resolving miscommunication: “nothing” guy edition

Craig sent me this yesterday:

oh man.  women will totally do this. 

fortunately, dear dudes, the solution is really simple.

tell her what you’re actually thinking.  no matter how dumb, no matter if she won’t understand your devastation over the Denver Broncos this season, no matter if you’re embarrassed because you’re pretty sure you put yesterday’s underwear back on after your shower.


give her a “nothing” and she’ll take a “omg, he’s unhappy in our relationship!  what other imaginary clues can i come up with to convince myself i’m right?  oh yeah, he didn’t get my door for me!  he doesn’t love me anymore!”

don’t think she won’t.

ladies, side note, when you ask what’s wrong and a guy says “nothing”, 9 out of 9.3 times, he actually means “nothing”.  it’s totally different than your “nothing”.

just tell her the truth regardless of importance or lack thereof.

never let her come to her own conclusions.  because then you’re on damage control.  and i know how much you love that. *sarcastic font*

it is perfectly fine to retreat into your own head for a while.  everyone needs that time.  but if she asks you if something is wrong, come back out long enough to put her at ease.  smile.  tell her it’s stupid.  or…if there is actually something of importance on your mind (having to do with her or not), tell her.  obviously her radar has already gone off, so may as well take the opportunity to have some conversation.

but for God sake, do not leave her hanging.  bad man.  no.  no.

have you ever had a girl come to the wrong conclusion and you don’t even know how she possibly got there?

ladies, fess up.  have you done this?


36 comments on “resolving miscommunication: “nothing” guy edition

  1. Rachel Felts says:

    Absolutely! That pretty much sums up the mind of a lady (at least this lady). We torture ourselves with what ifs, and on a good day will get to a point where we can start to examine the situation rationally and resolve not to worry, but that is the natural course of our thought process. And it’s awful to have to live like that all the time, so help us out once in a while and be straight with us.

  2. thekateway says:

    maybe if us female types would do a little less of playing the “I’m going to say ‘nothing’ but mean that my world is falling apart and my boyfriend/fiance/husband/cab driver will ask if we really cares” game…then we wouldn’t think that that is the game being played WITH us when we aren’t the ones playing it, ourselves…

    or your thing too…either one works

  3. visitingmissouri says:

    I recognize this one. It takes a fight to have me confess I was actually setting up a formation for my soccer video game while she had the impression I was deep in thought and upset. Because I feel she’ll be weirded out be hearing the truth, saying ‘nothing’ is a very manly cover up. I’m not saying a good one.

  4. ThatGuyKC says:

    I’ve totally been here.

    While I agree that sometimes men need to clue in their ladies to what’s going on in our heads, most of the time it really is “nothing”.

    This is a must watch for BOTH men and women. Mark Gungor on the difference between men’s and women’s brains.

  5. Eric says:

    “Nothing” is such a classic non-answer.

    The difference is that, when a woman says it, she actually WANTS to talk about it, hopes the man will keep urging her to do so, and gets upset if he doesn’t.

    But when a man says it, he does NOT want to talk about it, period. And it’s usually NOT a good idea to pursue the issue any further ladies, honest.

    • i don’t know about that. are you saying it’s okay for a guy to say nothing, when it actually is something and the girl should just back off?

    • Bethany says:

      Stereotype. When I say “nothing,” it means I don’t want to talk about it. Plan and simple. Maybe I’ll want to talk about it later. Maybe it’ll still bug me while I’m not talking about it. But “nothing” means that, for whatever reason, I’m not ready to talk about it right now–or that I know it’s just going to blow over in a few hours and I won’t care anymore.

  6. Oh man, I hate it when the motorcycle won’t start.

  7. renxkyoko says:

    Men are from Mars….. be thankful that women are interested to know what you’re thinking. When she stops asking, and gets irritated when you ask her what she’s thinking, you have something bad coming to you.

    Cheers from California.

  8. “….never let her come to her own conclusions. because then you’re on damage control….” That nugget of wisdom is worth the price of subscribing to this blog….Great Stuff for real!!!

  9. I have never done this before.
    Totally just kidding. Wow… I laughed so hard when I read this. It is SO true. Communication is so important; for all parties involved.

  10. Chris says:

    There’s a multi-tasking factor here too. If I’m deep in thought, and suddenly asked what I’m thinking, it takes actual mental effort to put my thinking on hold, and try not to lose any results-in-progress, while trying to formulate words to describe it.

    I kinda suspect that women are not like that.

    Would an “ask me later” work? That’s more honest than “nothing.”

  11. kristinherdy says:

    I had massive anxiety over “I just don’t want to talk about it over the phone” for the hours it took me to get to see him in person. Then, the answer I finally coaxed out of him was — his phone was dying and he didn’t have a charger. gah.

  12. Eh, for me this is just another heap of “Wow, I guess I must not be a man, then?”

    I do actually need to retreat into my head, quite a lot in fact (introvert), but the rest, I sound more like the woman in this scenario.

    I do think about nothing quite a lot, but generally I will follow that with some description of the type of “nothing” it is (e.g. “just bothered about…” or “just wondering what to have for dinner tomorrow” or whatever non-significant piece of nonsense it is), precisely because when someone else says “nothing”, I immediately thing it’s Something. I am far too imaginative for my own good, and will come up with many wild theories, more and more portentous the more time I am given to ponder your “nothing”. Actually, on the “fess up” question, not only have there been times where I don’t know how she got there, there have been times when I’ve been the “woman” and, in the aftermath, I’m not even sure how I got there! (That makes for a very tricky conversation to clear things up later!)

    This is the video I thought of immediately (relevant part is from about 6:50 until the end):

  13. 13dice says:

    Love your post.. What an idea.. when guys are with girls
    a. Guys should open up and say whatever is bothering them (Be an open book, really?)
    b. Guys should not use the word “nothing” .. it is supposed to mean something in a gal’s dictionary (I always keep wondering when a gal says nothing to me.. LOL .. another blog please)
    c. Smile and forget the world’s problems [your lady has a lot of things to chat about.. listen up.. your problems are anyway not important :)]

  14. Mandie Marie says:

    I’ve told other women this and they don’t believe me. If I have learned anything from having older brothers and a dad who are by every part of the definition, dudes, it is that they can think about nothing. In our family we call it idling.

    Ladies, it’s a thing. Just ask my dad.

    • ThatGuyKC says:

      Very wise, Mandie.

      My wife is well acquainted with my “nothing box” and makes sure I close it up and focus on her before talking about important stuff.

      I can’t even watch tv and listen to her at the same time.

      • Bethany says:

        I don’t think anyone, male or female, can really watch TV and really listen to another person at the same time. Multi-tasking is a myth, and people who try to interrupt my TV shows are annoying. That’s what commercials are for.

  15. This is one of my dad’s favorite jokes. Does this mean you fall into the category of liking “dad jokes” Sharideth?

  16. itchemeyer says:

    got here off myforcedsmile. Love the picture and the post!

  17. Great post. If there was more open-ness and chat in relationships then ‘nothing’ could truly mean ‘nothing’. I frequently have times when my head is pleasantly empty and it annoys the cr*p out of me when someone asks “Penny for them…?” and then tells me I can’t be thinking of nothing when I reply.
    Yes! Yes I can! Empty-headedness be a skill that the asker doesn’t possess themselves but I enjoy my ‘nothing’ time, so quit interrupting it! If I have an issue I’ll tell you and we can discuss it as much as you like. Until then, leave me to my ‘nothing’ time ‘cos it’s chilling me out no end!!

  18. […] Resolving Miscommunication: “Nothing” Guy Edition by Sharideth Smith. Guys, when you say nothing, you probably do mean nothing. But girls assume that nothing has everything to do with them. So maybe just take a minute and say what is bothering you instead of saying nothing. […]

  19. Ben says:

    I like this perspective on things. Thanks for the post.


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