What guys say vs. what they mean, as told by Ryan Gosling GIFs

12 confusing guy phrases and what he’s really trying to tell you

Do you ever feel like you’re speaking a different language than the guy you’re into? He says he wants to hang out again… but then he never calls. Or maybe you think it’s a casual fling… and then he brings up introducing you to his mom. So confusing! To see if he’s about to ghost you, so you can dump him first — or if he’s planning to propose — consider this your personal decoder for dudes.

For starters, guys don’t always say what they mean. Matchmakers Greta Tufvesson and Nikki Lewis from The-Bevy.com can tell you that.

When he likes you…

Not all guy-speak is bad! Sometimes he really does like you… he just can’t quite express it. “It’s hard for men to tell women they want to be together long-term, but it’s easy for men to know a good thing when they have it,” Tufvesson and Lewis say. “A man will show you by making time for you and eventually make sure he’s the only man you’re seeing.”

If you’re observing those positive, action-based signals, listen for one of the lines below. If he’s both walking the walk and talking the talk, you might just find yourself heading for Couplesville: Population 2.

1. What he says: “I’m not really seeing anyone else.”

What he means: “You might be marriage material.”

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2. What he says: “My friends really like you.”

What he means: “I really like you.”

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3. What he says: “My parents are in town and want to meet you.”

What he means: “I’m in this for the long haul.”

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4. What he says: “I can’t see spending the rest of my life without you.”

What he means: “I want to marry you.”

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When he doesn’t like you…

Most every woman would rather cut her losses and get out of a relationship if a guy isn’t into her, rather than hanging around waiting for him to change his mind. Why waste your time? The problem is, some guys lead women to believe a serious, exclusive relationship could develop when he actually just wants to avoid the awkwardness of breaking up with you. In French, they call that le jerk. (Actually it would be more like “le connard.”)

Or maybe he’s an OK guy, but he knows that the underlying issues just aren’t productive to bring up — for your self-esteem, especially. “If he doesn’t feel the physical chemistry, then it’s hard to find the right words without hurting someone’s feelings,” Tufvesson and Lewis say. Fair enough. If you hear these phrases, call it like you see it and get out with your pride intact.

5. What he says: “I’m too busy right now to focus on a relationship.”

What he means: “I’m dating someone else who I like better.”

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6. What he says: “Sorry for not getting back to you… Let’s hang soon.”

What he means: “I’m dating a ton of girls right now, but I plan on late-night texting you when I’m bored.”

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

What he means: “It’s you.”

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8. What he says: “I’m insanely busy this week and next, but I really miss you.”

What he means: “I like you enough to keep you at bay for a rainy day.”

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9. What he says: “I’m not looking for anything serious.”

What he means: “I’m not looking for anything serious WITH YOU.”

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10. What he says: “I’m getting over my ex.”

What he means: “I’m trying to get back together with my ex.”

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11. What he says: “You’re great, but I don’t feel the romantic chemistry.”

What he means: “I’m not physically attracted to you.”

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12. What he says: “I need space.”

What he means: “I’m having doubts about you being the one.”

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If trying to decipher his patterns of speech seems exhausting — or if the examples above don’t apply to your relationship — a good rule of thumb is to simply pay attention to what happens when you’re together, versus what he promises will happen.

“A man who is seriously into you shows it,” Tufvesson and Lewis say. “He makes dates with you, he brings you flowers, sends you reminders that he is thinking about you. When you’re with him, is he affectionate? Does he hold your hand, or guide you by the small of your back?”

That’s the kind of stuff that matters — and your time is precious! Pick a guy who deserves you.