Last Updated on April 8, 2023 by Angela Vaz

Have you ever caught a guy staring at you but he never smiles?

You may feel flattered but at the same you’re confused.

Why can’t he be friendly?

What’s with the blatant staring?

You may even feel weird about it or slightly uncomfortable.

The truth is, for men, staring without smiling is a common occurrence and it can mean a lot of things.

So, don’t jump to conclusions.

Always give him the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst.

In this post, I’ll cover some reasons why guys stare at you but never smile.

Let’s dive in.

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1. He is extremely shy

he is probably shy

I know it’s quite natural to believe that all guys are confident and have it together, but they’re human – just like us.

This guy may be very shy or introverted.

Shy people feel nervous and probably that’s why he’s scared to smile at you.

He may find it difficult to initiate conversations or show interest in people they like.

Sometimes, these men are intimidated by a person’s appearance or personality and may feel too nervous to smile.

I’ve had this happen to me quite a bit.

Since I have a very bubbly and outgoing personality, people sometimes are a little intimidated to talk to me.

I have to usually make the first move.

2. He is lost in thought

he is lost in thouught

There is a HUGE possibility that he isn’t even aware that he’s staring at you.

He may be lost in thought and you may be sitting in his line of sight.

So, he’s actually in deep thought thinking about something hard and may not even be paying attention to his surroundings – least of all, you.

For all you know, he may be simply staring absent-mindedly without even realizing that you’re right there.

So, if it’s a one-off thing, just let it slide.

3. He is bewitched by you

he finds you attractive

I’ve always wanted to use the word “bewitched” in a sentence.

You may be very pretty and attractive to him.

And he’s genuinely simply admiring your physical appearance but doesn’t want to come across as creepy.

It happens a lot, doesn’t it?

A lot of guys are scared to make a move, lest they think it comes across as creepy or unwanted.

So, he’s probably just appreciating how lovely you look and doesn’t want to come across as creepy or inappropriate by staring and smiling.

4. He wants to but doesn’t know how

he wants to smile but doesn't know how

Let’s say he genuinely likes you and is interested in you.

He may be waiting for a sign to come over or make a move.

It’s possible that he really wants to get to know you but probably doesn’t know how to start a conversation with you.

He may be staring to gauge your interest or get your attention.

And he’s trying to read your body language before making a move.

I discovered this while dating.

Many guys would be very apprehensive before making a move. They’d watch me intently and study my body language to see if I was okay with them being so forward.

It’s actually just them being cautious.

5. He is trying to give off a mysterious vibe

he is trying to give off a mysterious vibe

Maybe he likes you but wants to be different.

Perhaps he read this advice in a book or his friends have been talking to him.

He may be trying to convey a very serious or intense impression to you.

He doesn’t want to be like the other guys.

Maybe he’s trying to convey a sense of mystery, confidence, or even plain intensity by staring at you and not smiling.

6. He is an overthinker

he is an overthinker

My partner is a serious overthinker and I can actually see him working things out by reading his facial expressions.

Perhaps what you’re reading as seriousness is actually him just being confused or anxious.

A lot of guys are just overthinkers.

And he probably likes you but is overthinking his behavior around you to avoid any mistakes or missteps.

That’s why he’s unsure if he should smile or not and maybe staring without smiling as a result.

7. He feels you’re out of his league

he feels you're out of his league

I’ve had guy friends who are really into girls but never make a move.

I remember asking one of my friends, “Why don’t you at least smile at her? It’s not that hard.”

“No way!” he scoffed. “She’s wayyyyy out of my league.”

I found it odd.

Just because someone is different from you in terms of personality, doesn’t mean that you can’t strike up a conversation.

Why give up without trying?

But a lot of men are terribly insecure about themselves and need a huge push.

Chances are he just assumes you’re way too good for him, so he’s just staring without smiling.

8. He wants to intimidate you

he wants to intimidate you

If he is one of those guys that are extremely aggressive, they often stare without smiling to show you that they’re being all macho and manly.

So, he’s playing mind games with you by staring at you and trying to prove that he’s the strong one.

If you break eye contact, he assumes in his mind that he has won.

He’s basically playing a game that he’s invented himself.

Yes, it actually makes him happy and in his head, he believes he’s scored.

If this guy is giving you bad vibes, just leave.

You don’t need to prove anything to him. And if you don’t feel safe, call someone and make sure you aren’t alone.

Don’t associate with people who play mind games.

It’s exhausting and never-ending.

9. You remind him of someone he knows

you remind him of someone he knows

Once a guy was staring at me and it was quite awkward.

I caught him doing it a few times and I just asked him why he was trying to catch my attention.

He told me I looked an awful lot like a girl he went camping with.

I wasn’t the same girl but hey, it’s good to know that you have doppelgangers in this world.

So, there may be a slight chance that you resemble someone he knows; hence he’s staring trying to figure out if you’re the same person.

Who knows?

10. He’s playing reverse psychology on you

he is playing reverse psychology on you

Yes, some guys actually do this.

They don’t want to show that they’re interested.

They want you to make the first move.

So, he may be trying to maintain a poker face or playing it cool.

He believes that this will make him look more confident or uninterested.

He feels that this will intrigue you enough to go to him or catch his attention.

Honestly, don’t fall for it.

If a man wants to ask you out, he should.

He shouldn’t play mind games – it’s just childish.

11. He is genuinely upset about something

he is genuinely upset about something

Life happens.

Haven’t you been upset by something but not realized that you were actually looking in someone’s direction?

That’s probably what’s happening now too.

Maybe he’s upset about something and in just overall not feeling that great.

And because he is looking in your direction, you may feel like he’s staring but not smiling.

He may be looking at you, but his mind is elsewhere and he’s just not feeling it.

Why should I do if he’s staring at me?

This really depends on the situation.

If you feel guys are constantly staring at you, it’s not just you.

You may be living in an area where you dress up uniquely or don’t fit into the general stereotype.

Even when I moved from UAE to India, I found that people stared at me a lot.

It happened when I wore very bright colors or left my curly hair loose.

People weren’t used to seeing that kind of style, so people stared.

More often than not, it’s nothing serious.

So, ignore it.

If someone is making you feel uncomfortable by staring at you a lot and you feel it’s not a one-time occurrence, then you can take a little more action and probably report it.

But whatever you do, be careful.

Don’t confront somebody because you don’t know their history.

We live in a world where maybe 0.1% of the population may be unpredictably violent. So, you always want to proceed with caution.

I hope this helps!

If you have any questions, I’m more than happy to answer them. Just leave a comment below.

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Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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