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Ask The Men (Advice Column),  Sex & Relationships

“When Guys Ignore Your Texts, What Does it Mean?” | Ask The Men


“My girlfriend and I have been in agreement when we say that guys have no respect when it comes to texting. The disrespect is evident with how long it takes a man to respond to a text.  Now we’re not talking about a one time situation.  We are talking about the man who responds hours later to a text on a consistent basis.  I’m sorry but if you think it’s okay to respond 12 hours later, it’s not.  Within those 12 hours, you’ve seen the text and simply chose not to respond.

Think about if the roles were reversed.  If I was your girl &/or someone you cared about & you texted me but didn’t get a response until 12 hours later, you probably would’ve:

1) texted me multiple times or
2) would’ve skipped the texting all together and called me to make sure I was alright….at least I hope.

Simply put; is there such a thing as guy texting etiquette?  Or, do females expect too much via text?  Like Drake said, “…soon as you see the text, reply me.”  Why is that so hard?

When my girlfriend and I ask a guy for the reason in the delayed repsonse, we get the excuses, “I was busy” or the “I’m not in my phone like that.” Not ok.  But let’s assume for a moment those responses are true.  So then you must ask, when you actually do take the time to respond, wouldn’t common sense tell you to explain the delay?  For example, “Sorry for the delayed response, I got caught up doing…..”  Or, is that too much to ask?  Of course, if you’re at work, driving, in the hospital or somewhere with no reception, you get a pass; but, I still expect an explanation for the delay.

And, if I remember correctly, your response time was on point when we first started talking.  So, is your delayed response supposed to be a sign?  Or is this me reading too much into a text?

Our simple equation:
If you care = you reply
If you don’t care = you don’t reply
I know you can’t speak for all males but we (my girlfriend & I) want to get your opinion on this.  Thanks!”

– Sabrina

Thanks for writing in. So your 3 main questions are:

  1. Why do some guys fail to (or choose not to) respond timely and consistently to texts?
  2. Is there such a thing as text etiquette among men?
  3. Why when guys finally do respond, it’s not accompanied by an explanation?

Seems simple enough. Lets dive in.

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As high fructose corn syrup is to…well…everything you eat and drink, no relationship is complete without the presence of smartphone drama. In this case, late text replies. Evidenced by the mounting graveyard of read receipts, tardy text responses are a nuisance and often the source of aggravation, petty spats, and in many instances growing distrust.

Sabrina, based on your displeasure with encountering guys who take forever and a day to respond to texts,  I will assume that your reply game is always on point and consistent. *side eye*  But to your inquiry regarding text etiquette, there really isn’t a universal spoken or unspoken guy code when it comes to texting.  Well, kinda sorta. I will acknowledge that since most women tend to respond more favorably to unavailability, some guys will make themselves appear somewhat unavailable to boost their desirability. But it really boils down to the individual you’re dealing with, how close the two of you are, coupled with some obvious and not so obvious factors which I will touch upon in a bit.

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To your other point, I wouldn’t necessarily say a prompt reply is an unreasonable expectation on the part of women either (assuming you are not an extraordinarily needy person or sending him 40 texts per hour). However, any expectations should fall directly in line with the type of the relationship you have with your partner.

So what does it mean when guys ignore your texts? At the end of the day there are a number of reasons why it may take a man hours to respond and it may or may not have anything to do with caring, respect, or a lack thereof.  But lets have a little fun with this topic by adding relationship context to not only address the questions specific to your scenario, but to help those in the sisterhood who fall into different relationship categories.

The categories we will use today are “Just met”, “First few dates”, and “Kicking it for a while”.
Lets take a look at them separately and explore the reasons why a man may go MIA for each, since some explanations could be relatively different depending on the type of relationship you’re in with him.

The ‘We just met’ texts

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If you’ve recently met then it is definitely not a matter of disrespect. Inconsiderate? Sure. Rude? Absolutely. But certainly not disrespectful. At this stage in the game, you may not be a priority for him. Sure he may have expressed interest by asking for and/or accepting your contact info, but him doing so is not a binding contract for steady ongoing communication. Truth is, he has no obligation to reply to you at all, much less in a timely manner. He owes you nothing at this point.

It’s also plausible his life consists of a myriad of things that already consumes his attention such as work, hobbies, and activities.  Perhaps some of that also includes seeing other women whom he has met prior to you. His lack of consistent communication with you could simply mean it’s not quite yet your turn. Your choice is simple – either wait, or keep it moving.

Check out: 6 Benefits Of Going On A Date…Alone

A more cynical explanation could be that in an effort to spare your feelings, perhaps the not-so-timely responses can be indicative of his level of interest (or lack thereof). Or he may be married/has a girlfriend and can only respond when it is convenient to do so.

The ‘First few dates’ texts

Take a look at this short scene from the classic romcom ‘Boomerang’  in which the trio of friends (played by comedians Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and David Allen Grier) are engaged in a spirited conversation over lunch on why each are (un)successful with women.

Seeing this scene from Boomerang is one thing, but since I’m a glutton for punishment, let’s read it for maximum effect starting with Eddie Murphy’s character Marcus.

Marcus: “I am Mr. Romance when I meet a woman and then once I hit it, I lose interest, but that aint my fault!”

His sentiment is then poignantly underscored by ‘Gerard’ (David Allen Grier’s character) as he chimes in light heartedly: “So in other words, right at the moment of orgasm all the romance just skeets right out of you”.


As severely flawed as Marcus’ thinking is, it is indeed a reality for some guys. This is a perfect example of why your equation (If you care = you replyIf you don’t care = you don’t reply) is not a reliable barometer of his true interest because it doesn’t take into account his intentions.  If consistent and timely communication has devolved into missed calls, unanswered or significantly delayed texts following your first few romps in the sack, it is a good indication that your purpose for him has been fulfilled. Either that or your k*tty stinks.

Whatever the case, the chase, thrill and excitement is gone for him, therefore your time is likely up.

Must read: Should A Man Be Responsible For Leading A Woman On, Or Should A Woman Be In Control Of Her Emotions?

The same holds true even if you never made it to the bedroom. He could have simply lost interest for any number of reasons while getting to know you, hence why his responses have recently become increasingly delayed or MIA entirely. The fact is not every guy is going to be into you.

The ‘So we’ve been kicking it for a while’ texts

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This is where your scenario fits in Sabrina, and any other woman out there who has been involved with a guy for some time and his text responsiveness has noticeably declined despite all other areas of the relationship being relatively stable. By the way have you ever stopped to communicate these concerns to him or inquire with him why this is happening? Just a thought. Anyway…

Although a part of me is tempted to say it is more inconsiderate than disrespectful, I can’t say I totally disagree with you given that you’ve been seeing one another for a while.  I can certainly understand why you would feel ignored and even disrespected by his lack of responsiveness.
That said, I have to call a spade a spade.  It is inconsiderate and disrespectful. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean he no longer cares.  I mean, its a possibility, but not the only possibility. There might be legitimate reasons why his text reply game has fallen off.

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Since your primary concern is the frequency at which this is occurring, perhaps something has changed where he no longer has his phone on his person throughout the days as he once did.

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Another under-appreciated relationship fact is that sometimes guys will unknowingly begin to neglect aspects of their relationship. It’s feasible that he may have gotten comfortable, feels secure with you, and therefore does not feel a sense of urgency to reply as promptly as he once did. Yes, we can be that clueless and thoughtless all while failing to understand the importance of remaining consistent with the person we are involved with. It happens all the time unintentionally and unbeknownst to most.

In the spirit of consistency, and to no fault of their own, sometimes guys establish behavioral patterns early on in the relationship that sets a standard of expectation with the women they date. Unfortunately, some of these practices can prove difficult to maintain over extended periods of time, especially as the two of you settle into the relationship.

The problem is that any deviation from established expectations can raise questions or potentially create issues. It’s important for guys to be mindful of their behavior and for women to also be mindful of their interpretations of said behavior so they aren’t as quick to declare the sky is falling when bae is really only being thoughtless and inconsiderate as opposed to something more devious. In many cases, this is fixable with some communication and effort.

Why doesn’t he provide an explanation when he responds?

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Because he doesn’t have to. I mean, who do you think you are – his girlfriend?

Humor aside, it may be that he doesn’t have a legitimate reason behind the delay and therefore offers none. As you can imagine, it’s not the easiest thing in the world for a man to explain to his sweetheart that he didn’t feel compelled to respond to her promptly if there was nothing preventing him from doing so. That’s a conversation that will not end well.  So in that moment he may opt for what he believes to be a less contentious solution, which is to not provide an explanation at all…which ironically also works against his favor.

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On the other hand, there are some men who don’t feel a need to explain themselves even when the late reply is a legitimate one. Although providing an explanation is the courteous thing to do, the idea of having to ‘answer to someone’ may not particularly sit well with certain personality types, especially if an explanation is demanded of them often.

At the same time however, failing to provide an explanation has its drawbacks as it can ultimately create an atmosphere of distrust since it leaves the door wide open for all sorts of assumptions to be made and conclusions to be drawn. And as you can attest yourself Sabrina, even viewed as a sign of disrespect.

My advice to you is to simply talk to the man. Bring this to his attention and communicate to him your thoughts and feelings about his consistently late responses. Be conversational and constructive in your approach as opposed to confrontational. Allow him an opportunity to hear you out and hear him out as he explains his perspective on things.  The goal is to find a middle ground that will restore a sense of mutual respect while adequately addressing your concerns.

If all goes well, your expectations should be aligned regarding the type of communication you will have with one another going forward. But if nothing changes and you continue to be dissatisfied with his lack of timely communication, well then you may have some tough decisions ahead of you. Again, this is assuming that your requests for change are reasonable and not based on an excessive need for his attention.

Lastly and certainly not leastly, the only other possible explanation for your texts continuously going unanswered for hours with no explanation can be neatly summed up as this – his time is being spent with someone else. But it will be worth thoroughly ruling out all other possibilities first before venturing down this rabbit hole. Communication is key.

Anyway, thats all I got for ya. I sincerely hope you find value in my response and are able to take away some insight beyond the obvious. Or perhaps you simply got the confirmation you were looking for.


So readers, what does it mean when guys ignore texts? Is it disrespectful? Do you think an explanation should accompany his response?  Would you end a relationship because the person continuously took too long to respond to your texts? Talk to me.

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One Comment

  • Cortonio

    Well Sabrina, here’s my two cents on the situation. Some men (and I’m a guilty party) don’t have their phone attached to them 24 hours a day and 7 days a week so sometimes they may not see a text until an hour or so later. Me personally, there can be sometimes where I’ll be downstairs cooking or what have you and my phone is in the next room or upstairs on the charger so I don’t always hear it. And trust me I’ been chewed out by women about delayed responses. It’s not that I don’t care it’s just again I’m not a phone obsessed person. Now on the flip side there are those people who have their phone on them constantly and usually those are the ones who have a plethora of social media things going on (snap chat, IG, Facebook) and they’re always on their phones checking something or texting. Now if you’re involved/dealing with a man who has that same characteristic going on then yes, you have full rights to chastise because they’re on their phone otherwise. If there’s a delay in response, especially if you both made plans to go out and things are time sensitive based on a reservation made or what have you that’s an issue. Sometimes people will see a text and be in the middle of something where they can’t text right back so they’ll wait until they’re free and sometimes wind up forgetting altogether. It all depends on the person. All in all if a man is an hour or less in responding them hey, things happen. However if you’re reaching into the 1/2 day category then yes,that’s a problem. And this is imperative when talking about the man/men I mentioned above.

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