If you've never wondered in terror what it means when it takes him four hours to text you back on a Wednesday night when you knew for a fact he wasn't working (for the record, if he's working, none of these really apply because he's at work, duh), I applaud you. But for the rest of us, here's what it means when he's presumably not at work and just choosing to text you back at this time.
1. If he texts you back immediately.
The obvious answer here is that he's super into you and you're a priority. The real issue here becomes are you into him, or do you think he's creepy and kind of intense? Depending on how you feel about him, he could be someone who has no job or hobbies or friends or goals because he's always around like he's waiting for you to text him, or he's a guy who is like, "Yay! Kristin texted. She's so rad," and you guys are probably going to get married in five years. This one's really all about perspective.
2. If he texts you back within a few minutes.
This one is pretty much standard for humans with days off who actually like each other because it means he's not sitting by the phone, but he's checking it often enough to see if anyone ~*cool*~ (aka you) has texted him. Either that or he's always on his phone and is seriously just sitting on his hands so he waits at least five minutes before texting you back because then he'll seem #superchill even those minutes barely make a difference but oh well.
3. If he texts you back an hour later.
Again, we're in the realm of normalcy because sometimes I see someone's contacted me, but I'm tired and I don't feel like responding, or I need to take a break from human interaction for a bit. Either way, you're still in pretty immediate contact, which means he digs you.
4. If he always texts you back at the same interval of time like clockwork.
It always baffles me when I look at a guy's texts and see them start to form a pattern like, "OMG, Greg always texts me back 67 minutes after I text him. What the hell is this?!" And in reality, it could be a coincidence or he could have read some horrible book about how to be a pickup artist and 67 minutes was supposed to be the panty-dropper reply time. Either way, it's a little OCD and worth asking about casually some time.
5. If he sometimes texts you back right away and then other times it's, like, 12 hours later like it's NBD. This one always feels like garbage because at least with some guys, they'll usually text back right away and then when they don't text back for way longer, they'll say, "Sorry, I was in a major league baseball game for my sister's friend (or something like that). What's up?" But when they don't say anything like that, you just end up feeling like, "Hmm, well, maybe sometimes he's into me and other times he's dating, like, nine other girls? Or the last thing I texted him made him think I was an idiot? Either way I'm sad now."
6. If he texts you back the next day.
A next-day text might seem a little weird, but I still wouldn't be alarmed. Sometimes dudes/humans just get super busy and forget texts, or just crash out. It happens/no worries.
7. If he texts you back several days later.
This is so weird because almost every human is on their phone 24/7, so if he waited several freaking days to text you back, he's either trying to play it way too cool or he's not that into you. Sorry, BB.
8. If he texts you back a week later like he's a customer service rep at a major corporation.
Again, unless he texts you with, "Hey! My whole family was killed in a dramatic boating accident," this likely means that he's not that into talking to you at all but then got an erection and was like, "Eh, this is still a borderline reasonable window of time to see if I can still hit that."
9. If he texts you back and you haven't talked to him in so long that you deleted his number.
This is like no. 8 but multiplied by a thousand. I can almost guarantee that what happened here was he wasn't that into you, moved on, maybe dated a few other people, broke up with them too, got lonely one night, and was like, "Oh man, I still have that girl's number from a few months ago. I'll just text her a chill 'Sup' and she'll be totally dying to hear from me!" and you're like, "Haha, who dis? Also, I'm pretty sure I know who it is and I hate you now, bye."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.