A Checklist To Determine That He’s Just Not That Into You, Once And For All!

Two years ago, I met a guy online. We quickly found that we had a lot in common and conversation was easy. We don’t live far apart and made general plans to meet up for drinks after he got back from a trip. We kept in contact over the first couple of weeks he was gone, but by the end of this trip, the emails diminished dramatically. I soon found out he began dating a much younger girl (he’s 27, she’s 20, I’m 25) that he had known for a couple of years and was traveling with him. I was upset, but not at him, just the circumstances. We didn’t talk very regularly after that.

Flash forward to two months ago. I heard through the grapevine that he was having some relationship problems and was feeling down. I sent him a message to keep his head up, hoping things got better, out of concern. He soon got back to me and sort of ran me down on what was happening, asking for my thoughts. I gave him my honest “girl interpretation,” as his girlfriend has been dragging him around and couldn’t decide if she wanted to be together. (He’s been trying to win her back but has finally seemed to realize it isn’t going to work, and that he needs to move on.) He’s kept me updated and seemed to appreciate my honesty. We’ve chatted in general, and he almost always initiates the conversation. He even asked if we were going to be at the same event in a few months. I admit that my interest has rekindled, but I have kept my distance and just tried to be a sounding board for him out of respect.

My question is: do you think there’s a possibility for something there between us? With him talking to me about his currently ending relationship, I wasn’t sure if he just saw me as someone to talk with and just a friend or if he wanted to give me a little insight on himself. He told me he will “need time” to get over her and is not one to jump to another relationship quickly, fearing a rebound. That is OK (and admirable) to me. Am I just the nice girl who gives him straight answers? Or do you think this reconnection could lead to something down the line? Thanks for any input!Dyana

Dear Dyana,

If you didn’t write this letter, I would have. Your issue is so epidemic that there should be a book devoted to it. A book that says the same thing over and over and over again until the message becomes crystal-clear and it sears itself on your brain, never to be forgotten. A book called, I don’t know… “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

Self-help books are fascinating for that reason. You read them, you smile, you nod, and everything you read just goes in one ear and out the other. For me, the best example is “The Power of Now”. I “get it” but I don’t live it. Pretty much every woman who writes me on this blog “gets” the concept of “HJNTIY” but doesn’t actually realize when it applies to her that He’s! Just! Not! That! Into! You! You want to know when he IS into you?

Pretty much every woman who writes me on this blog “gets” the concept of “HJNTIY” but doesn’t actually realize when it applies to her that He’s! Just! Not! That! Into! You!

He calls to say, “when can I see you again?”

He reserves plans with you every Friday and Saturday night.

He calls/texts/or emails every single day.

He calls himself your boyfriend.

He wants to make it clear you’re not seeing anyone else.

He sleeps with you regularly.

He talks about a future.

He tells you he loves you.

If you need to print this blog post out as a checklist and tape it to your bathroom mirror to remind yourself how a real boyfriend acts, that’s cool by me. Just please, stop ignoring the list and acting like your distant guy is somehow different than everyone else’s distant guy! Seriously.

The trick isn’t in figuring out how to get an unavailable guy to want you – it’s in finding the available guy who wants you.

Men reveal themselves in their efforts to commit to you.

Anything less, you’re wasting your time.

I have had four clients in the past month who paid $250/hr for the privilege of hearing this same information by phone. Yet the story is always the same. You had a moment of chemistry – you slept together or you didn’t – he said a few nice things to you that you held onto forever – and he went back to pursuing other women. And all you can ask is: does he really like me? Why would he say that nice thing to me two years ago? Why would he sleep with me if he’s not into me? Why would he be calling me regularly if he didn’t care?

Here are the answers to those questions, once and for all.

1) Why did he say that nice thing to me two years ago?

He said that nice thing to you two years ago because he meant it two years ago. “You are extremely beautiful. We have amazing chemistry. You are one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. You’re going to make some guy very happy one day.” He meant all of it. Yet none of it means that he wants you to be his girlfriend.

2) Why would he sleep with me if he’s not into me?

Because you’re there. Because there doesn’t have to be ANY connection between sex and feelings. Which is hard to understand because YOU would never have sex with someone you weren’t attracted to or have feelings for. We would.

3) Why would he be calling me regularly if he didn’t care?

You ever have a nice guy friend who you would never date? Yeah, that’s you. You’re the nice girl who gives him straight answers – not to mention attention, concern, stability, and unconditional love. And he really appreciates it, thanks.

To sum up, Dyana – I only get agitated because it’s SO EASY to figure out where you stand with a guy. And I don’t care if it means that my blog comes to a grinding halt because every woman finally GETS it, and there are no more questions to ask the dating coach… but if you pass this along to a friend, who passes it along to another friend, who passes it along to another friend, you’ll be performing a great service to millions of women who struggle with the same issue.

Men reveal themselves in their efforts to commit to you. Anything less, you’re wasting your time.

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Comments:

  1. 91
    sunflower

    I think the reason it’s hard for women to accept the “HJNTIY” reality is because it relatively RARE to find a man who displays the behavior that indicates the willingness and desire to form a relationship. It’s often so rare that the behavior of men who don’t want to commit seems normal and almost expected, and after repeatedly experiencing variations on the same theme, women become frustrated. We hope against hope that just maybe there is some elusive maneuver that can empower us to get what we want from certain men. It’s hard to accept defeat, which is what a woman may be feeling when she is very much into a guy who doesn’t feel the same. Not to mention the fact that so many men are very skilled at creating the ILLUSION of being into you so that they can get what they really want, which leaves us disappointed, deflated and feeling foolish. It’s no wonder we choose the comfort of denial to help us avoid facing the unpleasant reality.

  2. 92
    Steve

    @Jennifer #90
    The other ( less handsome) Steve has fewer typos than I usually do too :).

  3. 93
    Steve

    sunflower Jun 30th 2009 at 07:57 am 91
    I think the reason it’s hard for women to accept the HJNTIY reality is because it relatively RARE to find a man who displays the behavior that indicates the willingness and desire to form a relationship

    Exactly.

    Only a handful of people during your lifetime will be interested in having a relationship with you. It will be more common to come across people who are not.

    That is why the common sense acronym of HJNTIY works as a rule of thumb. You just have it backwards. You don’t look for behaviors consistent with wanting a relationship. You look for the more common behaviors of not being interested so you are free to move on without torturing yourself.

  4. 94
    Steve1

    Since there is another Steve on this thread(I doubt he’s more handsome)I’ll use Steve1.

    Steve@93 said
    “You look for the more common behaviors of not being interested so you are free to move on without torturing yourself.”

    That’s good advice to follow to stay out of the “friend zone” and to determine that HJNTIY or SJNTIY.

  5. 95
    sunflower

    Steve #93 said
    You don’t look for behaviors consistent with wanting a relationship. You look for the more common behaviors of not being interested so you are free to move on without torturing yourself.

    This runs counter to Evan’s checklist, doesn’t it? He’s saying look for those behaviors as the indicators that the guy IS into you. Which would mean the guy’s not into you if he’s not doing those things.

  6. 96
    Chris K

    @Curly Girl #1:
    “Maybe there needs to be another checklist for more timid guys who don’t know how to show a woman they are into her.”

    Yes! I’ve struggled with this – partly with trusting that if I think a girl is into me, it’sFinally okay to express that I like her.

    The difficult thing for me has been in the early stages, when you like her, but it’s not even clear there’s a mutual interest (e.g. you’re thinking “maybe she’s this friendly with everyone”).

    I met a girl 4 years ago, and we flirted and teased like crazy. We held hands and hugged, but she held back, e.g. wouldn’t let me kiss her. (Mixed signals – but I now realize that I wasn’t communicating.) We were both traveling, and I had to move on, so I figured if she was into me she’d get in touch when she was in my city.

    Trouble is, she got a boyfriend before that. That didn’t last, but for most of the last 4 years we’ve been on different continents. To cut a long story short, with some advice from a wiser friend, I took her up on some positive things she said by email, and called her (from opposite sides of the Pacific), and we talked about getting together when we were closer. Fast forward a few weeks, we’re on the same continent, she flew to meet me and we spent a week traveling. This time I did tell her straight up I liked her. (Never stopped teasing her though.) I learnt that she was into me 4 years ago, but as she always has guys interested in her, my window of opportunity was narrow at that time. I was an idiot for much of the last 4 years, but I’ve learnt.

    Things have moved up a notch and in a few months I’m flying to where she is.

    That’s a long, long comment, but three messages:
    * Yes, we really need a SJNTIY
    * In the very early stages, a guy may not give all the “right” signals that Evan talks about, especially if he hardly knows you. Sometimes it would help a guy a lot if she asks a subtle question – or if he knew how he could gauge her interest somehow without feeling like an idiot. (This is more relevant if there’s that window of opportunity problem, e.g. you’re traveling; or if there’s a social risk, like you’re in the same circle of friends)
    * It depends what you’re looking for. This blog seems to be for people who want to find a spouse, whereas in my case, neither of us were that serious 4 years ago. (Less serious “young love” can turn into something more – but it doesn’t have to.)

  7. 97
    Seductress

    I would find if difficult to be excited about a man who exhibits ‘not into me’ behavior….

    I don’t understand the need to find exceptions and hopeful loopholes in order to hang on…

  8. 98
    Jenn

    I just got done reading HJNTIY and it’s an amazing book, but came away with it still a bit confused about my situation. I guess I’m not sure if still he’s into me or not. In the book, Greg Behrendt writes, “If a guy truly likes you, but for personal reasons he needs to take things slow, he will let you know that immediately. He won’t keep you guessing, because he’ll want to make sure you don’t get frustrated and go away” (pg 13-14). Well, this is like what happened to me. The guy I was seeing told me that he’s extremely busy working on his dissertation for the PhD program he’s in and can’t pursue a relationship. In fact, he actually said “I like you and enjoy spending time with you and I was/am interested in being more than friends, but realistically now it’s not a prudent idea to pursue a more-than-friends relationship, not because I don’t like you, but because I am not sure that I can devote an adequate time, effort, and commitment to a relationship.” And another thing is, he still calls me. He remembers things I tell him, like if i’m going on a trip, when I have class, etc., you know, personal stuff and he keeps me informed on when and where he’s going for conferences, that have to do with his dissertation, etc. Now what I want to know is, did he tell me this to keep me around ’cause he really likes me (like the quote from Behrendt’s book above) or not. If not, why would he being doing this?

    1. 98.1
      Chris K

      Sounds like he doesn’t want to make big promises, but his actions (and words) show he *is* interested.

      There’s a few possibilities about this guy. Sometimes we don’t realize how fleeting an opportunity is, and we can lose it (in this case, he could lose you). Sometimes we really like someone, but are not so wrapped in them that we drop everything and pursue them – that’s a small dose of the HJNTIY thing.

      I also agree with Karl R’s response below.

      My thought is – stay in touch, see how things develop, but if there’s no commitment from his side, definitely see other people (and be honest with him about that). Good luck!

      (For commenting on legal issues people use the footnote “IANAL” – I am not a lawyer. So… IANAEIL – I am not an expert in love!)

    2. 98.2
      Chris K

      Sounds like it’s in the grey zone.

      Maybe he really likes you, but hasn’t been knocked off his feet – maybe he’s not the sort of person who tends to get knock off his feet or follow his heart.

      Keep in touch, appreciate his thoughtfulness, but see other people. And be honest with him, of course. Good luck.

      Just my thoughts – I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve learnt from my many mistakes!

  9. 99
    Ruby

    Pg. 159, question 8 of HJNTIY has the answer to your question. And did you know that PhD programs typically run anywhere from 4-10 years? I think that someone saying, “I am not sure that I can devote adequate time, effort, and commitment to a relationship”, is making a pretty clear statement.

  10. 100
    Jenn

    I remember reading that part, which is why I’m confused as to what Greg is saying. That’s why I wrote a little novel on my situation above. I think he should make it more clearer for people like me. But then again, he does write, “Maybe there are men like that out there and maybe there aren’t.”

  11. 101
    Karl R

    Jenn said: (#98)
    “Now what I want to know is, did he tell me this to keep me around cause he really likes me (like the quote from Behrendt’s book above) or not.”

    He likes you and he’s trying to keep you around.

    But I still think he’s not that into you … at least not right now.

    Jenn’s boyfriend said: (#98)
    “I like you and enjoy spending time with you and I was/am interested in being more than friends, but realistically now it’s not a prudent idea to pursue a more-than-friends relationship, not because I don’t like you, but because I am not sure that I can devote an adequate time, effort, and commitment to a relationship.”

    If you’re really into someone, you pursue the relationship even when it’s not prudent. You make the effort to scrape together enough time for the relationship.

    There are lots of graduate students who manage to make time for romance. How? They really want to. I dated a single mother who worked at least 60 hours per week. How did she find the time? She really wanted to. It was only one evening per week, but she managed to make that time every single week for 7 or 8 months.

    There’s not one “right” person in the world. There are lots of men you could have a wonderful life-long relationship with. He may be one of them. If so, this clearly is not the right time to pursue a relationship with him. But you don’t want to wait around for a few years for a “maybe”.

    So the obvious solution is to pursue other relationships and see if you can find another person who is right for you. If not, you can give it another shot after he’s done with graduate school.

  12. 102
    starthrower68

    I have learned, thanks to Evan, that if there is no effort made, that is probably enough of a sign he’s not that into me and the rest of the stuff is a moot point. I don’t stress over it anymore and move on. It has brought me much peace.

  13. 103
    kirsten

    I’m pondering the idea that we still need to make an effort. Knowing he just isn’t that into me is helpful and makes me feel better, but should I always give up?

    If, for instance, I applied for a job and they just didn’t feel I was the right choice, should I give up right then? Don’t send the thank you letter or follow up with a phone call? Do I withhold my portfolio no matter what? Or, do I up my game, be a better me and present myself honestly with prowess and intent? Remind them why I’m the right candidate.

    I get it. He’s not that into me. And I’m fine with that. But what about me? I don’t know the answer, and I’m hemming and hawing that it’s a lost cause and it’ll make it worse the harder you try… Or, can I make another attempt. Make my honest intensions clear? Make it happen.
    .-= kirsten´s last blog ..Shameless =-.

    1. 103.1
      starthrower68

      Kristen,

      I understand your question, but I guess what I think of, is, should I have to “make it happen”? Yes, relationships require time, effort, and commitment but those things come naturally to both people as a result of a mutual desire, goal, or whatever you call it. But you can’t ever “make” someone want to be with you. And why would you want to? Wouldn’t you want to know that’s what, in his heart of hearts, he wants?

  14. 104
    hunter

    Kirsten lusts this man so bad, that I can almost smell him. There is nothing wrong with seducing your partner.

  15. 105
    Selena

    Kirsten,
    You can certainly make your intentions clear if you want to. Just be prepared it likely won’t change anything.

    My pride would prevent me from trying to make some guy want me, but I’m not you. Perhaps for you, “trying to make it happen” would be what you needed so you could tell yourself you did all you could. ??

  16. 106
    Chris K

    Kirsten,

    A few years ago a woman I met seemed to be into me, and she was great, but I wasn’t feeling any chemistry. Then one day she turned up at a party looking really nice (not especially revealing, just nice) and bam, I felt the chemistry. Might seem shallow (and I’m not a guy that puts looks at the top of my list) but there you are.

    Some small thing (not necessarily appearance) may tip the balance – you can’t know if it will work, but it might. Flirt, have fun, and good luck!

  17. 107
    dPain

    Is there such a checklist for men to use on women, to tell if SJNTIY.  By nature, its got to be different than the HJNTIY list, no?

  18. 108
    Karl R

    dPain, (#111)
    Start with Mr._Right’s list (#33).

    One I would add is that she isn’t into you if she declines two consecutive date invites (provided you’re not asking at the last minute), even if it’s beacuse she has a previous commitment.

    A woman who IS into you will suggest a date/time when she’s available, or she will ask you out at a date/time when she’s available, or she will make some other serious effort to get a date with you that she can attend.

  19. 109
    Denise

    #13

    Here, here!  I agree…it is VERY freeing to get this concept.  That doesn’t mean it’s not disappointing, but I can go about my business with my dignity and boundaries intact. Also keeps me from getting ‘bitchy’ of something I have no control over.

    Who knows what the future holds…but I bet a guy is more likely to want to try with a woman who had strong boundaries and knew what she wanted than one that called and tried to convince him they would be good together.

    Took me awhile to get here, but a much better place to be…LOVE Evan’s answers to questions, he’s right on.

  20. 110
    Denise

    #93 Steve

    Right on in regard to there only being a handful of people that are willing and AVAILABLE to enter a relationship.  Timing is everything as they say…that’s why it’s good to keep our boundaries about us and deal in reality.  He’s just not into you, checklist or whatever, is a good way to do that.

  21. 111
    Sarahrahrah!

    Ah, gee, Evan, you wrote an entire column on this after I misquoted your original list.  Thank you!  :)

    I wanted to alert you and your readers about an excellent article that was published in the NYTimes weekender edition, entitled, “He’s Just Not That Into Anyone”:

    It chronicles the effects of porn on men’s romantic relationships —- and it isn’t good, but it IS informative.  What I took away from the article was that there may be otherwise really good dating prospects out there, but if they’d rather sit home and whack off in front of the computer (pardon my crudeness, but I think we need a dose of reality), we can’t fix them AND we’re better off without them.

    Cheers and happy dating to all in 2011!

    (Evan, I’m praying for your family and your upcoming bundle of joy!  Thanks for freely giving in the form of this blog.)

  22. 112
    jacinta

    what would be your postition on a guy who has a lot of other issues going on (like a family member with terminal illness) for example. Would that affect whether they are going to be in touch or not? I am struggling with this situation right now, and I think that if you really like someone, you want to see them regardless of what´s going on in your life, and it´s sometihng postiive.

  23. 113
    Kate Candy

    Evan,
    Is there any way that guys don’t have the checklist?  I dated a guy for over a year who swore he was into me, who made future plans with me, who wanted to see me every Friday and Saturday, but did not have regular sex with me, who did not tell me he loved me regularly, who did not immediately call every night, asked me if I wanted to be referred to as a girlfriend and when I said yes, still introduced me as his friend.  I ended up cutting things off because he felt that there were more important things in a relationship than sex and communication (that’s a quote).  

    Guys seem to break down in two categories: guys who will commit and guys who will not.  But I don’t know any guys who would pass the checklist.  If we meet a guy who does want a committed relationship, can we show them the checklist and say, “You want to know what women want?  Here it is.”   

  24. 114
    Miranda

    Evan, I really enjoy your blog, it is extremely entertaining (and you know it;).
    But I constantly think you miss an important thing about dating: there are decent people and non decent people. The latter will mess with you at some point no matter if they want a relationship, don’t want one, marry you, etc…
    So in situations like these, instead of asking “is he into me, is he not?” this girl should rather find out if this guy respects her and if they share the same values. If that’s the case, it is impossible for him to hurt her that much, because he will make sure not to take advantage of anyone.
    I have been twice in casual relationships in which I developed more feelings and wanted a relationship. The first guy ended up committing to me after a few months, saying “as there is so much attraction between us, I think we need to give this a try”. He was a sweet, caring person.
    The other one did not really committ, but kept coming back and I think I could have made him at some point (after a few months of no contact), because his interest level was still soooo high. But at that point I realized I didn’t want him to leave his then gf, because he tried to cheat on her with me… and I realized he is UNABLE to have a deep, meaningful relationship.
    Sorry I just wanted to get this off my chest… girls and guys, if you deal with a good person, they will either date you at some point or leave you alone – and not treat you like shit, because it’s not in them and they will back off or do they right thing once they realize they hurt you. So look at their personalities. If they disrespect you, even marriage with them will never ever be fulfilling!!!

  25. 115
    Miranda

    I wanted to add something to my previous post: that means for the girl from the posting to make sure he is a respectful person. If he is, he won’t lead her on. “I am not able to have a relationship at the moment but I like you and want to see where things go” will mean exactly that. I have said that to guys and meant it. I have felt nothing for a guy I fell head over heels for at a later point, because I was so numb inside from previous hurts. Sometimes it can be worth waiting, sometimes not, but I think it depends more on the person than on HJNTIY.

  26. 116
    JS1613

    Does this apply to long term relationships as well?

  27. 117
    Lily

    EVAN YOU RULE!!!
    Absolutely fabulous response and such a breath of fresh air. I SO WISH I had access to you when I spent 8 years with a man I was head-over-heels in love with, who abruptly broke up with me out of the blue one evening after dinner. No discussion, no explanation. And no commitment, either. For such a smart woman, I was very, very stupid to have wasted so many years wishing, hoping, yearning, fantasizing. It really is simple. If a man is into you, he commits. Period.

  28. 118
    A.

    It’s funny, I’ve had:  actually several situations where signs of “he’s just not that into you”, actually did mean, “he’s incredibly into you, but there’s a real reason why the relationship wouldn’t work, so he’s trying to be nonchalant.”  

    One was sharing an apartment with his sister, a very close friend of mine, and was working 60 hours a week:  she became jealous and angry at the thought of us dating, and he couldn’t afford, financially or emotionally, to shake things up.  Another was a close friend and business partner of an ex: again, he couldn’t afford to mess up the relationship with my ex.  ETC.  

    Just for maturity’s sake, there are times when “HJNTIY” is actually not the case.  Both of these men, and a few others, would call me constantly, flirt, offer me gifts, etc. and then randomly bail, act weird, or be distant.  

    Either way, if he’s displaying mixed messages, it generally means get outta there!  

  29. 119
    Clare

    I’ve read He’s Just Not That Into You, and I’m not wild about it, or the phrase. I think for women it can feel a little like getting hit on the head with a two by four. I agree the message is an important one.
    But I prefer, instead of the somewhat harsh-sounding “He’s Just Not That Into You”, consulting what’s going on inside me. How do I really feel about someone who is so flakey/inconsistent/unavailable/openly tells me he doesn’t want a relationship/is pursuing other people? I must say, usually my enquiry stops there. I don’t usually even have to ask if he’s that into me or not. Do *you* really want someone who expresses no clear interest in you?
    It’s a subtle shift perhaps, but I think it’s every bit as important, if not more so, for women to focus on how they feel, rather than just trying to work out how he feels.

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