What You Text vs. What You Mean

Photo from vulture.com

So, you’ve decoded every period, exclamation point and extra “ha” on the “haha.” You’ve mastered the art of “thumbspeaking” and text talk, and you’re finally accustomed to all of the hidden meanings behind text messages. But, let’s be honest — maybe it’s time we just talk to each other with no hidden feelings. Take a look at a few text messages you may recognize and see if we guessed your “thumbspeak” language correctly!

“I’m doing great, thanks!”

What you really mean: “I just cried 18 minutes ago. I’m stressed. Can you give me a virtual hug?”

“I’m down to eat anything.”

What you really mean: “Actually, I really want sushi, but I don’t want to be an inconvenience or choose something that you don’t want. I am also extremely indecisive. Please just choose for me.”

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“Sorry I just saw this message!”

What you really mean: “Yeah, I’ve been struggling mentally and I did see your message two hours ago, but it stressed me out. I want to give you a thoughtful reply and I just couldn’t do that two hours ago. I felt the need to tell you that I just saw this message so you don’t feel ignored.”

We all do this. The best way to go about avoiding that anxiety is to respond right away, even if you don’t actually respond to the message. By saying something like, “Hey! Just letting you know I saw your message, but I’m busy right now. I’ll respond in a bit!” it acknowledges the other person’s message and establishes a good habit of dealing with things right away, rather than sweeping it under the rug and forgetting about it later.

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“No, no, I can totally come hang out, tonight!”

What you really mean: “I absolutely do not want to go out tonight. My social battery is drained. Help.”

Often, we will convince ourselves of all the reasons why we should agree, and why saying yes is better than saying no. We may label and conceal it as having a positive mindset, when in reality, we’re just afraid of conflict and being the source of that conflict.

We try to shield ourselves from other’s disappointment or hurt, but it’s important to protect ourselves by listening to our bodies and treating ourselves right. If you feel a “no” being raised, listen to it and tell it honestly.


What you really mean: “I’m angry af.”

The days of the “k.” are just about gone, but in case you still use it, don’t. Rather than being passive aggressive and harboring bad feelings, try saying something like this: “I just need to let you know how this made me feel, because this really upset me. I just want to communicate and hash it out. Can we talk about it?” Reminder: if you’re not speaking it, you’re storing it.

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“Let me think about it!”

What you really mean: “I already know the answer, and it’s a hard no. I’m just figuring out how to tell you and taking an acceptable amount of time to make it seem like I really considered your idea.”


What you really mean: “That wasn’t funny, but I want to put an end to this conversation and I feel an obligation to respond to you, but not enough to encourage your bad humor so I’m not putting the extra haha’s.”

“I love you.”

What you really mean: “I love you.”


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