Translating What Men Say Into What They Mean

He says: "I'll call you." He means: "I may call you." This line isn't the slam dunk most women make it out to be. Besides being genuinely interested, there are a slew of reasons why a guy might ask for a number (he needs an ego boost... he wants a quick way to end the conversation... he bet his buddy he could score more digits, etc). The thing to remember here is that if he's into you, he will find a way to call. And, no, emailing, Facebooking or Twittering at him in the meantime isn't going to help your case. Give the guy a chance to pursue you -- if he doesn't, he's not the one for you anyway. He says: "I like your shirt/necklace/shoes/hair." He means: "You look good." He may have an ulterior motive when he compliments you, but that doesn't make the praise any less sincere. The fact is, men are generally terrible at false flattery. Instead of accusing us of feeding you a line (we know we are!), feel good about the fact that we've noticed something about you that's attractive and memorable. Just don't ask us to remember the brand of those cute shoes. He says: "I've been busy lately." He means (if you've dated less than six months): "I've lost interest in you." He means (if you've dated longer than that): "I like you, but I need to focus on other things." Usually, this is the classic guy blow-off, but there are exceptions. "Don't forget the big picture," cautions Steve Santagati, who offers dating advice at If you've dated for a few months and your guy is usually there for you, don't hit the panic button over his recent short bouts of inattention. "Just because we get distracted by our jobs doesn't mean we don't care anymore," says Santagati. He says: "I need some space." He means: "This relationship is moving too fast." Nobody's thrilled to hear this one, but "I need space" isn't always the kiss of death. Often men get excited about a new relationship and then struggle to turn down the temperature when they're suddenly seeing you six nights a week. First, confirm that he still wants to date. (Any answer besides yes means you should take your toothbrush and get out of there, stat.) Once that's confirmed, revert to early courtship behavior; make him schedule thoughtful dates in order to see you (no 3 A.M. texts). If the spark returns, still insist on a couple of girls-only nights a week for the next several months -- it'll be good for both of you. He says: "I love spending time with you." He means: "I love you... I think." Guys are notoriously hesitant about dropping the L-bomb outright. When your man starts talking about how he loves specific aspects of the relationship, that's probably his way of dipping his toe in those waters. You should feel good about where things stand, even if the three magic words aren't directly uttered. "Guys aren't gifted at translating their feelings fluently to females," Santagati says. "Give a brother a break." He says: "I don't believe in marriage." He means: "I'm not going to marry you." This is one of those maddening statements you simply can't overanalyze. He may truly oppose the institution. He may be immature. He may not care for you deeply enough. In any case, you have a better chance of making out with Brad Pitt than waiting for him to "come around." Either enjoy his company for what it is or move on. He says: "I want this to last forever." He means: "I'm really happy right now." Most things a guy says about the future should be taken with a grain of salt. "When a guy says he likes you, he means he likes you right then and there," Santagati says. That doesn't mean men are unreliable jerks. But it does mean that when it comes to relationship stability, you should look at what your guy is doing instead of focusing on what he's saying. Santagati advises, "You're better off taking an observational stance." Is he physically affectionate? Does he remember things that are important to you? Does he support you when you need it?