What Does It Mean When a Guy Calls You Cute?

What does it mean when a guy calls you cute? It could mean a number of different things, all of which we’ll cover in this article. It’s quite interesting to see what a simple word can have so many different connotations to so many different people.

Just a spoiler alert, though: What the word “cute” means will largely depend on other things you observe in your relationship with him. You’ll need to pay close attention to his words, his actions, his behavior around you, and many other things. We’ll go through all of it in detail very shortly.

To give you an overarching idea: If he calls you cute, it could mean one of four things.

  1. It could mean he likes you as a friend – and nothing more.
  2. It could mean he’s trying to take advantage of you. (Caution is advised!)
  3. It could mean he’s secretly attracted to you.
  4. Or it could mean he’s openly interested in getting in a serious relationship with you.

See the different possibilities? When a guy calls you cute, it could be very good, or neutral, or very, very bad indeed. So let’s find out what the real deal is, shall we?

Let’s start with the first possibility:

1. He Only Likes You as a Friend

This is when he called you “cute,” but deep inside, his feelings for you are purely platonic and not romantic at all. It may also mean he meets a lot of cute girls and it’s his “default” compliment.

Is this your case? Let’s find out. Here are some of the signs he only sees you as a friend:

He Likes Your Personality

Like it or not, when it comes to choosing a romantic partner, we human beings are bound to the “looks vs. personality” war. And when it comes down to it, men and women overwhelmingly prefer looks over personality. It’s just the way Mother Nature programmed us.

So let’s say he complimented you by calling you cute. That’s great. But has he complimented your personality more?

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For instance, has he called you…

  • Smart
  • Kind
  • Outgoing
  • Optimistic
  • Funny
  • Etc.

…more than you’ve been called cute?

If so, then it’s likely he finds your personality more attractive than your looks. Sorry, but he probably doesn’t like you “that way.”

Now, you might be wondering: “But why not? Why is he not attracted to me?”

Unfortunately, some personality traits can make guys like you more but feel attracted to you less. In other words, your personality may entice a man to be friends with you, but discourage him from pursuing a relationship with you.

Here’s a good example of a positive personality trait that might actually be sabotaging your chances at romance:

He Likes Your Energy

Are you bubbly, energetic, outgoing, and maybe even a little over the top when you’re excited? That’s great – except that you might be hurting your chances at finding a boyfriend. So when he called you cute, he may very well be likening your energy levels to that of a child’s.

And no, that won’t help him feel any romance for you.

He Likes Your Confidence

Now, confidence is a great thing to have, and most men feel attracted to confident women. That said, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and confidence falls into that trap too.

It’s entirely possible that your confidence can come off as arrogance to men, and that’s not too attractive. It’s hard for men to feel any romance for a woman they see as bossy, sarcastic, or condescending.

So, if you’re an extremely confident woman who just got called “cute” by a guy you like, that may not be a good sign.

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So does he only see you as a friend? Has he complimented your personality much more than your looks?

Now, getting “friend-zoned” this way isn’t all that bad. It’s still better than the following alternative:

2. He’s Taking Advantage of You (Or Trying To)

Could he have called you “cute” to get on your good side? Does he want to get something out of you? Is he trying to take advantage of how much you like and trust him now?

If he’s a narcissist, then he might very well be. Narcissists are wired to want to get something out of everything, including the relationships they have with people.

Here’s an important question: Are you a kind woman?

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Or more importantly: Are you kinder than most people?

If you are, then be careful. You’re a prime target for narcissistic men.

If you feel you’re doing way more for your relationship with this guy than he is, then he might very well be taking advantage of you. If he makes you feel like you “owe” him, then it’s almost a sure thing.

He’s Taking Advantage of You (Or Trying To)

What do you do when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist? We’ll cover that towards the end of this article, so keep reading.

For now, here’s another warning sign:

You Boost His Ego

Is he the dark, brooding, “emo” type? And does his personality contrast with your kind, caring, “mom” personality? Then be careful. He may be complimenting you with words like “cute” to keep you around because of how you make him feel.

“Emo” type guys tend to cling to women who raise their self-esteem, especially beautiful girls. This might sound okay, especially if you think “He’ll get more confident eventually, and things will be fine.” But rarely does that happen.

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Low self-esteem people have the unfortunate quality of being parasitic. The more you feed their need for validation and acceptance, the bigger the need becomes. It’s a downward spiral that can shatter any relationship, yours included.

But that’s not the most dangerous situation to be in. The next one is even worse…

He’s Trying to Make You Fall in Love With Him

It’s much worse if you’re the one with self-esteem issues. Do you tend to have low confidence? Did you get bullied as a child, and you haven’t fully recovered from its effects yet?

Then be careful. If he called you “cute” – and you liked it – then it might mean he’s trying to make you fall for him. And when it comes to narcissists, that normally means he wants to trick his way into your pants.


Fair warning: If he’s a narcissist, then your relationship will turn difficult soon, if it’s not difficult already. Again, this article will cover how to deal with potential narcissists at the very end.

Okay, so that’s the bad news. Now let’s talk about the good news. And yes, you’ll like these possibilities, starting with…

3. He’s Secretly Attracted to You

If he called you “cute,” it could also mean he sees you as more than just a friend. He has no intention to take advantage of you, and instead is genuinely attracted to you and wants the best for you.

He’s just not saying it out loud, so he drops hints by calling you “cute” and giving other flirty compliments. To him, cute girls are attractive – and you fit the description.

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If you like him too, then that’s a wonderful thing! Of course, the details are important. So let’s take a look at why he’d call you “cute” if he’s secretly attracted to you…

You’re Really Physically Cute

First, when he calls you cute, he might really mean it. You really might be cute. You’re simply so attractive he can’t help but say it – even though what he means might be a bit vaguer.

He could mean:

  • You’re cute as in “pretty”
  • You’re cute as in “petite”
  • You’re cute as in he loves your smile
  • Etc.

No matter what he might mean, if he’s honestly complimenting your looks, that’s a good thing.

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But how can you tell? Try to remember how he called you cute. Did he sound sincere, like he meant it? Or did he say it in a dismissive, teasing, or joking way?

If it’s the former, then there’s a pretty good chance he’s attracted to you – and he’s hoping you’ll reciprocate somehow.

Should you reciprocate? We’ll get to that in a bit. For now, here’s another reason he might be attracted to you…

You Have a Nice Smile

Have you been getting compliments about your smile from other people? If so, then it might be the reason why he complimented you, as well.

And you know what? It shouldn’t surprise you. Numerous studies have found that men prefer “happy” women over women who look smart, or confident, or serious, and so on. Happiness is, quite simply, attractive to the male species.

In your case, he noticed your smile enough to call you “cute.”

He Likes Your Voice

Be honest: Do you like him, too?

If you do, then he might have an idea that you do – even if you’ve never told him outright.

How would he know? Your voice tone, that’s how. You might never have noticed it, but women’s voices tend to get higher when they’re with someone they’re attracted to. It’s a dead giveaway.

And even if he doesn’t know about this scientific fact about the female voice, he gets the idea right away. You sound happier and more excited when you’re with him, and that tells him something.

He Likes You Even When You’re Not Dolled Up

When he called you “cute,” was it at a time you weren’t dressed up? Was it when you didn’t even have makeup on?

If so, then that’s another sign he genuinely likes you. He may even prefer you that way – simple, without makeup, and still totally lovable.

He Thinks You’re Unique

Have people ever commented on how unique and one-of-a-kind you are? Well, he might have noticed it too!

In general, men like nonconformist women, and perhaps he’s no different. You’re simply so special that he can’t stop thinking of you. And he’s probably thinking twice about just being friends with someone as awesome as you.

He Thinks You’re Creative

Are you an artist, a musician, or at least a savvy problem solver? That may be yet another reason why he’s so attracted to you that he called you “cute.”

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It would seem that creativity is one of the most attractive traits a man can find in a woman.

He Thinks You’re Funny

If you’re a comedian at heart, that’s great. Men love funny women – to a point.

If you think he’s attracted to you because of your sense of humor, here’s some friendly advice: Try not to overdo it. As it is with confidence, too much of it can actually turn off a guy by accident.

So if you like him too, you might want to calibrate your sense of humor to avoid offending or intimidating him.

Now, let’s get a bit more serious. If he called you cute, there’s also a chance he’s not just attracted to you. His feelings are actually much, much stronger:

4. He Sees You as a Potential Girlfriend

Yes – he may be well and truly in love with you. As well as feeling attracted, he secretly wants to start a serious relationship with you. And that’s great if you love him, too!

Now, you might be wondering: Is he really in love with me? Or is he just saying these things to get into my pants, only to dump me later?

If you’re asking yourself that, then that’s great. You’re asking the right questions, and that’s awesome.

To be fair, there are lots of signs he’s serious about you, such as:

  • Compliments, like the one when he called you cute
  • Remembering details about you, including ones you forgot you told him about
  • Introducing you to his friends and family
  • Etc.
He Sees You as a Potential Girlfriend

These are great signs if you feel the same way. Here are a few other reasons why he called you “cute” if he’s romantically interested in you:

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He Thinks You’re Wife Material (or Girlfriend Material)

He may be at a point in his life when he wants to find a good woman to settle down with. He might see you as more responsible, level-headed, and lower-maintenance than most other women in his life. And so he’s making his move, or about to.

As unromantic as it sounds, many men tend to be practical when choosing a wife. They want their married lives to be easier than the single life, not harder. And if he’s convinced that’s the kind of life he’ll have with you, he’ll take his chances.

He Doesn’t Want to be Too Forward

Is he hiding his feelings? It might be the case if he’s the shy type of guy, or if he had bad experiences with confessing his feelings and being upfront with women.

Such reasons would explain why he’s settling for vague compliments like “cute.” It’s like he’s taking one step forward, hoping you’d take another one towards him and nudge the relationship up.

While his gesture might feel flattering if you like him, do be careful. He might not be as confident as you’ll want him to be, and he may not be able to handle the rigors of married life.

He Enjoys Spending Time With You

It’s also very likely that he loves your company. He’s hoping you enjoy having him around, too, and his ‘cute’ compliment might be a subtle way to like him more.

It’s human nature, by the way. Giving compliments serves the same purpose as giving gifts – it’s a very human way to build relationships. The key is to know exactly what kind of relationship he wants to build with you.

This leads us to the next possible reason he called you cute:

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He Wants to Escape the Friend Zone

Have you been friends for a long time, and suddenly he started calling you “cute?” Then it might be a sign that he knows you only see him as a friend – and he wants to change it.

If he’s been your friend for years, what are the signs he wants to be more than friends? Look for the following:

  • He drops everything he’s doing to spend time with you
  • He wants to only go on one-on-one dates
  • He pays extra close attention to you on social media
  • He talks about love and his past relationships a lot more than he used to

He Wants to be Your Hero

I think nothing speaks to men more than the idea of being someone’s hero. And if he called you cute, it’s quite possible he wants to be your hero. Some common signs of the “hero instinct” includes:

  • He’s always willing to help out
  • He tries to solve your problems even without you asking
  • He has a strange desire to make you happy
  • It’s like he lives for moments when you thank or compliment him

Is that a good sign? It depends. If you don’t like him that way, then he may come off as clingy, needy, and a pest you can’t get rid of.

On the other hand, if you do like him, then it’s a great sign. You have a man who’s ready, willing, and able to do absolutely anything for you.

And there you have it – the neutral, the bad, and the good possibilities of when a guy compliments you as ‘cute.’ The challenge is to know where he really stands. And that’s what we’ll be discussing next…

What To Say When a Guy Calls You Cute?

So let’s say he called you cute, you read this article, and you’re still not sure where he stands. What should you do to find out the real deal?

Again: At best, he’s in love with you and wants to start a serious relationship with you. The “neutral” possibility is that he only sees you as a friend and meant it as a genuine compliment. 

But there’s also the negative possibility that he’s manipulating you. This is normally the case when you’re unlucky enough to hook up with a narcissistic guy.

To find out, you need to do two things:

  1. Learn how to make a narcissist tell the truth. This can be difficult and stressful, but if you suspect him to be manipulating you, it’s the best way to avoid falling into a relationship you’ll sorely regret later on. Read this article to learn how to do it.
  2. Just as importantly, you’ll need to decide whether you like him, too. You may or may not be ready for a relationship right now, and you may or may not be genuinely attracted to him.

The best-case scenario is, of course, when you confirm:

  1. He’s not narcissistic…
  2. He is in love with you…
  3. …And you like him, too.

So go ahead – put him to the test, see what results you get, and go from there. Good luck!

Why Does He Call Me Cute Instead of Beautiful?

This is surprisingly easy to explain. Put simply, different people attach different meanings to different words. For some men, the term “cute” might mean beautiful or pretty. It could also mean small and petite. And it could also mean childish and impish.

What Does Cute Mean to Guys?

It’s also quite possible to attach a negative emotion to even words like “beautiful.” That person might have had a past association with the word that was painful. And so they unconsciously go through life never saying the word, preferring words like “nice” or “cute.”

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Without knowing his past and the meanings he attaches to certain words, it’s hard to know why he called you ‘cute’ instead of ‘beautiful.’

What Does It Mean When a Guy Calls You Cute in a Text?

When he calls you cute over text or chat, be careful. People tend to be less honest online, so take his compliments with a grain of salt.

Whether he calls you cute online or face to face, sometimes all it takes to find out his true feelings is a simple:

“What did you mean by that?”

When he explains himself, you’ll get a clue as to what he means. You’ll have a better idea of whether he’s just being friendly, or if he has feelings for you, or if he’s trying to manipulate you.

Ultimately, the most important things to remember are these: (1) Know what you want to have with him, and (2) make sure he’s not taking advantage of you. Do that, and you won’t have anything to worry about.

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

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