Home  >  Reads for Women  >  How To...

16 Honest Ways to Respond When a Guy Says He Likes You & Not Hurt Him

If you want to know how to respond when a guy says he likes you, then you need to know how to do it the right way … especially if you don’t like him back. 

How to Respond When a Guy Says He Likes You

Humans like to have their egos stroked. When someone tells you that they like you and admire you, it’s a huge ego boost, for sure. The thing is, if a guy tells you they like you, you must understand how hard that might have been for them. With that in mind, you need to know how to best respond when a guy says he likes you.

Think back to the last time you told someone you were crushing on that you liked them. It probably took you a while to pluck up the courage. Perhaps you needed a drink or two beforehand to give you the courage. So, that’s why learning how to respond when a guy says he likes you is so important. If you get this wrong, you could crush his confidence forever!

Whether you like him back or not isn’t the issue here, it’s about being a decent human and not stamping on his ego.

Sure, he might be a confident kind of guy, someone who is quite the player. Does that mean you have the right to laugh in his face when he’s admitted something so personal? You might think he doesn’t mean it but being careful how you respond is vital.

[Read: Here are two powerful steps to make someone fall out of love with you]

How to respond when a guy says he likes you

Of course, it feels great when someone tells you that they like you, doesn’t it? For a second it’s like you’re walking on air. Everyone loves to be appreciated. Anyone who doesn’t agree, well, they’re probably lying!

But it’s easy to react poorly in the moment. You might feel embarrassed, stuck to the spot, and unsure of what to say. That’s why learning how to respond when a guy says he likes you is so important!

1. Do not put him down or laugh in his face

When you hear something that takes you by surprise, especially something deeply flattering, it’s easy for your reaction to just come out without any control. You might laugh because you’re embarrassed, but try and rein this in. Can you imagine how mortified he might be? Learning how to respond when a guy says he likes you does not involve laughing or raising eyebrows!

Take a second to breathe and gain some control. He won’t notice a second, and you should do this to stop those out-of-control reactions from breaking his spirit! [Read: How to just be friends with a guy when he wants more]

2. Understand that it might have been hard for him to admit

Let’s assume this is a decent kind of guy, the type who doesn’t go around telling everyone that he likes them. It might have taken a huge effort for him to admit this to you, and he might be secretly terrified that you’re going to respond in the wrong way.

So, whatever your final decision on what to do about this little revelation, first understand that perhaps admitting this to you might have been a pretty personal thing for him. [Read: Non-awkward ways to let a guy down kindly]

3. Don’t respond straight away

Ask yourself how you feel about this and give yourself the time to really examine it. It might have taken you by surprise, and even if it didn’t, be sure about what you’re going to do. You do not have to give him an answer right at that moment, so take the time to think if you need.

You can say something like “aww, that’s really nice. I think you’re great too.” As condescending as that sounds, in this situation, when you’re in the moment with a guy who’s telling you that, your body language will take the condescending edge off it and help him to understand what you really mean. [Read: How to become a better person – the 9 golden rules you should follow to evolve]

4. Be open to the possibility

Understanding how to respond when a guy says he likes you means taking the time to think it through. This also means being open to the possibility that maybe he could be someone you like too. Maybe you already like him! The biggest mistake many people make is assuming that he’s just not their type.

How do you know? You don’t know him as a person yet! Nothing is stopping you from being friends first and seeing how things go if you’re not actually that sure. That way, you find out how you really feel, and you won’t regret it later.

5. Don’t make promises you can’t keep 

Be honest with the guy. He deserves that much. Yes, we mentioned before about not responding straight away, but it depends on the situation. If you’re already with someone, it’s important that you tell him now so that he won’t keep his hopes up for anything. If you’re really not ready to start dating for whatever reason, tell him that, but do it in a gentle way. Don’t dampen his spirit.

Knowing how to respond when a guy says he likes you basically means being an honest and decent person in return. He’s plucked up the courage to tell you, so be just as respectful back. [Read: What to do when a guy friend acts weird *or weirder than normal*]

6. Should you play it cool? 

There is this idea that playing hard to get is the way forward, but we’re not a fan of that. Put yourself in his place! Would you like it if he played games with you? Of course not! Don’t assume that it’s easier for him because he’s a guy. It’s not. He’s a person with feelings just like you.

[Read: Why playing hard to get with a guy is pointless]

Some relationship “experts” might tell you that you should be cool and keep him on his toes. While we agree that you shouldn’t go all hot straightaway and be clingy, avoid being an ice queen and making him wonder why he told you in the first place. These types of games can easily backfire, and while they work for some, the success rate isn’t that high.

At the end of the day, understanding how to respond when a guy says he likes you is basically about recognizing how hard it might have been for him to tell you this and then acting like a decent human being in return, no matter how you feel about him. 

Sure, he might be a player who tells everyone he likes them, but that doesn’t change how you should respond. Be decent at all times because let’s face it, karma is a real bitch! [Read: How to reject a guy and turn him down in the nicest way possible]

A quiet or shy guy who has plucked up the courage to approach you and tell you that he likes you is going to have his confidence knocked for a while if you go about this the wrong way. So, always put yourself in his position and recognize how you would feel in return. Being laughed at, a wry smile, or being played isn’t fun. [Read: Does he like you? The ways to tell if a shy guy really likes you]

Equally, it’s not fun to suddenly have everyone know that you’ve admitted to liking someone. Don’t go around telling all your friends and having a good laugh about it! Just be decent and think about how you might feel in return. You never know; he could be the love of your life.

What to do if you’re not interested in him

It’s very difficult for most people – especially women – to be direct with other people. And it’s even worse when you feel like what you have to say is going to hurt someone else’s feelings. So, if you’re not interested in the guy but don’t want to tell him directly, here are some things you can do.

1. Take your time to respond to his texts

When someone likes a person, they are eager to communicate with them. Because of this, they always respond to their texts in a timely manner.

So, if you don’t want to give him the impression that you like him back, then take your time to respond to his texts. Eventually, he will notice and get the hint. [Read: How to slow down a relationship – 18 ways to do it and not hurt them]

2. Tell him how busy you are

Whether he is asking you to hang out with him or not, you should make a habit of talking about how much you have going on in your life. Talk about work, school, friends, family … anything to give him the message that there is not a lot of room in your life for him, for dating, and definitely not for a relationship.

3. Talk about other guys

Now, you don’t have to be too obvious and make him feel inadequate. You don’t want to point out hot guys and tell him how much you want to do them.

Instead, you can talk about how much you love John’s sense of humor or how Jim is just so smart. When he sees that you are admiring other guys, he might notice that you’re not complimenting him.

4. Don’t reach out to him first

Even if you were in the habit of reaching out to talk to him first, you should stop doing that. If you do, then he might think you are interested in him too. Resist the temptation to do this even if you’re bored and have no one else to talk to at the moment. [Read: Can girls and guys really be just friends? 13 truths to bridge the gap]

5. Don’t engage in intimate conversation

When two people have deep conversations, it creates an emotional bond between the two of them. And when there is an emotional bond, feelings can develop or get stronger.

So, you want to try to talk about mundane things and nothing too serious. That way, you can keep the relationship light and friendly.

6. Say you’re not ready for a relationship

If you’re single, you need to let him know that you’re not interested in a relationship. You don’t have to be direct and say that you’re not interested in a relationship with him, but you should convey the message that the possibility of a relationship with you is off the table.

If you recently broke up with someone, then you can use that as an excuse – that you’re not over your ex.

7. Ask him for advice “from a guy’s perspective”

When you seek advice from a guy, it’s usually because you see them in a brotherly kind of way. Just like you would ask your big brother for advice about something, you can ask him for his advice from a “guy’s perspective.”

And you can even say something like, “I always wanted a big brother to get advice from!” [Read: 28 subtle ways to friend zone a guy and not lead him on or hurt him]

8. Say he’s a good “friend”

While most people like being called a “good friend,” when a guy likes you, he doesn’t want to be called a “friend.” Not that it’s a bad word or an insult, but it does give the guy the impression that he is not a romantic interest of yours.

You might have to say it more than once because sometimes guys can be slow to pick up on those things.

9. Don’t be too complimentary

It might be natural for you to be friendly, flirty, and complimentary to all people – both girls and guys. But you want to be careful about this with the guy who likes you.

If you say how funny or smart he is, he might begin to wonder what else you like about him. He might think that you are starting to think about him in a romantic way.

10. Try to fix him up with a friend

Now, you don’t have to come right out and say “I don’t like you, but you should date my friend!” Instead, you should say things like, “Omg you sound so much like my friend Jenna! You two would get along so well. I should introduce you two sometime!” That way, you’re not overtly saying that you want to fix them up, but the message is still pretty clear.

[Read: How to stop a guy from flirting with you even though you’ve turned him down]

Many people don’t know how to respond when a guy says he likes them, but at the end of the day just be a good person. Admitting feelings isn’t easy. So turn him down nicely or explore this possibility and see how things go.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

LovePanky icon
Team LovePanky
The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...