You pick up your phone and see a text from a guy you really liked who ghosted you last year. Is it an apology? Nope. Is it an explanation? Nope.
It’s a “hey” with a string of friendly emojis.
What’s that supposed to mean?
You pick up your phone and see a text from a guy you went out with last week. He didn’t seem all that interested, so you wrote it off as a loss.
Except now he’s texting you, “Wanna netflix and chill?”
Did you totally misread the situation?
Texting is so confusing.
It’s one of the things my clients tell me they struggle with the most.
What I tell them is that there’s a reason they’re struggling.
Texting wasn’t designed for having conversations.
Here’s Why You’re Struggling
You’ve probably heard it said that over 90% of communication is nonverbal.
This claim comes from body language researcher Albert Mehrabian, who found that we understand a person’s meaning through interpreting:
- Their nonverbal cues (55%),
- Their vocal tone and inflection (38%), and
- The actual words they say (7%).
More recent research suggests that the words matter a bit more than that, but nonetheless…
If the actual words count for only about 7% of the meaning, then what does that say about texting?
It is HARD to understand what a text means, especially if you don’t know the other person all that well.
You simply don’t have enough context to interpret their words.
So here’s the good news:
It’s not just you.
Texting is confusing because you need more than words on a screen to understand someone.
Other Reasons Texting Is Confusing
There are two more reasons that a man’s texts can be so confusing.
1. He texts things he’d never say to you in real life.
You go out on a coffee date with a guy who seems sweet and nice. The next thing you know, he’s texting you inappropriate pictures and lewd suggestions. What happened?
What happened was the online disinhibition effect.
It’s been well documented that we act differently online than we do in real life. We type things that we’d never say to someone in person.
That can be good. Shy people often find it easier to open up online. Someone in love might find it easier to confess their feelings by text.
But it can also be bad.
The social norms that keep people polite in real life don’t have the same weight online. A man who knows it’s inappropriate to make lewd suggestions to his date over coffee might feel it’s perfectly acceptable to do so via text.
You may have also found yourself enjoying a text conversation with a guy, only to meet up with him and find that he can’t hold a conversation in person.
Some guys need the disinhibition of technology to flirt. They feel most comfortable texting. Unfortunately, genuine relationships are built on face-to-face conversation. A man who texts but can’t talk is not an ideal partner.
The other reason a man’s texts can be so confusing is this…
2. Texting is more like a game than a conversation.
When you’re talking to someone, you’re in the moment. You say what’s on your mind. You don’t have time to plan out a response. You can explain what you mean in as many words as you need.
Face-to-face conversations are more authentic and revealing than text exchanges.
It’s hard to hide how you feel when your body language is so obvious.
It’s easy to hide how you feel when all the other person sees is the words you’ve typed.
You can plan out a text. You can reveal only what you want to reveal. You can text strategically. You can send texts that someone else came up with.
You can even send the same text to ten different people, each person none the wiser.
Want to Know What He Means? Do This
When you understand that texting is more like a game than a conversation, you expect less from it.
Texts never give you enough information to know what he’s really thinking.
Texts are like teasers. They create intrigue, test the waters, and invite connection.
So what should you do?
If you want to know what’s really going on, get him talking instead.
Text him something like:
- “Hey back. Do I remember you? Show me your handsome face. I’ve got a few minutes free to FaceTime.”
- “Am busy at the moment but would love to know more about your fascinating invitation. Give me a call tonight.”
- “Would love to hear the sound of your deep sexy voice.”
- “My fingers are getting tired of texting. Let’s catch up! Coffee?”
You can find out more in 10 minutes of chatting than you could in days of texting.
Don’t let guys hide their intentions from you by sending you ambiguous texts. Get him talking and find out what his body language is really saying.
very early stage, just met once. good connection, but just wants friendship. cant come on too strong. wait for his response. cot call once just saying hi. picking up someone, had to say goodby ‘ don’t want to bother, don’t know what to say if i text. can i give him a compliment on his character.