Cupid's Pulse Article: He Said/She Said: Decoding the Text MessageCupid's Pulse Article: He Said/She Said: Decoding the Text Message

By Analorena Zeledon,

I don’t think anyone really thought about how complicated text messaging would turn out to be when it was first invented, not to mention how talented we’d have to become with our thumbs.  Seriously.  If you think emails can be misinterpreted easily, think about those short, abbreviated messages specifically designed to say a lot in as little space as possible.  They are minefields when it comes to romance.

Even the most simple messages can be over analyzed.  Ever received a text with a “ha ha” and a period after it?  How do you interpret that?   First of all, why is the “ha ha” separated?  Was the person showing sarcasm, did his I-Phone auto-correct it or did he genuinely find it funny?  And if he found it comical, then why did he end it with a period?  Periods are meant for formal sentences in emails, letters, papers, books, etc.  But NOT in text messages!  Especially after a vague “ha ha.”  So at this point, you are psychoanalyzing his attitude.  “Is he mad at me?  Did I do something wrong?  He never uses periods.  So I definitely messed up.  Oh no, is he going to dump me???”  See the problem?  OK, maybe that is a little extreme and you’re not quite that insecure, but tell me you  haven’t had moments of doubt after sending and receiving a text where you’ve stared at the message and re-read it a million times.

How about when you impulsively reach out to the cute guy from the gym and text, “Why don’t we go out for drinks?”  And he responds with “Sure.”  What does that mean, SURE?  Now, take a step back.  What if he wrote you that same message but added the word “sometime.”  Then what then? When is “sometime?”  Is that in a day, a week, a month, a year??!

Men say that they are simple and straightforward.  They mean exactly what they say.  But do they?  Read the following text messages and think about them (really think).  What do YOU think they mean?  Then we’ll give it to you straight.  We’ve polled some of the best love & relationship experts in America to clarify these vague texts.  Giving us the male perspective is Thomas Edwards Jr. known as the Professional Wingman; he has been featured on Maxim and E! Online.  From the female perspective, we have funny but no-bull, Ensley Gilchrist, the proud author of a humor and dating blog, Haughty By Nature and Laurie Davis, the founder of eFlirt Expert.

“I wish you were here”

GIRL INTERPRETATION:  “He really likes me!  Awww and he misses me!!  So cute!”

Actual Meaning:

THOMAS: “I want something and only you can give it to me.”  It could mean he actually misses you, the way you kiss his lips or the way you make his favorite Italian sandwich.  Whatever the case is, he misses you and you are appreciated.  But beware, too early in the game and he might be a High-level Clinger.

LAURIE: If you’ve been on more than 3 dates, this is absolutely adorable and he’s a keeper!  But, if you only grabbed drinks once, this reeks of desperation.  He’s basically admitting that he’s sitting around his lonely apartment-for-one clinging to the memory of how the light hit your hair in the bar din.

“Are you going out tonight/ What are you doing later?”

GIRL INTERPRETATION: “He wants to hang out with me!  He can’t stop thinking about me!”

Actual Meaning:

ENSLEY: “Maybe I can get this one in the bag before I have to buy her too many drinks.”

THOMAS: “Can we have sex?”  Not much science to this one.

LAURIE: If it’s after 8PM, this is definitely a booty call.  If sent earlier in the day it could be genuine, but beware, you’ve got a last minute planner on your hands!  Same day scheduling too early in the courtship process means you might be a fill-in for a cancelled date.


“Can we reschedule for another night?  I am not feeling well.”

GIRL INTERPRETATION:  “Poor little boo boo!  He needs me to bring him chicken soup and some lotion-infused Kleenex!”

Actual Meaning:

THOMAS: “Whatever responsibility I had, I’m bailing” or “I want you to take care of me.”

It could be a cheap bail out of something he doesn’t want to do.  Or he’s not feeling his best and may want to be alone.  Pay attention to the context in which he says this one.

ENSLEY: “That hot girl from the bar Saturday night just told me she was free.”

LAURIE: This level of sharing is actually a good thing.  A statement like this is one way of showing vulnerability and you can expect more to come from your relationship.  But if you have plans, watch out!  Your date is about to get cancelled.

“I’ll text you later.”

GIRL INTERPRETATION:  “He must be really busy right now.  He has such a stressful job!  Why can’t his boss give him a break?!”

Actual Meaning:

THOMAS: “I’m bored and I’m going to do something else.” OR “I want to call you later but I’m too scared to do it.”  If you get that message mid-conversation, it probably means he’s losing interest and wants to get back to playing video games.  Texting is also an easy way out and it takes the pain away from actually talking on the phone so he may be avoiding that.  This also can apply to anyone that will text, “I’ll call you later,” and ends up texting you.

LAURIE: Generally, this means, “I’m still too lame to pick up the phone and call you.”

Now, if he just mentioned he was about to run into a meeting or have dinner with friends, this is acceptable.  But, if you’re in the middle of a conversation, it is NOT.  He might as well be saying he’s bored and/or has better things to do.

Were you surprised?  Or are you a text-messaging fiend who can read men’s minds with as much ease as adding 1 +1?  If you’re the latter, well then my hat’s off to you! If you are however, more like me, then I guess we still have some work to do (but don’t worry, I am sure you have all the other bases covered *wink).

Experts Corner

Thomas Edwards Jr.: Founder of The Professional Wingman (, he has been featured in Maxim, as well as E! Online, CNN, MSN, the Wall Street Journal and Blast Magazine.
Ensley Gilchrist: Author of humor and dating blog, Haughty By Nature (
Laurie Davis: Founder of eFlirt Expert ( eFlirt Expert markets your “single-dom.” Helping singles establish the ultimate virtual first impression and transition their digital selves to meaningful, in-person dating experiences.