12 Reasons Why A Guy Never Texts First, But Always Replies

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We’ve all been there before – things are going really well with the guy we’re seeing, we have great conversations, and stay up texting all night.

But, you soon notice that you’re the one starting all the chats. You always message him first and, even though he always replies to you, he never initiates things!

It’s confusing and frustrating, right?

Well, luckily, we’ve decoded what this means so that you don’t have to worry anymore…

1. He’s playing games.

We’re not saying all guys are players, but this is a very common reason for guys not texting first.

He might be playing mind games with you and just enjoying the ego boost of you showing you’re interested in him.

It’s annoying when guys do this and it can be really confusing, but it’s worth bearing in mind that he’s just playing games with you.

Try to stop being the first to text a few times and – if he cares about you – he’ll soon come running back, worried that you’ve moved on!

And if he doesn’t, well… you’ll know how he feels and where you stand.

2. He’s actually quite shy.

There’s such a stereotype of macho men having no feelings and just being all ego.

But, you need to consider the fact that he might just be shy!

He might not have dated much before, or he might be quite self-conscious and unsure of how to start good conversations and keep you interested in him.

He’s letting you take the lead and set the pace, and probably thinks this is the safest option.

3. He’s got his barriers up.

Just like some women, this guy may have been hurt in the past and now fear rejection.

We sometimes forget that men are pretty much just like women when it comes to this kind of thing.

Dating is hard, and so many of us worry about whether we’ll be liked in real life and not just on Tinder. We panic that the person we really like might not actually like us that much and is going to reject us.

So, we put our guards up and we withdraw a bit. It’s a self-defense measure and, while it’s not that healthy, it is very common.

He might not text first because he’s worried about putting himself out there, but will always reply to you because he genuinely is interested!

4. He doesn’t want to seem needy.

In a similar vein to the point above – he might have been criticized by an ex for being really needy or clingy.

Once you’ve been accused of that, you’re pretty likely to pull back a lot and try to play it cool.

If he’s keen to talk once you’ve started the conversation, but he never texts you first, he probably likes you, but he’s trying to be reserved and hold back a bit! 

5. He’s intimidated by you.

If he doesn’t text first, but always replies, he might be feeling a bit intimidated by you.

After all, you start conversations with such fun and interesting messages! That’s scary to some men who are used to being ‘in control’ when they’re dating.

If they’ve never had a girl be brave enough to double text or message them first, they might not be sure how to handle it.

They’re likely a bit nervous about how to play things and want to make sure they impress you. They’re letting you take the lead, but they’re definitely still interested in you.

6. Your conversations aren’t that exciting.

At some point, whether you’re texting before a first date or messaging your boyfriend of 3 years, things can get boring.

It’s normal! We can’t be doing exciting, text-worthy things all the time, so conversations might shift to being about how well you slept, a photo of your breakfast, and an update on the person at work that you hate.

It’s great that you still want to talk to each other and share things, but it might be getting a bit boring.

If your chats lately have been pretty dull, they might have taken a little step back.

It doesn’t mean they don’t like you, they’re probably just waiting until they have something exciting enough to share with you!

7. He might be seeing someone else.

This one hurts, but it might be true.

If he’s not engaging with you and doesn’t start conversations very often, he might be distracted by another person.

If you’ve agreed that it’s okay to see other people, you’re allowed to feel upset, but you can’t really tell him off for it.

It’s rubbish, but it would explain why he’s a bit absent with you and never makes the effort to message you first.

8. He’s not looking for anything serious.

Some guys like to keep things casual – that means they don’t get attached, they don’t get too deep, and they don’t really invest much time or energy into their ‘relationships.’

If he never makes the effort to text you first, he might not want to give you the wrong impression. He’s staying a bit detached because he doesn’t want things to get too emotionally intimate or intense with you.

It’s upsetting if this is the case, but it also helps you figure out where you stand.

Either you stick with it and accept that he won’t care about you in the way you want him to, or you realize you want more and find someone else.

9. He’s actually busy!

What, men can genuinely just be too busy to text?!

Jokes aside, this is a very real reason for him not messaging you first.

Have you ever been super busy, seen a text come through, thought “I’ll reply to that later” and then totally forgotten to ever get back to them? It really does happen!

We get so stressed thinking about all the possible reasons a guy isn’t replying to us, but the most obvious one is often overlooked.

It’s frustrating, but it’s also okay that you’re not his priority at all times. You can let him know how it makes you feel, but you can’t expect someone to reply within 2 minutes every time – or to message first every time.

He might be busy with lots of other things, or just feeling really stressed and insular. 

10. You’re not giving him a chance.

Let’s say you sent him the latest message in a conversation. A bit later, you want to chat to him again but he’s not sent a message to start the conversation.

It can be annoying – but it might be because your last message shut things down!

If you’re not giving him open chances to start conversations or keep talking, he’s probably feeling confused and has withdrawn a bit.

Nobody wants to bother someone who is coming across as busy and annoyed over text!

Have a re-read of your messages and make sure you’re not accidentally shutting things down or giving off the vibe that you’re not interested in talking to him!

11. It seems normal to him.

I had this exact issue with an ex and, one day, got really upset with him because I felt like I was always the one making the effort to chat or FaceTime.

His response? He figured that it was working really well and that we were both on the same page!

At first, I was so confused – how could he think this was normal and okay?! And then I realized that that was just how things had always been between us!

He’s not much of a texter, so I had always been the one to message first. To him, that was just how things worked, a nice habit and a ‘system,’ if you like, that we were both happy with. Why would he think it was an issue if I’d never told him, after all?

Maybe your man just thinks that this is how things work between you – you text first, he replies. Why would he change something that he thinks is working, especially if you’ve never told him you don’t like it?

Someone has to text first, right?

12. He’s just not that into you – sorry!

If you haven’t seen the movie He’s Just Not That Into You already, we’re prescribing it as homework! The movie essentially carries the message that if a guy is into you, he’ll find a way to be with you.

If he’s not texting you first, he might not be that bothered about pursuing things with you.

It hurts to be rejected, but it’s also great to finally realize that he isn’t as fussed about you as you are about him!

It will take a little while to get over, but it’s great to know where you stand so that you can move forwards.

He might reply to you just out of politeness or awkwardness, but if you’re getting a weird gut feeling, you need to chat with him about where things are going.

It could be any of the reasons above, of course – we’re not saying you’re doomed! – but he also might not text first because he doesn’t care enough to.

You’ll find someone who can’t wait to share things with you, who double-texts you, and is happy to let you know how much he likes you, don’t worry.

Are you unsure what to do about this guy and his unwillingness to text first? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.