The Hidden Language of Women

In a perfect world people would know exactly what they felt and had the ability to communicate that responsibly in the right circumstances. But that’s far from true, and adding to that men and women tend to have different perspectives on relationships as well as communication styles within them. Everyone is different, but here are some common things that women say when they mean something totally different entirely.

“I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”

When you’re friends with a woman but have the hopes and intentions of things going a step further, you’ll be looking for signs that she too is interested. If you make a move and she shuts you down with the concept that she doesn’t want to ruin your friendship, what she really means is that she’s just not interested. Because that’s total bull, if she actually liked you she would be have every intention of turning that friendship into a relationship and ruining whatever was in the process. No friendship is so awesome that she wouldn’t risk it to go after romance.

That being said, it’s still a pretty polite way to turn someone down so you have to give her some credit for that. She could have just said “I’m not into you” or something even more horrible, so she probably does actually really respect you as a friend. At that point it’s up to you to figure out if you can actually handle being friends with her or not.

“I’m fine.”

Similar phrases include “no that’s fine” with a terse shake of the head or “don’t worry about it.” Sometimes people are just fine, but if you have to ask if something is up it probably is. Now that doesn’t always necessarily mean that it has something to do with you, but for some reason the concept of talking about it doesn’t sound thrilling to her at the moment.

What’s important here is to avoid getting defensive and to make yourself available for listening without pressuring her into talking. Most people do want to talk about whatever they’re upset or pissed about, but on their own terms, not at the suggestion of someone else. Think about how you felt (or still feel) when your parents told you to do something that you didn’t want to do but knew was right. Super annoyed.

While you’re certainly not her father, she doesn’t like someone else trying to control her emotional world or assuming that they know better than she does about what’s happening. Find a way to express that you can tell she has something on her mind and that you’d love to help.

Whatever you do, don’t let your defenses get the best of you. When someone else is visible emotional and clams up it can feel like a personal attack, especially if it is you that she’s irritated at. But if you did something wrong then yeah there might be something to discuss so stay open to it. If it’s a misunderstanding, then same thing. If you have absolutely no idea what’s happening then even more reason to stay open. You don’t want to have to fish it out of her, but to get her to open up she has to know it’s safe to talk.

“If that’s what you want.”

Making decisions with a significant other can get a little weird. Sometimes we fall into certain patterns with people where one person tends to exert a little more opinion or control than another person does, and when things feel unbalanced that can show up in some weird ways. Sometimes it’s even easier to make big decisions than small ones since we might express ourselves better when we feel really strongly about things.

But if you’re trying to decide on where to eat and she says she doesn’t care but then has a bit of attitude when you actually make a decision, something might up. What she really means is that somewhere she doesn’t feel like she’s being heard or appreciated in the relationship, and it might not have anything to do with food at all. There’s just no reason for that sort of small thing to turn into a seemingly big thing unless something has been bothering her and is choosing to come to the surface at that time.

Instead of getting annoyed at her poor communication tactic, be aware that she’s making an effort of some sort to let you know that she could be happier and then figure out why. Be direct with her in expressing that you can tell she’s upset but you aren’t sure why.

She might jump into the assumption that you should already know why she’s upset, but don’t let that set you off either. Just again say that you’d love to hear her thoughts and try not to get too caught up in it if she still won’t say what she means.

“Do whatever you want.”

The “do whatever you want” can be closely related to “if that’s what you want,” but it also differs a bit. This one usually comes up when there has already been some sort of differing of opinions over what a plan of action might be. Say for example she expresses surprise that you’re planning on spending the whole weekend with your guy friends but then when you ask if that’s cool she responds in this way. You can tell the difference between when someone means what they say and when they are being slightly passive aggressive.

When she really wants you to do whatever you want she’ll be relaxed when she says it and maybe follow it with a reason why, like she also has plans or whatever. When she delivers it coldly without making eye contact and then doesn’t say anything else at all, that’s when you know she does not mean that she really wants you to do whatever you want. What she means in that circumstance is that she’s not going to try and stop you but that if you know what’s good for you you’ll figure out the right decision on your own and make it without her having to ask you to. Hint, she wants you to make the decision that’s going to make her happy.

Obviously you don’t always have to do what she wants, and in many circumstances you shouldn’t. But that’s for you to figure out if you’re dealing with someone who’s not being fair and rational or someone who’s tired of calling you out when you’re not being reasonable. It’s not always easy to decipher which is which. If you know that you’re making her mad and you don’t care it’s a good idea to think about why that is.

“I have nothing to wear.”

When your girlfriend is trying to get ready to go out and she starts complaining that she has nothing to wear there are a couple things happening here. Mostly she wishes that a new outfit would suddenly appear in her closet, but the reasons why she wishes that are what are important.

She always wants to look her best and for some reason she doesn’t feel like she does, whether that’s because she’s worn the same dress the last couple times she went out, she’s feeling a little heavy and nothing is fitting right, or her skin just looks weird to her and she feels off.

Women tend to have a lot invested in the way that they look so when they feel less than for any reason at all it can really set them over the edge. Generally what feels off is imperceptible to other people, but if she’s stressing out about the dark circles under her eyes she won’t necessarily believe that no one else has noticed or even cares if they did notice. While saying that she has nothing to wear might come off as a fit of some sort, the bottom line is that she’s feeling insecure or unprepared in some way, and that’s what you should respond to.

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“That guy is cute” and “do you think she’s cute?”

Sometimes a woman will simply be commenting on other people’s looks, but not always. She probably knows that you don’t want other men rubbed in your face, so if she’s going out of her way to call someone cute in front of you then she’s probably trying to hint at the fact that you aren’t paying enough attention to her. (Or giving her the kind of attention that she wants.) No one who’s seriously crushing on someone else would say it in front of their significant other, she’s only mentioning it to see how you’ll respond.

Similarly, if your girlfriend is asking you what you think of other women she is also probably testing you. She could be curious about your taste, but probably not. Women know that men can think a wide variety of women are attractive, and might even have more types than women have of men. So if she thinks that a girl is attractive she might just assume that you think so as well. But the fact that she’s bringing it up means that she’s trying to have a conversation about it for some reason.

What that reason is could be bit of a mystery. Maybe the girl has a hair color she’s been wanting to try but hasn’t gone for. Maybe the girl is super tall and thin to her short and curvy. Maybe the girl looks a lot like her and she wants to know if you think so. It’s not the most mature way to start any of those conversations, but if it’s happening one of the best things to do is say “not as cute as you” and mean it.

Kate Ferguson

Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer, who utilizes as much wit and personal anecdote as possible across a variety of genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Keep up with her on her social media @KateFerg

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