Ask A Guy: What Does It Mean If He Doesn’t Text Me Back?

Dear Ethan,

Question: if you text a guy and he doesn’t respond, should you text him again? This happens to me a lot with my boyfriend. I text him, he never answers and then I don’t know what to do. Help!

Here’s the simple answer: once you’ve texted a guy, there’s no reason to text him again. The ball is in his court and he knows it. But the more detailed answer really depends on how often he fails to respond and how long you’ve been together.

Brand new relationships (1-2 months):
For more delicate relationships only initiated recently, I suggest leaving sticking fairly strictly to the one-for-one rule and never texting twice in a row. Bugging him to elicit a response will only annoy him at best – or, at worst, extinguish some of your mystique and sap some of his interest.

Exclusive short-term relationships (2–6 months):
A relationship on the verge of serious commitment can be even more tenuous than a casual one, so approach with caution! Try to be patient and don’t stress if your flirtations (e.g. “Sexy bike shorts! lol”) go unrequited. Sure, such radio silence could indicate a lack of interest — but just as easily might indicate a preference for other forms of communication. When texting more urgent inquiries or messages, you can follow up after an appropriate amount of time (when you’re sure he’s definitely not writing back) to see if he got your message. Or, you can sneakily change the topic to something you know he’ll respond to (e.g. “Wanna get naked later?”), but ONLY USE THIS TACTIC SPARINGLY! We catch on after repeated use.

Serious long-term relationships (more than 6 months):
The great thing about serious relationships is that there’s no longer any room for gameplay. With all cards out on the table, each party knows how the other feels about him or her. If your long-term boyfriend has a bad habit of ignoring your texts, don’t bother nagging him via cellphone tag – instead, sit him down for an open conversation about communication. Explain that it upsets you when he doesn’t write back and that you’d like it to change. If he’s a dude worth dating, he’ll be willing to discuss this with you and work towards a solution. He might just hate texting, so be willing to compromise! Hopefully he’ll make an effort to be more responsive in other ways.

Good luck!

Ethan Fixell is a writer and comedian from New York City best known as one half of comic “dating coach” duo Dave and Ethan. He is also the creator and editor of For more on Ethan, visit…or call his mom, Robin.

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Posted in: Ask A Guy, Love Advice
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  • Anna

    I have this new coworker … I like him…but tried not to really show it. I was the one who even mentored him when he was starting. So i get a chance to talk to him. After a month i was assigned to a different department so i rarelly see him. I added him on facebook and sometimes if spotted online, i ask if how is he doing… Last week we saw each other at the office pantry…i was trying to reach the tupperware and he was there, and reached it for me. I said thank you. Then after lunch i sent him a message through our office communicator, i thanked him again and i even apologize because i wasnt able to share my food. He did not respond at all. Though he’s online. A simple smiley or np would suffice. But i received nothing. and it bugs me..

  • ayisha

    I love my x bf but he is having a gf and is saying m having a relationship wid that girl from 3 years..but i love him a lot…he don’t even msgz me but once gave me the compliment nice shorts…he even see my house again and again…and i want him back into my life…m really depressed ….plzzz help me….i really love him n CNT forget him

  • Kamogelo

    Hey guys i need you to advise me i hv a boyfriend but i last saw him two months ago hes always have an excuse when i tell him that i wanna visit him.but before i had sex with him he would text me all day calling me honey,,bby,,,lvy but now he doesnt even cll me those names wat should i do plz i realy love him

  • Anna

    I have a crush on this guy I know and the other day he randomly sent me a message saying have a beautiful day. I replied to it saying awe thanks! Same to you. But he never replied. I text him the next day hi and we had a mini convo then he never replied to me after seeing his message. What does this mean? It really bugs me.

  • Denise

    I really like this guy but idk if he likes me I follow him on instagram and have his kik he never gave them to me but I found out by my best friend. I texted him on kik but he didnt respond he read it but didnt respond please please help. Btw I textes him ( hi)

  • Yazmyn

    So this guy that I’ve had a crush on for 3 years messages me on face book and told me we should hang out when he gets back to California. We chatted a little then he gave me his number and told me to text him. So I texted him the next day, we literally said two things to each other, and he hasn’t replied to my text in a day, while I saw him online Facebook just last night. What does that mean? I haven’t texted him again, but should I just drop it? Am I overthinking it?

    • Aujiepooh

      Same with me but i think you shouldnt give up just keep trying and see hiw far it takes you but other than that hes probably likes you but just is really shy and he doesn’t know how to tell u so hes probably thinking about what to say to you right know

  • Becca

    I have this guy friend and he said he liked me we skyped and I guess I messaged him and bugged him do I wait for him or do guys not care that they hurt you?

  • JANE


    • TheRealist

      …do you need a hug?

    • Last stand.

      … Jane maybe you need to look at your use of grammar and spelling?. I imagine you have experienced a lack of response to your texts in the past but this may have more to do with difficulty reading your texts rather than the recipients emotional vacillation.

  • Paulina Wells

    I’ve been really close friends with this guy for about almost a year && everyone says we should date/be cute together. he calls me gorgeous && says I am the most amazing person he’s ever met && that I have the best personality for a girl. we don’t talk on a daily basis but he stares at me a lot and we hang around the same group of friends. Occasionally we will greet one another and even hug. and I instantly feel a connection when we do so. sometimes he will text me and we will talk for a litle and he just won’t reply, it’s a lot of mixed singnals. I need help ? xoxo

    • Confused

      I am so over boys and their mixed messages. Why can’t they just say what they mean and mean what they say. Feel free to send an update on what happened. Inquiring minds would love to know 😉

  • Jane

    So this guy who’s not really my boyfriend and not really my “friend” did some sexual stuff with me. I guess you can call it friend’s with benefits? But idk he told my bestie he was gonna ask me out but never did. Anyway, we did stuff together and he keeps calling me cutie and everything but after we did stuff, he txts me saying he’s in a bad mood and that he’ll txt me tonight. But he never did, just wanted to know what you guys think? Btw he sends me x’s and everything

    • bustitamy

      Ask him out instead (in person)… if he says no. Ask why he doesn’t feel like dating you… then you’ll know if he is the guy for you or to move on.

  • Deal

    This guy told me that he kind of like me but never texts and than to day he told me Sorry if I sometimes don’t answer I’m always busy do I don’t have time to message you back. His he just to busy for me or is he really busy? What do i do?

  • stupid -cute223

    Just be urself and tell him how u feel

  • raerae

    All I want is him but he wont give me a second chance

    • bustitamy

      millions of billions of men in the sea just like him and better. if youve already talked to him about how you still like him and want to make it work and he still doesnt want you…let go. be tough and know that you can do better. sweetie, this lingering over him isnt going to make you happier. find happiness with another.

  • Paige

    my crush kept texting me these cute, flirtatious, funny texts, but then he said he didnt like me for real. he used to but not anymore and just wanted to make me happy that he did and im really stressed about it. i told him that was fine and i only wanted to b friends for now. wut do i do to get him to like me again? p.s. i decided to ask a guy so id get advice that is pretty much guarenteed to work. (:

    • tommy

      first, never depend on someone else to fill you up, you have to find happiness within your self first..second, you can never make someone love you and demanding it will always backfire.

    • u should try and get to know him more who knows if he gets to know u more and u get to know him more he could end up wanting to be in a relationship with u u never know unless u try so go

    • bustitamy

      no guarantee way to seduce a guy to love you. you can only seduce him to be sexual with you for a while. Honey know you can do better. guys like to text and flirt over phone with girls. if your a girl then you fit the profile. communicating in person and hanging out and being real good friends is what creates real ‘like.’ my suggestion is hang out more and if being close friends works well… then thats how a crush could mean a date and a serious relationship after that.

    • bustitamy

      If he doesn’t text back and its bugging you… probably your mind is on him and you may be thinking about him too much and causing you unnecessary stress. hobbies or many good friends help the time go and he will text back when he is ready. there are a ton of reasons to not text someone back: boring convo, family busy, talking by text isnt enough, annoyed, emotion mad… you’ll never guess it unless he tells first.

      From my experience i have learned that it is best to have other things to busy your mind or resort to talking on the phone. Or try not texting back someone for yourself. it can be a learning experience about how texting works.

    • reema

      go have a long conversation with him and if he said he wants to make you happy cause inside there he really likes you

  • Gicelle

    Just tell him it bugs you.