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Find Out What His Messages Really Mean

Are you more than a friend to him?

In this day and age of cellphones, Facebook, and online chat, guy lingo has grown more cryptic than ever. Whether he’s in a mad rush or assumes you’re a freaking mind reader, a man’s typed messages can range from puzzling to total nonsense. We ask real guys to help us translate them here.

Our Guy Decoders

Wayne, Omar, and Zach from Men’s Health Magazine + Alex from FHM Magazine


His Go-To Texts: A few words that communicate nothing but make you feel obligated to respond. Common examples: “Hey,” “What’s up?”

Translation: Zach offers, “One word or phrase sent through text is a feeler. It’s innocuous enough to be dismissed as a friendly greeting or, at worst, mild flirtation. The obvious: He likes you. Not so obvious: He isn’t sure you like him back.”

Your Move: Omar suggests keeping the guy’s hopes up with an equally loaded response, like, “Hey, sexy. A guy like you must be up to something tonight, right?” Or, if you want to be a bit more discreet, Zach recommends a casual “I’m ok. Just a bit tired” that’ll have him asking you more questions (like, “Why? Tough day at work?”).

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His Go-To Texts: Anything but a straight-up yes or no: “sounds like an option” or “maybe”

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Translation: “It’s a guy’s subtle way of saying, ‘I’ll take a pass, but I could change my mind with some more prodding,’” says Omar.

Your Move: “The worst thing you can do is read too much into this,” warns Zach. But if you really want to hang out with him, Omar advises going slowly with “It’ll be fun, especially for you.” That’ll get him to answer with a definite yes or no.


His Go-To Texts: Loaded questions like “What are you up to tonight?” and “You made plans with the girls this weekend, right?”

Translation: He wants to feel out your response before putting his neck on the line. “Most of the time, he just wants to find out if you’re game to go out with him,” says Alex. “Or if you’re also interested to know what he’s up to.”

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Your Move: Play coy. Tell him the truth, but act casually by adding, “You?” This’ll get him to drop the bomb—the point he’s been trying to get at.


His Go-To Texts: A string of characters that are even more maddening, because it's tough to figure them out. Think: “last nit u tuk it 2 krzy” or  “wers r nxt advntur?”

Translation: Wayne explains that the dude is just trying to make you laugh (hey, props for the effort, right?).

Your Move: “Reply to his message through the same language,” Wayne suggests. “That way, if he seriously text like this, he’ll laugh and go back to regular programming. Either way, it could be an inside joke between the two of you.” But if he persists with the weird lingo, tell him outright that you seriously can’t understand his shortcut method of communicating with you. 


His FB tactic: Anything you post on your wall—status update, photos, links, videos—becomes fodder for his serious “Like”-mania.

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Translation: It could be one of two things, Alex says. “He’s either obsessed with you (meaning he keeps a close watch of your updates), or is just possibly online most of the time playing Mafia Wars or Farmville.”

Your Move: There’s no harm in being “Liked” all the time. “But, keep in mind that someone might be watching your every move on FB,” cautions Alex.


His FB tactic: He’s never commented on any of your updates before, until he comments on your new profile pic with a “:)”

Translation: It’s probably as you suspected, because Wayne translates this as, “He’s trying to be subtle, but he thinks you’re cute or hot in the said photo.” Winner!

Your Move: Say, “Amused much? Haha!” This way, you’re letting him know you’re on to him and giving him an opening for small talk. 


His Twitter tactic: Tweeting something parinig, like “She talked to me today!” Thing is, you’re not sure if it’s you he’s talking about.

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Translation: Zach advises that it’s better not to assume anything. “Just keep track of a pattern: If it is you he’s talking about, he’ll keep making similar updates every time you make contact.

Your Move: If you’re dying to know whom he’s referring to, keep it subtle. “Try re-tweeting with a comment like ‘Looks like someone’s smitten,’” Omar suggests. You’ll know from his answer to that whether it was you who made his day or not.


His FB tactic:  Your wall is his wall: He’ll post anything on it (links, videos, photos) that strikes him as funny, tragic, dramatic, etc. It’s come to a point where he has more posts on your wall than you do.

Translation: All those posts on your wall can be annoying. “[And,] that constitutes a serious lack of social media decorum,” Zach says. “Unless, of course, if you really like him.”

Your Move: Omar offers, “As simple as a ‘Like’ will do.” Reciprocating by posting things on his wall will, as Zach remarks, “commit you to the Facebook equivalent of PDA.” If you want him to stop, be polite. Message him privately and say that you appreciate his gestures. Add that if he has something to share, he can just message you instead of putting it up on your wall.

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His IM strat:  A window pops up with a brief “Hey :)” from him, but when you say “hey!” back, there’s no follow up. He’s still online when you check though.

Translation: Alex puts it simply: “He’s logged in but is busy doing other stuff.”

Your Move: “Don’t send another message. He was the one trying to get your attention, so why bother if he’s not making a follow-up?”


His IM strat:  He regularly chats you up, but he makes use of cryptic, old-school language (think big words, even Shakespearean) that make you wonder what point he’s trying to make.

Translation: “Unless he’s an English major, he’s probably just nervous talking to you,” suggests Wayne.

Your Move: Make him feel at ease by asking, “What do you mean in plain language?” (Add a smiley to make it “sound” friendlier.) It’ll help him calm down and realize he doesn’t need to impress you with obscure words.

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His IM strat:  Random, out-of-the-blue messages, like “I heard traffic was bad in EDSA” or “I’m going to the barber later” that make you go, “Huh?”

Translation: Alex translates, “He’s just possibly trying to start a conversation without using the hackneyed ‘How are you?’ or ‘Wassup?’ line.”

Your Move: Reply with a brief “Ah, cool” just to see what his next step would be. 


His IM strat:  Movie quotes, like “May the Force be with you” (from Star Wars) or “Cheetaee, ganda lalake!” (from Starzan)

Translation: Guys compete with one another to memorize the most lines from their fave movies. When he types one to you, he’s trying to show you how funny he is.

Your Move: “Surprise him with lines from the same movies, like “Sinungaling… Pangit… Pangit!” (also from Starzan) to compliment his comedic attempts,” recommends Wayne.


This story originally appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, October 2010. 

* Minor edits have been made by editors

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