Why would he tell me he liked me at one point in his rejection?

Anonymous
I recently confessed to my closest guy friend, and as I knew I didn't have a chance, I told him I needed some space and he said some things that make it difficult to move on from him.

"It hasn't changed anything or the way I think about you and I'm sorry if it's caused you a lot of heartache. You've been a really positive impact in my life, and have done an absolute ton for me. I'm worried things'll change between us but, if that's the way it has to go, then I'll make my peace with it. You're in no wrong here. Do what you have to do to take care of you. You're an amazing person, and still someone I value highly and hold close - and I still stand by you being the best person I've met in a long time. I'd still like to be super close friends. I'm not uncomfortable, and I'm not judging you. I've been in that situation before, and it's really tough. Don't think you're a villain or in the wrong here though it goes both ways. I've definitely flirted my fair share, and I should've cut back on how I acted. It's inexcusable but, you know about my relationship, and for the better part of more than half a year, it's felt like more of a title. I just feel really happy and comfortable with you, and you let me be myself. I guess somewhere along the line I might've felt a little of the same way but, I did my best to shut it down. I feel horrible saying I reciprocated even a bit of those feelings, and I'm really, really sorry. You make me so happy, comfortable and I love our talks. I'm dumb when it comes to stuff like this but, I feel like this is on me. I'm sorry if this has altered your view on me. I just felt a little click when we started hanging out, and I loved it. Same energy, sense of humor, great talks, you understand and make me feel safe and seen in a way I haven't felt, and I guess as a person, I really liked that. Your personality and the way you carry yourself, your ambitions and the fact that you want better for yourself, I respect and really like that about you."
Why would he tell me he liked me at one point in his rejection?
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