Guys Dish on What That Text Message Actually Means

men texting and datingAs if communication between men and women isn’t hard enough…now we all get to contend with the added mysteries that go along with texting. Our favorite guest blogger Lindsay Tigar is back to break it all down for us. Thank you Lindsay!

Written by Lindsay Tigar

Admit it: When you like a guy and you’ve been out a few times (or even just once) – you get a little obsessive over his text messages. You’ll take screenshots of what he says and send it to all of your friends, asking for advice on what it really means. You’ll notice if he doesn’t text you for a certain amount of time, and to keep yourself from doing the dreaded back-to-back text, you might even turn off your phone to deter your fingers. You might even send what you intend to respond with to your friends, too – just so you have a second opinion.

It’s okay – but before you waste energy or spend anymore time with your iPhone, real dudes dish on what they’re really thinking when they send (or don’t send) those text messages.

Text message: “Hey, this is Matt. I have a work thing until late tonight, but would you want to get drinks near my place at 10 p.m.?”

What we think: Is it bad to meet up that late for a first date? Maybe he is just really busy. Should I go?

What men mean:

“I’m not saying I just want to see you when I’m drunk and close to home, but I’m not NOT saying I just want to see you when I’m drunk and close to home.” – Max, 26, New York

“If it was just drinks out after the work thing, I’d say he is sincere. But around my place portrays a different meaning.” -Jake, 27, South Carolina

Text message: “I had a lot of fun last night. I’m going to be really busy at work for the next few weeks.”

What we think: He’s going to be busy for a few weeks, that’s fine! Maybe I’ll just check-in from time-to-time to see if he’s feeling less stressed. Maybe I could plan the dates to make it easier on him.

What men mean:

“I use this one all the time! I am actually usually really busy at work, but if I wanted to see you, I’d make an effort. This means ‘bye’!” -Jeremy, 27, New York

“If I really was busy for the next few weeks at work, I would have brought it up when we hung out last night. So if I’m sending this text I’m pretty explicitly trying to pump the brakes or avoid you all together.” Vish, 26, New York

“Had a good time. Got a lot of things happening…don’t want to lose the relationship but other commitments come first at this stage of the relationship.” Jeremy, 26, New York

Text message: “Hey, what’s up?” (A week after your really great, amazing first date.)

What we think: Oh, so you didn’t disappear on me! Maybe he was just really preoccupied and didn’t have a chance to reach out. I’ll wait a while to respond and then see what he has to say. Maybe he is into me, after all.

What men mean:

“I’m bored and you’re still in my phone book.” -Jake, 27, South Carolina

“Guys get distracted, whether it be work, hanging out with friends, or spotting something shiny on a walk in the park. It happens to all of us. I still think this means, ‘hey, what are you doing?’” -Sean, 26, Florida

“Date wasn’t all that great and after striking out with other prospects this past week, I think I’ll take you up on another date.”Daniel, 26, New York

Text message: “You’re really great and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you the last few weeks. I’m so busy right now, I don’t know if I can really commit to a relationship right now.”

What we think: I’ll just back off and maybe he’ll come back around soon. He does like me, he just isn’t ready for a relationship. I’ll just date other people and see what happens.

What men mean:

“Ease back lady!! I need a little space and an opportunity to meet other people.” Jeremy, 26, South Carolina

“I know my standards might be unreasonable, but I just can’t continue whatever this is when I know there’s something missing. It may be cliché, but I promise: it’s not you, it’s me.”Max, 27, New York

“If you really like the girl you’re not going to let work get in the way of a budding relationship. You text this when you’re actively trying to avoid a relationship that may be coming to fruition.”Vish, 26, New York

Text message: “Had fun tonight! Will you text me when you get home? Want to make sure you’re safe.”

What we think: How sweet! (And wish he would have paid for my cab home…)

What men mean:

“Totally legitimate. I will tell a girl to text me she got home okay. I do actually care if she got home on, and it means I liked her and want an excuse to keep talking to her.” Jeremy, 27, New York

“You seem amazing so far. I truly care about your safety. I also want to talk with you more…opens a new communication door.”Jeremy, 26, North Carolina

“This one is probably legit. He’s probably just a nice guy that would rather you didn’t die. Translation: ‘In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a nice guy.’” Kevin, 26, Brooklyn

Text message: You ask him to confirm plans he mentioned on your last date and he replies with, “I don’t know yet. I’m playing it by ear.”

What we think: C’mon, confirm already! Is he not into me?

What he means:

“Haven’t even thought about it. Give me 10 minutes to Google something.” Jeremy, 26, North Carolina

“I don’t want to tell you no. Life is stupid busy and I can’t give you a set time and date right now.” Jake, 27, South Carolina

“Sounds like you took the “plans” more seriously than he did. Maybe he mentioned it in passing and didn’t think you’d take him up on the offer. Playing it by ear is pretty universal for ‘I’ve got other things I want to do but if that falls through then I’ll text you.’”Vish, 26, New York

Text message: You send him a long, sweet text message and he responds with, “Ha, that’s great.” Or something really short, doesn’t ask a question to continue the conversation.

What we think: That’s really all I get after that? Ugh. He’s terrible with texting.

“I am not a poet. I will not write you a sonnet.” Jake, 27, South Carolina

“Yikes, save the long-form for emails or face-to-face, will ya? I’m just trying to play some 2048 here.” Max, 26, New York

“I’ve done this before and sometimes it’s because I’m not interested and sometimes it’s because I’m genuinely busy. If he doesn’t follow up a few hours later or the next day and try to continue the conversation then he’s not that into you.” Vish, 26, New York

Text message: You text him at 10 a.m. He doesn’t respond until 8 p.m. What’s up with that?

What we think: He’s SO not into me. Everyone has a second to respond to a text, don’t they??

What he means:

“I might actually be truly busy. And work is really rough and I’ve been non-stop all day and this is the first chance I got to get back to you. And…well, I guess I should also mention that you’re not a priority…yet?” Max, 26, New York

“They were busy or distracted. It doesn’t mean they do not want to talk to you just that they wanted to wait until they had time to really talk to you.” Sean, 26, Florida

“Eh. People look at their phones while they are busy and can’t text back. Then they forget about it until later. It doesn’t mean anything. Although, if that’s kind of his m/o he’s totally sending out casual vibes.” Kevin, 26, Brooklyn

What men think about that overanalyzing of texting and their best advice on how to calm down – and let it happen!

“Women of course overanalyze, but guys aren’t that smart. Give them the benefit of the doubt. What if he really is a great guy but actually is busy with work for a few weeks, that happens to me all the time.” Jeremy, 27, New York

“You are your own worst enemy. The majority of guys are poor communicators but when a guy wants to talk to you, he’ll do just that. The whole ‘game’ of relationships has messed with guys thought process. We can’t seem too eager or it’ll run the lady away… too distant and it’s just a game.” Jeremy, 26, North Carolina

“Stop overanalyzing and remember that actions and the way you’re being treated are far better indicators than words.” Jake, 27, South Carolina

“OK, look – the further you go from good ol’ face-to-face interaction, the more opportunity there is for misunderstanding and misinterpretation. You wanna know whether a guy is really into you? Talk to him in person! If you can’t do that, give him a ring and get a vibe while you’re talking. The thing about texting is that it’s composed – we’re editing what we say, rephrasing things, intentionally leaving out punctuation…the point is, this form of communication is inherently unrepresentative. So save yourself the headache of over-analysis and just go out there and talk to people in the flesh!” Max, 26, New York

“Women assume that guys are naturally very short through text and they’ll assume rudeness/late replying/etc. is just a guy being a guy. Not true. Guys text their friends all the time, guys and girls, and are communicative with girls they like. The longer and more frequent the texts, the better, regardless of the actual content. If you just met he might be playing it cool, which is kinda lame, but don’t encourage it by being detached as well. I think it’s pretty universal that guys appreciate humor and sarcasm via text. So whether you text a lot or not, we’re always attracted to that. Also we generally don’t play games. If we wanna meet up we’ll make that clear. If we don’t, avoiding hanging out with you is not just a coincidence.” -Vish, 26, New York

“Most important thing to keep in mind: Emotion and inflection are not conveyed through text message. Thinking ‘why did he say it like that’ and the inevitable analyzing is usually not going to end well. True communication should be done face to face or a phone call so you can hear how someone says something or their expressions when they say it. Try not to analyze or read into how something was said and focus on what was said. Sometimes there is an alternate meaning to what is said, but with guys it isn’t far from the surface (trust me). Sean, 26, Florida

“Don’t date guys who use the phrase, “I’m playing it by ear,” when you are trying to confirm plans. Or ever.” Kevin, 26, Brooklyn

About the Author:

Lindsay Tigar is a writer, editor and blogger in New York City. She’s the voice behind the 20-something dating blog, Confessions of a Love Addict and was named NYC’s most eligible single in 2014. Her work can be found at iVillage,,, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Engagement 101 and more. Follow her on Twitter.

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