Why a Guy Touches You the Way He Does
The way a guy touches you is sometimes easy to understand, but at other times it can be downright confusing. You can't always flat out ask what he is doing, and even if you did, he might not even know how to explain it.
Are We Just Friends? Or Does He Want Something More?
There are several lists below to help you decode what's happening!
- First is a list of some of the places he might touch you and what it could mean when he does. Keep in mind that the meaning can be highly dependent on the situation. Use your intuition!
- There's also a list of some other things that he might do, as well as a chart to help you decode where things are on the friends-to-something-more scale.
- Sometimes you'll see all these moves in a relationship. This list might also give you some pointers on what you would like to see in your relationship.
What His Touches Mean
- Hair: If it's a soft caress, it means he's into you and cares about you; if it's playful or incidental, he's flirting. Even if he says he's only doing it because there's something in your hair and he wants to get it out, he's still definitely flirting with you.
- Face, including the cheeks and your chin: Just like your hair, a guy who is touching your face is definitely flirting with you, even if he acts like there's another reason for it. It can also be very sweet for a guy to gently stroke your chin or cheek. This could mean that he cares about you.
- Lips: Touching your lips with his fingers is a very forward gesture. He is definitely showing interest.
- Head: Much like the face, the head can be a safer area for him to touch if you're kissing. If he's just bopping you on the head, then it might be playful (though it's still a sign of flirtation). Before he kisses you, he might gently touch the back of your head or your neck to bring your face closer to his.
- Neck: The neck is a very sensitive spot. If a guy is touching you here, it's almost certainly romantic.
- Shoulder: Except for shoulder or back rubs, the shoulders are not a particularly romantic area. This is somewhere that even people you are not close to might be able to touch without it being weird. That said, if he's rubbing your shoulders, or if his hand lingers, it might mean he likes you.
- Arms: These are a more neutral part of the body. In conversation, people may touch your arm in order to get your attention. It could also be slightly flirtatious. Hooking arms is more flirty or romantic—it's not something you'd do with a stranger. If he's touching your arms frequently, even for things that don't seem flirtatious, he's probably trying to find ways to be close to you.
- Hands: There are a variety of different touches that could land on your hand. Hand-holding is clearly romantic—interlocking fingers especially so. High fives or fist bumps are less romantic, but are a good way to break the touch barrier.
- Back: It really depends on where he's touching you on the back. Lower back touches tend to be more playful. Sometimes a guy will touch you there when he's leading you through a crowded place. Touches on the upper back can be much more platonic and might not mean anything.
- Stomach: This is a bit more of an unusual area to touch. Touching you here is very playful. If they're smacking or poking you in the stomach, he's probably being flirtatious and playing with you. Or has a thing for tickle fights.
- Waist or hips: When a guy touches you on your waist or your hips, it means he wants to be close to you. A man might gently come up behind you and put his hands on your waist, or he might pull you in closer to him by putting his hands on your hips.
- Feet: Touching you on the feet is flirting! Either that, or you two are good friends and he's just messing with you. Foot massages can also be very nice, but if he's giving you one of those—you probably already know that he's into you.
Other Things He Might Do and What They Could Mean
- If he picks you up: When a guy picks you up, he's trying to get close to you and show off his strength.
- Hugs you: There are many different kinds of hugs. They can range from the endearing long hug, or side hugs that barely touch you at all. In general, the longer the hug, the more intimate. Shy guys might be too afraid to give you a real hug even though they want to, so a side hug from them is not necessarily an indication that they are into you.
- Touches you with his head: He might rest his head in your lap, on your forehead, or on your shoulder. Each of these indicates that he's comfortable with you and trusts you.
- Interlocks fingers with you while holding hands: The hands are a safe place. Interlocking fingers is a way to bond and test the waters of a new romance, and can indicate that he cares about you. It also could be a friendly gesture among close friends, like you're scared walking through a pitch dark place.
- Touches you all the time: If a guy is touching you all the time and can't keep his hands off you,he is likely very into you.
- Touches his face, hair, or neck while he's talking to you: Touching his face or neck could be a sign that he is nervous around you. Translation: he's totally digging you. Or he's just really fidgety.
- Touches you with his feet: Playing footsie = playing flirtsie.
You Know a Guy Likes You Best When He
Hair is a special part of a woman. Depending on the type of hair you have, it could be one of the most attractive parts of you, or nothing special. Men adore hair, especially long locks. It's something a lot of them don't have, and they know it's personal. It's also safer than some other parts of your body to focus on.
What it means if he touches it:
- If a guy spends a lot of his time with his hands in your hair, he has you in mind.
- If he caresses your hair, then he deeply has a thing for you. You've softened up his heart.
- If he tugs on your hair, this is more playful. He wants to get your attention; he wants you to acknowledge him; and he wants you to play with him like a kindergartner. He may also put your hair in a ponytail, braid it, or do other playful gestures.
- He may put his hands through your hair while making out, and he may put your hair to the side so he can touch your skin, but he shouldn't be pulling your hair or hurting you (unless that's what you want).
Touches on the face of any kind indicate that a guy is interested in getting to know you more.
Otherwise, they wouldn't dare invade your space like that. Here are some things to remember about different kinds of face touches:
- Touching your chin can be a very soft, protective gesture. It can be a way for a guy to take in your entire face.
- Sometimes guys will use an excuse like something being on your face (an eyelash or a bit of food for example), as a reason to touch it. This is fairly flirtatious.
- The face is a safer area to touch than the rest of the body—so if you're kissing someone, they might choose to focus a lot of attention here instead of wandering other places (especially if you just started seeing each other).
This is a self-explanatory area. He is trying to initiate something if he touches your lips. Even if you have just a bit of mustard and he's trying to get it off your face—he wouldn't do it if he wasn't into you. And kissing.
- A peck on the cheek: kind, likely suggestive.
- Peck on the lips: testing the waters.
- French kissing: making out, getting steamy and personal.
- Sucking the bottom or top lip: intimacy.
- Touching your lips with his fingers or the side of your cheek to move your lips: admiration for your lips.
The head is an (obviously) important part of the body! There are a few reasons men might touch you here.
- A bop on the head could either be playful or patronizing—if he pats you on the head, he likely sees you as someone who is cute or adorable, but not quite an equal.
- The head is important in kissing. A lot of men will try to stare at your eyes before kissing you. Or grab your head with both hands before kissing you. Or kiss parts of your face before moving to your lips. Expect hands and lips on your head.
The neck is a vulnerable spot full of nerves. We don't ordinarily place our hands right on someone's neck. Consider whether he's giving you a massage, a quick poke, a swipe, or a caress. One way or another, he's trying to get your attention.
- Sometimes guys go for behind the neck because it's a surprise, and he wants to see how well you'll react. This may also be a way for him to smell your hair or play with it. It makes for a move that can go a number of different, yet positive ways.
- A kiss on the neck probably means he wants more. It's also a good spot to find your natural scent, which can be addictive.
A gentle shoulder rub can go a long way. The shoulders are a more polite area than your lower back.
- If you feel like he's giving you a signal through your shoulders, he probably means something romantic for the long term, or something like a best friend. It's not to be taken as overt.
- Sometimes guys really like a pair of feminine, rounded shoulders. They're fascinating to them in comparison to what's popping underneath their necks.
- Weirdness aside, they may kiss your shoulders because they like them so much. They may also wrap their hands around your shoulders in public to mark the relationship and also guide you through busy crowds. This shows togetherness.
- Shoulders can also be a less personal area to touch—unless he's lingering here, touching you frequently, or massaging your shoulders, the touch may be purely platonic.
You get different vibes when someone's hand is on your arm as opposed to your hand. Putting your hand on someone's arm is all about sending a message rather than starting a back-and-forth dialogue.
Try thinking about the touch when it happens and review how it feels later. Did the touch feel genuine, tender, and comforting—or did it feel calculated, too strong, or awkward? If you slow down and think about how the touches feel to you, you'll start to understand them more in their unique, personal ways.
- Your arms are not the most sensitive part of your body. If he is latching onto your arms, it means he wants to feel like he is on the same page as you.
- He may want to show you that he's playful.
- He may also caress your arm, which should come off in a protective way, not a creepy I-want-to-bang-you way.
- Some guys are more comfortable linking arms than holding hands, while others are all about the hands.
- He may put his hands on both of your arms before he gives you a kiss.
This is probably the first part of you that any guy will touch. It'll probably start with a handshake, high five, or fist bump. It's the easiest way to break the touch barrier. It's not the most sensitive part of your body, and you can communicate a lot with a squeeze, rub, or just by going limp. If you ever get a strong tingling sensation in your hand, which is rare, then you both definitely have a strong connection for each other, whether romantic or not.
- Hands are all about partnership when together.
- If he's kissing your hand, that shows a lot more tenderness. It's a good sign if he wants to hold your hand.
- If he's clinging to your hands, that might be weird. Try softening your hands, arms, and shoulders so he'll hold onto you longer.
- You might also experience some thumb wars or other childlike games so that he can hold your hand and get closer to you.
- Some people say holding hands is more intimate than other gestures, even kissing and the like.
- Likely the two of you will compare your hands—the differences in size, the way your skin feels, and possibly even your grip.
Your back can go a number of ways. It's like a canvas where he can write any kind of message he wants.
- If his hand is going low, then that means he has one thing on his mind.
- If he gives you a pat on the back, he's being supportive, friendly, and maybe trying to get you used to his hands.
- The back rub is generally intimate, but some people just like to give massages . . . for whatever reason.
- He may feel the need to guide you through a crowd by putting his hand on your back. This could be just a polite gesture.
- If he keeps his arm around you and your back, then unless he's really uncomfortable and needs to stretch, he's claiming you and making it public to others.
Stomach, Waist, or Hips (the Midsection)
The midsection is an intriguing areas for guys because it is very different from their's—soft, curvy, and smooth. there are a few different meanings behind why a guy might touch you here:
- A poke in the stomach is a playful gesture that could either be platonic or flirtatious. Check for other signs to confirm either way.
- Grabbing you at your hips or waist is a pretty suggestive move. This is an area from which a guy can control your entire body, and it's right between two areas that most men are very interested in. This likely means he feels pretty comfortable with you, or wants to get more comfortable quickly.
Consider your legs like your arms, as a playful area.
- If he's touching your thigh, he might be seeing how close he can get to you, and he probably has romance (or lust) on the brain.
- If he's touching the lower part of your legs, it's probably flirtatious. How'd he get down there anyways? Are your legs draped over him?
- He may draw your legs toward him to have you sit on him, which is a pretty flirtatious move and gets you very close (physically) to each other.
A Special Case
There is one cuddle move that shows a lot of intimacy, and it has to do with legs: the Lover's Knot. You may, when cuddling, find yourself face-to-face with your legs intertwined. This cuddle move is seen usually at the beginning of a relationship, when you are in a honeymoon state. Obviously, this full body cuddle can indicate a lot. You can go whatever direction you want to from there.
Feet are interesting. On the one hand, their movements can happen subconsciously (how often do you make sure that your feet are pointed in any particular direction?). On the other hand, if someone is using their feet on purpose, or touching your feet, well, that means something.
- If his feet are pointed towards you while you're talking, that might mean he likes you since we tend to (subconsciously) point our feet in the direction of the people we like or are attracted to.
- If he starts touching you with his feet—which you probably won't appreciate—he has a thing for you.
- He may try to keep your feet warm as women tend to have colder feet.
- Similar to hands, the two of you may compare your feet and the difference in their size and feel. Some people care about feet more than others.
- It can be a safe zone to touch compared to other places, so it could be one of the more initial flirty spots.
- Foot rubs = romance. Marry that man! Foot rubs are the best.
- Feet are also (often) ticklish, and tickling is a classic mode of flirtation.
Other Things He Might Do
Pick You Up
- He wants to show off his strength.
- He also really likes the idea of holding you and picking your steps for you. It oozes masculinity in his mind.
- He likes having the feel of you all around him. Definite sign of romance right here.
A whole lot can be communicated with a hug. It's one of the easiest ways to read someone's emotions.
- The length of a hug can say a lot — a hug that lasts longer than usual means someone has strong interest.
- Is he really talkative during the hug? It might mean he's nervous or really likes you.
- Hugs shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable. If you don't want him to hug you, tell him up front. Otherwise, he'll probably keep doing it.
- A pat on the back means that the hug needs to end, wandering hands means someone wants more, and laughing is a good sign.
- A hug from behind means he was really excited to see you.
Some other key points of interest here:
- A side hug isn't as strong as a full chest-to-chest hug.
- A one-arm hug is less intentional.
- If you can hear his heart beat, this is likely a strong hug.
- Sometimes a good hug leads to him picking you up and having you wrap your legs around him.
- Your brain starts to release oxytocin in a long hug. This also happens with cuddling.
- Hugs are good for your emotional well-being.
- A lot of guys show initial interest by giving you a hug. It means you are higher up on the list of valued people, whether a friend or more.
- You might get a little massage from a hug.
- Some people are honestly better at hugs than others.
- You should not feel crushed in a hug. Just like a handshake, too much pressure is bad.
- A goodbye hug means they want to leave you with a good impression.
- Sometimes a hug is more powerful than a kiss.
Touch You With His Head
Our heads are one of the most vulnerable parts of our body. Most people don't just plant their head on somebody, so it's an intimate touch.
- If someone lays their head in your lap, on your shoulder, or puts their forehead next to yours, that means they feel comfortable in your presence, and trust you enough to do so.
- If he drops his head in your lap, he definitely has the feels for you. It's a form of cuddling. And it might make you uncomfortable since it's terribly close to a world of strange things. He probably wants you to rub his head if he's gone this far.
- He may also—like a cat—put his forehead next to your forehead as form of bonding.
Interlock Fingers While Holding Hands
Holding hands is a sign of affection. Couples do it all the time, but the first time you hold hands with a new person, it can be thrilling. Your brain might be racing, "OMG we're holding hands!! What does it mean!?"
Interlocking fingers is an especially kindred way to hold hands. It can signal a desire for increased closeness, or it could be an expression of how he already feels about you.
Touch You All the Time
If a guy is touching you all the time, always trying to find an excuse to get close to you, or is otherwise just all up in your space, this man is trying to get your attention! And he probably has the hots for you!
Even if he's doing annoying things like playfully hitting or poking you, it is still a sign that he looooooves being around you.
Touch His Face, Hair, or Neck While He's Talking to You
This man is either just super fidgety (which is totally possible, especially if he generally moves around a lot), or he's acting out on himself the things that he secretly wants to be doing to YOU!
Touching any of these areas are subconscious signals of attraction. Talking with someone that you like can create a lot of energy, and that energy needs to go somewhere. If he's not yet comfortable with touching you, he might put the nervous energy into fidgeting with his face, neck, or hair — all of which could draw your eye to features that you might find attractive.
Touch You With His Feet
If he's touching you with his feet, this man is flirting with you! Alert the flirt police, because we have an offender.
If you like it, feel free to flirt back with a little footsie of your own. If not, you can acknowledge what's happening and tell him to cut it out.
I hope this was helpful for you! Best of luck with your relationship—it can be confusing, but ultimately, a good relationship is worth it!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Andrea Lawrence