If you’ve had a guy reach over and pat you on the head, it can be confusing – and feel a little insulting!
But, what does it mean when a guy pats your head?
They’re not treating you like a dog, I’m sure.
In fact, the act and body language of patting someone on the head has a few different meanings as I’ll be explaining in this article!
What Does It Mean When a Guy Pats Your Head? (10 Possible Reasons!)
1. He’s Being Affectionate – in His Own Way
As weird as it may feel as it’s usually a way people interact with their pets, patting someone on the head is often a sign of affection.
It’s a form of soft physical contact, after all.
It could be the case that the guy who patted you on the head doesn’t feel comfortable with more direct forms of physical affection like hugs, so patting you on the head is his way of showing you that he likes you!
2. He Wanted to Touch You in A Way He’s Comfortable With
Leading on from the last point, if the guy in question doesn’t feel comfortable with more intimate forms of physical contact, patting you on the head could be his way of making contact.
It might feel a little weird to you, but it’s probably a big deal to him and he’s anxious to see how you react.
3. He Clearly Likes You
Whether he’s trying to be affectionate or not, it’s more likely to mean a guy likes you than not if he’s patting you on the head.
There is a chance he’s being patronizing or rude, but that should be obvious by the context of the conversation you were having at the time of the pat.
4. He Teasing You in a Friendly Way
It could also be that the guy is patting you on the head in a playful, teasing way.
This might be because you said something that amused him or he’s just generally in a good mood and wants to share some of the positive energy with you.
As long as it was a light pat or tap and he’s clearly goofing around, this might explain it.
5. He’s Testing You for A Reaction
This is similar to the previous point, but here it’s more about testing your reaction than anything else.
It could be that a guy pats you on the head and then looks for a response from you.
Maybe he’s trying to gauge how you feel about him or just trying to get some kind of reaction.
Either way, I’m sure you’ll agree that it made you take notice so it’s worth observing other aspects of his body language toward you.
6. He’s Asserting His Dominance
Believe it or not, patting someone on the head was once used as a way to assert dominance.
Thankfully, this isn’t common today and if a guy is doing this to you he may not even be aware of what it means.
Still, it’s possible that he’s just doing it as a way to show his superiority if he’s standing over you.
7. It Was an Impulse Thing – and He Might Regret It
It’s easy for a lot of guys to get carried away in the moment and make contact with a girl – only to later regret it!
If a guy pats you on the head and it doesn’t seem to fit with any of the points above, or his personality, he might just have done it without really thinking about it.
8. He’s Trying to Comfort You
If you’re feeling upset or stressed, a guy might offer some comfort by gently patting your head.
This is usually done in a gentle manner and by a guy who is a little too awkward to give you a hug, or maybe because he thinks you don’t want one.
Again, look at the situation and the context of the conversation to see if this makes sense.
9. He Feels Protective Over You
If you’ve seen head patting between siblings or close friends, it’s likely that one of them is feeling protective over the other.
It could be that a guy pats your head because he’s used to doing this with friends and family, and he’s doing it to try and show that he cares about you and wants to protect you.
10. He’s Trying to Show Off
Lastly, it’s possible a guy is patting you on the head to show off in front of his friends.
Maybe he thinks he’s being funny, is a bit of a clown in general, or thinks it’s going to get a laugh out of his mates.
It’s hard to say, but you shouldn’t be the butt of his jokes if it’s making you uncomfortable.
Don’t be afraid to say something and set some boundaries in place, if you don’t want to be touched or patted on the head, tell him exactly that!
How Should You React When A Guy Pats Your Head?
First and foremost, don’t be afraid to speak up if it’s making you uncomfortable or if you feel like it’s inappropriate.
A pat on the head might have a variety of meanings, but if it’s making you feel uneasy then let him know.
If he was just being affectionate or trying to show some kind of protection, then a smile and thank you should do the trick – just make sure that it stays lighthearted.
On the other hand, if he’s trying to show off, teasing you in an unkind way, or asserting dominance then it might be better to remove yourself from the situation.
If you think he likes you and is trying to get close to you and you also like him, then the ball is in your court so to speak!
Does a Pat on The Head Really Mean a Guy Likes You?
Before you get carried away and assume it means he likes you – no matter how much you want it to be true – you should look for some other signs.
It depends on your situation, but some of the typical signs a guy likes you are:
- He looks deeply into your eyes when he talks to you
- He’s super interested in talking to you and hearing what you have to say
- He leans in when you talk and gets close to you
- He texts you out of the blue or just texts you often
- He smiles and blushes when you say something nice
- He’s always trying to make you laugh or smile
All of the above could be signs that a guy likes you, and if he also pats you on the head in a nice way, it’s a great sign.
Ultimately, it’s hard to know for sure what he might be thinking or feeling.
You should try and get the courage together to ask him or make a move on him and see how he reacts!
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.