Jan. 9, 2013 at 8:22 PM ET
"Thinking about you" or "How’s it going?"
“The deal with guys and texting is that it’s all about the context and the time of day,” says Alexander Poe, writer, director and star of the film Ex-Girlfriends. This is a testing the waters text. Your call if you take the bait.
"Miss you" (From an out-of-the blue ex)
“It means: ‘Remember when we used to have sex? If you're not otherwise taken, let's do that again. Sex, I mean,’" says comedian Harrison Greenbaum.
It could also be your ex trying to rekindle the flames. “He wants to know that he’s still on your mind,” says Harbinger. “Maybe he really does just want to catch up. But if he starts in about how you should maybe catch up sometime in person, it might be the start of him re-engaging with you. He’s wondering if he’s still feeling things, and wants to check in and see if you might feel the same way. But beware…it’s subconscious with guys. He may not even realize that’s what he’s doing.”
"I had a sexy dream about you"
This guy is texting between the lines to get you between the sheets.
He’s saying: "I had a dream in which we had sex, so now I want to see if there's a way to make it happen in real life,” says Greenbaum.
“If you’ve already had a sleepover party, or if this person is your boyfriend, then you’re all set,” says Poe. Text back, “tell me more,” and get ready for a serious sexting sesh. If this text comes too soon in a relationship and seems creepy, just ignore him.
"CU l8r? LYK…KIT"
If you’re getting this text, check some ID to make sure you’re not dating a seventh grader. Chances are, if you don’t get the acronyms he’s sending over, you’re probably not on the same page. But if you, for some reason, think texting like a teen is cute, here’s what some of the most common shorthand means:
"I love hearing from you so much"
“This guy is totally infatuated and loving every minute of it!” says Dr. Ish Major, author of Little White Whys: A Woman’s Guide Through the Lies Men Tell and Why. He just might not be able to come out and say it because he’s a guy and guys are supposed to be more muscle than mushy. “What he’s hoping to hear is ‘I love hearing from you, too’ so he can think ‘Oh good…I’ve made some ground,’” says Harbinger.
"We should do something, sometime"
“He wants to see you and is excited about seeing you…however, when and where that might happen is not so sure,” says Major. “This is very vague…and therein lies its beauty. It’s definitely a commitment on some level, but to what? There’s no time constraint—we can do this tomorrow, we can do this next week or just whenever we have time—and there’s no specific mention of what exactly we will do. It’s the perfect half-hearted promise of something more!”
Verdict: This text is lame!
"How's girls’ night?"
“Good for this guy, checking in and not looking for anything in return,” says Poe. “Although to be honest, he’s probably really asking what you’re doing after the True Blood party is over.” The guy that checks in during ladies night out is likely doing so for one of several reasons.
“He could be sending this message because: 1) He really wants to make sure that you are having a good time out; 2) He could be looking for a tipsy hookup invitation; 3) He may be a little insecure about you being out, and wants to remind you of him so he remains the dominant guy in your life,” says Christopher Brya, co-author of WTF Are Men Thinking?
“Honestly, it’s also kind of needy,” says Harbinger. “If she wants a booty call later on, she will text you.” To that we add, if he’s lucky!
“Awww…this could be a very sweet confirmation that yes, I’m really liking you,” says Major. “It could also be a subtle nudge/reminder that 'whatever you did last time we interacted, I’d like very much if we’d continue to do. More please!'”
He also just wants to make sure that his words are not misunderstood—there’s no way you can misread a happy face.
“This one is a way of checking in and saying ‘I liked you, it really sucks that I don’t hear from you more often,’” says Major. Now, if you’re trying to blow the guy off, do not respond immediately. Otherwise a little “Hey back, Stranger” is fair play.
On the flip side, if he dropped the ball and knows it, you might get something like, “I had a blast the last time we hung out! Sorry I haven’t been in touch more.” In that case, feel free to respond with something friendly if you liked him. But let him do the asking to get together again.
"Can’t chat! Super busy with work!"
“If this is from anyone except your best friend, it’s over,” says Poe. “Don’t reply to his messages until he realizes that he’s been a jerk for neglecting you and comes over with flowers.”
And if you’re not getting attention from him, don’t give any back. “Either A, it’s done, nothing is going to happen in this relationship or B, you're going to turn the tables and as soon as he realizes that you don’t need him as bad as he thought you did, he's going to come running back and try 10 times harder to win you back,” says Poe. “If he is at work, he means it.
If he isn’t at work, he’s avoiding you for some reason,” says Byra. It could be he didn’t follow up on something he told you he would do…or he’s just not that into you.” Sorry, but either way, signs don’t look too good.
But before you drive yourself into a hissy, remember that nothing is more telling than direct, IRL, person-to-person interaction. When communication gets confusing, there is nothing like a verbal chat to clear things up.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.