What His Texts Really Mean, Decoded

Men aren’t all that complicated but they can be mysterious, especially when you’re trying to decode their texts. If a guy has messaged you something that you can’t quite figure out, here’s a cheat sheet of what he’s actually trying to say.

  1. “Hi.” If frequency were any indication of quality, this would be the world’s greatest pick-up line, no contest. Anyone who’s been on a dating app will know firsthand that “Hi” is pretty much the only introductory message you’re going to get. Sadly, frequency has no relation to quality, and this opening line is lazy, boring, and probably something he’s just sent to 20 other girls.
  2. “Hey ;)” If this is the first thing a guy texts you after you’ve had sex with him, do us all a favor and don’t respond for a few days. The wink always means he’s either thinking about sex or about to ask for it. The least he could do is compliment you first instead of expecting you to instantly respond with, “Why yes, I would love to drop everything and have sex with you now.” Try to avoid guys like this. They don’t get any better with time.
  3. “I had fun last night.” Essentially “Hey ;)” done right. “I had fun last night” is often a major understatement, and if a guy texts you this, you’re on his mind in a big way. This text is one of the better ones a guy can send because it opens the door for you to respond without forcing you to be the first one to admit you enjoyed your time together.
  4. “Work has been crazy busy lately.” This is the old standby of men who want to impress you with their maturity while simultaneously revealing that they’re too immature to actually be in a relationship. Unless he’s going through Navy SEAL training, he’s probably had plenty of time to either see you or text that he’s not looking for a relationship right now.
  5. “I like you.” Thank God for men who text these three words. They’re so simple and yet so rare. You’d think it would be pretty easy to text something so brief, but it seems that men have an almost universal handicap when it comes to typing these words. If the guy you’re into texts you this, you’re in—and chances are, he’s a keeper.
  6. “Netflix and chill?” This has become such a ubiquitous phrase that it’s almost a slogan for the digital dating age. A few years ago, “Netflix and chill” was synonymous with “Let us now have emotionless sex without pretending we care about each other or even remember each other’s names.” Now, however, it’s often used in a more ironic way and can actually be kind of cute. While it would obviously be amazing if guys could just come out and say, “You’re so cool and I’d really like to hang out if you’re available,” that may be asking for a little too much.
  7. My phone died.” This is a lie 99.9% of the time. Unless he’s in a jungle or on a mountain somewhere in the wilderness without electricity or running water, it’s unlikely this excuse is real. And as excuses go, it’s pretty unforgivable. He could at least do you the courtesy of being creative. There’s always room from inventing more imaginative lies. You at least deserve some entertainment. While it’s always good policy to give people the benefit of the doubt, you can probably read between the lines on this one and acknowledge that he’s a liar.
  8. “Wanna grab a drink later?” It may not be elegant or particularly creative, but it’s pretty clear that he’s interested. In an age when people are so terrified of commitment that they can’t even set a time for dinner let alone choose a person to hang out with on a regular basis, this is the stuff of fairytale romances. If only all men could be so uncomplicated and straightforward.
  9. “How have you been?” Whoever is texting you this is probably already in your bad books and you already know not to respond to them. He may as well be saying, “I know I haven’t contacted you in months and that you hate me, but I’m a little desperate for sex right now and don’t know who else to turn to.” You don’t need anyone to tell you not to answer a text like this. You might even feel a little pity for the guy.
  10. All! The! Exclamation! Points! Depending on how you feel about really enthusiastic people, this type of message could either be a blessing or a turn-off. On the bright side, he’s clearly interested, but he may also be one of those guys who’s kind of excited about everything and isn’t particularly good at being focused. Exclamation points can often mean he’s just really nervous too, so own the power you have over him and do with it what you will. Enjoy!
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.