Why Do Guys Say Things They Don’t Mean?

Name: Oliviiadarcy21-300x225
Comment: I met this guy on a dating website and we met up a couple of days later for drinks and had a great time.  Conversation was very natural, there weren’t any awkward silences, and we both seemed to have similar interests and viewpoints.  Nobody dominated the conversation – we talked pretty equally over the course of three drinks. When we left the bar to go our separate ways, he gave me a kiss and asked to meet up again.

He’s in medical school and I work full time, but my evenings are almost always free (and he’s usually in class or studying).  So when I told him that I would actually be in his neighborhood the next day to grab lunch with a friend, he asked to meet up for coffee or something.  I said that would be nice, and texted him the next day when I was in the area. His response was “As much as I want to see you today, I have to rush off to a group meeting – can we meet up later this week?”

I told him it was no problem, but our schedules didn’t match up for the rest of the week so we didn’t meet up.  That weekend I was away, but in the middle of the next week I let him know I was in town again. He made it seem like he’d like to meet up, but we didn’t.

About two weeks later he texted me on a Saturday night saying he was in my neighborhood – I was out with friends at the time.  I told him to meet me at the bar I was at, but he was already thinking of heading back and tried to convince me to come to him.  I didn’t, even after he offered to pay my cab fare (which I really wasn’t a huge fan of).

Fast-forward to three weeks later, no texting or talking.  I was at a bar with some close friends very close to where he lived so a sent a quick text – and he was there in 15 minutes.  The first thing he did was apologize for being so flaky lately.  We had another great time, talked, and really seemed to hit it off again, but this time I was just a bit more distanced because I assumed if he didnt make a huge effort in seeing me, he must not care all that much.

This time when he left the bar, I stayed with my friends.  I walked him out, we kissed, and he asked if he could see me again on Monday – his break is coming up for school so he doesn’t have much in the way of studying or group sessions.  I said sure and he said he couldn’t wait. After he left he texted me to tell me how great of a time he had, but come Monday – not a word.

Im not sure what’s going on – If he was just looking for a hook-up I figure he would at least make that clear by inviting me back to his place, or following through on plans to hang out.  On the other hand, he’s always the one to make plans to see each other again after a date – but also the one that doesn’t follow through. We don’t text or talk other than to make plans, which usually don’t amount to anything, and our second date was almost 6 weeks after the first.  If he’s not really that into it (which is what I’m assuming), why is he so persistent about telling me how great of a time he’s had and making plans to meet up again after we actually do see each other?
Age: 23
City: Boston
State: Massachusetts

I assumed if he didnt make a huge effort in seeing me, he must not care all that much.

Right. Exactly. You’ve just answered your own question.

He did try to hook-up with you. He offered to pay for a cab to drive you to his apartment. He likely came out to meet you in the hopes you’d go home with him. That’s why he’s telling you how much fun he had and how excited he is to see you again. He’s going to say whatever it is he thinks will get you to go home with him or hook-up with him. This guy has made zero effort to actually see you save for the one instance when he was in your neighborhood. He only met you out at that bar because he thought you might go home with him. This guy doesn’t want to date you. He’ll sleep with you if the opportunity arises, but that’s it. He’s just saying what he’s saying to keep you on the hook. You’re just an option to him. You’re someone he’ll meet up with if he has no other plans. That might be how he treats all the women he meets.

As for the larger question of why men sometimes say things they don’t mean, let’s look at this from a non-dating perspective. Have you ever had a conversation with someone you were iffy about – male or female – and had them say, “Hey, we should get together for a drink sometime!” and you really didn’t want to,  but you found yourself saying, “Sure! That would be great!” And then you never follow up with them or respond to their email or make up some excuse? It’s kind of like that. This isn’t a guy thing or a dating thing. This is a people in awkward social situations thing.

I don’t know how he suggested you meet for coffee or that you see each other again at the end of that first date. Something tells me that it wasn’t as emphatic as this letter implies. From the sounds of it, he made a throw away comment about grabbing coffee because you said you were going to be in his neighborhood the next day after he casually suggested seeing each other again. Think about that for a moment.  He says, “We should do this again” and you jump in with, “Well, as luck would have it, I’m going to be in your neighborhood tomorrow.” He’s now put on the spot. So of course he once more tosses off a polite suggestion of meeting up, probably knowing that when you contacted him the next day he could hide behind his cell phone (as many of us are wont to do) and make an excuse as to why he couldn’t get together.

The real red flag? The insistence that really wanted to see you. Orly? He was being disingenuous in order to soften his lie a bit. I’ve been in this very situation, with the guy insisting he wanted to see me again and making tentative plans only to bail. He was buying himself time and keeping me on the hook. If a convenient situation arose, he’d see me. But other than that? Nope. No interest. He’s being phony.

That’s what is going on here.

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15 Responses to “Why Do Guys Say Things They Don’t Mean?”

  1. AnnieNonymous Says:

    Yet another submission asking why a workaholic isn’t around for the fun parts of dating. Someone who’s in med school has already chosen his career over the possibility of being present for a relationship. He’ll spend his whole life pretending to buy into the concept of dating (because we’re “supposed” to), but he’ll never actually fully date anyone, at least not until he finishes his med school residency. It has nothing to do with this woman – guys with high-pressure jobs (doctor, lawyer, finance) always suck to date.

    • Nicole Says:

      Yes, people with high pressure jobs have time constraints that make relationships difficult, especially in the early stages of dating. But so do people who travel for their jobs, or work night shifts, or are in school, or have kids or sick parents. We’ve all got our own stuff going on.

      I think most people, whatever their situation, will try to make time if they truly want a relationship with you. Might not be your typical Friday night dinner date, but they will demonstrate that they care about having you in their life. (And it goes the other way, too…. If I think someone is amazing and I want to be with them, then I’ll be happy to meet them halfway when it comes to their crazy schedule.)

      The guy in this post obviously had time to go out with his friends, and was home the night the OP randomly texted him. He could have made an effort to spend those free nights with her, but he didn’t. He just isn’t looking for a relationship right now – at least not with her.

      • Noquay Says:

        I agree Nicole. i have a high pressure job, run a small farm solo, and still make time for those I want to spend time with. This guy is combing through his options, plain and simple.

    • D. Says:

      It’s not an across-the-board thing. You can date a working professional, even a studying professional. But you have to adjust your standards to recognize the fact that they will not automatically be available every night after 5pm. If you can do that, and if you’re willing to make time for each other, it can work just fine.

      More likely, if they aren’t making time to date, they just aren’t all that interested. In my experience, both as a professional myself and having dated multiple professionals, it CAN be about the schedule, but even if the schedule is bad, you find other ways to make time if you’re interested.

  2. jane Says:

    Spot on response. I agree with absolutely everything. The takeaway here once again: Actions speak louder than words. If we stopped putting so much weight in people’s words, we’d save a lot of headache when how they behave is telling us everything we need to know.

    • Eliza Says:

      Exactly…don’t tell me who you are, SHOW me what you are made of, and how you treat others. I am not merely impressed by what a persons says, or what they do for a living…but more by how they behave with me, and how they treat others. And that includes in general–how a man or woman comes across to strangers – including people who serve them in restaurants speaks volumes. And the guy the OP mentions is huge flake – with her…which only means she is an after thought. Why make give a person like this importance. Again: Only make those a priority–who make YOU a priority.

  3. C Says:

    Great advise!

    Sorry OP. I’ve dated the neither poop nor get off the pot guy. Flakiness is generally a show of disinterest. Why they do it can vary: sex, attention, back-burnering, ego stroking, they like you but dont see a future with you, interested but physically or emotionally unavailable, etc… The only thing that doesnt change is the fact that you wwon’t get what you want from this.

  4. Matt Says:

    Nailed it!

  5. Ken Besig Says:

    I used to say whatever it took to get what I wanted from a woman, I would even do things like act interested and gentlemanly and considerate if that is what it took. That is how I am wired mentally and hormonally and I have no doubt most young men are wired the same way because most of us men when we are young are not inclined towards commitment and sadly most of us are sexual predators during our youth. The fellow this writer mentions has even a greater advantage than most of us men do, he will probably end up being a “prince” that is, a DOCTOR!!, and what woman does not give that man a real shot? He can be the most inconsiderate, irresponsible, and selfish boyfriend in the world and most women will put a mountain of effort into chasing him. It is only when we men grow up do we start to treat women like the jewels they are and appreciate the feminine qualities they bring to a steady relationship. I know this is a lousy answer but it’s the best I have got.

  6. Howard Says:

    Lots of truth about people saying what they feel is necessary in a situation. I however put this guy in the clueless doctors category. Medical school, residency, etc, are cruel and unusual punishments they impose on themselves. This does not excuse this type of behavior, but it’s very typical.

    It’s a mix of entitlement and failure to truly understand congeniality and people. The Dr. Oz’s of the world are actually the exception. Typical doctor never has time to talk with the patient. They keep you waiting. They never seem to have time for their spouse and when they do, they want their spouse to drop everything and cater completely. Reading this story reminds me of relationships I have seen with friends and family who are doctors or spouses of doctors. It’s hot and then cold behavior all the time.

    With this guy, his internal talk is:

    “I’m a catch. I’m in medical school, you should be over the moon I dated you. I don’t have time to go slow. Recognize quick and take that cab over to my place. Oh, you didn’t take the cab over. I don’t know if you deserve a doctor, let me think about this. Oh I still want her, let me play along a bit, but she better recognize really quick how lucky she is.”

    Now lots of women play along. Actually their odds are pretty good. Even though they put up with this entitled bullshit, doctors give commitment easier than the typical guy, because of their time constraints and their need for someone fawning over them.

  7. D. Says:

    One other analysis:

    People don’t know how they feel. Or rather, they don’t know how they WILL feel later. They lack self-awareness or insight or whathaveyou, and fly mostly on instinct from moment to moment.

    This is particularly hard for introspective people to grasp, given that they spend a lot of time in their heads as it is, but it’s the truth: some people just don’t think as much as you do. So that whole “But what did they MEAN?! Why did they tell me XYZ if they were going to do ABC later?” Answer: They didn’t “mean” anything. They said what they felt….in the moment. then the moment passed, and they didn’t feel it anymore, and when it came time to do XYZ, they’d already changed their minds.

    They aren’t sitting in the moment thinking “Now, hang on. Am I gonna change my mind in two days? Am I REALLY that into this person? Because if I’m not, I really shouldn’t say that I’ll do XYZ thing, and should just be evasive or up front and say I’m not interested.” No, it’s more like “That sounds fun!” Then two hours later “That actually doesn’t sound that fun.”

    The shorthand of this is “They aren’t that into you,” because they’d be more consistent in their behavior if they were, but it isn’t always out of some desire to consciously or even unconsciously manipulate or get one over on you or whathaveyou. It’s just that they’re going with the flow in the moment, and then the moment is gone.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Yeah, it’s always good to remind yourself that not everyone thinks the way you do. You can’t get too caught up in what someone action’s MEAN because you can only really analyze them from the point of view of what you would do in their shoes, which may be totally different, whether there’s interest or not.

      Anyway, it should be pretty simple to tell if someone is interested or not in that “actions speak louder than words” way – they consistently contact you and seek you out, or they don’t. You feel good around them, or you don’t. If you find yourself squinting and stretching your imagination beyond that to “read” someone, they’re probably not interested (or interested but unavailable, or interested but unwilling to act, which are as good as uninterested).

      • D. Says:

        I know in my experience that in the relatively few instances where I said one thing and then did another, it usually amounted to one of two possible reasons:

        1. I was caught flat-footed and simply blurted out what would allow me a graceful exit from the situation. This was more common when I was younger and didn’t have as broad a repertoire of answers in this or that situation. Like, getting to the end of a date where you really have no intention of calling the person again, KNOWING you won’t do so, but still just sort of defaulting to “Well, this was fun. We should do it again some time. I’ll call you.” When I did that, it was more because, at the time, it felt weird to just say “Well….goodnight.” Later, I learned to do just that, since it pretty clearly sent the message without being rude.

        2. In the moment, I genuinely did think I was interested in getting together again or whatever. But then a few days later, when I had more time to think about it, I’d realize that I wasn’t interested in this person, and didn’t want to see them again but was just “making” myself do so because I’d said I’d go. If it had only been a handful of dates, and there had been no specific follow-up plans made (e.g., “I’ll call you.”), I might just let it go, but usually I’d at least call to say “Sorry, not feeling it” after the fact, especially if we’d made tentative plans for a specific date.

        But even in those flaky moments, I don’t expect other people to think the way I did. Granted, I had to learn that through often irritating experience (e.g., “Why’d she say she was interested if she wasn’t interested?!”), but the end result is sometimes people just…say shit in the moment and change their mind later. Or it’s just easier to say what they said than to be like “Yeeeeeaaahh…about that…we’re never gonna get together again. Sorry!”

        • C Says:

          so true! been there done that. i think everyone has. sometimes im lukewarm at the end of a date and want to keep my options open so i say, ‘sure. lets do this again.’ come next morning i realize i dont want to do this again. sometimes i’m unsure of my feelings for a guy for a few weeks. my intention isnt to string him along. i’m sorting out my own feelings and assume if he is still calling for dates, he must be ok with what he is getting out of it.

  8. Lia Says:

    Boy, what insight. Wish I’d had you around when I was younger and stupid about guys.

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