Deciphering Chat on Dating Apps

Arm yourself with these meanings before you hit the horny corners of the web where those dating apps live.

Dating apps offer us an easier way to connect with people. At your fingertips, you have any number of people who are looking for something, from sex to an actual relationship. Talking online gives us a unique advantage of being able to craft the perfect sentence and throw in some cute emojis to help carry our point across. It eliminates the awkward silences, nervous eye contacts, or even worrying about how we dress. Name another way that is easier to say exactly what you mean without having to worry about the look of judgment from the other person.

If all of this is true, then why do I hear from so many people that they never seem to understand what the other person means or why cant they seem to meet anyone.

This frustration can leave you feeling like you both are speaking different languages. Even worse, it all feels like a waste of time since it often leads to days of endless chat, if anything at all. Today we discuss Deciphering Chat in Dating Apps.

Dating Apps and the Modern Era

Would it surprise you to know that in 2021, 30.4 million Americans used some kind of dating app? What can be even more staggering is that by 2026 that number is expected to hit 35 million. Talk about all of the swipes right or left, first messages, and headless pic swaps. With all of these people, you would think communication is fairly easy to have on it. Sadly, that is the inverse of what actually happens. 

America is a country that prides itself on choices. If you doubt that, go to a restaurant and notice how most of them have menus that are like novels. In any large city in America, there are almost as many banking choices as there are churches. It should be no surprise, then, that choices in potential partners on dating apps is just as important. 

1 in every 5 Americans use at least five dating apps to meet people. Out of those people, 80% use a paid tier of that platform for more access. In January of this year, Grindr was named the world’s 478th most valuable company by market cap. Market cap or market capitalization is the total market value of a publicly traded company’s outstanding shares and it measures their worth. I point out Grindr because it is one of the few apps that has seen steady growth where others like Bumble and Match have recorded theirs are losing ground. At present there are 11 million monthly users of Grindr.

With that many people online, how come so many chats seem to go nowhere or are misunderstood? It all comes down to knowing what you want and how to phrase it. Or, in some cases, knowing how to misdirect people when you don’t want to tell them that they aren’t what you are looking for. 

How can you learn to read between the lines of what is being said to you so you don’t end up wasting time? Let’s take a look at some common things said on those apps and how to decode them. 

There one word response

This is probably the biggest bane of any dating app, when you invariably receive the message that says… “Sup” or “Hey.” Even worse are just the notifications that say Woof or show that your profile was tapped on. 

What does it all mean?

The simplest of truths is that all this means is you are one of the hordes of people they have already messaged and they are just seeing who responds first and how.

The nosy neighbor syndrome

If you have ever lived in an apartment complex, you are already familiar with this one. You pass someone and they just off the cuff say “what are you up to?” Typically it is said without even expecting a response. But, when we get this message in a dating app we start thinking maybe it means more. But does it really?

The truth is, these four words are the quickest and most nonchalant way to ask you if you are free to hook up. If you say anything other than just hanging out or nothing, they figure you are too busy to get down to business and they usually move on. 

In bed with the covers up to my head

People on dating apps get away with saying a lot of things that they know they cant get away with easily face to face. When you see someone, you have a visual of what they are doing and can read body signals to see if there is any interest. But in a chat, you have lost the visual. So people feel more safe to be obtuse and rarely get checked on it

You are on your app and it’s getting late. You are feeling the need to talk or have company so you start messaging a person that checks off your boxes only to have this tacit reply. “I’m just getting into bed.” This phrase can have multiple meanings but it often comes down to two of the biggest. The first is that it is used as a deterrent for someone you arent attracted to. The other is the implication that if you want anything, you will have to go to them and it better be five minutes ago. Nothing puts you off wanting that connection like hearing that line.

Got blanket, add people

We already know that guys have a hard time expressing what they actually want. Sometimes it seems that the males of the species lost the ability to speak coherently enough to express their needs. Dating apps are the perfect breeding ground for this. It allows you the effortless ability to say one thing but mean another.

So you have been talking to your Scruff bud  and you get down to the part where you are finding out what you both like. He replies, “I love to cuddle.” At first you get excited because you genuinely like cuddling. ItItss a way to get close to someone and learn about them, but is that what he really means when he says it? Chances are it isn’t.

So what do they really mean when they say “I love to cuddle.” For many guys it’s an implication that they are looking for some foreplay before you break their headboard. It would seem obvious that if you are on a dating app that you have some ability to express your sexual needs so why veil it in an obscure comment that makes people think something different than you implied. I bet they get disappointed when someone shows up in footie pajamas and wants to crawl under the blanket and watch the Lifetime Movie Network with them, instead of what they implied.

We have openings, please fill them

A phrase that is equally as frustrating as “I love to cuddle” and “I just got into bed,” due to their misleading implications is the ubiquitous phrase, “I’m open to anything. This is another phrase that can have multiple meanings. Worse than that is for many it’s a way of saying you don’t care but you don’t want to decide.

This phrase can also, quite often, have a different meaning. If you are on sites like Grindr, Scruff, or any of the many sex forward apps, it simply means I am down to pound as long as it involves dick and/or ass. This could be a win for you, if you are able to decipher their meaning. More often than not, it will leave you frustrated and off to find someone else. 

When ghosting goes bad

I don’t think anyone likes being ghosted on these apps, even the guys you aren’t interested in. Sometimes it would be easier just to say that you aren’t interested but we often fear how that will be received. That leaves us thinking it is just better to leave them on read. That is until they reach out to you with… “Hey, you’ve been quiet lately.”

Busted… but what is he really saying when he says that. Short and simple, he is telling you that he will not be ignored. Guess it is time to step up and let them know you aren’t interested after all.

On the DL

There are worse comments than “you have been quiet lately,” sadly.

We all have been there. Found a guy online and had a great night of chat sexual innuendos. You look for them the next day and they aren’t on. A few days go by and still nothing. After a couple weeks, there they are in your who’s close by feed, so you drop them a message and say something to the effect of you haven’t seen them in a while and hope everything is okay. That’s when you get the dreaded response of “Hey, I’ve been keeping a low profile.”

In the world of phrases that can have multiple meanings, this one is near the top. Sure, it could simply mean that their life has been hectic and off dating apps. It could also mean that they are in a relationship and couldn’t get away from their partner. There are even instances where it means they had been trying to blow you off but you found them anyway.

However, there is another meaning, especially on dating apps. It can often mean that they were suffering from an STI and had been waiting for the drugs to take care of it before getting back out there and hooking up again.

Either way, this is one that might be worth doing a little more digging to find out what’s up.

Never know what may happen

An equally irritating phrase is the “let’s just see what happens.” When I was younger, this was the deathnail of trying to talk to someone. It normally means that you were at best put in the friend zone and at worst equal to the scum on their shoes but they want to be somewhat nice about it. 

In the world of hookup apps, that phrase can take on a different meaning. You are talking to Mr Cool and you both decide to meet up. You follow up with what you would like to do or want to do. You watch those three dots that let you know he is typing, waiting for the response only to get “let’s just see what happens.”  Oh god, what does that mean??? Did your options not interest him? Is he going to be the most boring person? In all likelihood it only means that he is waiting to get there, you both to get naked and see where it goes or doesn’t go. 

He’s a brick… house

We already know that the majority of dating apps out there are inhabited by the headless torso monsters of the world. You know them, you’ve seen them. Square after square of just the chest of some guy, no head or arms, and often sporting a six pack. You on the other hand take time to curate the pics you post. Hair is on fleek (do the kids still say that?) clothes are perfect, and your hair is coiffed in a way that would make angels cry. You even post a few pics of you in gym wear because all of your hard work is paying off.

Then you get the message…

“NIce pics,” “you look fit,” or worse “you’re sexy.” First, that is probably the lamest opening remark anyone could offer but is it a legit response to your pics or is it some backhanded compliment? It is more than likely a combination of both. They did find your pics to their liking but it is said to you in hopes you will reply that you have more pics you can share and he is hoping to see some with peen in it. If you are lucky, he may actually send you a few in reciprocation. 

How soon is now

I mentioned that “let’s see what happens” often is a means to blow you off because they aren’t interested. In the online app world, there is one that is a bit more deflating and to the point than that one. 

You have been having a great chat with someone, you shared nudes, and your sexual preferences, everything seems to be on track for a if the house is rockin night only to receive this treasure of a one liner. “We should catch up soon.” Suddenly, the bus stops running and the ugly lights turn on. You guessed it, he basically means that he can’t be bothered at this moment and by you, you might try later and get a better response. That is if he is horny and has no other options. Time to move on to someone else. 

Look before you buy

Almost as bad as “we should catch up” is when you receive the message “want to get a coffee?” Okay, I know you are probably thinking that this is a score. They want to meet you, and ask you out on a date. It must mean that all signs are a go. But does it really? Before those lovely dating apps were a thing, you could only meet guys in a few places like bars. This gave you both an opportunity to check eachother out and if interested, make a move. In the age of apps, you never really know if the pic you are looking at is really the person you are talking to. Maybe it was photoshopped, 15 years old, or worse it was stolen off someone else’s profile. Asking to get coffee becomes that moment in the bar where you are checking each other out. Its a public place and chances are you identified yourself enough so they can see you before they even walk into the corner Starbucks. 

It typically means that they aren’t sure if they like you from your pics and they want to see what you look like in person before they commit to giving you more than about ten minutes of their time.

Baking powder says what

In a world full of responses that often have multiple meanings that leave us so confused that we don’t know our butts from our elbows, it is nice to have a few phrases that are bullet proof in their meanings, mostly. 

Let’s revisit a scenario. You have been talking to this guy and he disappears. You see him again and message him, start talking and he responds with “Sorry, I must have missed your last message.” First, you know as well as he does that any message received shows up as a little badge in the corner of the app icon. Nice try Mr Hot Man on Grinder. 

What if i told you that it may have one more meaning than the implied “sorry, not interested?” That’s right, even this one can mean something different, even though it isnt any better. Chances are you were one of about fifty people he was messaging and one of those guys shared pics or deets on things that tripped his balls in ways he forgot about so he decided to hook up with them in the middle of your chat.

Either way, the result is the same. Don’t waste your time on him, move on.

Double entendre isn’t a two for one special

There you have it, a list of phrases that have alternate meanings that what we may initially expect. Arm yourself with these meanings before you hit the horny corners of the web where those dating apps live. It will give you a little more insight into what they may mean when talking to you. It will, at least, give you a means to ask the right questions to get better answers.

What about you? Have you heard lines from people on dating apps that often mean something different than intended? If so, what were they and how did you find out? Let me know in the comments below. You never know, they may end up in a future article update.


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