​Decoding confusing text messages from your crush

It’s completely exhilarating to get a text from your crush. After all, it means they are thinking about you and that’s a good thing… right? Unfortunately, reading into the meaning behind some (or most!) messages can also be pretty confusing.

As I have explained to my psychology students and clients over the years, communicating without the benefit of body language and tone of voice leaves a lot open to interpretation — especially, when it comes to flirting and dating. For this reason, it’s important to try to give each other the benefit of the doubt and keep an open mind.

Still, that can be a real challenge when you’re trying to decode texts from a crush. Here’s some guidance for navigating this often treacherous territory!

​One-word replies

Among the trickiest messages to interpret are the one-word replies. If you send a substantial text and receive “okay,” “sure,” “yes,” or even just “k” as a response, you might be struggling to understand how the other person really feels. The last thing you should do is panic and assume the worst. They might be in the middle of something or may not have much to say. It happens!

If they normally send longer messages, chances are everything is fine. Don’t sweat it! If, however, this is the type of response you normally get (or if you are always initiating contact), it’s probably a sign that they aren’t interested.

“I’ll let you know”

If we ask someone to do something, of course, the answer we really want is an immediate and enthusiastic “YES!” Sometimes, that is possible and sometimes it’s completely unrealistic. After all, most people are juggling multiple obligations in their lives.

When someone says “I will let you know,” in response to an invitation, there are a few possible reasons. The first is that they have to check their schedule and make sure they don’t have other plans. It stinks, but their life doesn’t revolve around you! A second reason is that they might need some time to think about whether they like you or want to spend time with you — and that’s fair. Give them some space. Finally, they could be stalling because they don’t want to hang out, but don’t know how to say no.

In the end, don’t pressure them. Let them take whatever time they need to get back to you. If you don’t hear back from them, you have your answer.

​”I’ve been really busy”

You’ve sent them messages and received short, slow, or no replies. Finally, you can’t take it anymore and you ask them what’s going on. You deserve answers so don’t feel bad about asking for clarification (unless, of course, you do it all the time!). If they respond by saying “I’ve been really busy,” give them the benefit of the doubt. There are times when life can get crazy and getting into a new relationship is the last thing on someone’s mind.

Let them know that you’re interested and that you’d love to hear from them when things settle down — then step back. Either they will miss you and want to carve out time for you, or you will move on. Like Bob Marley says, no one wants to be “waiting in vain” for someone’s attention!

​Sexy picture requests

Over the years, if there is one thing that has brought my clients and students heartache, it’s sending nude pictures to someone who was only interested in having a fling. Even worse are those who just want to see how far you’ll go and then share your intimate photos with others. You don’t want to end up in that situation!

There’s nothing wrong with sexting when it’s between two mature, respectful people. It’s tempting to give in to these types of requests because you’re hoping it means that your crush wants to see you naked (and, clearly, they do!). Just understand that, without having some sort of foundation, it’s very likely that they are only interested in a sexual relationship. If you are fine with that, then great! If you want to be more than a hookup, keep your nudes to yourself!

​Good morning and goodnight

If you roll over and see a message from your crush first thing in the morning, it’s probably a good sign. It means that they were thinking about you as they started their day and wanted you to know. Mornings can be especially hectic, so it says a lot that they found a moment to reach out to you.

Similarly, if after a busy day, your crush sends you a message to say goodnight, they probably like you. After all, you’re the last thing on their mind as they wind down for the day. Of course, if this accompanied by requests for nude pictures or racy talk, they may have ulterior motives (see my advice for “middle of the night messages” later on in the article).

​Very slow or no replies

If you send texts to someone and it takes them days to reply (if at all), you should really take the hint. Deep down you already know that this isn’t a good sign. Think about how you feel when you get a text from someone you like. Do you take forever to respond or are you on it right away? The same is true of your crush.

Sure, there will be times when people have a lot going on and they can’t message as often, but if your love interest is consistently absent, it’s unlikely that they have the warm fuzzies for you. Trust your instincts, stop sending them messages, and find someone better to flirt with!

​Emojis and LOL

Just like the one-word replies, emojis and LOL can be tough to decipher. Again, you really have to look at this in the context of your other interactions. Does your crush almost exclusively respond with a smiley face? If so, it’s possible that they aren’t really that invested in your relationship. Imagine if, during in-person discussions, someone only made faces and never said anything!

When you’ve been having meaningful exchanges and they throw in a winky face, then you should consider it just part of normal conversation. They are engaging with you and using emojis to express how they feel. If, on the other hand, you send them a lengthy text and they respond with LOL, they probably aren’t laughing with you. They might actually be laughing at you.

​Middle of the night messages

We’ve heard the terms — “booty call” and “Netflix and chill,” for example — and now you need to know the signs. If your crush ignores your messages all day but then, suddenly, is interested in the middle of the night, pay close attention to the tone of their messages. Are they exclusively and/or blatantly sexual? If so, he might just be lonely and looking for a hookup. It’s entirely up to you if you want to fill that void.

On the other hand, if they work all day and only have time to text late at night, these messages could be completely innocent and intentional. Again, evaluate the tone. Are they asking about your life, saying that they miss you, or asking to meet up for lunch or a movie sometime soon? If so, they are probably interested in you, but didn’t have time to connect earlier in the day.

​There will always be confusion

Truthfully, even the closest of couples and best of friends can fall victim to confusing messages, so don’t feel bad if you feel clueless when it comes to decoding texts from your crush.

The best course of action is to play it cool, give someone the benefit of the doubt, and take what they say at face value. If things feel off, ask for clarification. You may not always like what you hear but, at the very least, you will know where you stand!

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