Decoding Men’s Words: What He Says vs. What He Really Means

Men are supposed to be simple communicators, like a yes or no questionnaire. What they say is supposed to mean exactly that. Men are supposed to be straightforward in communication. No dropping hints or struggling to express themselves. Good theory, right? Well, the reality goes a little different. If you have ever been in a relationship with a man, you probably know that sometimes, what he says vs what he really means, are siblings, not twins.

But wait, there’s a little more to this. Men try not to be complicated by saying what they mean. However, they are not the best at expressing themselves through long texts and deep explanations. So, sometimes, your boyfriend will sound like a generic motivational poster.

It’s not that he’s lying to you. It’s just that what he says may have a deeper meaning. But because expression is not easy, he uses the most generic phrases to speak. When you think about it, it’s a little cute. But when you live it, it gets frustrating.

As a supportive partner, you could discover some of the deeper meanings behind those generic responses. Not to figure out if he’s considering ending the relationship but to help you stop worrying.

That’s why I’m here!

In this article, I will explain some of the most common scenarios by men involving what he says vs. what he really means. Of course, I can’t cover everything, but you will know enough for reassurance!

Common Phrases: What a Guy Says Vs What He Really Means

I’m Good

When a man says he’s good, you should believe him. It means he likes how things are and is comfortable in his current situation at work and with your relationship. He is pleased with himself and how he’s done things over the years.

This statement means he’s not planning to make any changes soon. So, if you are hoping for a wedding ring, you may be waiting a little longer. But know his love for you is unshaken!

We’re Just Having Fun

Sometimes, against your will, you find yourself in the dreaded situationship. You are not sure how you got there, but it’s not really important.

Right now, you are wondering if he considers your union like a relationship. So you finally ask him that tough question, ‘What are we?’ and he gives you the strangest answer, ‘We’re just having fun.’

Well, duh, of course, you are having fun. But what exactly does it mean on his side? Well, the good thing about this is that he’s loving spending time with you.

Unfortunately, he likes it so much that he wants to keep it that way for a while. There are no near plans to convert your relationship into something else.

So if you are friends, he wants to stay that way for a while. And if you are in a situationship…well, I think you know how that usually goes.

I Am Busy

Hearing ‘I’m busy’ sometimes feels worse than being ignored. When a man tells you he’s busy, it unfortunately means he is too busy. But there’s more to this; he’s saying, ‘I’m too busy for you.’

Everyone gets busy. But if a working mom of three squeezes yoga three times a week into their schedule, then nobody is that busy.

In this case, your man has decided that you are not at the top of his list of priorities. So he is not making any time for you.

Even mine workers get lunch breaks, presidents go for date nights with their wives, and movie stars make it home for family meals.

There are 24 hours a day, and he can’t be busy for all of them. He knows he can make time- he’s just choosing not to.

Can We Talk About This Later?

Arguments are inevitable; sometimes, they don’t have a conclusive end. Sometimes, your loving boyfriend will cut the argument short by saying, ‘Can we talk about this later?’ It makes sense if he says this right before leaving for work or an appointment. He has to get moving.

On the other hand, if he says without the need to actually pause the conversation, then it means he just wants to get it over with. You’ve probably been having that conversation for some time, and he is tired. He just wants it to stop and move on from it.

Admittedly, this is not the best response you could get from a partner because of an argument. But perhaps it may be a good idea to step away to re-think everything.

I Need A Guy’s Night

No matter how devoted your husband or boyfriend is, there will be those days when he says he needs a guy’s night. Now, some people translate this as, ‘you are smothering me and I need to be away.’ In some cases, it is true. But these are not the best of society’s males.

For others, what he means is that he wants a night to himself. So why bother adding the friends to the mix? He loves you and does not want you to get the wrong idea.

So your boyfriend will not come out with the ‘I need time to myself’ because he does not want you to feel bad.

So, he will instead tell you that he’s planning on hanging out with friends. You are more likely to understand and not misinterpret that excuse.

In addition, there are some cases where he just misses his friends and wants to hang out with them. If he’s been spending a lot of time with you, he will feel the need to give some time to his friends as well. You can expect to hear this a while after moving in together or getting married.

So you do not have to take it too personally. Besides, a few hours apart at night now and then can ensure you develop a healthy relationship. As long as you are his priority, give him a break for a guy’s night.

I Didn’t Mean It Like That

‘I didn’t mean it like that’ means he said something you definitely do not agree with. Perhaps he insulted you or something you care about.

Or he sounded a little too interested in other women. Or he insinuated that you are better than he is. Whatever he said, he’s now sure that he didn’t mean it that way.

So did he?

Sometimes yes. Your boyfriend said what he said without worrying about what your reaction would be. It was probably the first thought on his mind, and he did not give it a second. But did he know it would upset or hurt you?

Probably not. He was probably eager to add on to the conversation or share a contradicting point. He probably wanted to sound clever or witty.

Sometimes, men say things without thinking them through. Should you be mad? That’s up to you and how bad it was.

Look, I’m Sorry

How do you tell if an apology is sincere? I mean, a lot of people have apologized to you in the past, so how do you know who meant it? Is it their words or tone that show sincerity? Because people can fake both!

And is the ‘look, I’m sorry’ apology a sincere one? Well, when a man says this, it often means he’s not willing to keep going with the disagreement.

Is he sorry? He most likely is. But he is probably more sorry that he got himself into the disagreement in the first place.

He likely apologized because he was tired of arguing about the same thing. His views have likely not changed, but he’s willing to say ‘sorry’ just to stop the argument. It’s great that he’s willing to say sorry, but not so great that he didn’t see your point of view.

I’m Not Mad

Oh, he’s definitely mad! It is difficult to convince others that you are not mad by saying you are not mad. And sadly, the same applies to your boyfriend. If he says he’s not mad, he probably does feel angry. So why deny it?

Well, for starters, he could be trying to say that he is not mad at you specifically. Maybe someone else pissed him off, and he’s having trouble not showing the anger. So he wants you to know that the anger is not directed at you.

I like your hair/outfit.

It is safe to say that when he says he likes your hair or outfit, it is a romantic declaration. It often feels like it because he noticed something different about your hair or outfit. And even if you didn’t change anything, who cares? What matters is that he noticed.

For some men, giving this compliment is their way of showing you that they feel a lot for you during that particular moment. It is their subtle way of saying that they love you. In most cases, you can take this as a clear indicator of deep feelings.

Nothing’s Wrong

Sometimes, the tables turn, and your boyfriend tells you nothing is wrong. Never thought you’d get here, but there’s a first time for everything.

You can clearly see on his face that something is bothering him. Perhaps it happened after an argument, or when he came home from work, or after a phone call. His non-stop humor suddenly falls silent, and he even forces a smile, adding to the awkwardness.

Well, the first thing you should know is that something is definitely wrong. So why did he bother with the lie? It could mean that he’s just gone through something difficult but is not ready to talk about it just yet.

Maybe something at work fell through, or he disagreed with a friend or family member. It could also be unresolved feelings from a conversation with you… yikes!

He probably wants to think it over before sharing any thoughts. So he will lose himself in displacement activities like watching TV or playing a game. In time, he will come around and talk about it.

How Do I Look?

This guy code statement is really cute. Sometimes, he dresses up for a meeting or an event. After more than enough glances in the mirror, he will come to you and ask those adorable words.

And he’s hoping you will say ‘amazing,’ ‘handsome,’ or any other complementary word.

So what he means is, ‘Please tell me I look good.’ He values your opinion or at least wants a little ego-stroking for his new suit, haircut, or outfit.

In some cases, it could be because he knows he looks good. In others, it’s because he’s having a few doubts about the choice. You can be honest or respond how you would like to be spoken to when you have a new outfit.

I Need Space

These are dreaded words everyone hopes never to hear from their partner, especially when things are going great. Yet, it may happen but may not mean what you think.

‘I need space’ – what is it supposed to mean? Do you move out? Do you stop talking? Are you on a break like Ross defines it or like Rachael?

When he says these three unmagical words, it means that he needs some time alone. He wants to think about your relationship without breaking up because he is too scared.

So, where does this leave you? Often, it is best to give him space and define parameters.

This conversation is difficult and can spiral very fast, especially if you are addressing it before the initial shock passes. So, be careful with your words, do not insinuate, and be mindful of his feelings.

How To Better Understand What He Says Vs. What He Really Means

So, now you know that what a guy says vs what he really means are two different things. That’s great! Obviously, your man is a unique communicator, and these meanings may not always be the case.

However, you may have an idea of what’s going on. Below are additional tips on understanding what a guy says vs. what he really means:

Always pay attention to the context

Most people forget to do this, but you need to pay attention to the context of the conversation. Understanding the situation could be all you need to understand what he’s really saying.

For example, if he says, ‘can we talk later?’ just before heading to work, he genuinely wants to wait. It’s not that work is the priority; he just has to go right away.

Listen to tone and inflection

It may be challenging at first, but with practice, you will learn to listen to his tone and inflection instead of just his words. A neutral statement might have a different meaning depending on how he says it.

For example, sarcasm or enthusiasm can significantly alter the message. Say, for example, you tell him that you will be going out with friends, and his response is, ‘That’s great,’ with a flat tone. It might indicate sarcasm or a lack of genuine enthusiasm.

Do you have cultural differences?

It is also wise to consider that cultural differences can make it challenging to understand your partner.

What he says vs what he really means could be affected by cultural differences. What will seem direct to you, he could interpret differently.

In some cultures, a ‘yes’ is not just a ‘yes’. It can get frustrating, but that’s part of the ride when you come from different backgrounds.

Learning more about communication patterns in cultural norms may help you understand him better.

Observe non-verbal cues

Non-verbal cues such as expressions, body language, and gestures can offer valuable insights.

He may think he’s slick, but body language will betray him. It’s hard to fake both at the same time.

So as he is speaking, pay attention to his non-verbal cues. For example, he may say, ‘I’m fine,’ but with crossed arms and a fake smile.

What he says vs. what he really means is pretty obvious in this case. He is clearly not fine.

Cracking the Code: Navigating What He Says Vs What He Really Means

Alright, you’re now armed with the wisdom to understand the not-so-obvious meanings of men’s communication. You’ve got the keys to unlock the male mind.

So, the next time he says, ‘We’re just having fun,’ you’ll be equipped to read between the lines like a pro.

Remember, what he says vs. what he really means might not always be as outlined in this article. Open communication is the best way to understand him. But when you need to ease your mind, use this guide.

Happy decoding!

Unlocking the Male Mind: What He Says vs. What He Really Means

Discover the hidden meanings behind men’s words and understand the subtle overtones that can deepen your connections.

Unlock the secrets of men’s communication! Ever wondered what he truly means when he says something? Our latest blog reveals the decoding guide to understanding men’s words. Read now!

About Author

Waithira Njagi is a seasoned wellness and relationship content writer with nearly a decade of experience. Her passion for helping others navigate the complexities of personal growth and connection shines through in her engaging and insightful writing.
With a knack for distilling complex topics into easily digestible pieces, Waithira's work is geared toward readers seeking guidance and inspiration on their journey to holistic well-being.
When she's not crafting engaging articles, you can find Waithira curled up with a stack of romance novels– always rooting for love to win– or enjoying quality time with her beloved family. Her dedication to spreading love and positivity is evident in everything she creates.

Waithira is here to remind you that life, much like their stories, is a tapestry of connections - to loved ones, and the endless adventures found in books.

Did you know a lot of our content is only sent to our email members? Signup for Free
Did you know a lot of our content is only sent to our email members? Signup for Free

Pin It on Pinterest