What She Says Verses What She Means
By Ronald Yates
Fellas, do you ever experience difficulty in trying to understand what your significant other is saying? If you do, you are not alone. And sometimes the cues are non-verbal, making it even more difficult to decipher exactly what the message is that you should be receiving. Now, I’m no expert on reading all of the signs. After nearly thirty years of marriage, I’m just beginning to somewhat figure it out. Hopefully, my experience can help some of my brothers avoid several lonely nights on the couch.
Several years ago, Steve Harvey wrote a book entitled “Think Like A Man, Act Like A Woman.” While the title is catchy, realistically it is impossible for a woman to think like a man, just as it is equally impossible for a man to think like a woman. With that in mind there are certain lessons you can learn from the opposite sex that can be helpful in understanding certain behaviors. Firstly, women tend to be very observant. They watch everything, even when you are unaware that you are being observed. Gentlemen it would behoove you to be just as observant and watch for those little subtle signs and signals women give off and negative changes that can be avoided. If you catch them early, it’s like a disease… it is much easier to manage. When I say changes, I’m referring to changes in mood as opposed to behavioral changes. If you can see the storm forming, you can prepare for it. So just as an exercise to determine if you are a novice or an expert in understanding the female psyche, I will provide a scenario as well as possible responses. However, it is up to you to choose which one you think is the most appropriate response at any given time.
Scenario#1: You are a newlywed, married for just 6 months. You both have very busy schedules, but always make time to have dinner together. It is a Friday, the day began as usual, but on this particular Friday, the Knicks are playing… they are in the playoff, so at lunch time the guys tell you they are getting together to watch the game. You call your wife to tell her about the change in plans, her response is “Oh okay baby, I guess I’ll see you after the game.” Do you (A) Go and watch the game, (B) Tell the guys “Maybe next time” and deal with the henpecked comments or (C) Ask her to join you. Keep in mind she did say okay, but what was the tone, inflection in her voice? When I mentioned careful observation, that includes listening carefully that’s because this may provide you with the first sign of trouble. As for the correct answer, both B and C are acceptable, if you chose “A” based on the belief that she said “Okay,” you may have fallen into the trap where she said one thing, but meant something entirely different. Is this intentional? Well, this is a matter of some debate. She knows that you have friends, that you should be allowed to spend time with them, but like some women do not like to break routine. If that routine includes having dinner together and you decide to suddenly flip the script on the usual routine… in the absent of a real emergency, you may be entering the danger zone.
For all you guys who feel you should be able to have a night out with the fellas, when you get home the reception may go something like this: You come in the door as quietly as possible. If she is asleep you don’t want to awaken her. But guys make no mistake about it she is not asleep. When you enter the bedroom, she will be lying in bed apparently fast asleep, but again like they use to say back in the day “All closed eyes ain’t sleep!” You climb into bed, still believing her to be asleep and don’t say anything, like “Hey baby I’m home.” You don’t give her a kiss and stay on your side of the bed in an effort not to awaken her. But what is she thinking? I can only guess; it could be something like this: “I never wanted you to go in the first place, you should have known that. You didn’t bother to call while I sat up waiting for you. Then you came in and didn’t even bother to acknowledge me. You should have known that I wouldn’t have gone to sleep until you got home.” Those are some of the most dangerous phrases you will ever hear. “You should have known”… even without her telling you.
As I stated before, at times there will only be physical cues that you must learn to read and decipher to determine the best response. This won’t be easy, by any stretch of the imagination! For women it’s easy to read the signs and they assume it is just as easy for us. Somehow most women believe we should automatically understand their behaviors and thoughts as well as their actions. What is ironic is when women talk amongst themselves, they agree that men simply just don’t get it. But at home the paradigm changes and you’re expected to understand, especially if you have been together for some time. One of the biggest points of contention is when a woman is upset and you ask her what’s wrong and she replies “Nothing.” This “nothing,” however, is a clear indication that something is very wrong. While she may respond “nothing” what she really means is figure it out!