So, someone just said they miss you and you don’t t know how to reply. It could be because you don’t know what to say or you know you cannot, in good conscience, lie and tell them you also missed them.
But we all know we can’t just go blurting out what we really feel all the time especially if you want to stay on good terms with the people in your life. There is a sweet spot between telling another person you don’t miss them and lying to them!
Politely thank them for their kind words and ask them how they have been doing lately. Try to remain noncommittal and distant in all your answers, so that the other person can read your disinterest between the lines.
If You Really Don’t Care
The short answer would be to say nothing. This might work if this statement is something that is not natural for both of you. For example, you are not close with that person or the person is someone you tend to avoid and vice versa.
But what if it is said by someone who still thinks you’re both on good terms? To avoid hurting the other person’s feelings, go with something short but generic.
“Thank you, how have you been?”
A quick reply like this is often ideal because it is short, still conveys a degree of interest from you but does not reciprocate the greeting in any way. This can come in handy if you don’t want to give the other person the wrong impression about your relationship, but you don’t want to be outright rude either.
Never lie! Don’t say you miss them too if you don’t mean it especially if you prefer to never see that person again.
For one, being direct and blunt could backfire especially if you are talking to a colleague at work. On the other hand, saying something because you know it’s what the other person wants to hear can be seen as insincere.
Even if this scenario involves someone you don’t like, it won’t be a good look on you if you are found to be saying one thing while doing or feeling another.
Worse, saying you miss the other person could be misleading especially if said in a romantic context. For example, it was said by someone you’re currently dating but don’t have strong romantic feelings for. This often happens in dating situations where you start liking the other person, but your feelings and interest start to fade over time.
The problem occurs when the other person is unaware of this shift and he or she still thinks you both are going in the same direction romantically. Lying means you are dragging things out and allowing the person to believe that there’s something there when there isn’t.
Never say you miss them if you don’t. Instead, use the sample phrases below to reply politely without leading the other person on. Better yet, sit down and tell him or her how you feel.
Consider an Exit Statement
It is also better to have a quick exit statement ready to use.
“I’ll see you around!”
Such a quick response is useful in making a casual exit without being too rude.
You still run the risk of coming off as cold because you aren’t reciprocating the same level of warmth that you are shown, so it is best to use this line on people who are more likely to take your statements at face value.
This is also a good line to use if you are just bumping into each other on the street. There is no expectation for a long chat by the sidewalk in situations like these so you can feel confident knowing that your exit is normal and expected.
Finally, look who’s talking to you. Some people are just warm with everybody they meet so they might say this without actually meaning it. There is no need to overanalyze this statement nor worry about your reply if this statement is said in this context.
Sometimes, there is no need to read into this kind of greeting especially if there are no romantic undertones.
Stumped about exactly what to say? You can refer to these phrases when you need a quick and polite response.
“You are so sweet! How are you?”
“Thank you! It’s so good to see you again!”
“Thank you! Great to bump into you!”
“Thank you! How are you?”
“You are really sweet. It has been a long time!”
“I miss your __ (something you like about him or her)! How long has it been?”
“Great to see you! How long has it been?”
“Aww that is so nice to hear! Glad to see you too!”
“Great to see you! It has been so long!”
“Thank you! How have you been?”
“Oh, it’s so good to see you! I’ll see you around!”
“You are so nice. Thank you, you look great!”
“You look great. How long has it been?”
“Thanks, we had so much fun in our old neighbourhood!”
Knowing when to use these statements is also important. These are some common situations where you are more likely to have these encounters.
Chances are you know some casual acquaintances who are naturally warm, and they greet everyone they meet the same way. Someone could say “I missed you” as a casual form of greeting.
It is easy to reply when this is the context of the conversation because you can give the same casual reply, or you can give the old but safe:
“It’s so good to see you again!”
Chances are, this will be taken in the same casual and lighthearted tone that it was given out and you can either continue your conversation or be on your merry way.
Former Close Friends
Close friends tend to be people we usually miss after a few years of being apart. However, it’s also not unusual for any people to have former close friends who wind up becoming total strangers. This often happens with former teammates of a club you left some time ago.
Relationships also tend to just fade out over time as people start getting caught up in their own lives.
This means that you could have totally forgotten about this friend and were only reminded when you two bumped into each other. If your former friend is warmly telling you how much she or he missed you, don’t panic.
You can always say:
“Glad I bumped into you, how have you been?”
Romantic Partners or Former Dates
This one can get a little tricky. It’s not surprising for someone you dated or someone you had a relationship with to feel that you still have a connection, even though you have long gotten past that point.
If a former love interest says that she or he missed you, the best thing to say would be “Thank you”.
You can also add that it was great to see them or that you are happy you bumped into each other. You are still being honest, but you are steering clear of saying that you also missed them when you clearly did not.
For romantic situations, it is always a good idea, to be honest about you feel. You may be dating someone, and he or she has started with the “I miss you” messages and you’re not feeling the same. You don’t want to lead another person on but you also do not want to hurt their feelings.
Pick a good time to sit down and honestly talk about how you feel. While it may sting a bit at first, the other person will eventually appreciate your honesty in not dragging things out.
Frenemies or people you don’t particularly like, but you know you have to be nice to them are easily among those people you won’t likely miss. The feeling could be mutual as well. However, someone might say he or she misses you without meaning it and you know it.
The best way would be to keep things polite.
“That’s so sweet of you”
…followed by a quick…
“I’ll see you around.”
Quick and painless, this allows you to keep your interaction short without coming off as rude.
Knowing how to keep interactions like these short can be really helpful especially if the other person is giving off toxic and negative energy.
When someone says “I miss you” this could be a purely casual statement, or it could be someone putting their emotions on their sleeve. The best way to reply is to be polite, gentle, and tactful but keep it short and sweet.
The “I miss you” statement can be a fully loaded statement that you need to handle with utmost care. Or it could be a totally casual greeting from an acquaintance.
Whatever the context may be, it is best to know how to handle situations like these especially if you want to avoid awkward social scenarios.
Look at the context, look at who’s saying it, and have your sample responses ready to use.
This way you can avoid outright lying to the other person, you also avoid leading the other person on. Most importantly, you remain polite and tactful.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.