The Truth About TikTok's 'If He Wanted To, He Would' Trend

You might hear the phrase, "If he wanted to, he would," being uttered on TikTok as you scroll through the myriad of videos the algorithm has lined up for you, and on the surface of it, it might appear to be some pretty sound advice. The phrase suggests that if a romantic prospect wanted to take action, they would; therefore, their inaction reflects a lack of interest. After all, we've all been in situations where the effort is one-sided, and sometimes a dose of honest truth from a well-meaning friend can be just what we need to gain a fresh perspective on the situation. 

Sometimes, you already know deep down that something is not going to happen how you'd like it to, and you don't need anybody else to say it. In those cases, it's easy to use the trending phrase to justify what happened in the relationship that didn't end how you wished it would. Be it a recent Tinder match or an old friend you've recently connected with, "If he wanted to, he would" is not a one-size-fits-all piece of advice, though. There's not always a simple difference between wanting to be with someone and not wanting to be with someone, as noted by Mashable

So, what do we do in these fine-line situations? Keep scrolling to uncover more meaning behind the "If he wanted to, he would" trend and prevent yourself from over-analyzing someone's texts.

We aren't always able to do what we want to do

Per Mashable, somebody can like you, want to be with you, and desire to reach out to you, but just isn't able to do so for whatever reason — you don't know what's going on in their life. Being told that "if he wanted to, he would" implies that he simply doesn't want to, which can be unnecessarily hurtful to hear when the timing is tactless, and has the chance of being completely wrong in any given situation. 

Socio Mix goes further, describing the phrase as "oversimplified and a little ableist" because sometimes people just aren't equipped with the skills or means they need to be able to do what they want — or what you want them to do, for the matter. Applying it to other aspects of your own life, there are other things you might very much want to do, but simply are not be able to. So, maybe he wants to text you, but just doesn't know how to — it's by no means a reflection on either of you. And remember, if things don't work out, it might be healthier to stay single, anyway.