What to Read Next

What she really means

Helen Shepherd
Yahoo Lifestyle
30 January 2013

So, Valentine’s Day is here again, and women across the country will be uttering those famous words, “Oh I don’t want a present!”

But men, be warned, take that request literally and you risk being in the doghouse.

Body language and behaviour expert, Judi James, is on hand to explain…





Words are not enough
…for women, that is. “Words are just part of women’s communication process and we’ll often use them in context, adding real meaning with body language or tone of voice,” says Judi. “Men, however, tend to use words in a ‘say it straight or you’ll get it crooked’ fashion – which is why they’re often accused of being tactless or blunt.”

No questions asked

So if your other half has said she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, how can you figure out what’s really going on in her head?

[Related: Why you shouldn't just show your love on Valentine's Day]

“What women often mean when we say we don’t want a gift or treat is that we didn’t want to be asked,” explains Judi. “Asking shows a lack of understanding of our character and our emotions. If we have to agree to a gift and even tell you what we want, that gift will instantly become unromantic and meaningless. For women, gifts are a measure of understanding and effort on a guy’s behalf.”

It’s the thought that counts
Judi suggests that while we might say we don't want a fuss, we do want the guy to want to make one. Confusing, huh!  “We want a man to be able to evaluate our words versus our true feelings, just like when we say we’re ‘fine’, when our body language and vocal tone clearly signal that we’re not.”

How to get it just right

So can’t you just come out and ask what she means? “Challenging a woman is never a good idea here,” warns Judi. “Then you’re calling her bluff on the incongruent signalling, or worse, accusing her of lying. Better to plan a surprise which you deliver with the line ‘I know you said you didn’t want anything but I wanted to let you know how I feel about you’. Focus on the outgoing aspect of the gifting process – that you wanted to give it, rather than the fact that she wanted to receive it. Never make her feel greedy.”

[Related: Delicious Valentine's Day dinner recipes that you can whip up in just 15 minutes]

Do some detective work

But how do you go about deciding how much fuss to make? If you’re going to bring up the subject of the gift, Judi recommends talking to your partner face to face so you can check out her vocal tone and body language. “If she looks or sounds faintly annoyed (tight lips, averted gaze, even a dismissive shrug), then she’s indicating you were wrong to ask, but not wrong to get something. If she laughs and sounds too bright and breezy, she’s being modest. Look for an over-stretched smile and lots of eye contact plus some extravagant gesticulation.

“If you manage to make your offer while the gift is in view, i.e. you’re both looking in the jewellery shop window, only focus on her eye gaze. If she wants something she’ll gaze at it longingly despite denying the fact she wants it, or she may look away but then return her gaze to the gift after a pause.”

And if you’re still unsure? Remember it’s the gesture that is important, so buy tickets to a concert or gig you know she wants to see, or for a pretty fail-safe option that shows you care and doesn’t cost the earth, cook her favourite dinner.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Surprising Rule Helps People In Credit Card Debt

This industry-sponsored rule helps protect people with massive credit card debt.

“It works. Officers were at my home in minutes."

Built by the leading engineers in the country with revolutionary wireless technology... Engineered to make your home feel like a fortress...

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Dealing With Pregnancy is Hard Enough. Getting Heartburn While Pregnant is a Pain. Learn What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Reverse Mortgage?

More Americans are accessing their home equity to support their retirement years. Speak with a professional and see what you may qualify for today.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Reconnect With Your High School Friends

Classmates® has the largest directory of high school class lists. Remember the good times and reconnect to create new memories.

Stop Paying Too Much For Your Prescriptions.

Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies. GoodRx finds the lowest prices and discounts. Compare prices, print free coupons & save up to 80%.

10 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.