Dating tips5 minutes

What he says vs what he means

Laura, 6 September 2021
What he says vs what he means

Research reveals males and females use language in contradictory ways. Women use conversation as the very glue which binds the relationship. But for men it couldn’t be more different.

Studies show that men use language to establish difference, separateness and independence (exactly the opposite of women, who talk to connect). Demanding that he talks to you is guaranteed to make him squirm and start rambling about how unsatisfactory the new Toblerone is, but might also give you some conversation to interpret.

If you’re flummoxed by the sentences that come out of his mouth, here’s a basic reference guide to help you make sense of what he’s saying.

He says: “So maybe we could hang out?”
He means: “I’d like to ask you out on a date, but am too scared.”
Why he does it: By making the question sound casual, he shields himself from potential rejection. This way he can ask you out without losing face and is more likely to get a positive response.

He says: “Let’s be friends”
He means: “You’re not my type, but maybe you could introduce me to your single friends.”
Why he does it: He’s trying to let you down gently. The intimation that he wants to be friends is flattering as it shows he likes your personality but he’s also making it clear that he’s not interested in a relationship with you, thus cleverly clearing the path to approach your friends guilt-free should the opportunity arise.

He says: “I’m forever changing my mind, who knows what I’ll be doing this time next year!”
He means: “I’m a free spirit. I’m up for a casual encounter but don’t try and pin me down to a relationship. I need my space.”
Why he does it: This is his way of laying down some ground rules before you go getting any ideas about a long term relationship. By telling you he’s flighty he’s free to up and leave at any point without a bad conscience.

He says: “I need some space.”
He means: “I want to break-up, but haven’t got the courage.”
Why he does it: There’s pure cowardice at play here. He’s too chicken to break things off in a gentlemanly fashion and foolishly hopes you’ll get the message eventually.

He says: “My mate’s joining us later, hope you don’t mind.”
He means: “I’m just not that into you.”
Why he does it: Some men just like having a side-kick around but if he says this to you when you’re on a date, we’re afraid it’s because he’s trying to wriggle out of spending one-on-one time with you and that’s not a good sign.

He says: “Let’s go somewhere cosy.”
He means: “Let’s kiss…”
Why he does it: He’s using the power of suggestion to make you think warm and snugly thoughts so you’ll be more receptive to his advances later.

He says: “It’s not you, it’s me.”
He means: “It’s you.”
Why he does it: He doesn’t want to hurt your feelings by revealing why he’s not happy so uses this deflection tactic and shoulders the blame himself.

He says: “I don’t want to be tied down.”
He means: “I’m seeing other people.”
Why he does it: Again, he’s giving you a very clear warning sign that he’s up for some casual fun but not interested in a relationship. By stating his case early on he thinks he’s free to date other people without having to tell you explicitly or clear it with you first.

He says: Maybe we need to slow down.
He means: Maybe you need to slow down.
Why he does it: Men are often scared when casual relationships accelerate at a rapid pace. Some men may need more time to settle into a routine or pattern with someone they’ve only just started dating. Rather than place the blame squarely with you, he incurs part of the burden himself by saying ‘we’ instead of ‘you’.

He says: “Shall we go halves?”
He means: “I’m not planning on seeing you again, so I might as well save some money.”
Why he does it: This one’s simple but insulting. He doesn’t think you’re a worthy investment so he has nothing to lose by being impolite.

He says: “Nothing’s wrong.”
He means: “I’ve had a difficult day but I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to sit quietly and watch TV. Okay?”
Why he does it: Unlike women, men don’t always want to discuss and analyse why they’re feeling bad. They often prefer to lose themselves in displacement activity like watching television rather than dwell on the minutiae of their day. By telling you “Nothing’s wrong.” he’s just trying to deflect further questioning.

He says: “I don’t know what I want.”
He means: “I don’t know what I want but I know that it’s not you.”
Why he does it: The simple answer is to avoid confrontation. And also, by pretending he doesn’t know what he wants he gets to come across as the poor confused man rather than the mean heartbreaker and that‘s better for both his ego and his conscience.

Find out if How To Tell If A Guy Likes You and the 3 Things You Need To Be Successful At Dating.


1.6M people have already met their partner on Match.* Could you be next? Start now your own story!