“I Miss You”: How People Respond When They Don’t Miss You Back

Should you straight up tell a lie to avoid hurting their feelings? Is there a neutral response you can say or magical formula that will take away the pain?

I Miss You

woman failed

We have all been in that awkward situation. Maybe it happened when you saw your estranged cousin at a family reunion. Or maybe your cell phone went off in the middle of the night with a dreaded text from an ex-partner.

Three words, eight letters: “I miss you.” Here are the best ways to reply when you don’t actually miss them back. 

1. It has been a while.

people hugging

The top-voted recommendation by far, this response is a subtle way to avoid saying “I miss you” back without actually resorting to a falsehood. Not recommended if you have recently seen the person in question.

2. It’s nice to be missed.

man blowing kiss

Careful, this joking answer can come across as conceited and uncomfortable if used on the wrong recipient.

Case in point, this was first used by a Redditor’s ex-boyfriend: “This occurred early [on] when we were dating, and he had been on a trip for two weeks. I just assumed he hadn’t missed me yet, but I should’ve definitely just bailed at that point. … He turned out to be a total nightmare.”

3. We’ll see each other soon enough.

group hug

This statement is polite enough to come across as reassuring (i.e., “Don’t worry, we’ll reunite soon enough”) without actually committing to a specific get-together in the future.

If the other person insists on scheduling a meet-up, one online user recommended the following location: “… in H*LL.”

4. Yes, we’ve had a lot of good times together.

woman looking out window thinking

This reply is a foolproof way of responding to any uncomfortable post-breakup texts. As one Redditor defended themselves, “I didn’t ignore the reaching out—but I didn’t say I missed them back.”

One commenter on their post described being on the receiving end of this answer. “I said, ‘I have to be at [this] place without you tonight, and that’s just sad,’ to which he replied: ‘Aw, I appreciate our time there together.’ I had to send it to a few friends for analysis.”

5. Thanks!

womn carrying flowers

An option for someone who prioritizes manners, as well as those who are prone to react from instinct. This online user recalled: “When my ex said, ‘I miss you,’ I panicked and just said, ‘Thanks!’”

6. It’s crazy to think it’s been such a long time!

at the train station

Best used on someone you have not seen in a very long time, like a former classmate or coworker.

7. What are you up to these days?

woman looking at heart

Only suitable when you are genuinely interested in continuing the interaction and catching up. Otherwise, you might find yourself trapped in a tedious conversation.

8. I hope you’re doing well.

bear hug

A thoughtful and well-meaning response, appropriate for most social interactions. Versatile in use since it can initiate a conversation just as easily as it can cut it short.

9. Finger guns.

finger guns

 A timeless favorite of middle-aged dads and Michael Scott types. Best accompanied by a cheesy wink and a click of the tongue for sound effect.

10. Me too!

woman bear hug

 As one Redditor put it, this statement is true “because I miss me too.”

11. The Verizon subscriber you are trying to reach is not available…

using phone outside

Although this reply is limited to text interactions, it is very useful in shifting the responsibility onto the cellphone carrier. However, better make a contingency plan if the other person follows up with a phone call. 

12. Depends on the person.

woman blowing kiss online

Sometimes, a white lie is justified in the name of maintaining familial peace. According to one online user, “If it’s family or something, I say ‘I miss you too’ because it takes nothing to make their day a little better.”

But they caution against extending this kindness to undeserving acquaintances: “If it’s your ex or something, then just reply with ‘lol’ and leave.”

13. You shouldn’t.

man hugging

One Redditor shared this particularly blistering reply, which they had previously deployed against an ex-partner: “He didn’t take it well, but who cares.”

14. For the I Miss You fans.

lonely cat

Multiple online users suggested replying to a text message with the lyrics of Blink-182’s pop-punk classic: “Don’t waste your time on me, you’re already the voice inside my head.”

Another useful alternative is the opening verse: “Hello, there… The angel from my nightmare.”

15. New phone, who dis?

miss you

Similarly, there is a more devastating version: “Same phone, who dis?”

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This article, How To Respond to “I Miss You” When You Don’t Miss Them Back, was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Reddit source.

I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.

I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!

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