HeTexted, we spend our days helping people figure out what exactly he meant by that “just really busy at work” text. Maybe he’s genuinely busy, or maybe he’s just busy avoiding you. Valentine’s Day is an especially fun holiday for us, because most of the time we’re inundated with happy “success” stories. Don’t get us wrong though — there’s a heck of a lot of confusion, too. And since that little thing called "social media" has completely changed the way we date, we're here to walk you through figuring out what he’s saying vs. what he means. Happy Valentine's Day!
Text Situation No. 1 : He gives me lots of compliments, but only over text.
What he means: It’s easier to say anything over text than in person. Think about it. If a guy said, "I think you're cute" to your face, there would be a lot more to deal with: your facial reaction, your response, other people in the room hearing or seeing, the weight of the silence in the room. We’ve been texting in place of face-to-face conversation for so long that we forget how much words matter and how they weigh on the atmosphere. Those nice words expressed in text don’t carry the same weight as when they're said face-to-face. Think about any text that you weren’t sure about sending. You probably sent it out, then immediately turned your phone over and thought, “I probably shouldn't have sent that.” You didn’t have to deal with any of the peripheral pressures that exist in an actual conversation. These types of texts are nice and feel good, but they’re all about gaining your trust without the effort.
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Text Situation No. 2: We went on a date, we had fun, and now all we do is text about nothing.
What he means: This is the plight of the 2014 20-something. She goes on the date, has a fun time, kisses him, texts about nothing (“Yeah, the weather is so gross”), sets up another date, gets canceled on by the guy because of “work,” is told the guy has weekend plans but can “meet up later." She “meets up later,” hooks up, then repeats the process until it’s blatantly obvious that this relationship will never advance. It’s unbelievable how often this happens. We've all gone on dates with very nice people. Had a very nice time. Enjoyed the conversation. The problem is, we only have so much time and money to invest in someone we already know we don't want a long-term relationship with, but they don't necessarily want to completely blow the person off –– especially if the other person is still willing to partake in the "meet up later" part, thus the weather/news/small talk texts. Consider them a red flag.
Text Situation No. 3: He sends me flirtatious texts even though he has a girlfriend.
What he means: He's feeling you out. Remember that it's easier for him to say those things over text than it is to say them to your face. Over text, there's deniability of tone so if his girlfriend calls him out, he has an explanation. And if he knows you know he's taken, he's probably feeling you out to see how you'll react to the flirting behind his girlfriend's back. Our advice? Move on. If he likes you, then he will end it with his girlfriend and make an effort to restart this conversation. Right now, all he's doing is setting himself up for his rebound hookup. And you don't want to be that person, right?
Related: 5 Traits That Make a Great Partner
Facebook Situation: He’s always “liking” my Facebook posts.
What he means: We live by the rule that if you notice something then it is something. If a guy likes one post or photo, don't put too much weight on that. But if he suddenly becomes a fan, “liking” a bunch of your posts, comments, and spring break photos from five years ago, then he’s trying to tell you something. The fact is, he’s been looking at your stuff on Facebook for a lot longer than he’s been “liking” your stuff. This is him taking a small risk. He’s raising his hand in a crowded room to let you know that he’s there and he has his eye on you. If you think it's creepy then un-friend him; but if you’re interested, like something of his and play the game. Like a few of his posts but hold out on the private message: It can look desperate.
Snapchat Situation: He sends me pics all the time.
What he means: Receiving a Snapchat feels more important than sending one. When we get, one we're like, “How thoughtful that everyone wants me to see their pictures. I’m so great and popular.” And when we send one, I’m like, “Hey contacts list! I’m not even sure who half of you are, but look at my life! I rock.” Guys generally send Snapchats to large groups of girls with the hope that one feels special enough to send something back. So if he’s sending you pictures all the time, it isn’t because he wants you to see his life 10 seconds at a time. It’s because he wants 10 seconds of something he can’t see in your profile pictures album.
Tinder Situation: Conversations start but they never materialize into dates.
What it means: Always remember that no matter how good your conversation is, he’s still swiping (that means looking to meet new girls, for you Tinder newbies). We know you both are “so bored at work” and “love binge watching shows”; while that’s enough in common to go on a first date, he’s still swiping. Think of Tinder as talking to a guy at a bar that’s full of other women. He talks to you but darts his eyes around the room looking to see if there are better options. If he doesn’t ask for your number and take you out (in this case, off of Tinder and on a real date), then he’s still looking. The process goes like this: swipe, match, rejudge, message, rejudge based on the message, swipe other girls, message, rejudge, go on a date. A “match” is barely the beginning. You’re still six steps away from an actual date.
Human Interaction Situation: He spoke to me at a bar and said we should do drinks next week.
What he means: It’s so cute to get a question from the past! This email must have washed ashore in a bottle.
Lisa Winning hails from Australia and attended the London School of Economics before landing in New York City to figure out this whole texting game. Having spent years watching her girlfriends hash out what to text a guy they just met and experiencing her own share of awkward texts and kill-me-now dates, Lisa created the advice site HeTexted and co-wrote a book on the topic.
Jared Freid is a New York-based comedian and writer. He has been featured on MTV and more recently on AXS TV’s "Gotham Comedy Live." He writes weekly for HeTexted, TotalFratMove, and PostGradProblems. He contributed to the book "He Texted: The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Guys."
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