Why don't girls just say what they mean? It's an age-old question, and here are some perspectives on that - from a woman.
1. They’re saying what they want to mean.
You: I’m so sorry honey, I have to work late. We’ll have to reschedule our dinner.
Girl: Oh, that’s fine! No problem.
If later you find out that she was upset, no need to go dramatic with the typical “Ah, Women! I’ll never understand them!” usually accompanied by Italian-looking hand gestures. Even worse would be to accuse her (even in your mind) of lying. If anything, it is a form of white lie—but to herself too. And it’s justified, sometimes, because everyone uses this self-change tool of acting how you want to feel. In this case, she felt upset, but her mind said, “Don’t stress; he is a busy guy and it’s not like you’d want him to be the kind of guy who doesn’t have a job and so never has to cancel plans, right?” She acts on her reason, hoping that her emotions follow suit.
Sometimes they do; have you ever read those psychological studies that have participants force themselves to smile every so often, and then record their happiness level? Turns out they were happier than the control group who acted according to how they were feeling. The “fake” smiling actually made them happier, eliciting, I imagine, real smiles.
2. They’re being normal conversationalists.
For example, you know those subjects that shouldn’t be brought up at the beginning of a relationship? Well, from my conversations with people of my gender about their conversations with people of your gender, it appears that you forget sometimes. Because in order to save a conversation from an awkward topic or an inappropriately early revelation of information, girls are forced to say things that they really don’t mean. Another discrepancy between truth and what comes out of a girl’s mouth? I guess so, but let’s look at it as a time lag between the two.
You see, the conversation was taking you two where you shouldn’t go yet. Yet. Even if you don’t ever get there, she just salvaged the option to remain friends because after knowing too much too soon about a person, that’s hard. And if you do get to that place, then the time lag is resolved and you have that small conversational lie to thank for getting you there.
3. They’re trying to read your mind.
Have you noticed that neither #1 nor #2 need to be gender-specific? That’s right, because you don’t say what you mean either! Girls don’t say what they mean because they’re attempting to respond to what they think you mean by what you say. They are trying to be mind-readers, a dangerous aspiration.
This is easily illustrated if we hark back to elementary school:
Girl: Billy says he likes me but I think he’s just being nice.
Girl’s friend: Billy IS the nicest boy in all the 2nd grade.
Girl: I’m going to tell him I hate his guts.
Girl’s friend: [hug] You’re so nice!
Billy, after school that day: :( ???
That is what happens if girls read minds wrong. The story very well could have ended like this:
Billy, after school that day: :) Whew!!
That ending is why we can’t write off mind-reading altogether, as easy as it would be to conclude, “Just say what you mean, woman!”
Written by our guest blogger, Monica Duffell.