Things to Say When Someone Says “I Will Wait For You”

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Sarah Koch

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So there you are, having The Talk with your sort-of-significant other. You know, the one about where this thing is going. And then they drop a bomb on you:

“I Will Wait For You”

Uhh, come again? They’ll wait for you? What does that even mean? How are you supposed to respond to a declaration like that?

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. As a seasoned advice-giver, I’m here to walk you through all the ways to handle this tricky situation. We’ll cover the best responses, comebacks, and replies to give when someone plays the waiting game.

By the end of this, you’ll know exactly what to say the next time someone tries to put their life on hold for you.

The 10 Best Responses to “I Will Wait For You”

Gratitude: “That’s really sweet of you to say.”

When someone says they’ll wait for you, it’s actually a pretty huge compliment. They’re basically telling you that you’re worth waiting for! So even if you’re not sure how to respond, start by expressing some appreciation.

Some other gracious replies:

  • “Wow, I’m really touched that you feel that way.”
  • “It means a lot to hear you say that. Thank you.”
  • “I’m flattered that you think I’m worth waiting for!”

Honesty: “I appreciate that, but I don’t want you waiting on me.”

As nice as it is for someone to offer to wait, you need to be real with them. If you know you don’t feel the same way or aren’t ready for that level of commitment, you gotta speak your truth.

More tactful ways to put it:

  • “That’s a lovely thought, but I wouldn’t feel right knowing you’re putting your life on hold for me.”
  • “I care about you, but I don’t want you waiting in the wings on my account. You should live your life.”
  • “I’m just not in a place where I can ask someone to wait for me. I hope you can understand.”

Deflection: “Okay, but can you wait until after this episode of The Bachelor?”

When in doubt, deflect with humor! A well-timed joke can ease the tension of an awkward “I’ll wait for you” moment. Plus, it gives you a second to collect your thoughts.

Other witty ways to change the subject:

  • “Wait for me? What am I, the cable guy? ‘I’ll be there between 8am and never.'”
  • “You’ll wait for me? Great, I’ll pencil you in for the 12th of Never.”
  • “Hang on, let me check my calendar. Hmm, looks like I’m booked solid with ‘Figuring Out My Life’ for the foreseeable future.”

Reality Check: “I don’t know what the future holds for me, let alone for us.”

Sometimes you need to inject a dose of reality into the conversation. Remind the person that neither of you can predict the future, so there are no guarantees.

More real-talk responses:

  • “I appreciate the thought, but so much can change. I don’t want you banking on a future with me.”
  • “The truth is, I’m still figuring out what I want. It wouldn’t be fair to make you wait on that.”
  • “I care about you, but I can’t promise anything about the future. Let’s just focus on the present.”

Encouragement: “Don’t wait, go live your best life!”

If you genuinely want the best for this person, encourage them not to put their life on hold for you. Remind them that they have so much going for them and that they should embrace all that life has to offer.

Other peppy replies:

  • “I want you to go out there and make the most of every opportunity, not sit around waiting for me!”
  • “Please don’t wait. I care about you and want to see you thriving, with or without me.”
  • “The world is your oyster! Don’t let waiting for me keep you from shucking it. Okay, that sounded weird, but you get the point.”

Confusion: “Wait for what? I didn’t order anything.”

When someone lays a heavy “I’ll wait for you” trip on you, it’s natural to be a bit baffled. It’s okay to express that you’re confused and need a minute to process.

Some other bewildered reactions:

  • “Hang on, I’m confused. What exactly would you be waiting for?”
  • “I’m not sure I understand. What are you hoping will happen?”
  • “Wait, what? Sorry, you caught me off guard. Can you elaborate on what waiting for me would entail?”

Boundaries: “I can’t let you put your life on pause for me.”

Sometimes you need to (gently) push back and set some boundaries. Let the person know that you aren’t comfortable with them waiting on you.

More diplomatic ways to say it:

  • “I really care about you, which is why I can’t let you sideline your life for me. It wouldn’t be right.”
  • “As much as I appreciate the gesture, I don’t feel okay with knowing you’re waiting on me to live your life.”
  • “I value our relationship, but I also value your autonomy. I don’t want to hold you back in any way.”

Realism: “Waiting for me could take longer than the Line Ride at Disneyland.”

A little humorous realism can go a long way. Gently point out that waiting for you is likely to be a long (and possibly futile) endeavor.

Some other reality checks:

  • “I’m not great at making decisions, so waiting for me to figure things out could take approximately forever.”
  • “I’m still working on me, and that’s probably going to be a long process. We’re talking a 27-layer bean dip of personal growth.”
  • “Waiting for me is like waiting for the McRib to come back: it might happen someday, but don’t hold your breath.”

Gratitude Check: “That’s really kind, but I’m not asking you to wait.”

Make sure the other person knows that, while you appreciate the sentiment, you are absolutely not requesting or requiring them to wait for you.

Other ways to get the point across:

  • “I’m grateful that you care that much, but please know I don’t expect you to put your life on hold.”
  • “That’s a sweet offer, but I need you to know that I’m not asking you to wait around for me.”
  • “I’m touched that you’re willing to wait, but I want to be super clear that it’s not something I’m asking of you.”

Curiosity: “What would waiting for me look like to you?”

If you’re not entirely sure what they mean by “I’ll wait for you,” ask for clarification. Find out precisely what waiting entails in their mind.

Other inquisitive responses:

  • “When you say you’ll wait for me, what does that mean to you?”
  • “I’m curious, how do you envision this waiting process playing out?”
  • “Can you tell me more about what waiting for me would involve on your end?”

Replying to a Girl

  • Validate her feelings. Let her know you hear her and appreciate her caring for you.
  • Be honest about where you’re at. If you’re not in the same place, tell her kindly but clearly.
  • Use “I” statements to express your perspective without minimizing hers.
  • Encourage her to live her life and not put things on hold for you.
  • If you’re open to possibilities in the future, say so, but don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Compliment her on her thoughtfulness and acknowledge that she deserves someone amazing.

Replying to a Guy

  • Thank him for his patience and loyalty. Guys don’t always express their feelings so openly.
  • Be direct about your feelings and intentions. Guys often prefer a straight answer.
  • If you’re not interested, let him down easy, but firmly. Don’t leave room for false hope.
  • If you might be interested down the line, say so, but make it clear you’re not asking him to wait.
  • Encourage him to focus on his own growth and goals in the meantime.
  • Give him a sincere compliment. Let him know that he has a lot to offer.

Key Takeaways

  1. Express gratitude for their caring and patience, even if you don’t feel the same way.
  2. Be honest about your feelings and intentions. Don’t lead them on or give false hope.
  3. Encourage them to live their life and not put things on hold waiting for you.

The Final Word on Responding to “I’ll Wait”

So there you have it, a whole smorgasbord of replies for when someone says “I’ll wait for you.” The key is to be upfront, kind, and true to yourself. Oh, and when in doubt, throw in an ’80s movie reference or an off-the-wall analogy. Works every time.

But in all seriousness, navigating matters of the heart is tricky business. When someone cares enough to wait for you, that’s a powerful thing. Just make sure you’re not taking advantage or giving them false hope. If you’re not feeling it, set them free.

And if you are feeling it? Then by all means, start singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and run toward each other in slow motion.

Okay, maybe don’t do that. But you get the idea. Handle this “I’ll wait for you” situation with compassion, honesty, and a healthy dose of humor. You’ve got this! And if you don’t got this? Well, I’ll be here waiting to dole out more advice. (But like, don’t leave me waiting too long, ‘kay?)

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