What They Say: I’ve been through a lot in my life.
What They Mean: I’m trying to tell you that I’m deeper than the average basic bitch, without disclosing the full-fledge craziness that I’ve seen in my day.
What They Say: I’m a homebody kind of girl.
What They Mean: If you’re going to be one of those guys who wants to go backpacking across the arctic, it’s not going to work out. Alternatively, you will win me over if you lay in bed with me and eat Chinese food for entire Sundays at a time.
What They Say: I like my job, for the most part. But right now it’s mostly just paying the bills.
What They Mean: Everyone around me seems to be handling their jobs and all of their responsibilities and all of this pressure effortlessly. So I’m going to act like that too. But I’m basically hanging on by a thread here. I hate acting like everything is perfect when it’s not, but I also don’t want to overwhelm you too much in the beginning.
What They Say: So… where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What They Mean: *Smiles* Should I even bother with a second date?
What They Say: I’m in my own place now and I love it. The privacy is great.
What They Mean: But I’m lonely… and no longer have a roommate to okay your visits by… eh?
What They Say: I guess I’m just having fun right now.
What They Mean: I’m still young and I don’t quite have everything figured out yet. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love learning about myself and having experiences, no matter how weird they are. So if you’re going to stifle me, let’s quit this while we’re ahead.
What They Say: There’s not too much to know about me.
What They Mean: I want to come off as sane, successful, and put-together enough for you to want to date me, while simultaneously being honest with you about the fact that I am the epitome of a hot mess.
What They Say: I love coffee.
What They Mean: If I ever encounter you in the morning before I have my first cup of coffee, I’m sorry if I scream at you and/or cause you any physical harm. It’s a fate that you shouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, and I feel that it’s fair if I warn you ahead of time.
What They Say: I’ve had some interesting dating experiences so far.
What They Mean: I’ve met a lot of weirdos on Tinder and OKCupid and out at the bar and through mutual friends and on Hinge and not in coffee shops because that’s not actually a thing. And it’s really starting to wear on me and I’m pulling a Ted Mosby and I just want to be DONE already.
What They Say: We should go there sometime.
What They Mean: I’m not crazy. I’m not a stage 5 clinger. But I want to make a commitment. I want to know if this is going somewhere. I’m in my twenties and I’m tired of having meaningless relationships and I want to start making plans. I want you to know that I want this to continue.
What They Say: What do you think of my friend Michelle?
What They Mean: Do you think my friend Michelle is hot?
What They Say: I’m not that hungry. I dunno, I just never have a huge appetite.
What They Mean: As soon as you leave, I’m probably going to eat an entire cake. Not a piece of cake. The entire cake. We’re in the beginning stages of this relationship so I’m still trying to seem adorable and dainty. I can’t be completely myself yet and tell you that I’m actually a garbage disposal when it comes to food.
What They Say: *Surprised about anything* Ohh, really? That’s interesting!
What They Mean: Lol, I googled this two hours ago… just keeping up appearances.
What They Say: I’m really close to my family.
What They Mean: I want to be with someone who prioritizes family. I don’t care where you came from in the past, or how close or not close you are with the family you grew up with. What I’m interested in is how you want to handle your eventual family. I don’t care if that just means you and your wife, or you and your wife and your cat, or you and your wife and your 7 children. I just want to know that it really matters to you.
What They Say: I’ve been single for a decent amount of time.
What They Mean: I’m not picky, but I won’t settle.
What They Say: I’m trying not to worry about what other people think.
What They Mean: I don’t want to give anyone else the opportunity to tell me what to do in my relationship. I don’t want to follow some “3rd date rule” or any other arbitrary rule about relationships that gives others the power to judge me. I just want to do what feels right. I’ll sleep with you when I want to. If we fall in love, I will tell you I love you when it feels right and not when I feel it’s socially acceptable. I’m going to do this my way.
What They Say: I’m open to having fun.
What They Mean: People make me feel pressured to act carefree and worry-free all the time when it comes to relationships. Like I’m supposed to just have fun and not be scared of rejection. I’m trying to take this all lightly. But I’ve been hurt a lot in the past. And I know you’re capable of hurting me too. But please don’t. Because I want to give this a chance.
What They Say: *An extremely long and unnecessarily-detailed answer*
What They Mean: I always feel the need to rationalize my decisions, and I hate it. I feel like I have to explain why I don’t like my job or why I want to move to a certain city or the reason why I don’t get along with my roommate. When you first start dating someone, you feel the need to make everything in your life seem impressive or perfect. And when something’s not, I feel like I’m obligated to explain why so that you don’t think I’m crazy or miserable or a Debbie Downer.
What They Say: I’ll call you.
What They Mean: I’m sick of the double standard. I think it’s stupid that I’m supposed to sit around for the obligatory 2 or 3 days and see if you’re going to call. And if you don’t, I’m forced to wonder if there’s something wrong with me or if you just forgot or if you lost my phone number. I don’t want to just wait here as if I have nothing better to do, so if I’m interested in keeping this going, I’ll call you. I won’t wait until Day 3, or until it’s been at least 12 hours since we last talked, or any other rule that people are trying to impose on me. I will call you when I damn well please.
What They Say: I have fun going out, but I also love staying in.
What They Mean: I want to feel close enough with you that I can come home after work and remove my uncomfortable bra the second I get in the door. I want to be free of that awful underwire, and I want to head straight for my sweatpants. I want to be with someone who loves me more when I’m comfortable than when I’m squeezing into a dress that looks painted on. I’m just ready to be with someone who’s my companion and best friend, not just someone who I think pays attention to me because I wore something revealing that night. Bars are fun. But spend the night with me on the couch watching Netflix and I’m all yours.
What They Say: I like to be alone.
What They Mean: Sometimes I won’t answer your texts immediately, or opt for a Friday night in, and I need you to not think it has anything to do with you, because it doesn’t. I will always be partial to maintaining the life that is already mine. Integrating you into it will be a fun process, but a slow process. Let’s not rush it. I respect who you are, and I expect that you do the same for me.
What They Say: I like to drink wine.
What They Mean: I like to drink wine and it’s extremely important that you never forget that.