When you speak someone you haven’t seen in quite a while, it’s common to say, “Long time no see.” It’s a phrase to announce the amount of time that elapsed since the last time you’ve interacted with another person (or group of people). Usually, you will reply with some sort of agreement or other kinds of acknowledgment.
Oftentimes, it will come after a greeting or brief reintroduction. In many instances, this will be a positive and heartfelt comment. But, in some other cases, it can have a slightly negative connotation depending on the context. Your reply to either type will often be short but it will either confirm or disprove the statement.
The Meaning of “Long Time No See”
“Long time no see” is a way to comment on the length of time that has passed since last seeing someone. This is usually reserved for friends, loved ones, family members, and other people we cherish. While this is almost always positive, sometimes it can have a negative conveyance.
Such situations could denote sarcasm or be a device for subtle chiding. But, even in a positive sense, someone could use it for comedic effect. You should always base your reply on the context.
To get a better idea of how context can change the meaning of “long time no see,” observe the following examples:
Gosh, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes! Long time no see!
I know, it’s probably been 10 years since we last saw each other.
Hey stranger! Long time no see! When was the last time we talked?
Wow! How are you? Long time no see indeed! We haven’t spoken since grade school.
Hey you, long time no see!
Hah, I saw you yesterday silly. [cute sarcasm]
Well, well, long time no see. I expected to meet you two weeks ago.
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get there, I lost my phone and wallet on the subway.
Long time no see Gordon, I guess you have some free time now.
Sorry Cecilia, but I am really busy.
To reply to someone who says, “Long time no see,” you want to acknowledge (or disprove) their commentary claim. Even though a great portion of the time this will be a conveyance of positive reminiscing, there will be times someone will say it in a negative context.