Any mother with twenty-something year-old sons knows it’s hard watching your guys navigate the baffling world of women. Most females are raised to be passive-aggressive, socialized to communicate through nuance, indirection, and subtlety, especially when it comes to conflict.
To this end, I’ve given my sons guidelines. I warned them if a girlfriend says any of the following during a heated discussion (especially with a shrug or hair toss), be on full alert…
“Don’t worry about it.”(Code: Start worrying). “Don’t worry about it” means you forgot something. Maybe your 8thmonth anniversary or it’s her dog’s birthday or God forbid, her birthday. Whatever the case, something has gone horribly wrong.
“Don’t worry about it” is her answer when she grows disturbingly quiet and you ask what’s the matter. Trust me, everything’s the matter. It’s your job to fix it.
“It’s nothing.” (Code: It’s everything). And like MacGyver, you have thirty seconds to defuse this bomb before it blows. “Its nothing” means feelings are hurt, big time. Maybe you took too long to answer when she asked if you like her dress or if her friend Julie is pretty. Maybe you went on too much about your awesome night with the guys.
“It’s nothing” might be said with a cast-down head while examining her nails or texting or gazing out the window. Whatever the case — once again — you messed up and it’s your mission to correct things.
“Do What you Want.” (Code: You do what you want and I’ll hunt you down and yank out your toenails.) Think you’re going out with the guys instead of to the mall as planned? Or getting take-out Chinese instead of that cozy Italian joint with the good bread sticks? Think again.
If you hear “Do what you want” and actually do what you want, you might as well book the next steamer to Taiwan. You’re toast. Instead, be chivalrous. “Let’s do what you want,” said at the right moment can work wonders. Pick your battles, guys. Most aren’t worth it, especially over malls and breadsticks .
“Just leave me alone.” (Code: I need a hug). Guys, this is a test. I repeat, this is a test. The “Leave me alone” strategy was invented by Eve and honed by women across the millennia. Don’t fall for it.
“Leave me alone” means come closer and pay attention to me. Never leave a woman in this state. Instead, do the opposite. Show you want to stay with her. You care about her. Ask to linger. If you leave her fuming, she will hate you for life. In fact, she’ll probably never speak to you again.
(And yes, there are times she really wants to be left alone. Alas, its your job to figure out the truth).
“Why are you so mad?” (Code: Gotcha.) This is usually done after three hours of yelling at each other. “Why are you so mad?” might even be done with a look of amused bewilderment. There’s a certain satisfaction in making someone feel how you feel. Seeing a guy as angry as you can even defuse things.
Girls want to feel you’re emotionally invested in this relationship and getting red-faced, panting, with bulging eyes means you are. So relax. You made it. “Why are you so mad?” usually means we’re done here. We can move on to bread sticks.
I asked my sons if they sensed a pattern. Basically do the opposite of everything your girlfriend says…to a point… but not always… and be yourself.
And don’t worry, ladies. I didn’t give away all our secrets. Still, as a mother of young men, I felt it my duty to at least give them a head start.
Did I forget anything? Men, any rebuttals? Comments are always welcome. Thanks so much for reading and sharing!
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