When a Guy Likes You… All You Need to Do Is Exist

My friend Ashley came to me in a tizzy one day. She was dating a very confusing man and needed help making sense of it all.

They had gone on a few dates and it seemed to be going really well but she didn’t quite know where his head was it. Sometimes he seemed really interested, other times he seemed like he couldn’t care less.

After their most recent date, he didn’t really give any indication if she would hear from him again. He didn’t say he would call, he didn’t say they should do this again sometime. She was just kind of left hanging and she was spinning like a top.

Did I say something wrong during the date? Should I have sent a thank you text? Maybe it’s because I didn’t send a thank you text and he thinks I’m entitled. When should I text him? What should I text him? There was one point in the night when my stomach started hurting and I grimaced… maybe he thought I was turned off by him???

Above all, she wanted to know this: How can I get him to like me?

I listened with compassion and told her, “Ashley, if a guy really likes you, you just need to exist.

Exist?” She said puzzled.

“Yes,” I reassured her. “Exist. He already knows you like him. You accepted his dates, you replied to his texts, you kissed him back… he knows!”

“Ok. That’s it. I’m just going to exist.”

So she kept on existing and the guy did resurface once or twice but it was pretty clear he wasn’t super into it and that was the end of that. And Ashley actually didn’t feel so terrible after the fact. By not doing what she had always done in the past, overanalyzing, doing all the work, and trying to get things back on track, she stopped investing further in the relationship and it wasn’t so crushing when it ended.

Here is the thing, when a guy really likes you, you don’t need to do anything.

You don’t need to plot or plan or strategize. You don’t need to craft the perfect text. You don’t need to stage accidental on-purpose run-ins. You don’t need to send emissaries in the form of your friends to gather data on how he feels. You don’t need to do a deep dive on his social media to figure out his story and mold yourself into what you think he wants. Stop working so hard.

The only thing you can do is send him a few green light signals. Be warm, be receptive, smile, and show interest in him. If you want to be a little bolder and make the first move, go ahead. But then that’s it. After that, you have to leave some space for him to come to you … and if he likes you, he will want t do that. He also needs the space to choose you, to invest in you, this is how he comes to care about you. And the reverse is also true! This is just how interest is built, it grows as we invest in someone.

Let’s go back to Ashley for a minute. You see, she was always a doer. She always resisted my advice to give a guy space to choose her.

Before the guy in the story I told earlier, there was another guy. He was a guy she was friends with for a while and then she started to catch feelings. Now since they were friends, she thought maybe he didn’t know she had feelings for him. She decided to be a little bold and direct and decided to ask him out.

And he said yes!

However… finding time to actually go out proved impossible. There was always some excuse, always something popping up last minute. But he assured Ashley he did really want to go out with her.

And Ashley dutifully followed up, trying to find a day and time that worked for both of them. Eventually, they did go on a date… and they had a nice time!

But there was no flow after that. It just felt like it had to be forced. And she was doing way more work than he was… but he was always receptive. He always texted back, he agreed to the dates, he showed up (when he wasn’t too busy and canceling and re-scheduling a hundred times).

They went out a few more times and then he ghosted her.

So what went wrong? They basically fell into the passive reciprocation loop. She reached out, and he was receptive because he was somewhat interested in her… then it would kind of fall flat because he wasn’t super into her… and she would get things going again… and he would respond for the same reasons, and so the loop went on until he was over it or found someone else to date, we never found out which it was.

Now had she never pursued him in the first place, the relationship never would have happened. She essentially forced something with a guy who was only luke-warm interested at best.

He wasn’t the one feeling sad and rejected when it ended, she was.

When a guy really likes you, you won’t have to work this hard. It is not in a man’s nature to see an opportunity to be with a woman he likes and then not take it.

Also, do you really want to be with someone that you have to chase? Someone who leaves you with no sense of where you stand? This is not healthy or sustainable.

Now there are certainly things you can do to make yourself more likable. You can work on having a positive attitude, work on your self-esteem, exercise so you feel good, work on being happier, pursue your passions, all those things.

So take ownership of what is under your control, and that is yourself.

Stop taking ownership of what’s not under your control, and that is how someone feels. You just can’t control that, everyone has different wants and preferences.

Learn the art of being.

Because that is the best part of being in a healthy relationship with someone who sees and appreciates you, you can just be.

So stop doing and start being.

Sabrina Bendory is a writer and entrepreneur. She is the author of You’re Overthinking It, a definitive book on dating and self-love.

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