Hmm…I’m going to go ahead and say that most of the time, if a guy says, “I appreciate you” it means just that but it ALSO means, “I’m not really feeling you like that but I enjoy your company when I decide that I want you around”. Now it CAN be one of those intermediary terms I suppose between “like” and “love” but from my experience, most of the time when a guy drops the appreciate term on a woman it’s because he’s realizing that he probably doesn’t want to move forward but he doesn’t want her to go anywhere either since he’s enjoy the nude games that you play.
Basically, it’s a “buying time while I figure this out” term. You see, women – I love, women – have such big hearts and always hope for the best that hearing a word like appreciate makes you forget, at least temporarily, that you have no idea where you stand in this man’s life and that you wanted more. It’s just enough of an indicator that something is there to placate you for at least a week or so. It’s not pretty, but it’s true.
So determining what is meant by it is based upon the delivery. Does he say it after you ask where you stand? If so, its a copout. If he just up and says to you, out of the blue, “hey baby, you know I appreciate you a lot” it means that he as thinking of you in a way that made him smile and he wanted to let you know. It might not mean he’s in love with you, but it definitely points to him liking you a lot. When men start just lobbing compliements and want to make you smile randomly like that, there are definite feelings involved.
Of the warm and fuzzy variety.