Is what he says what he means?

Men are, on the whole, neither manipulative nor devious. What they say is usually pretty close to what they mean. It’s just that what they say isn’t always crystal clear to us, because they don’t want to hurt our feelings (and provoke an emotional scene as a result). So they try to say what they mean in a way that won’t actually make us freak out.

So is what he says what he means? Well, the view from man-land is: women are emotional; men are logical (and feel ineffably superior). And so men tend to go after what they want in a fairly straight line.

So if your man is giving what you see as “mixed signals”, the chances are that he’s trying to tell you that you aren’t the love of his life as tactfully as possible. It doesn’t do to over-analyze what men say, and it’s most unlikely that there’s any deep meaning hidden behind his words. What he says is pretty much what he means.

But What She Says…

Women, on the other hand, are elliptical rather than direct. They will often hint at their true meaning instead of saying it directly.

A woman will say to her friend: “I think being a bit curvier suits you” rather than “You’re putting on weight, perhaps you ought to think about dieting”. But both will understand what she’s really saying.

A man though would be more likely to take it literally, as a compliment.

The result is a lot of misunderstanding.

Women can spend hours looking for subtle meanings in men’s simplest words. Ladies, there aren’t any. When he says he doesn’t want a serious relationship, he means it. He’s not challenging you to try to change his mind.

Nevertheless it’s inevitable that a woman will still look for hidden meanings in a man’s lightest utterance. This is usually because she doesn’t want to believe what he said, because what he said wasn’t what she actually wanted to hear.

So for the benefit of those women who don’t appreciate men’s sincerely meant efforts to tell the truth, whilst still remaining polite and tactful; here is a translation of their most commonly misunderstood gems.

1: What he says: “I’ll call you.”

What he means: “I won’t call you. I just had to say something to end the conversation and that sounded about right.”

2: What he says: “I’ll call you later.”

What he means: “I might call you, when I have time and if I remember.”

3: What he says: “I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”

What he means: “I’ve never thought of dating you, and I never will, but you’re my friend and I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”

4: What he says: “Let’s hang out sometime.”

What he means: “I want to ask you for a date, but I’m not 100% sure you’ll say yes, so I’m trying to check out how you feel about it.”

5: What he says: “You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.”

What he means:

When you’ve just met: “Can we have sex?”

When he’s known you for a while: “I think you’re gorgeous and I love being with you. Can we have sex?”

6: What he says: “I don’t care.”

What he means: “It really doesn’t matter to me. I’m happy to do whatever you want. When it IS a big deal, I’ll tell you. So PLEASE just tell me what you want to do tonight.”

7: What he says: “I was only kidding.”

What he means: “You were supposed to think I was kidding. Only another man should have realized I was saying something profoundly true.”

8: What he says: “I didn’t mean it like that.”

What he means: “I did mean it like that, but I wasn’t expecting you to be so upset. What’ve I said anyway?” To him it’s trivial, and he can’t be bothered to fight over it.

9: What he says: “She’s just a friend.”

What he means: “She’s still on my “to do” list.”

10: What he says: “Who? Oh, I didn’t even notice her…”

What he means: “I just about managed to get my jaw back in place before you noticed. Of course I think she’s hot, but it doesn’t mean I’d rather be with her than with you. I’ll have forgotten her in less than 5 minutes.”

11: What he says: “Look, I’m sorry.”

What he means: “I’m sick of arguing, can we move on to the hot make-up sex now?”

12: What he says: “Can we talk about this later?”

What he means: “Can we drop the subject – permanently – please?”

13: What he says: “My ex was kind of crazy.”

What he means: “If you’re the type who turns every minor setback into a major emotional drama, I’m outta here.”

14: What he says: “I never masturbate.”

What he means: “I’m trying to cut it down to twice a day – three times at weekends.”

15: What he says: “I never watch porn.”

What he means: “Women just don’t understand about porn and I don’t want to be made to feel like some kind of pervert. It’s not as if I’m addicted. Sorry, but it’s so much easier just to lie.”

16: What he says: “I don’t know.”

What he means: “I can’t answer truthfully as it would get me into far too much trouble – whatever I say.”

17: What he says: “It’s a guy thing.”

What he means: “I can’t explain it in any way you would understand. It’s not a big deal; it’s just something I like. Can we drop it please?”

18: What he says: “You look incredible in that dress.”

What he means: “PLEASE can we go now?”

19: What he says: “I like a girl who doesn’t wear any makeup.”

What he means: “I hate it when girls wear so much makeup they look like clowns. I still want you to look your best; I just don’t want it to be obvious.”

20: What he says: “I love watching you eat.”

What he means: “I don’t think you’re fat, I just love a girl who actually enjoys her food. It’s incredibly sexy, and as you actually eat normal food it means I can finish what you don’t want. You’re perfect!”

21: What he says: “Maybe we should think about exercising.”

What he means: “You’re getting fat.”

22: What he says: “I’m not really looking for a relationship right now.”

What he means: “I’m really only looking for sex. We can see where this goes, but I’m not really thinking about the future right now. Is that OK?”

23: What he says: “I’ve been busy.”

What he means: “I’m not interested enough to make time to see you.”

24: What he says: “I don’t like putting relationship stuff on Facebook.”

What he means: “I don’t want the other women I know to think I’m in a relationship. Because in my mind at least, I’m not.”

25: What he says: “I’m confused about this relationship.”

What he means: “I don’t think you’re the right woman for me, and I’m thinking about breaking up with you.”

26: What he says: “I’m emotionally unavailable.”

What he means: “Please end this relationship before I have to.”

27: What he says: “We need to take a break.”

What he means: “This is your last chance to dump me – before I dump you.”

28: What he says: “It’s not you, it’s me.”

What he means: “It is you.”

29: What he says: “Can I give you a massage?”

What he means: “Can we have sex?”

30: What he says: “Let me cook for you tonight.”

What he means: “Come over to my place so we can have sex.” (Still, it’s one up on “Netflix and chill”.)

31: What he says: “I’m a bit tired.”

What he means: “Of course I still want to have sex, but can you take care of the foreplay?”

32: What he says: “How many men have you slept with?”

What he means: “Please don’t tell me how many men you’ve slept with. I don’t want to sabotage this relationship. I’m just afraid you’ll think I’m a complete novice, and I want to look as cool as James Bond. Please don’t tell me what I don’t want to hear.”

33: What he says: “I’m not angry.”

What he means: “I’m really annoyed, but I’ll get over it. Let’s not make it into a big thing, OK?”

34: What he says: “I’m OK.”

What he means: “Please don’t interfere with my problem. I need to solve it myself.

35: What he says: “Nothing’s wrong.”

What he means: “I can’t explain what’s wrong because I don’t understand my feelings myself.”

36: What he says: “What’s wrong?”

What he means: “Tell me the quickest way to put things right. I don’t want to know the reasons. I just want to stop fighting so that we can have sex and make things OK again.”

37: What he says: “My friend Rob’s having a party on Saturday. Can you come?”

What he means: “I want you to meet my friends. I think you’re an amazing girl, and I’m expecting them to be madly envious of me.”

38: What he says: “How do you know that guy?

What he means: “Have you had sex with him?”

39: What he says: “I really like you.”

What he means: “You’re great fun and I love having sex with you, but I’m not thinking about anything serious. Can we just go on having great sex together?”

40: What he says: “I love you.”

What he means:

When said during sex: “That was some of the greatest sex I’ve ever had, and almost blew my brains out. Can we do it again?”

When said at other times: “You’re amazing. I’m crazy about you and I don’t want to see anyone else. If I don’t sober up soon, I’ll even start using the M word. Yabba dabba doo!!!”

What He Says vs What He Means

Finding your way through the things men say should be easy. When it isn’t, it’s usually because we want him to mean the opposite of what he seems to be saying. And what he seems to be saying is that he might not be seeing you again tomorrow.

Or the next day.

In fact, he’s not sure when he’ll be seeing you again.

When you feel a man pulling away from you like this, its hard to know what you can do to bring him back. But there is a way. Click here to find out what it is.

This Post Has 56 Comments

  1. Toni

    So I was talking to this guy for 7 weeks, we spoke every day texted etc, met up a few times told me he’d liked me for 12yrs,we meet up and he’s acting different says he can’t de with the stress, he goes to leave comes back in asked me for a kiss and says il contact you in a few, what does he even mean I’m confused

    1. Sarah

      What stress? Tell him to come back when he’s a big boy and he’s made up his mind.

  2. Patty

    My boyfriend told me that he has been feeling down the past few weeks and wasn’t as happy as he used to be. He talked to his friend and dad about it , and now he wants to come over and talk to me about it. He’d really want to have this conversation in person. Should I be worried ?

    1. Sarah

      Is his unhappiness connected with your relationship?

  3. Anonymous

    My boyfriend said this “I need some time to think about stuff” & “I will take the weekend to think things over” baring in mind that he just resigned from his Job and is recovering from being ill. I am confused about this and pretty much afraid of the outcome, not that I am desperate to be in a relationship However I have fallen in love with him and I don’t want our relationship to end on trivial matters. Please Advise…

    1. Sarah

      Why do you think the ‘stuff’ he has to think about involves you? You say he’s just left his job. He needs to think about what he’s going to do next.

  4. Becca

    What does he really mean when he said “I’d love to understand you” but at the same time he calls me “my friend”?

    1. Sarah

      What he says I imagine. Perhaps he wants to understand women better.

  5. Mslonely

    My bf says this during fight “we are not married, I have other plans” does he mean it?

    1. Sarah


  6. Brooke

    The last time I saw my ex he asked me if I wanted to be his queen and then later on told me he didn’t want to settle and didn’t have time for a relationship. A couple years later, he texts me saying he misses me and then earlier this year I saw that he unfollowed me and changed his number. What does this all mean, was he ever even into me or cared? Btw hes in the military and thats why ‘we broke up’.

    1. Sarah

      “A couple of years later”??????????????? Why are you still giving him the time of day? Get a life. Move on.

  7. Bri

    What does it mean when your ex says he was talking to someone else but“ she wasnt like you”?

    1. Sarah

      It means he was talking to another woman about whom you apparently know but she wasn’t like you: and as he is your ex how do you know about all this? Are you stalking him?

  8. Erica Wilson

    He wants you to keep sending nudes but will never commit.

    1. Sarah

      Possibly. Probably. Why should he when he’s getting the service without it?

  9. Priscilla

    My husband said love me but loves me he’s way what does that mean

    1. Sarah

      Perhaps you are behaving towards him as you would like him to behave towards you because you believe he will appreciate it. But the way men like to receive love is often different from women. Ask him what it is he wants.

  10. Aliyah

    What does it mean when you’ve been talking everyday for 4 months and y’all have been sending nudes sometimes but you aren’t together and he says “you are mine and I am yours.”

    1. Sarah

      Have you actually met?

    2. Erica Wilson

      He wants you to keep sending nudes but will never commit.

      1. Sarah

        Why are you sending nudes to a man who isn’t your boyfriend anyway? Merely because he asked? Learn to say no!

  11. Silvia

    Hi I’ve been talking to this men since June! We’ve been in a conversation every since! He always ask Why him and What do you mean!? I’ve been giving him answers every time! He keeps constantly asking those questions!? I don’t know what he wants from me!

    1. Sarah

      Maybe he’s got such low self-esteem he can’t believe his luck!

      1. Melissa

        Hi! I’ve met someone over a mobile game (I know, kinda weird, I guess.) In the game there’s in-game voice chat, so we use that as a form of communication. We talk almost every day, becoming friends on Facebook, talking on messenger for a good while now. When we’re playing he says ‘you’re the best’ or ‘I love you’ when I give him his favorite shotgun. We exchange compliments and flirt a little sometimes even when other people can hear. Once, he said he has no kids, because he’s still a kid too. The way he said it made it seem like I offended him. He’s 31 and works, so I did rule out being a man child. He calls me ‘shorty,’ in which he said he calls every one of his female friends that. Then there’s also some days where he completely doesn’t acknowledge that I exist or won’t talk to me as much as he would if it were just us two playing or messaging each other. He says he’ll ‘hit me up’ but never does. I’m about so close to losing my mind if I end up falling for someone that isn’t mature. He doesn’t know how I’m starting to feel for him. I don’t know what to do at this point. Please, help.

        1. Sarah

          “He says he’ll ‘hit me up’ but never does.” And maybe he never will. Stop building dreams around something that may perhaps mean very little to him. Take off the rose-colored spectacles and go and play a game with real people.

  12. Lexi

    What does it mean when he says he’ll
    do anything for you?

    1. Sarah

      It usually means he wants something in return.

      1. Lexi

        He would constantly tell others that I was his favorite and would always say “isn’t she the best?” He told one of my closest friends that he loved me, that I was the love of his life, and that he’d do anything for me. He even invited me to go kayaking with him to spend more time with him. But I can’t tell what he necessarily meant by that since we’re just friends and I’ve known him for a short period of time. 🤷🏻‍♀️

        1. Sarah

          That sounds a bit OTT for someone you haven’t known long and who is just a friend. It can be a red flag when men behave like this towards a woman they hardly know.

  13. Ocean

    What does he mean when he says “Do we have to be together for me to be there for you?””I love you and want to be there for you”

    1. Sarah

      Maybe he has a crush on you but saying something like that to a girl who isn’t your girlfriend can be a bit of a red flag. Proceed with caution.

    2. Crystal

      almost it makes me think there is a fear of commitment and wanting to keep options open almost like your a side piece and that’s all you will be to that person but they don’t want to tell you directly that they fear you will no longer want to have sex or keep in contact with them if they tell you. It almost makes me think of a friends with benefits thing or an on dial booty call but you don’t know you’re just a booty call however I could be wrong about that and it could just mean he needs some space that you don’t need to do everything together that you are being too clingy is another way he’s saying things too.

      1. Sarah

        Here’s another take on it.

  14. Melissa

    What does he mean when u were going on dates for a month then he says he is not looking for a relationship but we can still going out with her friends and have fun , and I said no its okay and then next day he look for you at house , ask you if u want to grab some coffee and talk but he doesn’t say anything about the night before , was he apologizing or what does he wants?

    1. Sarah

      He’s probably just hoping that there are no hard feelings between you. It sounds as if he likes you but not enough to want you to be his girlfriend.

  15. Maya

    What does he mean when he say I understand if you want to leave.

    1. Sarah

      See item 27.

  16. Stephy

    I asked if he doing anything fun for weekend? He said ‘no nothing’ then i asked if he want to go coffee. Then he said ‘what time?’ Then I proceeded to tell him the time. Then he said ‘that time i will be golfing but next time!’ What does he means?

    1. Sarah

      He means golf comes first, but since you’ve asked, he wouldn’t mind having coffee when he’s got nothing better to do.

    2. Maria

      What does he really mean when he says “I got to go and take care of something” but doesn’t give any specifics as to what that “something” is?

      1. Sarah

        It means he wants to be somewhere else.

  17. Asiimwe

    We have had issues and he keeps telling me he is busy whenever I call .when I ask him whether he doesn’t want to talk to me he gets upset and asks whether I don’t know the difference between busy and not wanting to talk , what should I do

    1. Sarah

      Discover the difference between being busy and not wanting to talk.

  18. Brenda

    Obviously he doesn’t say what he means reading all the above…

    1. Sarah

      No, not when he thinks it’ll get him into trouble. But when men don’t usually do is speak elliptically; so when women spend hours trying to find hidden meanings in what they said they are wasting their time. However, what you say has occurred to me more than once since I wrote this article.

  19. Kayley

    What does it mean when your boyfriend says “you’re awesome”. Our relationship is actually really great compared to others I’ve been in, and I’ve just never had a guy say that before

    1. Sarah

      Men usually say what they mean, and when he says ‘you’re awesome’ he probably means ‘you’re awesome’. It’s a compliment. Accept it graciously and be happy.

  20. Tara

    What does it mean if he says I do something to him no other girl has ever done before?

    1. Sarah

      Maybe you irritate him. Maybe you make him feel great. Maybe you drive him up the wall. It depends on the context.

  21. Asker

    What does this mean when a man say she’s my female friend and I like her.

    1. Sarah

      Maybe he means what he says – men usually do. Don’t go looking for hidden meanings in what men say, there aren’t any.

  22. Neon

    What does it mean when a guy say’s he can do better?

    1. Sarah

      It depends on the context. If you want a relationship with him and that is his response, you should walk away immediately. If you’ve just had sex and it was a disaster, he’s negotiating for a second chance; probably to soothe his bruised ego but possibly because it really mattered to him and he’s afraid you won’t want to see him again.

  23. Sedonia

    What does it mean when a guy likes you tell you that you need a man in your life?

    1. Sarah

      Maybe it means he’d like to be that man. Maybe it means he thinks all women need a man in order to function at all. Maybe it means something in between. It’s something that can only be known by the context and the way in which it was said. And you were there when he said it.

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