What should you say when someone says they missed you?
Your response would probably be straightforward if it’s from a loved one or a friend you haven’t seen in a while, but what if it’s from a coworker you’re not particularly close with or perhaps a past lover?
How should you reply then?
Experts tell us that there are many ways to respond when someone says they miss you. Here are their insights:
Lena Suarez-Angelino, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Writer, Choosing Therapy
Don’t lead someone on; don’t respond in a way that you don’t actually mean
Similar to responding to someone that says, “I love you more,” really try to drain yourself from responding in a way that you don’t actually mean. In the most simple terms, don’t lead someone on.
Here are a few ways that you could respond to I miss you, depending on the type of relationship you have with the person saying it.
If it’s someone you’re close to
If it is someone that you are close to and genuinely do miss in return, a simple “I miss you too” would suffice. You may want to add an additional statement following up with plans to see one another again or perhaps verbalizing a desire to be able to see one another.
If it’s a person you’re not particularly close to
On the other hand, if it is a person that you are not particularly close to and perhaps don’t feel mutual about missing them, I would recommend refraining from acknowledging the sentiment or keeping it brief by responding with something along the lines of, “aww I’m sure you do“ or “that’s so sweet.“
It may cause some questions as to whether or not you miss them in return, which opens the door for a much more honest and sincere conversation regarding one another’s feelings.
If it’s from past partners and friendships
A few other variations of “I miss you” come from past partners and friendships. This could be an ex-lover, ex-best friend, or someone you were once close to that you have since lost touch with.
The “I miss you” received from past friendships could be one of two possibilities – out of ability when getting reacquainted with someone, such as running into each other at a local supermarket or commenting on the same thread on social media. This happens in the same mindset of “we should catch up soon,“ knowing that both parties won’t actually meet up and catch up for a variety of reasons.
Lastly, the “I miss you” from an ex-lover can come from a place of sincerity, desperation, or manipulation. You are no longer together for a reason; therefore, before falling into the trap of them missing you, reflect on all of the reasons why it isn’t working out.
Be honest and truthful with yourself.
Similar to a response to someone you don’t particularly miss in return, you could either ignore the message entirely or acknowledge the sentiment in a way that continues to honor your boundaries of leaving the relationship in the past.
Going further into reminding them of the reasons why they should miss you, such as they were the ones that initiated the breakup or that they were in the wrong for doing so, will only open the door for more headache and drama.
At the end of the day, if you genuinely miss someone, reach out to them. You never know what could be made of it, but also be mindful of the pros and cons.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Get into specifics: “I miss your laugh and laughing with you”
When working with clients, we get into specifics.
Relationships can make that tricky, as there are two people involved, and only one of them is usually in my office. We focus on what we can control: our own personal communication.
So, in a relationship, and when we want our partner to feel fulfilled, how can we best respond to something such as “I miss you.”
My clients and I discuss values we respect and love about our significant other. So, let’s name some of those:
- “I miss the intense hugs you give me and how they make me feel safe.”
- “I miss your laugh and laughing with you.”
- “I miss the focus you give me during conversations.”
When thinking about your loved ones, what do you really love about them? Anyone can trigger us to feel jittery butterflies, but what is it about your person that you truly miss?
And what if you don’t miss them? That’s a further conversation. You’re not obligated to respond to their I miss you.
If you’re having trouble doing this, reach out to a therapist and chat more about the issue. It’s best to strengthen your communication.
Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Specialist | Medical Reviewer, OK Rehab
Think about detailed phrases you can use
When someone tells you they miss you, the classic response is to reassure them that you miss them too, but sometimes it doesn’t seem enough.
If you want to step up your communication game, here are some more detailed phrases you can use:
“I miss you too. How are you?”
This response demonstrates that you care about how the other person is doing, and it moves the conversation on from what could potentially be a dry interaction to something more interesting.
If the other person is struggling, it gives them an opportunity to open up about it to you, which will be comforting for them and could help you to bond.
“I miss you too. I think about you whenever I go to (insert memorable place)”
This is a great phrase to use as it shows the other person is still influencing your life despite them being far away. It will make them feel loved and valued as you are still treasuring past memories with them.
As well as naming a place that reminds you of them, you could also say, “I saw (insert friend) the other day, and we were talking about you,” or “I bought your favorite cake from the bakery, and it reminded me of you” — anything personal to them is a good response.
“I miss you too. When can I next see you?”
I love this response as it is proactive.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut of telling our friends we miss them and not doing anything about it, but if it is practical for you to meet up in the near future, definitely ask the question so that you can make plans to see each other.
“I miss you too, but I’m proud of what you’re achieving.”
If the other person is struggling with homesickness, it’s a good idea to tell them you’re proud of the life they’re building, as this may reassure them that they’re doing the right thing by choosing a life that they want, even if it means they have to miss you in the process.
“I miss you too, and I always look forward to hearing from you.”
People love to be told their messages are appreciated, so telling someone, “I look forward to hearing from you” will make them feel valued, and it will most likely encourage them to continue to contact you.
This phrase affirms that the relationship is not one-sided, so the other person will feel confident keeping up the contact.
Demonstrate that you are missing them (actions to take)
When you are busy, you may only have time to respond with a kind phrase showing that you miss the other person. However, if you have more time, here are some other ways you can demonstrate that you are missing them:
Send them a letter or a gift in the post
Sending a letter demonstrates that you have put thought into reaching out to your friend, as it takes more effort than sending a quick message. You could also add a thoughtful gift to make your friend smile.
An easy way to do this is by sending a letterbox gift online, but if you have more time, you could make your own hamper and send it in the post.
Plan a date to see them
To avoid talking in circles about when you’re going to meet up again, why not plan a date to meet up with your friend in the near future?
Send them the dates that you’re available, ask them when they are free, and suggest a time that works for both of you. This will show them that you are intent on keeping the friendship or relationship alive.
Up your communication
If you tend to send each other messages, this will help you to stay updated on each other’s lives, but it is not the most intimate form of communication.
If you have time, you could try video calling them more often, or even sending voice notes or filming videos of your day so the other person can see what you’re up to at the moment.
Founder and Chief Editor, Seniorstrong
Be expressive with your reply to make sure your words strengthen the bonds
There is no hard and fast rule about a standard reply to “I miss you” as it is customizable according to the situation and the person you are addressing. An adoring reply to I miss you will make your partner blush, but that same reply to your parents could cause an awkward silence.
It is better to be creative and expressive while replying to I miss you to make sure your words strengthen the bonds.
“I miss you more”
It is safe to say that it is the most overused reply as it is simple and versatile. It can be used anywhere without the fear of sounding desperate or disinterested. It can be a perfect reply to anyone starting from your workplace bestie or to your better half.
Example 1: Colleague
“The workload has been draining, plus the performance expectations are killing me. I wish you were here instead of handling the ABC client’s project. I miss you.”
“I miss you more. Can’t wait to share a cubicle again!“
Example 2: Spouse
“When are you returning from your parent’s house? It seems like you are gone forever! I miss you.”
“I miss you more, honey. I’ll be back in a couple of days, promise.”
“I was just about to say that”
Sometimes in a conversation, when the other person steals your words, it could be a sign that you both share a deep bond. I am not just referring to the bond between romantic partners, but intimate friends, even blood relatives could (like cousins) boast of such understanding.
It’s okay to admit that you are on the same page with the speaker. The mutual feeling of separation could be flawlessly addressed by saying “I was just about to say that,” or “I was just about the say the same,” as a reply to “I miss you.”
“It had been a hell of a week. I wish you were here with me. I
miss you so much.”
“I was just about to say that. Hoping to see you really soon.”
“Really? I have been thinking about you too”
Revealing your feeling is not a sign of weakness. Rather it is a green flag for the opposite person if they are interested in you. Express yourself gracefully with this admiring reply to convey your attraction without being unnecessarily cheesy.
This might help you take the conversation to another level.
“To be honest, I miss you.”
“Really? I have been thinking about you too. Would you like to meet me for a cup of coffee?“
“You know I’m just a call away, right?”
Use this reply if you want to assure someone about your presence and support with a simple yet impactful sentence.
When an acquaintance or a friend is in a dire station, fighting with odds, and could use some mental strength in the form of an optimistic reply, this response could be a perfect fit.
“Life has been unfair. I hope I had someone to share my
problems with. I miss you.”
“You know I’m just a call away, right? You can share anything
Dating Coach for Men | Co-Founder, emlovz
Pause before messaging this person your response
Regardless of the context, what’s most important is that you give pause before messaging this person your response. We have a compulsion to immediately respond the moment a message is seen.
But for more sensitive conversations, it’s best to take a moment, gather yourself, and put some thought into how you’ll respond.
Refrain from sending any message until you’ve sorted yourself out, know how you feel about the situation and how best to articulate those feelings. With that said, how you respond depends on the dynamic.
Responding to a ghost
After days, weeks, or months of radio silence, your former flame is back from the dead. Not only have they resurfaced, but now they’re expressing feelings for you. This can be quite confusing as they were the ones that ghosted you, not the other way around.
There are a few ways to handle a ghost, but every interaction should seek to find out why.
Why did they suddenly up and disappear? This answer will dictate how you move forward. Should their answer not be a glaring red flag, perhaps you give them another chance.
But remember that you are not in any way obligated to respond.
They severed communication with you. Evaluate whether you even want to strike up a relationship with this person. Most likely, your life has been just fine without them. You don’t need someone with toxic communication skills in your life.
Responding to a friend
Even before the pandemic, the US has been suffering from a loneliness pandemic. Americans have been suffering in silence as our social circles are getting smaller and smaller. It takes courage for a friend to reach out after the relationship has grown distant.
If this is a relationship you’d like to continue, show the same courage your friend showed by reaching out, expressing your desire to reconnect, and following through on that promise by setting a date to meet up.
Responding to a former flame
You two once had a romantic relationship, but for reasons only you know, it broke down. Now, after a hiatus, they reach out saying they miss you.
How you respond has everything to do with how things ended and your current feelings towards them. Before clicking those buttons, ask yourself if you want to reignite things with this person.
Ask yourself if you want the same relationship you once had with them. If your feelings aren’t reciprocal, perhaps ask why they’re texting such strong sentiments out of the blue and ask them if they’re okay and how they’re doing. They could just be lonely and want a friendly face to talk to.
Relationship Expert | Lifestyle Coach, Healing Is Sexy
You can choose to respond in a welcoming or closed manner
Responding to “I miss you” involves a few factors:
- How much time has passed?
- How do you feel about the other person and the way things ended?
- Were they a good or bad influence?
Once you have time to process your thoughts, then you can choose to respond in a welcoming or closed manner.
- If you’d like to invite the person back into your life for further conversation, keep it open and light with: “Hey! Wow, it’s great hearing from you! We need to catch up sometime.”
- If you’d rather leave the past in the past, you can choose to simply not respond or be firm by saying: “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’d rather leave things where we left off alone.”
Don’t feel pressured into making any commitments you’re not comfortable following through on. It’s okay to take some time to reflect and consider how inviting a previous connection may or may not be something you want at the moment.
It’s also okay to seek closer with a meeting and decide afterward that that will be the last encounter. There are no hard rules on how to respond, so whatever you decide, just make sure it’s a choice you’ll learn something new from or one that makes you happy.
Masterful Sales Trainer and Speaker, Mair Hill Consulting | Creator, The Inside Out Formula for Sales Mastery
Three small words. Only eight letters. They can speak volumes: both to the person saying them and the person waiting to hear the reply. It’s all good if both parties agree.
“I miss you” is met with “I miss you, too.”
But what if you don’t miss them? Then what do you say?
Silence also speaks volumes
“I miss you too” doesn’t always apply. In this age of authenticity and speaking your truth, that can no longer suffice as your knee-jerk response. Auto-pilot can’t carry you away to some happier place where the statement was never made, so a reply isn’t required.
Your presence, upon hearing those words, demands a response. Common courtesy and mutual respect (my personal credo) make a response obligatory.
A truthful, authentic, timely response.
When someone says I miss you and the feeling is not reciprocated, simply saying “Thank you” is totally appropriate. That’s it; thank you.
Straightforward. Genuine. Uncomplicated. Truthful. Courteous.
It checks all the boxes and lets the issuer know you heard them. It still leaves room for interpretation, but not much. Besides, controlling the stories other people tell themselves is not your job.
Your job is to be present, courteous, and kind. Saying “thank you” demonstrates all three.
Reciprocate by honestly telling them how you feel
You must evaluate its implications based on who says it to you. What you say must be appropriate and must be kind and good always. It mainly depends on your individual relationship and its goodness — assuming all things are good and free from sin.
You must understand they told you how they feel. You should also make it a point to reciprocate by honestly telling them how you feel and why you feel that way to have transparency between the two of you. It should be equal.
If it is said by a loose person, it is meaningless, and you must be very careful about how you respond.
If you don’t miss them: Be kind but not dishonest
Tell them that they are so sweet and that them saying that touches your heart. Quickly change the subject by asking them how they’ve been doing, and keep a big smile while you do it. Show interest in them by asking a few questions.
Then, move on to other topics or other people in the room, depending on the situation. Be kind but not dishonest.
If you also miss them: It depends on who it is and your relationship with them
It all depends on who it is and your relationship with them. If it is someone who is important in your life and a constant (like a beloved relative, friend, etc.), you can just say something trite like, “I like hearing that,“ or something along that line.
Even if you do not miss those people at that moment, be kind.
If it is a love interest that you have lost interest in, you should be kind but firm. It does them no good to be strung along, and their neediness should not be allowed to drain you. By being honest, you set them free to seek another who would “miss them.”
It would be based on your relationship with this person and the context in which it’s told. For example:
- If my parents say this – and I am next to them – I would hug them and say that I will be back home soon. If it is said when I am on a video call with them, then obviously virtual hugs.
- If it’s a significant other saying this, I would put in some effort to cheer him up, take him for a movie together, or just spend a little bit more time with him chit-chatting – before I leave. If I have already left and it’s almost time to get back, I would plan some romantic getaways with him.
- If it’s my relatives/cousins, I would tell them the same thing that I miss them and make sure I visit them when I am nearby.
- If it’s my office colleagues, I would be happy to hear that and say I missed you folks too and take them all out for Chai during the break.
- If it were my boss – I would just smile and understand that there is work to be finished which needs my attention immediately.
Keynote Speaker, Motivational Firewood | Author and Visualization Coach
“What do you miss the most?”
This is a question I ask my wife when I am speaking at an event or conference.
What does the answer to this question do? It teaches me her “love language,” and it reminds me of how I can best be present when we are together again.
- If she misses my silliness, I make sure to hide some silly notes the next time I leave.
- If she misses snuggling up on the couch at night, watching TV, I know to make time for that when we are together again.
- If she misses cooking dinner together (which we do at least four nights per week), I make sure to have a few menu ideas ready when I get back.
That one question helps me to strengthen our relationship, which will reach the 15-year mark this year!
Relationship Expert | Published Author, PeopleLooker
Your response will mostly depend on how much you like the person
“I miss you” is endearing, as it demonstrates how much you appreciate someone and enjoy being in their company. If you’re not shy, telling someone you miss them is easier than responding if you don’t want to sound cliché.
Although there are so many ways to respond, your choices will mostly depend on how much you like the person.
“I miss you too!”
Even if it’s the obvious response, they will breathe a sigh of relief when they realize you’ve been thinking about them as well.
“That’s so sweet of you.”
Although you might miss your crush, you might not want to say it back if you feel the relationship is progressing too quickly. Instead, responding like this acknowledges the message and lets them know how nice it is to hear that they miss you.
Note that this could be hurtful to the other person—imagine telling someone you love them and they deflect similarly. If they respond negatively, that’s a clear indication that they’re more invested in the relationship than you are.
“I’ve been thinking about you too.”
In this way, the recipient knows that you have been thinking of him or her as well.
“I can’t wait to see you again.”
If you haven’t seen each other in a while or there will be a considerable amount of time before you see that person again, then this is an ideal message. It shows that you are really looking forward to seeing him or her again and that you wish time could go faster.
“I thought you would be glad to get rid of me.”
A lighter, flirtier response. It will give you both something to laugh about. He or she may even go into detail as to why they miss you, and you will both smile.
“I miss you more the less I see you.”
It has been said that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ But this only applies to those you really like. When you’re apart from your crush, you feel the void, and it grows as long as you’re apart from them.
“You were literally on my mind just now.”
If your crush is feeling sentimental also, he or she will tell you how they feel about you. You don’t think about people you don’t miss at this point, and your crush will ask, “so what were you thinking about then?”.
“What is it about me that you miss?
It’s also a good idea to ask your crush how much he or she likes you at this point since it gives you an idea whether they are just telling you that they miss you because that feels right at this point.
“That is so kind of you. Thank you so much.”
It may be a good response if you feel skeptical about the intentions of the person. If their actions do not inspire an automatic “I miss you, too!” response, it might make them realize what they have done wrong, and perhaps make them feel embarrassed for taking it for granted.
“I appreciate you saying that, but I need some time to myself.”
The act of setting boundaries is nothing to be ashamed of. As a matter of fact, it is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself, especially if the relationship has become toxic.
Senior Editor, Tandem
As I get older, I can reflect on the many relationships I have had — friendships, coworkers, familial, and others. These relationships share one thing in common — care and concern for the other person.
I have been fortunate that many of these relationships have been local, meaning I rarely had an opportunity to miss someone as they were right there. At times, though, this wasn’t always the case.
As many individuals have, I have been separated from my loved ones, whether for a few hours or a few days, and this distance made me miss them. There have also been times when life has gotten in the way, and I haven’t been able to reach out to those I care about as much as I would like.
Though they may have been close in proximity, a lack of communication may have made them feel as if I were far. They may even have said, “I miss you.”
So, how do you respond when someone says, “I miss you”?
- Reply the same way – If someone you care about tells you that they miss you, and you feel the same way, it’s acceptable to tell them this in turn. You can simply say, “I miss you, too.”
- Tell them how you feel – At times, we purposefully remove ourselves from others because they hurt us in one way or the other. If this was the case for why you have been apart, use this opportunity to tell them how you feel. They might apologize or otherwise try to rectify what made you feel wronged.
- Find a way to get together – When you are missed because you have been busy, and there aren’t any logistical hurdles preventing you from seeing the other person, why not try to make plans to see them?
- Surprise them – Surprises can be a fun way to lift the spirits of someone who misses you. Engaging in the act of kindness, or a surprise, can increase your endorphins and make you feel good, as well. Be prepared, though, that not all people like to be surprised, so be ready to accept both good results and bad ones.
Self-Taught Personal Development Geek | Founder, The Enemy Of Average
It will vary based on the person saying it and also on your relationship with them
How you respond to “I miss you” will vary based not only on the person saying it but also on the context of your relationship with them.
When the person saying this is a long-time friend that you haven’t seen in a while, it makes sense to reciprocate their feelings and start a conversation with them about their life.
One of the ways to achieve this is with a response along the lines of: “Hey! Miss you too. It’s crazy to think it’s been such a long time. What are you up to these days?”
This kind of reply is friendly and considerate and also opens the door for you to catch up with someone you care about. If you encounter the person face to face, the same principle applies.
Reply with something short and friendly, and then proceed to catch up!
Family member or someone that you’re in a romantic relationship with
When the person saying “I miss you” is a family member or someone that you’re in a romantic relationship with, then you should be a little more excited and enthusiastic in your reply.
It’s a good idea to exaggerate your response to their original message and say something like “Miss you more!!“ with a few heart emojis thrown in there if you feel inclined.
If a family member or romantic partner says this to you, it’s clear that they’re thinking about you, so another good option here is to just pick up the phone and give them a call.
This shows that not only did you read and receive their text, but that you care enough to take time out of your day and spend 15-20 minutes on the phone with them.
Small actions like these go a long way towards building deep personal and romantic relationships.
Past relationships — whether a friend or a romantic partner
Now obviously, the “I miss you” message isn’t always welcomed. You may receive this message from someone with whom you previously engaged in a toxic relationship, whether a friend or a romantic partner.
In these cases, you have to decide whether or not this is a relationship you want to repair. You have to protect your energy in life because not everyone deserves it.
Related: Can Toxic Relationships Be Healed?
So if you’re not interested in repairing the relationship and getting things back on the right foot, there’s nothing wrong with simply ignoring the message. And oftentimes, the best way to send that message is silence.
However, if you are interested in repairing the relationship and letting bygones be bygones, then it’s a good idea to reply. When you reply, don’t appear to be overly excited about receiving the message.
Keep your reply platonic and brief, something along the lines of: “Hey. How have you been?“
From there, you can decide how much you want to engage. The level to which you engage after receiving this text should be a direct reflection of how much you care about mending any previous issues that you have had with this person.
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