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Can You Wait To Text Him Back? The Independent Guy, Little Engines, and Green Lights of Attraction

in Online and Text Experiences, What Does He Mean
Can You Wait To Text Him Back? The Independent Guy, Little Engines, and Green Lights of Attraction post image

Hi Peter ~ I have been flirting with this guy mostly via text for about a week or so. At first, he would text me sweet things (“How is your dad” since he’s not well) and I would text back sweet things. He did this for a couple of hours a day for the first few days and then say he was going to bed, (…) I know better than to text him all the time and would wait for his contact. I know he likes me or did. The last two nights of this ordeal he text first and I responded but the convo was off to me and odd. So one morning he replied to my late night reply to his text. I sent a response then nothing from him. Nothing the next morning so I sent him a pic I thought would make him laugh in the afternoon. He read it and still nothing. (…) WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? I’ve never encountered this before and I’m 41! He’s the same age and very good-looking, never been married, no kids like me, and I’m sure not hurting for women’s attention so what gives? Thanks for your advice! I need a guy’s take on this one. 🙂


Kam, Kam Kam,

Imagine men are like the old “I think I can” Locomotive. They will hop on a track (pulling their life behind them) and remain chugging along until something pushes them off the track, the train stops, or someone or thing gets in there way sometimes forcing them to stop.

The underlying theme is the same — a stranded train is unable to find an engine willing to take it on over difficult terrain to its destination. Only the little blue engine is willing to try and, while repeating the mantra “I think I can, I think I can,” overcomes a seemingly impossible task. – The Little Engine That Could – Wikipedia

They’re also riding along on their merry way – sight-seeing. 😉

My point is they’ll talk a lot for a few days, because they’re on that track. Hit a switch and suddenly they’re focused on work for a few days. And all that can happen regardless of the contact you’re making with him. Meaning you could be the best possible woman for him but when life takes him on a journey – he has to ride it out until he reaches his destination.

To get inside this guys “head” you have to understand his independence is “almost” everything to him AND he’s a sight-seer. He’s never been married. No kids. This tells me a part of him has enjoyed this kind of life for a while.

He’s had lots of time to check out what is going on around him. He feels comfortable and secure. But once in while some woman named “Kam” gets in his way. They make a connection. He’s goes with it.

So what’s the first thing he does – Hops back on the track he knows so well.

One thing I can tell you (and any woman reading this) about figuring out men is you have to ignore what you think he is doing and first consider the man doing it. I believe it’s safe to say most people act from their core character and lifestyle/social upbringing.

It’s easier to understand what’s going on when you think about who he is – independent, never married, no kids, 41 years old, kind, (a little odd?) From there you’ll see what track he’s on AND what might have caused him to, at least in your head) kind of blow you off.

I know from personal experience you probably sent some “red and green flags” up. Those flags will wave high above another track. This means he has the choice to stay where he is, choose your “red flag” or take the path of the “green flag.”

The Red “track” was not necessarily the impatience but the conversation to explain your impatience.

“I know it has only been a week and didn’t want to hound him so I sent him a text saying that I sense something is off with us and I was gonna give him space but I was here to chat”

Perhaps you saw a clear question – opening up a “no games” communication but as a guy this is what we hear, “I’m mad at you! I guess you don’t like me so I’ll stay away. But I like you…”

This type of behavior is also seen as a passive-aggressive move because you’re practically “demanding” an immediate response from him.

And you got one too.

I believe your conversation after supports what I’m saying. On the surface it may have felt playful to you but to him – it was a way to avoid any drama. (especially if he’s really that tired.) He made “light” of the situation by injecting sarcastic humor.

Let’s get real truthful here – I know you hear how ALL men are the same. How underneath you can attract them because they have certain “triggers.”

It’s not complete bullshit but it’s often misleading.

The Locomotive man you’re dealing with here is older, probably very mature, extremely independent, and probably has a firm grasp on what goes inside his mind. My assumption is “single” people have lots of time to develop their personal communication skills. Meaning he’s deeply in touch with himself and who he is.

The “green” flag he is looking for allows him to keep his independence, almost entirely drama free, and clearly a woman who can get real “deep” for a while but won’t be instantly put into girlfriend or “relationship” mode. ( Most men are taught this – keep her just far enough away and she will assume you’re only casually dating. See her more and talk to her more she’s going to be put in “relationship” mode. Obviously each one has its pro and cons depending on our specific goal.)

Likewise when you connect with a guy who gets in relationships quicker, maybe he’s done the married thing already, maybe he has a child or two, maybe he doesn’t feel complete without a girlfriend… That type of Locomotive “Thinks he can” progress almost instantly with a woman he connects with.

So his “green flag” goes up when he doesn’t get a chance to get back to you and your style of communication or flirty behavior is seen as a place to stop and switch tracks. He sees it as a go-ahead to advance even quicker.

I know this from personal experience.

When all I ever wanted was a girlfriend because I didn’t feel complete without one – and when I wasn’t having regular sex (I don’t suggest that 😉 – that was me. Hopping from track to track.

Since then however, I learned to complete myself (of course among other things.)

In order to, as you call “understand” the situation or as I call “attract” a man like me – very little must feel in the slightest bit contrived. Not much is done to illicit a response even if it’s a clear sexual agenda.

Our tracks simply bump into each other for a while and this can go on for months.

When each interaction is done with a certain charm, like we’re picking up where we left off, more intense flirting, the challenge of the little engine in me is fueled by the experiences and in a way – Drives the process of laying a new track down.

My Take on all this “Kam Kam” … your “little engine that could” man is chugging along living his “engineered” life.

He doesn’t want to have to explain himself.

He doesn’t want to talk about the connection especially in the beginning, (where it is, what’s going on…)

He just wants to build something new, exciting, different, and over time the more green flags he sees – the more likely “mister independent” finds him riding along with you.

About the author: Peter White… Showing men and women ways to attract each other naturally by helping you to understand each other. Over ten years experience which has shown me how to see things clearly and get to the root cause of most dating and relationships problems. Hope you learn and enjoy your why do guys experience.

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10 comments… add one
  • Kam

    Thank you for your prompt response, Peter! I totally didn’t understand that my telling him I was cool with him doing what he needs to do would make him think I was mad at him but still like him. I was honestly trying to be genuine. It’s been a week since that last text and he has not reached out and I have not reached out to him either. He is a nice guy and seems fun (which is why I’d like to date him casually because I cannot handle a relationship at this moment but we were still getting to know each other and had not gone out). I’m not looking for anything serious since I got out of a 12-year relationship almost 2 years ago and this is the first time I’ve been single and living on my own EVER! Throughout our textings, I thought he was the one getting a little too eager but I enjoyed the flirting and of course the ego boost. I was basically just trying to find out if he really did like me and was not trying to “play” me in some way because I don’t want to waste my time. There is more history to our acquaintance but I am not at liberty to disclose anything. Soooooo am I supposed to just sit back and let him contact me? In the interim, I have other “options” that I continue to utilize on a friendly basis. Thanks again! Kam, Kam, Kam 😉

  • You’re very welcome Kam Kam,

    I understand you were trying to be genuine. I see it differently. Maybe because I’m a little strange, or maybe because when it comes to (dating or courting) the word “trying” hits on a “grrrr” nerve with me. 🙂

    What if you were to say to him, “I think you’ve been working too hard. 🙂 ” and leave it there.

    You’re (genuinely) saying to him or most men almost exactly what you texted BUT instead of trying to be genuine – you’re being more real about your connection to him.

    If you’ve waited a little while, and you’re open to talking to him again, and you understand sometimes everyone get so busy the days fly by… that little “text nugget” I give you says it all to any man who GETS it.

    And it does it without “trying” to be genuine. Without trying to be open and honest.

    Because, imagine a man saying to you, “I’m trying to be honest with you. I don’t want you to mis-understand what I’m saying…”

    I bet it leaves you on your guard for something besides the truth. Almost like he’s done it in the past or feels you don’t get him – or worse yet, understand him.

    Rather than trying if he were to merely state, “You’re always so truthful with me…” or “I know I can tell you anything so…”

    See the difference. It also helps you “weed” out the very rare “players” and it practically guarantees a real response that will either prove to you one way or another if he’s in it for a “longer” run.

    My fear is, and I’ve seen it happen many times – when you do things to figure out if someone genuinely likes you – or do specific “trying” to call out a player… you’ll start to see exactly what you’re looking for, or what your heart believes. No matter if that’s them or not.

    Should you sit back and wait for him to contact you? Nope. Stand up straight with all your options and if he contacts you, contact him back when it’s convenient to you.

    Don’t worry about the timing, how long you should wait, what he’s doing, whether he wants something more, focus on communicating yourself by not “trying.”

    What I teach men goes the same for you – if you’re an honest genuine person you’ll never have to try to be more of that. Some people will get it. Some will not. It comes down to the way THEY see the world around him and you have absolutely no “privy” to their private thoughts.

    Even I ( I know, can you believe it 😀 ) find myself searching for better ways to communicate which get clearer more reliable slash truthful genuine responses. It’s like a never ending cycle!!!

    But you know what, I’ve found learning that alone opens up a world so few allow themselves to enjoy and the focus is left where it belongs, on someone I can change and make better, someone I do understand better than any other person I’ve ever met… myself.

    And trust me when two people meet who (get and give) even a little of that type of communication, they don’t talk about how cool it is – they connect on a level which has the staying power of a lifetime, despite any messes along the way.

    Remember what I sort of said earlier – when you see things a certain way, the world will have a funny way of showing you more of what you’re looking for or what you’re communicating to it.

    Worry only about communicating “Kam Kam” the best you can. Don’t try to be yourself. You are yourself!

    Just a little of my philosophy….


  • MessedUp

    First, I have to thank you for all of your insight….however, I’m now kicking myself thinking I might have messed this up! Background: I’m very recently separated (the last month) with 2 kids. On to the new guy at hand…At work, I’ve been extremely attracted to a coworker over the last year, but never said more than Hi or Hey, what’s up? Since my husband cheated multiple times, I never wanted to do that. New guy and I did have some witty banter via email whenever our work paths crossed. In fact, I didn’t even know what he looked like at first, yet looked forward to his emails. When I did finally meet him, I discover he’s the buff, really hot type, which struck me as quite a player, and was almost disappointing as I wouldn’t normally go after such a guy (my own confidence issues). In a few conversations though, I learned some pretty sweet things about him, which made me even more attracted to him. I found myself creating excuses to work in his area in hopes we’d get to chat. Now, by email or IM, at work, he’s generally quite talkative, funny, and nice. In person, (before), it was hit or miss as to whether he’d talk to me, but if I was talking to other coworkers, would join the conversation and some times makes it a point to touch my arm or shoulder. I ended up texting him about my crushing on him because one of my female coworkers knew about it and made a comment threatening to tell him. (I know, not the best thing to do, but I didn’t want to be office gossip and felt like I’d rather tell him myself). He said he was flattered, but that Business and Pleasure don’t mix. I expected him to avoid me and he didn’t, but started teasing me more and more. Lately, his teasing has become borderline mean, and I took offense. I sent follow-up IMs like to try to smooth over him thinking I was mad, to which he said he was just being flirty. The thing is, I’m normally the cool girl to hang out with…I like football, I’m sarcastic, make jokes, etc, and I’m generous and giving. But, around him, I think because I don’t know where I stand because he’s so aloof sometimes, I clam up. Sometimes it’s like I can’t even speak! And I normally am not so thin skinned to comments. So, I have texted him and I’ve done the initiating. He responds quickly though and even commented that I wasn’t my normal witty self like I was holding back. Yet, he doesn’t initiate texts with me. He also IM’d me at work complimenting me on my new diet and could tell I was working hard at it. He’s very complimentary on my work. Another conversation this week, there was some sexual innuendo, yet he commented that he’s not into playing with someone’s emotions for his own self-satisfaction. Then, another conversation was about a friend of his and his new girlfriend taking over the guy’s life (and not doing stuff he loves) and then followed that with being with someone with similar interests and shouldn’t be someone you work with because work is a place you don’t like. To which I said that usually it’s the guy that allows that behavior and I feel like it’s ok to have separate interests because you’ll get sick of each other. OK, I’m getting to the question….really! Before reading your articles, I was so confused and agitated because I can’t read him at all. I can’t tell if he’s playing me or what. Now, I’m wondering if your engine analogy applies here and my red flags have thrown him off track-like me taking offense to his teasing, and hey, newly separated. But, then the work issue might be his own red flag. He’s also been married before with a similar situation to mine, where she cheated, but no kids. He does seem to enjoy this independence. After reading what you have said, I’m thinking he is interested, because as you said, he wouldn’t waste time flirting if he wasn’t. He seems to want me to think good things of him, and he is responsive if I initiate texts. He seems to enjoy my wit and sarcasm. My question is, how do I get him back on the track so to speak? I don’t want to initiate any more texts. How can I get him to take the next step? I feel like I’m not good with the in person flirting and since I’m clamming up, that’s what’s stopping things. I thought of initiating a date, because I think outside of work, we might actually be able to connect better. But, I’m not trying to send the message that I’m a clinger or am just too aggressive. And because of this, I do avoid him a few days in between contact. Help!

    • Peter White

      It doesn’t sound Messed up at all,

      But first I have to get these out:

      “I found myself creating excuses to work in his area in hopes we’d get to chat.” Hey now… who is playing who here? Haha! 🙂

      “I ended up texting him about my crushing on him because one of my female coworkers knew about it and made a comment threatening to tell him.” (You told him you liked him? Shame!! Haha! 😀 )

      He said he was flattered, but that Business and Pleasure don’t mix. (Yeah yeah most guys will say that but if you do lots of things right men will tend to risk it anyways. He was teasing you. Saying “maybe” Let’s see 😉

      In a way he’s saying, “You’re risky… I like that!”

      Ahhh so complicated but Ohhhh so simple darling. You’re going to love it.

      I say that because you know the answer but you’re so close, it’s hard to see it.

      Honestly, from my point of view – I see no red flags being thrown up. At some point you drew a line in the sand (him being mean) and you stuck to it. He was just feeling you out. Seeing how you react. Trying to get under your skin and testing your limits.

      You handled yourself wonderfully there. So don’t worry about it. Anything beyond is HIS problem and not yours.

      The fact you both have experienced similar things actually is a good thing. It means you’re both bound to take things slowly which is a god thing.

      Listen, this guy is certainly enjoying what he believes is making you feel this way. What guy wouldn’t it?

      You’re representing soft feminine kind of submission but at the same time you come with a little risk and the confidence to put yourself out there just a little – but not a lot.

      Okay – you want him to take the next step? I say stick with what is working and once in a while, turn it up a little.

      Things like, “I’m going to do this (thing) here, it’s kind of business like. You won’t like it but you’re welcome to join.”

      I suppose I’m trying to say… it sounds like you’re both on a collision course. And not the bad kind. 😉 Stay risky. Keep doing what you’re doing.

      If you’re worried he’s playing you – start poking fun at his “player moves” when he compliments you or is obviously trying to charm your pants off. The real guy is bound to show his true colors there.

      Please Messed up. I want an update. Don’t sell yourself or the both of you too far in the future and enjoy those little moments.

      Awfully glad you related to my little train analogy about men and women,


  • StillMessedUp

    Hi Pete,
    I’m going to have to start paying for your advice! When’s the book due out? I actually took another risk with a text in reference to “it” in a comment he’d made at work. So, I questioned him about when he was going to pay up since he claims to be a man of his word. This took him back a bit like how could I have taken him seriously and hold him to a comment. And, thanks to your advice, I flipped it on him to say “it” was never defined, so how could I take that seriously, that “someone had a dirty mind and he shouldn’t think of me like that ’cause I’m not that kind of girl. 😉 ” he laughed about that. ok, so good banter, innuendo, etc. and he was the last to text. Next day at work, I IM about a purchase I want to make in regards to a sport he’s really into. I ask if he’d go with me so I buy the right things. I get “perhaps” which later he tells me means yes. I joked if he could non-committedly tell me when we might go, then he says you know, he can’t be forced, blah blah blah. I said I respected that, and joked ok, check your calendar, consult the almanac, test the wind and let me know, he joked back about a psychic, too. AND THEN….nothing for now 4 days. Did I anticipate this? Yep, sure did, thanks to you! And, I have to admit, it was kindof fun at least thinking I knew the deal. Soooo, now what? from your view, I’m seeing this as a test. BUT, man is it hard to keep thinking that. Seriously, these games are just too much work. This is one I’m not sure I can win. I mean, maybe he really wants to be left alone and is just trying to get me to take the hint and be gone. If I don’t try to talk to him, then I look mad….Which truly it does piss me off and part of me is not cool with being treated this way. But, it’s a gate-keeper type thing, I guess I can hang a bit. If I try to talk to him and be all cheery, then I look like I don’t care. Is that what I do now? Push/pull? Maybe this will be a classic case for your book! Grrrr……..If this doesn’t work out…I’ll start flirting with you instead. 🙂

    • Nice job on the “it” and don’t worry about the book, I’ll just send you a bill. 😀

      One quick thing about how you “sort-of” asked him out. Lots of men do love to be the “Knight in Shining Armor” but only on their terms. I feel that technique works much better on women than it does guys. In fact I’ve taught several men to word it differently and try it themselves. (MAN SECRET: I teach guys to never say the word help around a woman they’re looking to date.)

      The nice games – they get easier and a ton less work too. In fact, now that you’ve seen the whole picture, I’m sure you’ll soon see the alternative is kind of boring and routine.

      Oh and yes – never let him get to you. Remember you didn’t need his help anyways with the purchase. Indifference is best in these kind of situations. Take him or leave him attitude and always have fun with it.

      The problem with your approach is that “some” guys may see it as you coming on too strongly. There “ego’s” might have them believing you’re only taking up that sport because of him. Or they believe you’re only doing it all to because you want “it.”

      Terribly sad but oh so true.

      This is where you step back, remain true to yourself and all your options and let him “simmer” for a while. Remember “attractive” guys like to believe they’re doing the seduction. So if you push too hard you get him every reason to pull back or (once again) believe you’re only doing “it” all to get him. That sends these types of guys running.

      Soon – when I put it together in my head better – I’ll give you some tips on how to make a guy eventually feel compelled to contact you back. For now your goal is to have fun with what you’re learning about men and this guy, this interaction, this small little office “word” affair 😉 is opening insight after insight into how guys really work. Sound cool?

      This is not a win-lose situation. Trust me, you’re winning no matter what happens.

      Oh and StillMessed Up – I believe you’re already flirting with me. 😉 I bet you’re thinking about me every time this guy enters your mind. “Hmmmm what would Pete do…?”

  • StillMessedup-another question

    Sorry, Pete….forgot to ask about the purchase I asked for his help on. I’m independent and could totally do this without the help. Do I just go do it, or wait a few more days to see if he snaps out of it and offers?

    • I always say, do things on your time and not his. The worst that could happen is you meet some “hot” guy who is selling you the stuff AND you’ll show the other guy you’re not sitting around waiting for him. I believe the typical, “You snooze you lose” applies here.

  • Maria

    Hi, Peter. I m new here and i want to say i like a lot your posts, very helpful. I have a problem and wonder if you could help me with an advice. I met some guy online on a page to learn languages. I don t trust online conversations too much but he somehow got my attention. We have been speaking for 3 or 4 months and we connected so well. He also is so cute and he even called me and said he might come to where I am to meet in real life. He s 26 and i m 24. He s from Corea. Everything was so ok, when suddenly he changed. I feel he s using the push and pull strategy now, cause he s being cold, hot or even mean sometimes with comments like ” that question was childish” when in fact it really wasn t( i asked him how much he trusted me). I know he likes me, he always tell me sweet things and even calls me at work… So i might have made the big mistake to show i like him back. Maybe he s too confident he s got me now, cause sometimes he watches the messages and doesn t answer until next day late, giving a cold excuse as ” i was sleeping all day, didn t go to work and was sick” . I don t understand what is happening. One day a guy commented on my foto saying i was gorgeous and he told me he saw it. I told him it s nothing but a friend and i felt he wasn t ok with it, then i even made the other guy to delete the comment and he told me he wanted to hug me for that but he didn t cared about it, because he respects my life. I was so disappointed. He acted like he cared then nothing. Is he playing with me? Am i too sweet and need to be more silent and cold type? Today he tried to call me and i didn t answer and messaged me and i watched the message and didn t reply( he can see i saw the message), hoping this way he ll get back to the way he was. He asked if he was a special person to me and i said yes, maybe here s my mistake. Also, he said many times he s proud of himself to talk to someone like me, but how come now i am the one who needs him more than he needs me? I want to know from a guy perspective why this guy is acting this way and if i did any mistake, how can i solve things and even learn for future similar situations. Thank you so much:) i ll be waiting for your reply.

  • Sarah Lund

    Oh believe me, if a man tells me he wants space, that’s exactly what I give him. You can’t expect to live in each others pockets 24/7. I leave it up to the man to determine how much time we spend together. Providing we’re both attracted to each other. Of course. Anyway, I don’t put all of my trust in a man when I first meet one. You have to be careful about these things. It’s natural to be wary of anyone you haven’t known for long. As long as we get a bit of privacy to ourselves, then yes the relationship could go a long way. Not so good when you’re both constantly around other people when trying to talk privately with your lover, because there’s too much noise, and lots of distractions. No wonder people say “Get a room you two” 😉 They know.

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