Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The "If You Want" Dance

Every couple has their squabbles, tiffs and all out blow outs. Often it starts over something ridiculously small -- like a miscommunication.

In one specific case, the simple, yet DEADLY phrase, "if you want," was the culprit.

While at happy hour with some college friends of mine yesterday, we all learned some rare, yet valuable insight into what men mean when they say this phrase to women, and in turn why women get upset.

A girl in our group came back to the table after an extended phone call with her boyfriend who, after she had asked "can I come over," had said, "you can come over IF YOU WANT." The girl took it as the guy meaning "I don't want you there," and was trying to be nice about, but then the girl was confused when later, Boyfriend got mad and said, "why aren't you coming over?" and buddy, it's just digging a hole from there.

So we put the question to the guys at the table. What do you all mean when you say "if you want"?

We, the women, attest that we've already put ourselves out there by asking in the first place, now it's your turn to respond. The "if you want" response makes us feel like we have to say 'no' so we're not crazy, clingy girlfriend. We want you to want us there. More importantly, we want you to say, "I would be happy to have you come over." There. Done. Clean, cut message delivered. Not looking for Shakespeare, just a 'yes' or 'no.'

The guys at our table broke it down. We, the men, do not care either way if you come over or not. Sure, it's fine if you do, but we're trying to make you happy here by giving you the option of choosing for yourself. And how do we know that you all aren't playing games with us by making us give in to you? We're not going to give in. Then you get all emotional and try to analyze the deep alternative meaning of our words. We don't give it a second thought.

So, I don't know about you, but that sounds WAY more convoluted than how the women had it. Perhaps I'm biased and it's true, being a woman I really can only related to one side of the argument, but also as someone who has AGONIZED over what "if you want" meant, I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at hearing this (okay, I shrieked something more like "Wha?! Wha?! What!!").

To me, it seems simple. Women say, "can I come over?" meaning "can I come over," your turn, fellas, to say, "yes, please do" or "no, not tonight." It would save so much time and tears. Perhaps even stop a nuclear war. Am I right here?

Readers, where do you stand in the "if you want" dance?


Jess said...

Bahahah yes I agree with you 100%. I just want an answer...none of this "if you want" crap!

Brandon said...

When I say "if you want" it means "I don't want you to"