What Men Say vs. What Women Hear

A miscommunication between you and your sweetie can act as the sole culprit in an explosion of epic proportions at home, in the car, or on a date. There are no boundaries or limits, gentlemen!

Men with any lengthy dating or marriage experience can most likely attest to the fact that these miscommunications often occur not because of WHAT is actually said but because of HOW it was perceived.

There’s a huge difference between what you say and what she hears (remember Mel Gibson’s epiphany in “What Women Want?”) Often, there’s nothing wrong with what you said, but your gal-pal is hearing a completely different version (and usually it’s not in your favor). So, how do you bridge the gap, eliminating those awkward moments where she’s about to light you on fire and you’re scratching your head in utter confusion? Let’s take a sneak peak at some frequently used phrases to avoid, unless you truly are longing for a solo night on the sofa.

You Say: “You look fine.”
She Hears: “You’ve definitely looked better.”

Okay, gentlemen, we understand you’re not a walking thesaurus, brimming with eloquent adjectives to describe our sheer beauty; however, you can do better than “fine.” Though you are merely trying to convey that your date/girlfriend/wife looks perfectly acceptable or even pretty, this message is not reaching her ears. The word ‘fine’ has the potential for disaster. This is simple to correct, merely by choosing a more descriptive word. Try, “Honey, you look beautiful (wonderful, great, hot, or sexy).” Take your pick!

You Say: “I’ll do it in a minute”
She Hears: “Might as well do it yourself because it ain’t happening anytime soon, honey.”

Oh, the classic put off. While you may have every intention of taking some course of action, sometime, maybe even in the near future, this statement when overused (as it so often is) can drive a woman crazy. First of all, a man’s ‘minute,’ and a woman’s ‘minute’ are two completely different measures of time. If your ‘minute’ frequently equates to a couple days, this just might send her over the edge. Consequently, when you see your 100-pound wife dragging a 50-pound bag of trash to the curb, all the while ripping holes in the bottom causing bottles and baby food to scatter the driveway, you’ll know, you’re minute has long passed. Solution? Try, “Honey, let me just finish this real quick, and I’m happy to help you.” Let her know that you WANT to help and are not just putting her off.

You Say: “I’ll call you”
She Hears: “It’s been nice, but don’t wait by the phone.”

If you’ve really hit it off and want to see her again, then set up a second date or give her more specific parameters. This generic phrase is used by many men to simply put off a woman, and chances are just about every woman has heard it. Using it can result in her writing you off or avoiding your call. So, how can you insinuate that you really will be calling? Try, “I look forward to talking to you tomorrow afternoon.” Being specific shows that you’re serious about hooking up again (in whatever way floats your boat).

You Say: “Do you need help with that?”
She Hears: “Please say no, please say no!!!”

Right now you’re thinking, what’s wrong with that? I’m offering to help. And yes, you are (hopefully), but that’s not what she’s hearing. She assumes if you really wanted to help, instead of asking, you’d already be helping, as the boiling water is splashing onto the floor. Remember, for women, actions speak louder than words. Easy enough, right? To avoid her wrath simply try, “Honey, let me help you with that,” as you’re moving in to help. You’ll be her knight in shining armor for sure!

You Say: “Want me to rub your back?”
She Hears: “Ahhh, yea, Let’s DO IT!”

While you’re starting with the right premise, as every woman loves a good massage, men typically turn this offer into a 30-second less-than-Swedish massage followed by a high-energy, non-romantic play for sex. Right as she’s ready to relax, you pounce! So, now when you offer, she’s running for the hills knowing that a relaxing massage is just the smoke screen covering your sex ploy. How can you flip the deck? Give her a real massage! And don’t expect anything in return. Massages are sensual acts anyways. When you give your partner a massage without expectations, it often creates the mood naturally, resulting in the sexy seduction you were hoping for. So, try, “Honey, I want to give you massage, no strings attached. I just want you to relax.” Removing the elephant from the room will allow her to enjoy the relaxing sensations created by your well-trained hands and maybe more.

You Say: “Honey, why don’t we eat out tonight?”
She Hears: “I can’t take any more of your cooking.”

While you may have the best of intentions, it’s all in the phrasing and perception. If you wife cooks a lot, taking her out is a sweet and generous gesture. But, you must portray your appreciation of her efforts in such a way that she doesn’t feel you’d choose McDonalds over her meatloaf in a heartbeat. Try rephrasing such as, “Honey, I want to take you out tonight,” or “You deserve a break. Pick your favorite restaurant. My treat!” These are sure to melt her heart rather than cook your goose!

So often miscommunications result in fire-breathing fights and hurt feelings. However, gentlemen, if you just avoid some of these frequently misunderstood phrases, it should be smoother sailing for you (and for her)! It’s just the difference between men and women. So, if she’s not hearing what you’re saying, take a chance, and change it up! What do you have to lose?