If he likes me, why won't he call?

Dear Alice,

I met this guy I like about a month ago and I think that he really likes me. He has a very busy schedule with school, homework, and sports, but when he says he will call me, he usually doesn't. If he really likes me, why won't he call when he says he will? Also, how can I tell if he likes me for me and not just my looks?

Dear Reader,

Believe it or not, how much someone likes you and whether they call you aren’t always correlated. Despite humans being evolved creatures, communicating effectively with others can still be a challenge for many. There may be a number of reasons why he hasn’t called — perhaps there are logistical barriers, such as his phone is broken; personal reasons, such as being too busy to call; personality traits, such as being shy or not wanting to talk on the phone; or it could be that he’s no longer interested in continuing the relationship. The irony is that the best way to figure out why he hasn’t called is to talk to him. As you consider his reasons for not calling, it might also be good for you to think about how, or if, you want to move forward with this relationship.

It can be difficult wondering why he isn’t calling, especially if you have an inkling that this guy is into you. In order to put your wondering mind at ease, it might be good to be proactive — maybe it’s time for you to give him a call instead of waiting for him to take the initiative. It’s not uncommon to feel like you’ve made your thoughts and feelings known and now it’s the other person’s turn to make a move. However, it’s worth noting that there are no documented rules about who is expected to reach out to whom. If or when you two are able to connect, it might be good to figure out a communication plan that works for the both of you. It's also possible that while you've had a great time together so far, his interest may be waning. He may have experienced a change of heart since he last communicated with you, and the interest he had before is no longer there. This could occur for a number of reasons, and it may have nothing to do with you. If you decide to reach out, it can be helpful to prepare for the possibility that he may no longer have the same feelings. 

As you weigh the options — whether you want to be the one to reach out, to keep waiting on him, or to let it go and move on — you may also consider the types of relationships and experiences you want for your life, and trust your instincts. Do you feel happy spending time with this person? Can you talk to him easily? Have you tried to talk to him about this before? If so, did he acknowledge how his actions have made you feel or tried to make any changes? While a budding new relationship is exciting, how might you feel if you ended up missing out on a fun night with friends because you were waiting by the phone for his call? If you’ve already brought up these concerns with him and this continues to be an issue, it might be good for you to think about whether you’re getting what you need out of the relationship. If you aren’t, it may be time to move on.  

As for your second question, it can be difficult, at first, to tell if someone is attracted to you for your looks or for who you are — or both. This usually becomes apparent as you spend more time with a person. If the attraction is purely physical, the relationship may eventually fizzle, rather than sizzle, as you realize that you don't have much in common. It’s worth mentioning that healthy romantic relationships have many qualities beyond physical attraction — shared interests, intellect, complementary personalities, and more — can play a part in making or breaking that special bond.

Getting on the same wavelength with a budding beau can be frustrating, but, after all, that’s amore: confusing, exciting, and enlightening all at once! And whether it pans out or not, the romantic journey can be an excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself and what kind of partner you’re looking for in a relationship. For more ideas on how navigate the maze of communication in a new relationship, consider checking out the Relating & Communicating and Finding a Partner topics of the Go Ask Alice! Relationships archives.

Last updated Mar 06, 2020
Originally published Jan 23, 1998

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