there, but it's beginning to feel more like a wall instead of a connection if there are signs he’s ignoring you.

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Maybe I'm Just Obsessing

Rationally, you can put aside the guy who has chosen to ignore you. After all, you haven't really become boyfriend and girlfriend yet. You've been playing the field, trying to decide whether entering into a relationship with him is worth it, or keeping him at arm's length, so he doesn't think you are exclusively dating.

But when he stops paying any attention to you, you feel confused. You begin to wonder if there was something you did wrong to make him start losing interest. You begin questioning your actions and reassess every interaction you ever had with him. It can be maddening and make you feel obsessed over the situation.

Essentially, our minds don't like uncertainty. No matter how low the temperature was in a dating relationship, it's a hard blow to the ego when we are suddenly completely ignored by another person. A psychological threat response to our limbic system is activated. We instinctively want to know why, so we can process it and store it in our memories for future reference.

When a Guy Ignores You and You Ask, Am I Being Punished?

People handle their disagreements with others in very different ways. Some people are quite vocal in their reasons, while others will clam up and withdraw from the situation. The silent treatment is a form of punishment in many couple's relationships and could be the cause of the sudden ice wall you just encountered in your developing interests. Some people just don't like confrontation and this is preferable to telling the other person why they start losing interest or are no longer interested at all.


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Other indications that he might be punishing you could be if he deliberately makes out with a girl in front of you, talks loudly with his friends when he sees you around, or becomes clumsy or brusque in your presence. Although this behavior is immature, it tells you a lot about the other person, especially where they are in terms of their development.

Maybe I Got My Signals Crossed

Since so much of our communication is based on body language, it's easy to believe we misinterpreted a dating relationship if there weren't any words that could solidly cement our feelings. But according to Cornell University researchers, if he's been giving off signals that he's interested, then suddenly ignores you, it's probably not because you had misinterpreted his intentions in the first place.

Most communication between two people is nonverbal. When we first meet someone, prolonged eye contact, relaxed postures and dilated pupils are all signals that this person is attracted to us or us to them. But this is just an initial attraction and does not necessarily last. Over time, if the other person avoids eye contact, leans away from you, or crosses their arms, this is a good indication that they are losing interest and provides you with a lot of good feedback.

If he's ignoring you, it's possible he is either trying to speed up or slow down the development of the relationship. He may be trying to stimulate your attention by playing hard to get, or he may be trying to establish a more dominant role. It is also important to look at your own behavior during this time. Perhaps you were leading him on because you enjoyed the attention. If this is the case perhaps it's time for you both to be honest and start communicating with one another.

It's All About Communication

In these situations, you may have to take the initiative and confront him. Sometimes, being upfront is the best option. Don't be afraid to ask the question: are you interested in dating me? If he doesn't answer immediately with yes then this provides you with a lot of information and you can make your decision about continuing to pursue him or not for your love life.

Sometimes, you may have to be the mature one and address his behavior. If he is telling you that he wants to date you but his behavior says otherwise, this needs to be challenged. This can be done in a non-threatening manner. For instance, in such a discussion, try and use I language rather than your language. These two pronouns can create very different messages.

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When you express a statement such as I feel confused about what I am experiencing in this relationship, you take ownership of your feelings and express them without provocation. This is far more effective than saying: Your behavior is confusing. This automatically puts the other person on the defensive and sets up a potential conflict. No one likes feeling as if they are being accused of something. It's all about setting up a situation where the other person will listen to you and not feel as if they have to defend themselves.

Where Do I Go from Here?

There are a lot of reasons he could be giving you the cold shoulder. He could be punishing you. He could be trying to play the field. He may be trying to get the upper hand of the situation, or he could feel insecure about himself and your reciprocation of his attention. The chances are unless he is upfront and honest with you, you will never know.

A cooling off period is actually a good time to appraise your own interests. Is this really a relationship you wish to pursue? Do you find the "hard to get" aspect annoying or intriguing? These are important questions to ask yourself. Life is short and we don't want to waste our time pursuing someone who is not going to fully respect us. We all want to date someone who is interested in interacting and spending time with us.

Don't Be A Ghost

If you decide to say goodbye to the relationship, be mature about it. Many people will simply ghost the other person that they were dating when they decide to no longer pursue a relationship. This is immature and is not only disrespectful to the other person but hurts you as well. Treat the other person with dignity and respect and tell them you are no longer interested in talking to them or spending time with them. Many guys will appreciate your candor and integrity. By ending it this way, this opens up the possibility of dating in the future or just being friends.


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No one likes being rejected but being rejected by being ghosted causes people to really question their self-esteem. It is hurtful and disingenuous. Thank the other person for their initial interest and wish them the best of luck in their dating efforts. This will show the other person you are a kind and sophisticated adult.

Let's Just be Friends

We're chemically wired to socialize and form relationships. We are social creatures. It gives us pleasure to make connections with others and feel ourselves click with each other. Not all initial attractions develop into short or long-term relationships, however, and not all relationships retain this attraction. Sometimes, that initial spark you feel for the other person will fizzle out after a few months. At the same time, you may not be into someone you first meet but over time develop an attraction towards that other person. Relationships develop differently.

If it looks like the cold war isn't taking either one of you anywhere, try calling a truce and become platonic friends. If you can be friends, it was more than a spark of physical attraction that drew you together. And if you can't be friends, somebody's still carrying a torch. If you decide to be friends then you will both need to agree on establishing healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries, in this case, are not getting upset when the other person is dating someone. It's easy to cross these boundaries when you are both single, so no flirting, kissing or holding hands. Intimate contact will blur the boundaries between you both and lead to someone getting hurt in the end.

If you have any doubts about your social relationships, please contact our online therapists at BetterHelp. There is always someone standing by ready to listen to your perspective and help you out. Many therapists have training in how to effectively communicate with other people and set healthy boundaries. With relationship advice, they can help you navigate the treacherous waters of modern dating. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What To Do If A Guy Ignores You?

Usually, there are a couple of options you can take if a guy starts to ignore you. Either you can disregard everything and move on with your day, or you can choose to confront him about him being unresponsive, and you feel like he’s ignoring you.

Both options are easier said than done, however, and not everyone can readily just push away their thoughts and feelings, and being upfront about your feelings with him can also be scary too. After all, you don’t want to seem like you’ve been obsessing or are immediately falling in love with him, especially if it comes to light that he wasn’t ignoring you.

Nonetheless, communication will always be optimal throughout the lifespan of the relationship, and if it’s not there, it might be best to consider someone else who is respectful and will respond to you in a reasonable amount of time.

What Does It Mean If A Guy Ignores You?

If a guy truly starts to ignore you, it’s usually either because he is upset with you and needs you to give him space, he is losing interest, he feels like the relationship is moving too fast, he is playing games with you or trying to lead you on.

Many people, not just men, might try to ignore others in an attempt to make you think about them and wonder why they’re not responding to you.

Unfortunately, if a relationship does get established, this type of behavior can only contribute to poor communication in the long run.

Will A Guy Avoid You If He Is Developing Strong Feelings?

It’s possible for guys to try to ignore his romantic or sexual feelings if he feels uncomfortable or unsure about them, can’t handle his emotions, or he thinks things are moving too fast; however, it’s more common for guys to try to pursue these feelings instead of avoiding them.

What To Do If A Guy Ignores Your Text?

Text messaging has become a significant part of the way we communicate with one another, especially in the dating world, and if it seems like a guy starts ignoring your texts, it can lead to a lot of confusion, overthinking, and it can feel like he’s playing games or that you need to give him space.

One of the benefits of text messages is that it allows people to respond at their leisure; however, it’s completely normal to expect someone to return your messages in a timely manner. While it’s not unusual to respond to messages within hours or even a couple of days because they are busy, if they take several days or weeks to do so, it might be more deliberate and you might be ignored.

If it seems like he’s ignoring your text messages, wait it out, and see if there is any pattern, and determine that’s not a one-time thing. After that, you can continue to go about your own business, and maybe he’ll come back around, or you can point out how you feel about his behavior.

What Does It Mean If A Guy Talks One Day And Ignores You The Next?

If you were talking to a guy recently and it seemed like everything was going just fine, but he didn’t speak to you the next day, it’s possible that he just got caught up with other things and got too busy. He might want to talk to you, but just hasn’t found the right time to dedicate to it as well.

Even a couple of days isn’t something to be concerned about, but if it’s going on for days or weeks on end, then he might be ignoring you for reasons that only he can answer. However,it’s also possible that the real reason might be something that he isn’t willing or ready to share with you.

Should I Text Him Back After He Ignored Me For Days?

If you receive a message from a guy after you’ve been ignored for days on end, you can choose to respond to it if you wish, and see how he responds and what comes out of it.

Does he act like nothing's wrong? Or does he acknowledge his delayed response and apologize for it?

These types of things are essential to consider and will help you gauge how things are going, but what happens after is more important.

If he keeps choosing to ignore you, it’s probably best that you don’t text him back because more than likely, the same thing will keep happening, because he knows that you will respond even if he makes you wait.

Will A Guy Notice If You Stop Texting?

If you suddenly stop texting a guy, even if he has been ignoring you himself, he will most likely notice it; however, not every guy will respond in the same way.

For instance, some might try to reel you back in if they notice that you’re not available to them anymore, whereas others might acknowledge it, but just move on with their lives.

How Do Guys Feel When You Ignore Them?

When being ignored, men can feel and react in the same way as women. Not everyone is alike, and people are dynamic, so the way guys respond to being ignored can vary from person to person - some guys might not care at all, whereas others can become very upset if someone is ignoring or losing interest in them.

Should I Block Him Or Ignore Him?

If you’ve determined that the guy doesn’t belong in your life and you can’t ever see yourself in a committed relationship with him, you can start out by ignoring him if he comes back around, but if he starts harassing you in any way, it’s recommended that you block him so that he can’t bother you anymore.

Moving Forward

Although being ignored can be hard, and hurtful, there are steps you can take to either make sense of your relationship, or improve your communication skills, self-esteem, and outlook. With clear communication, persistence, and perhaps even some outside help in the form of relationship advice and dating tips, you can move forward after a guy ignores you in a healthy, happy way. A truly fulfilling long-term relationship is possible - all you need are the right tools, self-love, and self-confidence. Take the first step today.


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