Why do some people blatantly stare at a girl (like they want to catch their attention) and later deny it and pretend they were never into her?

Guy had a tiny interest in me (kept glancing at me from across the room etc and his friends noticed.) and stared because he wanted a signs from me to approach, I was too shy so I ignored.

4 years later he finds out I did like him the entire time through a friend of him I talked to. He denied to him having any interest in me and said I was not his type. Since then he started staring again blatantly but more boldly and longer because he wanted to make sure I would notice but I ignored again because I thought he was just teasing me. However a few weeks later I noticed that another friend of him also watched me and tried to sit one seat away so that my crush would have to sit next to me. I ignored again because he was very confusing to me.

A year later I messaged him for the first time on WhatsApp (I got his number in a big WhatsApp group) and tried to strike up a conversation with him. He was very friendly and always replied immediately until I mentioned that I felt he wanted to talk to me during lectures due to the staring. From then on he switched from friendly to standoffish/dick mode. He asked me why I didn’t approach him since he caught me staring too. When I said I was too shy he replied „classic“. When I asked him back he said „idk, I guess I was just never interested enough.“ I ended the conversation at this point and am left more confused than before.

Do people really act that way if they are not that interested? Or was he just interested in me being interested in him? I never assumed he wanted to date me but I think staring for 10 seconds several times or watch someone with a surprised face enter the room and talking about her to friends does indicate an interest to get to know the person. Did he just tease me? Or did he lie about his lacking interest? Or did he and his friends just watch me to see if I Watch him? If so, why would they even care that much if I’m not his type.

Why do some people blatantly stare at a girl (like they want to catch their attention) and later deny it and pretend they were never into her?
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