It's no secret that women are complex beings. We've been openly admitting that fact for years now. Yet even with that admission from so many of us, men still somehow manage to constantly back themselves right into the dog house.
Look, we realize that our expectations are high. We know that it's not exactly fair to demand that you always decode our unique language and respond in a certain way. The problem is that we just can't help it. All of our complicated and twisted ways of communicating are hard wired into us, and in order for things to go a little more smoothly for all of us and all of you, we are stepping out and giving you a guide — a playbook, if you will.
This playbook highlights 20 of the most dangerous phrases to come out of a woman's mouth. These phrases may not seem too dangerous upon glancing at them, but once we explain exactly what we mean by each of these phrases, hopefully things will become a little more clear for all of you. And don't worry! For those super tricky phrases, we're even going to give you some examples of acceptable responses. That way, you'll find it much easier to communicate with your lady friends and you won't spend quite as much time baffled as to why you may or may not be sleeping on the couch that night.
20 "I’m almost ready."
If you have plans with a woman and you're running a little behind schedule, it's completely understandable to check in on what kind of progress she's making and find out how much longer it is going to take until you guys are out the door. However, let it be known that more often than not, you're not going to get a definitive answer. Sometimes you might, but you're more likely to hear her say these words instead.
If that's the case, leave it at that. It could mean that you guys will be heading out in the next five minutes and it could also mean that it'll be another hour or so. Either way, don't push it. Don't ask for an approximate time frame. Don't come back in five minutes and ask again. Leave her alone to finish getting ready or else you're only going to delay the process even further by frustrating her. Just walk away, have a seat, and find away to keep yourself occupied.
19 "So, I have a question."
Let's get one thing straight: If a woman actually has a question for you, she's probably just going to ask it. If she does state that she has a question and it is a legitimate question, it definitely is not going to be phrased like this. If you hear this phrase, you better duck and cover because she caught you in some sort of compromising behavior and she is about to call you out on it.
Think quickly. Did you do something you should not have done? Did you say something that could have gotten back to her? Did you like a picture of another girl on Facebook that you probably should have just scrolled past? Because this phrase is the equivalent of "you're in trouble and you should probably start explaining yourself now." Don't play dumb, either. If you can't remember doing anything wrong, then let her ask her question. Try and figure things out from there, but don't allow yourself to get defensive.
18 "It would be nice if…" or "You don’t have to, but..."
This is one of those phrases that you need to be on a constant lookout for. It can pop up at any time and what follows could be a wide range of tasks or suggestions. Whether it's "it would be nice if you spent more time with me" or "you don't have to, but I'd really appreciate if you'd take the trash out," they are actually not suggestions. They sound like they are, but they are not.
If you do not do what is asked, or you argue with the statement, you're in for a fight. Why? Because when we phrase things this way, we are doing it in what we feel is a nice way. Therefore, when an argument develops from this statement, you will be blamed for starting it. Trying to argue the opposite by insinuating that we were rude or sarcastic will only land you in more trouble. So the best thing to do here is agree to whatever is being asked of you (unless it's completely unreasonable or not possible, of course) and just get it done and over with. Don't diddle doddle.
17 "Maybe." or "We'll See."
As some of you may have come to suspect or even learn, if you have asked something of your girl and you receive a "maybe" or a "we'll see" in response, more often than not it's a no from her.
Now, I won't sit here and say that every maybe you get will definitely result in a no, but for your sake it's just better to assume that it was a no. This way you won't be too let down or bummed out when you get hit with a no because you prepared for it. But if it turns out she does say yes, then it'll be a happy surprise!
You might be wondering why she wouldn't just outright say no. Usually it's because she doesn't want to disappoint you too badly, so she needs time to come up with a good and legitimate reason as to why the answer is no. Either that, or she's just hoping that you'll forget about whatever it was you asked her to do for you. And trust me on this, if it's something you really want or need her to do, pushing the matter is definitely going to land you with a flat out no. Even if she had actually been considering it, she will say no just because you were bothering her.
16 Loud sigh.
If your lady friend just randomly let out a heavy sigh, you better ask her what's on her mind. This is a woman's way of bringing attention to something that is really bothering her. It could be about you or it could be about something completely random. Either way, she wants to talk but she doesn't want to feel like she's bothering you.
Calmly approach her and ask her what's wrong, but be very careful not to appear annoyed or sound sarcastic. Like I said, whatever the reason for the sigh, it's something that is weighing heavily on her mind. So if you go into the conversation with any sign of attitude, then you are likely to start a fire that's going to get very out of control very quickly.
This is the ideal time for you to make her feel like you really care about her. So don't ignore the sigh either because that's only going to tick her off and you're going to end up hearing about the problem anyway, just a lot louder than you would have had you just addressed her in the first place.
15 "Are you listening to me?"
When you hear this, it sounds a lot like a challenge, doesn't it? That's because it is. She feels like your mind and attention are on something else. If this is true, apologize and start paying attention.
If you were listening, then the conversation at hand should determine what your reply is. If this is asked during an argument, the last thing you want to do is prove her wrong by replying with everything she said over the past couple minutes. That's called getting an attitude and it's only going to make things worse for you.
In this case, assure her with a "yes, I'm listening" and either offer your rebuttal (nicely) or let her continue with what she was saying. If you're just having a friendly discussion, then you're safe to playfully prove that you were listening. Either way, whatever it was that you were doing to make her ask if she had your attention needs to be put to the side for a second.
Set your phone down, mute the TV, whatever it takes. Whatever it is will still be there when the conversation is over. She might not be if she feels like she's taking second place to whatever you can't pull your eyes from.
14 "Thanks a lot."
Do not allow yourself to get confused by the difference between "thank you" and "thanks a lot." More often than not, the "thanks a lot" was sarcastic and if you respond with "you're welcome" you're going to be in some serious trouble.
In fact, unless you're giving a sincere apology, it is best to just not respond to this at all. No matter how much you wish to win whatever argument preceded this comment, you cannot and will not come out of this one successful. So it's better to just back off and let her have this one.
The reason I say this is because when she's reached the point of a sarcastic thank you, it means she is very close to her breaking point. She's become a ticking time bomb, and the dumbest move you could make is to continue to poke at her nerves. She will explode and you will regret it.
13 "Are you serious?!"
Please pay very close attention here: This is a rhetorical question! The statement you just made should not be made again and you should not openly state that you were serious. You know why? She didn't like it. It upset her further and responding to this question with a "yes" will only upset her even more. Unless, of course, you're trying to start a war. In that case, respond to all the rhetorical questions you'd like. However, if you're actively trying to avoid conflict then you need to take a moment and rethink whatever it was that you said.
Try and reword it to sound better than it came off, maybe. Even asking her exactly what it was that she didn't like about what you said would be better than outright saying "yes." It's better to try and point out a miscommunication than to stand your ground and lose your girl, right?
12 "Don't talk to me."
This is a tricky one because when a woman tells you not to talk to her, she could mean what she says or she could mean the complete opposite. The problem is that when you do follow her orders when she wants you to try and fix the problem, you come off as heartless and it escalates the situation even further.
If she actually doesn't want you to talk to her and you end up pushing the matter, once again you end up with an escalated situation. This is where body language comes into play. If she tells you not to talk to her, but she's still standing in front of her, she wants you to fix the situation. Talk to her calmly and like an adult. Apologize if need be. Do not continue arguing, though. If she says this and then starts walking away, you can usually give her a few minutes of personal space before you try and approach her again with a level head. Giving her a moment to calm down will allow you to read the situation much better.
11 "We need to talk..."
It's pretty common knowledge that these words phrased together do not usually mean good things are coming. In fact, this phrase is actually very well known for being the beginning of the end of a relationship. That being said, it's very important for these words to be taken extremely seriously. She may not be breaking up with you, but whatever she has to say is important.
Drop whatever it is that you may be doing and go into the conversation with a calm and open mind. Listen to her clearly and ask her to elaborate if she needs to. No matter what, you cannot lose your cool when these words come out of her mouth. That is a very dangerous move and will — without a doubt — end in disaster whether or not the conversation topic was even all the serious to begin with. Just hear her out and stay present in the conversation.
10 "Don't worry about it."
This is another phrase that can take place in a couple different scenarios. This one can actually be a very harmless phrase in the right situation, but it's also something that can be very harmful in the wrong one. Has she been asking you to do something for a while? Has she had to repeat herself to you multiple times? Did you neglect to do something you promised to do? If the answer is yes, then you're in serious trouble. She's so frustrated that she's taking the task upon herself or she's giving up on the idea of you doing whatever it was that you were supposed to do.
This is also another phrase that is best left with an apology. If you really want to try and make the situation right, take it upon yourself to do something without having to be asked. Make it up to her. But if you respond with something like "alright then" be prepared to be met with a fight that involves you being referred to as lazy and/or uncaring.
9 "We’ll talk about this later." or "I don't want to talk about it."
The most accurate definition of these phrases is: "I cannot continue this conversation because if I do, then I will do or say something that I might regret." Do not ever push a topic when these words have been spoken.
Once again, this signals a breaking point is being approached and if you decide to retort with "we're going to talk about it now," then the future of your relationship (even if it's just a friendship) or your well-being is unknown. Be prepared for an all out verbal attack if this is the route you choose to take. And if I were you, I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up getting slapped across the face either.
The bottom line is that these words typically mean pure anger and it's best to let her walk away to cool off before you revisit the subject. I say this for your own personal safety. Just let it go.
8 "Fine." or "It's fine."
One word responses from a woman typically do not mean good things. Especially when they only have one syllable, because that means she is so fed up with you that she feels like you deserve the minimum possible response.
Fine is only ever used to have the final word in an argument, to sarcastically tell you that she doesn't care, or after you've asked if everything was okay and she feels like you should already know that it's not. Either way, red flags should be going off in your head and you need to think very hard before you say or do anything in response.
There is no one response that will assure that you avoid an unnecessary argument. It all depends on the particular woman and the specific situation. Just know that proceeding with caution and keeping a level head is your best bet because the "F" word can mean devastating consequences.
Speaking of one worded replies, "whatever" is another universal sign that she is done with you in that moment. To say she is fed up would be an understatement because this likely came after you continued pushing or arguing way passed when you should have stopped.
There is this common misconception that every time we say this during an argument, it's because we don't have anymore ways to argue. It's thought that this is our way of admitting defeat. On rare occasions is this actually true. In fact, when we give you a "whatever," we have plenty more that we can say. However, we are trying to keep ourselves in check.
Keep pushing the subject and the beast will rear its ugly head. Nothing that she will say after that will be pleasant for you, so it's better to just let the situation defuse until which a time that both of you can approach it like adults.
6 "Wow." or "Mhm."
Remember how we talked about those one word responses and how they meant something very bad for you? Well, with that knowledge it should become obvious that when you are getting nothing but syllables, you're in very deep and very hot water; and you're sinking fast.
In her mind, you aren't even worth addressing with a full word or you said something so outrageous that justifying it with a legitimate response isn't even worth her time. She cannot fathom how stupid you are. And so on and so forth. Basically, you're in a world of trouble and crawling your way out of it is going to be extremely difficult.
If you want things to go smoothly for you from here, I recommend not responding to these phrases at all. As much as you may want to snap back at her, try and keep yourself under control and take a few steps back.
5 "What did you just say?" "Excuse me?" or "Sorry, what?"
Red alert! Whatever it was that you just said should not be repeated! Why? Because it made her angry and she is slowly starting to internally boil, but she's giving you the opportunity to rethink your choice of words. Take advantage of that opportunity and reply with something that is the complete opposite of whatever smart ass remark came out of your mouth.
Now obviously if you're in a regular conversation and she's asking you to repeat yourself because she actually didn't hear you, this does not apply. However, during a disagreement of any sort, tuck your tail between your legs, lower your head, and slowly back away until which a time that you end up in the dog house. You're on your way there already, so you might as well go willingly.
These phrases should instill a fear inside of you because there are hardly any phrases that truly emphasize when a woman is feeling infuriated like these do.
It's something. No matter what this is in response to, the answer is actually the complete opposite of nothing. So of course you would think that inquiring further might be a good idea, right? I hate to break it to you, but that's not always the case.
If she's mad at you, trying to pull a real response out of her will only hurt you in the long run. However, if she's actually bothered by something else and you don't say anything, she's going to accuse you of not caring enough to find out what's wrong.
The best way to approach this is with a genuine "are you sure?" If she insists that it is actually nothing, then at that point you can let it go. However, that will usually be followed with a "well... it's just..." and an explanation of what the nothing actually was. So just remember that the word nothing should not be taken literally and from there, the situation can be resolved easily.
3 "Do I look fat in this?" or "Does this look good on me?"
I'm going to be 100% honest with all of you right now and say that when most women ask for a guy's opinion about how she looks or how something looks on her, it's a trap. We're either fishing for compliments or we're testing you. Give the compliment. Give a genuine compliment and then drop it. Never ever tell a woman that she looks fat in something. Don't say "it looks good, but..." And absolutely never simply glance at her and say "looks good" or "looks alright to me."
Yes, she has likely already formed her own opinion about how she looks and is going to make a decision based off that rather than what you say. However, if you refuse to tell her that she looks beautiful or that the outfit looks amazing on her, you might as well be digging your own grave.
Be extra careful if you're dealing with a woman who has been known to try and start arguments over nothing. In those cases, any response can be turned into an argument. Trust me when I say that you do not look good to anyone who finds out that an argument occurred after she asked you how she looked.
2 "I'm done."
Contrary to most of the other entries on the list, when a woman tells you that she is done, she means it. The words "I'm done" are a clear cut and to the point warning that if a discussion continues, you're going to regret it. She has reached her limit and the next thing said on the matter will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
That being said, it is highly suggested that you allow the topic to be dropped. You two definitely need to go your separate ways and stay like that until the threat of your head being ripped off is no longer present. However, do not forget that you are in serious trouble. Pretending like everything is fine will only make the situation worse, so make sure that you do revisit the topic. But only revisit it in order to find out what can be done to rectify the situation. Otherwise you're going to find yourself in a never-ending loop of anger and needing space.
1 "Go Ahead." or "Do Whatever You Want."
These phrases are nothing more than dares and warnings. "I dare you to do what we're arguing about. Go ahead. See what happens." Absolutely nothing good can come out of doing it. So don't because she is obviously very against the idea and is pretty much willing to throw down if you actually follow through with it.
People have seen relationships end over the challenging of these warnings. This is dangerous territory and if you do, in fact, go ahead and do it, then you will be lucky if the worst you get is the cold shoulder and a few nights of sleeping on the couch.
Don't test a woman who gives you cryptic threats such as these. You cannot win. That is a promise. Again, the best thing you can do is just give in to what she wants. Unless you really want to end things with this woman, you can always go hang out with the guys another night. It's not worth it in the end.