- “I’m fine.” This translated means, “I’m obviously not fine, I’m very upset. It might be at you, it might not, but I’m not going to tell you so you’re going to have to guess. If you don’t try to find out what’s wrong then I’ll think you’re insensitive. If you keep asking me, I’ll get aggravated, so please read my mind.”
- “Does this look OK?” You’re supposed to say it looks amazing, fantastic and sexy. Anything less than this is unacceptable, and God help you if you say, “Yes, it looks fine.” If you say this, you’re likely to get the snapped response, “Oh, just fine then?”…and then we’ll get changed, probably more than once.
- “Do you like this one, or this one?” We’ll have already decided which one we want and it’s up to you to give the right answer. You need to look for subtle signs, a slight emphasis in the voice, a look, one of the items being brought to your attention just a little bit more forcefully. At the end of the day it won’t really matter because if you choose the one we originally wanted we’ll probably change our minds anyway, and if you choose the other one we’ll probably look exasperated at your lack of taste and still choose the one we originally wanted. We just like to feel that you’re getting involved.
- “Don’t get me anything for my birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s Day.” Of course we want something. Not only that, but it had better be thoughtful, personal and on time, or else.
- “No, we won’t get each other anything for Christmas.” Er, we probably will, to be honest. We’ll feel bad at the last minute, or see something that we think you’ll really like, or get you an extra at the same time as we’re buying you something from the kids. BUT, if you get us something when we haven’t got you anything, you’ll make us feel really bad and you’ll probably be in the doghouse. Or we’ll cry because you’ve made us feel guilty, inadequate and thoughtless. Again, it’s a risk you’re going to have to take, ‘cos we’re not going to tell you.
- “I’ve got a headache.” Uh-oh, that old chestnut. What have you done or not done? Well until you work it out, you know what you won’t be doing so you’d better get thinking ‘cos we won’t tell you and no doubt the real reason will be thrown into a completely unrelated conversation sometime in the near future.
- And then, of course, there are all the things we DON’T say that you have to be aware of. Sometimes stuff will bother us, sometimes it won’t. Sometimes we’ll say something, sometimes we won’t. Sometimes we’ll cry just ‘cos we feel like it, sometimes we won’t.
Keeps you on your toes though, doesn’t it?