If you have recently had a guy put his arm around your shoulder you’re probably wondering why he did it.

This post will help you figure out why he put his arm around your shoulder and help you to make sense of it if it happens with other guys in the future.

So, what does it mean when a guy wraps his arm around a girl’s shoulder? It could mean that he is attracted to her especially if he only does it with her and he does it on more than one occasion. It could also be that he is trying to reassure her, to be protective or because he is doing it as a power-play.

Since there are a number of reasons why a guy will put his arm around your shoulder it is important to consider the context of how he did it and the body language signs that he shows around you.

Reasons why a guy will wrap his arm around your shoulder

Each of the different reasons why a guy will put his arm around your shoulder will come with a number of different clues in his body language.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons that a guy will wrap his arm around your shoulder and the body language signals that you should expect to see with them.

He’s attracted to you

If the guy only puts his arm around your shoulder and he changes his body language when he is around you then it would be likely that he is attracted to you.

If did put his arm around your shoulder due to being attracted to you then it would be likely that he would have made an excuse to do it.

It also would be likely that he would show other signs of attraction in his body language when you are around.

These signs can include:

  • Getting anxious and sticking around when you are talking to other men
  • Often looking in your direction then quickly looking away when you notice
  • Mirroring your body language
  • Holding prolonged eye contact with you when talking to you
  • Sitting or standing more upright when he first sees you
  • Adjusting his clothing or hair when he first sees you
  • Having more dilated pupils than usual when talking to you
  • Pointing his feet in your direction
  • Talking to you the most when there are multiple people present
  • Standing close to you when talking to you
  • Finding excuses to touch you
  • Raising his eyebrows and smiling when he first sees you

He wants to make you feel better

If you were showing signs of being sad or you were talking to him about something that made you sad then he might have done it in an attempt to make you feel better.

If that was the case then it would be more likely that you were both alone together and it would be likely that you would have shown signs such as having watery eyes, talking faster and at a higher pitch than normal, taking deeper breathes or having wide open looking eyes.

He wants to be more than just friends

If he is your friend then the reason that he put his arm around your shoulder could be that he wants to have more than just a friendship.

If that is the case then it would be likely that he has been showing signs of attraction around you that you haven’t picked up on.

If he wrapped his arm around your shoulder because he wants to be more than just friends then it would be especially likely that he would get anxious and stick around while you’re with other men, make plans based on yours and that he would get defensive when other men are around.

He’s being dominant

When a man is trying to get the people around him to be submissive to him then he would often touch the people around him.

The reason that he wrapped his arm around your shoulder could be due to dominant behavior. If that is why he did it then it would be likely that he would have done it in front of other people, while telling you to do something, while getting you to do something or while making some kind of a statement aimed at you.

It could be the case that he wrapped his arm around your shoulder because he was being dominant and because he was attracted to you. If that is why he did it then it would be likely that he would show sign of both dominance and attraction while around you.

If he was being dominant then some other signs of it that he might have shown in his body language could include:

  • Touching the people around him
  • Entering people’s personal space
  • Talking over people
  • Talking more loudly
  • Interrupting people
  • Talking with a deeper voice
  • Standing and sitting in a way that makes his body appear to be larger
  • Staring at people
  • Squinting while looking at people
  • Having tight lips while other people are talking

He’s being protective

The reason that he wrapped his arm around your shoulder might be because he was trying to be protective.

If that is why he did it then it would be likely that he would have done it at a time where you were in an uncertain situation. For example, he might have done it while you were both walking through a crowd.

If that is why he did it then it would be more likely that he would only have done it then and not at other times as well.

He wants to see your reaction

It could be the case that he put his arm around your back because he was trying to see how you react. He would probably have done this because he is attracted to you but he isn’t sure whether or not you are attracted to him.

If that is why he did it then it would also be likely that he would have been showing signs of attraction when around you.

Consider how he reacts to seeing you

The way that he initially reacts when he first sees you will likely give you a number of clues as to why he put his arm around your shoulder.

If he initially sits up straight, points his feet at you, raises his eyebrows and smiles, mirrors your body language, his pupils become more dilated and he adjusts his clothing or hair then it would be likely that he wrapped his arm around your shoulder because he likes you.

Consider the way that he interacts with other people

When trying to figure out why he put his arm around your shoulder it would also be helpful to think about the way that he interacts with other people.

If he puts his arm around his other friend’s shoulders and his body language is the same around you then it would be more likely that he considers you as one of his friends. It could also be that he has a dominating personality and it would depend on the type of behavior and body language that he shows.

Whereas, if he tends to only put his arm around your shoulder and his body language is different with you compared to what it is like with other people then it would be more likely that he is attracted to you.

Consider the location that he wrapped his arm around your shoulder in

Thinking about the timing and the place that he wrapped his arm around your shoulder in would also likely help you in figuring out why he did it.

If he did it when you were both alone together then it would be more likely that he did it because he is attracted to you or because he was trying to reassure you. You should consider if you were talking to him about something that made you sad at the time and the type of body language that he was showing.

Whereas, if he did it while you were both in public it would be more likely that he was trying to be protective if it was an uncertain situation, he was attracted to you or that he was being dominant.

Consider the type of relationship that you have with him

The type of relationship could also have an impact on why he did it.

If he is your friend then it would be more likely that he either wants to be more than just friends, that he was trying to reassure you or that he was trying to be protective.

Whereas, if he wasn’t your friend it would make it more likely that he did it due to dominating behavior unless you’re dating him.

Related

What does it mean when a guy wraps his arm around your shoulder in public? If he does it in front of other people it would make it more likely that he was either trying to be protective or that he was being dominant. It could also be that he was showing attraction to you. It would be helpful to consider the context of how he did it and the body language that he shows around you and others.

What does it mean if a guy wraps his arm around your shoulder while walking? If he did it while you were walking together then it would be more likely that he was either showing attraction to you or that he was trying to be protective.

If you want to learn more about body language, a book I would recommend would be The Definitive Book of Body Language (on Amazon). It shows you how to interpret body language and understand people's true intentions.

Author

I created and currently manage Body Language Central, one of the premier sources for body language-related knowledge. Body language plays a key role in our daily lives. I hope that my website can help condense the wide amount of body language information available and allow you to make full use of it in your daily life. You can read more about me and my website here.