The missus said everything was fine. But that slammed door is telling you “fine” might actually mean something closer to “terrible.” Short of calling the United Nations for an interpreter, what’s a guy to do?
Research suggests that women use body language up to six times more than men. But it doesn’t take Sherlock to deduct that men are a little behind the curve in deciphering it. With a quick tutorial on “woman speak” plus a little body language knowledge, you could begin improving communication with your wife or girlfriend. Try these tips:
The Red Lights
Nothing’s really been resolved if you hear these words:
It’s fine. No. It’s not fine. It’s not fine at all. And usually when she says this, her body will not be facing you directly. Whether it’s her gaze, her shoulders, her hips or all of the above, she’s letting you know that the conversation isn’t over. And take note if she says this while taking out the garbage, painting the dining room, or changing a dirty diaper. She asked for some help with the task at hand, and you kind of didn’t step up.
Nothing. Perhaps you heard this word after you asked, “What’s wrong?” or “What is it?” Batten down the hatches; she’s not ready to talk yet. If her arms are crossed at the chest, the conversation should be stopped immediately. A long arm cross, however — like one with her wrists crossed near her waist — could be a sign that she could be ready to talk it out.
Whatever. Oh man. Whatever you said or did, she didn’t like it. Are you sitting down at dinner? Maybe in a car? Look for her body to be moved as far back away from you as possible. Her torso could be shifted, her feet may be tucked under the chair, or she might be sighing really loudly. Give her some space. She’s mulling it over.
What I want is… As a broad, general rule, women disguise direct wants and needs with words like “I would like” or “I’m thinking of doing.” So when you hear this clear, cut, concise language — kind of like the way you would talk — she’s telling you how to fix the problem. If she ends her explanation with a question, she would like for the conversation to continue, ideally with your point of view.
The Green Lights
On the flip side, women have ways of verbally letting you know that things are going great. While these hints aren’t foolproof, they’re decent enough gauges to be aware of. Things to look for:
What are you thinking? She’s opening the door for connection, and she may have something to talk about. There are two roads to take here: If you say, “nothing,” be ready. Even if your head is honest-to-God filled with nothing but flat lines, women won’t believe you. There’s never nothing going through their heads, so if they hear “nothing,” they may think you’re hiding something.
If you answer with whatever it is you’re really thinking about, look for a touch on your arm or hand. This move is helping her break down barriers with some quick and simple skin-on-skin contact.
Do I look fat? How does this look? No matter what you really think, you have got to understand that she looks fabulous at all times. At. All. Times. So unless you are looking for a fight or maybe need a drink chilled with a glare, answer, “You are beautiful.” She will smile and have the confidence she needed.
Well, I see what you’re saying, but … She disagrees with you. And while she wants you to hear her point of view, she doesn’t want to stir the pot. Look for a lot of hand gestures with this kind of non-committal language, perhaps with even more of a singsong-y voice pitch. Why? Throughout their lives, women are trained to disagree without combativeness that could be perceived as bitchy. She doesn’t want you to see her as aggressive, but she wants you to know she has a point of view.
Anything in a whisper. The lean and whisper is a move used by women everywhere — girlfriends, potential girlfriends, wives — usually with a high success rate. Talking quieter implies intimacy, a secret connection, and what she’s trying to say is that she’s feeling it.
Whether you’re simply trying to get to know her better or are working through tough issues, these tips could help you manage ill communication a tad better. But if you find yourself confused, simply listen. You’ll find yourself at the heart of the matter — and at hers.