Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Female tactics frustrate guys, no?

We drive them nuts, ladies, for good and for bad. Guys, feel free to comment on the following items:

1. You've exchanged e-mail addresses with a female acquaintance, whom you've met offline first, who interests you romantically, but you don't know how she feels about you. You begin corresponding with each other. When she gets the drift that you "like her like her," she drops your friendship like a hot potato and avoids you at church, at work, or wherever you two are usually in the same room. This behavior frustrates you and boggles your mind. No?

2. She's so giggly and smiley whenever you talk, but she won't go out with you. What's up with that?

3. You ask her what's wrong or why she's angry, and she refuses to tell you. She claims she's fine and that there's nothing wrong. What the ... ?

4. She's so giggly and smiley around you, but then ... when you think about it, she's the same way when she's around Mike, Steve, and Joe. Hrm ... what's going on?

Translation or tips or thoughts from a female:

1. Problem here is each person's trying to send signals to each other rather than talking about the subject. Yeah, it's really cool and "spooky" when you "get" each other and what the other person's trying to say, without having to spell it out, but this attempt at communication is only cool when it works out. It's awkward when the friendship or relationship falls apart.
The guy didn't ask her out, but the girl sensed that he wanted to, got freaked out by the idea (for whatever reason), and tried to head that bull off at the pass. But instead of nicely saying, "Man X, my friend, I sense that you have interest in me beyond what I'm willing to respond to, and I know that this can only hurt your feelings. But I respect you too much as a person to play games and to be mysterious. If you still want to talk, great. If you would rather not be friends, I understand."
My questions for the guys---Was this girl being too skittish? Should she have waited till the guy actually asked her out? Would you rather a girl tell you straight out, or would you rather her give you hints?

2. Here are possible explanations:
a. She likes you as a friend and person and enjoys talking with you. She enjoys the attention. She does not realize you want to date her (unless you've already asked).
b. She likes you as a friend and person and enjoys talking with you. She enjoys the attention. She knows you want to date her (you may have already asked), and she doesn't want you to be hurt but she cares more about getting the attention.
c. She's that way around most or all guys and you just haven't observed it yet.
d. She's a giggly and smiley girl. You just haven't noticed that she's that way around her gal pals as well.

3. When a woman says she is "Fine" and this is said between clenched teeth, she is not fine. She's angry. When she says it with red eyes or with visible tears, she's not fine; she's upset (sad, frustrated, stressed, whatever). When she says she's fine but she seems preoccupied, she's probably doing OK really---she's just got something on her mind that's more important to her at the moment than assessing her own mood or emotions. Perhaps she's just quiet at the time you ask; maybe she's enjoying her own thoughts, just neutral. If she says, "Oh, yeah, I'm fine; don't worry," and smiles, then chances are that she really is fine. It's all in the facial expression, tone of voice, and body language, not necessarily in the words themselves.
Close female friends often can sense each other's moods and emotions and if they've been friends long enough, know a range of possible explanations for the other's mood. They know when to let the other person alone or when to speak words of comfort or to perform a kind act. This sense is not perfect, of course.
Women have dreams of men treating them as their own gal pals and female relatives do...as far as sensing the women's emotions and needs and acting accordingly, without the women having to report their current status and needs aloud. Yes, quite often this desired result really is fantastical. Most men aren't wired to intuit things about people. There are exceptions. And, true, men can learn their own women's signals over a period of time, if they apply themselves to this sort of learning.
Guys, thoughts?

4. a. She likes a lot of male attention.
b. She likes all four of you.
c. She likes attention period.
d. She's giggly and smiley with all people. She's just got that kind of personality.
e. She's up to no good.

* Isolated incidents aren't always good indicators of the person's interest in you. Watch for repeated behaviors. Notice the other factors in the environment when the behavior occurs.
* It's OK to ask around about a girl's character, but be discreet. Ask those you trust, those who will not spread rumors like "My pal Joe really likes Heather; pass it on!"
* What women want and what reality is often differ. Know where you draw the line---what you will and won't do to please a woman, which kinds of expectations from women are realistic and which are outlandish.
* You won't always get your assessment of a woman's motivations right. She may not realize that she is being deceptive or hurtful. If you can stand being around her and still talking to her, after you've been deceived or hurt, gentle confrontation may benefit both of you. "You know, it really hurt when ... ." is a good way to phrase this. Sometimes it's better not to know her motivations behind everything she said or did in your past together; knowing such info. might hurt you further rather than teach you something. In that case, pray that the Holy Spirit convicts her of what she did wrong so that she doesn't repeat those deceptive or hurtful behaviors. You learn what you can from what you did do or should have done. If you never dated but have experienced awkwardness and you feel that the acquaintance or friendship is worth maintaining, push past the weirdness, keep offering grace, and love her as Christ does. It is possible to remain friends. (Remember the hard times with your guy friends. No, punching the girl won't get you the same results as it did to punch Jeff or Hank. But you did what you had to do to keep the friendship.)

Correct me where I'm wrong, folks. I'm sure I've missed something or wrongly concluded something somewhere. But there's truth in there too.



Nate said...

Bah. You girls ain't hard to figure.

Elena said...

Nate, I'm convinced you have a special female behavior translation chip imbedded somewhere in your cerebral cortex. ;)

Erik said...

Girls arent too hard to figure out if you take a step back and take an honest look. The problem comes when you have your emotions invested in a girl, then you want to believe things that may well be contrary to truth.

As to #1 and her being skittish or should she wait? well that is up to her I guess. But if she is asked out and she says no then saying no in a kind but firm "not now not ever" We guys dont take hints and women shouldnt try to communicate to us using them.

Unknown said...

would have been very helpful 3 years ago. still, quite informative. many thanks.

about the hints...amen! sometimes i feel like i'm supposed to be a mind reader.

Elena said...

casba, what happened three years ago?

Yes, if Gal X doesn't ever want to be willing to date Guy Y, we need to communicate that. Trouble comes when Gal X wants to keep her options open or is willing to let romantic feelings for Guy Y develop but doesn't have them yet. She can be confused herself or not trust her own assessment of her feelings. We are too complex even for ourselves at times. *sigh*

Unknown said...

three years ago i started dating the woman who is now my wife. obviously, things went pretty well! but i sure could have used this info when everything was getting started.