She tells you she’ll accompany you to a dinner party, and she seems to really want to. Later on, though, she gets angry at you for having made her go. Sounds kinda familiar?
Men and women are very distinct creatures. Though every person and situation is different, people don’t always mean what they say (except when it comes to sexual consent: no always means no). But when navigating the dating world and trying to understand what she really means, you are sometimes better off reading between the lines.
But don’t get disheartened just yet. The following cheat sheet with help you bridge the gap between what she means and what she says. From asking her out to being in a relationship to breaking up, the list below will equip you with all you need to know to understand what she might really be trying to tell you.
The Pursuit Phase
She says: “I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”
What she means: I am not attracted to you, or I don’t feel enough chemistry to date you — but I do like you as friend.
Why she does this: She probably does want to remain friends, but doesn’t want to hurt your feelings by admitting that she doesn’t feel the same attraction for you.
What you should do: Don’t take it personal; she just doesn’t feel the same chemistry as you do. Take the hint and work on being friends with her, if that’s what you want.
She says: “I’m just so busy with work right now.”
What she means: I am not interested in fitting you into my schedule.
Why she does this: She wants to let you down easy. Instead of being blunt, she is hoping you’ll just get the picture.
What you should do: When a woman likes a man, she will always find time for him — no matter what her schedule is like. So don’t kid yourself into thinking that the situation might change. Instead, move on right away.
She says: “Are you seeing anyone right now?”
What she means: I might like to submit an application for the position of your girlfriend.
Why she does this: She wants to make sure she is not wasting her precious flirting energy on a man who is already spoken for.
What you should do: Answer honestly, and then hit her up for her phone number.
The Dating Phase
She says: “Do you really want to go to that restaurant/movie/dinner party?”
What she means: I really don’t want to go to.
Why she does this: She doesn’t want to go, but she doesn’t want to appear stubborn either. She is probably hoping you’ll sense her hesitation and come up with an alternate plan that pleases her.
What you should do: If you have your heart set on going to that particular destination, stick to your guns. Otherwise, you might want to switch up in order to please her. Remember this: If you keep her happy, she’ll keep you happy.
She says: “You have a knack for dealing with kids. They really seem to respond to you.”
What she means: I am contemplating eventually having children with you and am wondering where you stand in that department.
Why she does this: An indirect question is her way of feeling you out without freaking you out.
What you should do: Don’t freak out. She is probably thinking very distantly into the future (yes, women do this). If, however, you absolutely positively know that you never want kids, this would be a good time to say it.
She says: “Where is this relationship going?”
What she means: I would like us to graduate to a more serious, exclusive relationship.
Why she does this: She wants you to be the one to suggest exclusivity.
What you should do: This depends on whether or not you actually want exclusivity. If so, suggest it. If not, let her know that you care about her, but are not interested in being exclusive right now.
She says: “I feel so close to you right now. You know me so well.”
What she means: I am starting to feel the l-word, but I don’t want to be the first to say it.
Why she does this: It’s a scary thing to be the first to say “I love you.” It’s much easier for her to hint and hope that you’ll take the plunge first.
What you should do: Do not — under any circumstances — say the l-word if you don’t mean it. If you do feel it, then go ahead; otherwise, don’t say anything. In the long run, you’ll be happy not to get entangled in such a lie.
She says: “I feel like our relationship is stuck in a routine right now.”
What she means: I want you to be more romantic and spontaneous, and surprise me more. I need you to pay more attention to my needs.
Why she does this: She doesn’t want to hurt your feelings and admit that you are, in part, the cause of the rut.
What you should do: You don’t need to change your personality entirely, but it wouldn’t kill you to surprise her every once in a while. Call her out of the blue and tell her you’re taking her for dinner, go on a spontaneous weekend away, or just surprise her with her favorite chocolates.
She says: “A man was flirting with me all night.”
What she means: Does it make you jealous?
Why she does this: She wants you to know that she’s a hot commodity and that other men are interested in her. She wants you to appreciate what you have.
What you should do: Don’t respond to it in a way she’ll expect, like by getting angry or jealous. Instead, pay her a compliment — she’s definitely fishing for it. Don’t get all insane with jealousy; just let her know what she means to you, or else she’ll be playing this card every so often to set you straight.
She says: “Do you get along well with your mother?”
What she means: Are you a family man?
Why she does this: A man who gets along with his mother tends to be more loyal, sensitive and devoted — at least that’s the stereotype that a lot of women buy into.
What you should do: Talk about how close you and your mother are; you could even tell a couple of stories. Just enough to affirm that yes, you get along with her.
The Breakup Phase
She says: “I’m just not ready to make a commitment.”
What she means: I’m not ready to commit to you, and may never be.
Why she does this: She uses this tactic to soften the blow; nine times out of 10, this means that she doesn’t see a future with you… ever.
What you should do: Don’t stick around until she’s ready to make a commitment. Chances are, when she’s finally ready, it won’t be with you.
She says: “I think we should stay friends.”
What she means: I am trying to cut you out of my life gradually.
Why she does this: She thinks it would be easier to gradually stop seeing you instead of going cold turkey. She may even want to keep you around as a backup.
What you should do: Stay friends if you like. But don’t let yourself become the backup guy. If she wants to get back together down the line, ask yourself if she’s only doing it because she hasn’t found anyone else.
Read Between The Female Lines
By now, you should know that a woman’s words can be very loaded. Unlike a man, she often uses hints and insinuations to steer you in her direction. Her way isn’t necessarily better or worse than yours — just different.