20 Things Men Say and What They Truly Mean

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Despite common misconceptions, men are not simple creatures. In an ideal world, they would come with a manual or interpreter. But just as men are baffled by what women mean when they say certain things, the same rules apply. Though there’s not enough space on the internet to go behind every ambiguous statement men ever said, here are some common things and what they truly meant. 

I had a crazy ex


This could mean that your guy treated one or more of his exes poorly, so he does not want you to go snipping, and since he knows you will, you should not believe a word you hear. It is also possible that your man’s ex truly hurt him, so he’s deflecting because he’s not ready to talk about past emotions. 

I was just joking 

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He was likely not joking, but this depends on the context. It could be insulting, so even if he was joking, and you know he wasn’t, it could be perceived as a red flag. If it was something stupid, he’s trying to save face. But, no, he was not kidding. 

I like you 


Translation: you are good-looking and exciting, but I do not want to be in a relationship, at least not a committed one. Depending on where you stand emotionally and regarding a possible relationship, this could be your turn to go or stay and enjoy the fun. 

You’re being emotional/dramatic 

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If a guy cannot deal with a situation or doesn’t know how to feel at a dramatic moment, he might call you out for being overly emotional. Similarly, if you caught him doing something silly, like checking out another girl in another presence, he might deflect by shaming you for feeling insulted. Either way, this is not the statement women want to hear. 

How do you know Tom? 

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If a guy wants to know how you know someone, Tom, Mark, or Jim, it is a nicer way of asking whether you had something with him. Asking a woman if she slept with someone can be perceived as jealousy, and your man does not want to be that guy. So, he asks about background information despite never asking similar questions about your other friends. 

It’s not you, it’s me 

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This is one of the worst things to hear because there’s no correct response. First, it could be him, so if you say, “I know you’re lying,” it might look like you’re being dramatic, and this time for real. Secondly, if he’s trying to spare your feelings, and it is you, it still does not answer the question, “What about me?” Use your intuition, and don’t freak out if your man decides to drop this bomb on you. 

You look better without makeup 

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This statement is partially true. However, treat it with caution because what men really mean is that they like concealer, some mascara, and stainless lipstick that compliments the color of your lips. So, it is not that he wants you to go au natural, but to lay off your lipstick, likely because he hates the stains and isn’t a fan of the taste. 

That’s cool/That’s interesting 


Translation: I do not care and would be eternally grateful if we could change the subject—if I was listening at all. Often, “it’s cool” or “that’s interesting” signals that a guy is invested in something on his phone or is thinking about checking it without you noticing. 

I was busy 

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We all get swamped, but if you care about seeing someone or simply want to let them know they crossed your mind, you will have time to text quickly. So, this whole “busy” thing usually means he’s not that into you. It is possible that he had a horrific week, but he could’ve texted or called you while on lunch break, so it is a cop-out. 

She’s just a friend…


Your curiosity is justified if you notice a guy squirming while talking to another woman. But, when he gives a non-response, like, “She is just this girl,” or “this friend,” this usually means she was not always “just” someone unimportant. Men are allowed to have female friends, but he’s trying to brush this gal’s existence out of your mind, so there’s more to that story. 

You’re not like the other girls

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While this is intended as a compliment, it means that all other women are lame, and you should be grateful to be so far removed from your species. Most women do not like it when guys put down other women, regardless of intentions. Let him know to specify what he likes about you and tell him that you don’t feel comfortable being compared with others. 

I don’t watch that 

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Guys like watching adult movies and going to seedy adult clubs. For whatever reason, many guys are convinced that all women have announced a war on adult entertainment. You know his statement is false, but if you want to get the truth out of him, admit that you watch the same movies or live and let live. 

It’s different with you 


In translation, the guy is likely experiencing feelings of love, but he’s not ready to admit them, so he’s using a vague expression until he’s ready to talk. Pushing him will not give you an answer, but it does not mean you grew a second head. 

I’ll call you 

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If you hear this after the first couple of dates, it would be best not to count on another one. He might call if he’s bored, but this is a universal code for “I am not that interested.” If he says it after you have been dating for a while, that statement also does not sit well unless it is something you two say to each other all the time. 

We should take a break 

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Mentally, he’s already checked out but didn’t know how to tell you, so he used the old “we need to take a break” nonsense. Couples in love take time apart, but going on a break means you will not likely hear from him again. If you do, it could be to indulge in physical pleasure and not much else. 

You left your shirt 

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Unless you asked for that shirt, this sentiment means he is not ready to take things to the next level. He does not want to give you the wrong impression and wants his space to stay unchanged. Women tend to test out the waters by leaving random items, but guys also have their ways of letting them know where they stand without having challenging conversations. 

I didn’t mean to do/say that


Yes, he did. He hoped he would not face accountability or get caught, but using a childish excuse surely does not mean that an adult guy did not mean to do or say something he knew would hurt you. Depending on the situation, this could be a deal breaker. However, it could also be a teachable moment: tell him you know he should be old enough to stay behind his decisions, regardless of how ridiculous they are. 

No one ever told me that 

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If you’re accusing your boyfriend of something and he uses this line, it might be truthful. However, it does not mean that you two are in the same position as he was with his exes. Maybe they did not call him out, or they did not even notice certain things, but just because he heard something for the first time does not mean you are making it up. 

I don’t like posting on social media 

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While this could be accurate for many guys, if he has something against you tagging him on social media, that’s suspicious. Perhaps he’s a private person, but tagging him in a photo should not be an issue. However, the more he protests, the more it appears that he might be hiding something or hiding you. 

Jim’s party is on Saturday, do you want to come along? 

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Translation: Jim is one of my best friends, and I want you to meet the whole crew. How they see you could make or break your relationship. The simple fact that your new guy wants you to meet his buddies is awesome, but it is also a sign that you should be on your best behavior until they truly get to know you. 

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.