What makes a guy hold back on asking a girl out?

I have a guy friend who I know likes me, and I like him back. A few months ago I confessed my feelings to him over the phone and he was so shocked and told me he didn’t like me back. He told me he went on a few dates with another girl and that things were going well. He just told me he wanted to stay friends with me, so I took his word for it and tried to move on. Me assuming that he was still with that girl I asked him about her but he was being secretive about it. I didn’t continue on asking about her but I really did think that he was seeing someone or in a relationship. Then eventually I realized he started to become more open and comfortable with me. I asked him to hang out the other day and he invited some friends so we could all chill together. During this hangout I realized he was very playful and touchy feely with me. He was also trying to warm me up by giving me his jacket and hat. Then I met his friend’s girlfriend (let’s call her A) and she (A) told me that my friend (J) told her and her boyfriend (P) that he (J) was into me and that he’s (J) single. Honestly at this point I’m not sure what’s holding him back from asking me out. He probably assumes I don’t like him anymore since I made it seem that way making him think that he’s not single.
What makes a guy hold back on asking a girl out?
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