by Men’s Fitness
It’s not necessarily the details, it’s the effort she puts into your relationship, into making herself look cute for you, and into making you happy.” If she’s standing there with an expectant look on her face…you can’t go wrong with a comment on how much you appreciate the work she puts into your relationship.
She walks in the door after a spa-and-shopping day, and asks you a loaded question: “Well…what do you think?”
It’s a trick! You start scanning her like she’s a Spot the Difference game. Did she get a haircut? A manicure? A new purse? Is she wearing a sexy dress? Heels? Red lipstick?
Admit it: Men aren’t exactly known for their ability to notice small (but critical!) details about women. But failing to pick up on what she considers to be a significant transformation—such as when she dyes her hair from black to red, or when she spends an hour putting on fake eyelashes—can land you in hot water. How can you avoid offending her without magically gaining observational superpowers?
It’s actually quite simple, according to psychologist and relationship expert Tracy Thomas, Ph.D. “What she really wants you to notice is the effort she puts into things,” Thomas says. “It’s not necessarily the details, it’s the effort she puts into your relationship, into making herself look cute for you, and into making you happy.” If she’s standing there with an expectant look on her face, Thomas says you can’t go wrong with a comment on how much you appreciate the work she puts into your relationship. “Just say something like, ‘I love how you always look amazing for me,’ or ‘Thank you for putting so much effort into our relationship,’” she suggests.
Of course, deploy that line too often and she’ll wise up that you’re perpetually clueless. So here are five details she does expect you to comment on.
When women buy lingerie for themselves, it’s fun, bright, and flirty. Think Victoria’s Secret and neon-colored bras, boy shorts with cheeky sayings, and stripes and polka dots everywhere. When women buy lingerie for men, it’s a lot sexier: Black, red, or some deep jewel tone, with more straps, hooks, and lace than is probably necessary. If she comes home carrying a bag from Agent Provocateur and wearing a teddy you’ll probably have to cut her out of, you’d better say something. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be very specific—a simple “Damn, you look fantastic,” will suffice.
A new hairstyle
A trip to the salon can completely change her appearance, so you shouldn’t be surprised to know that she expects you to notice her new hairstyle. But this can be tricky, especially if she just got a trim and a blowout, rather than going from brunette to blonde. If her hair looks fuller or shinier, Thomas says you can cover your bases by telling her that you love how she always makes her hair look amazing.
If she’s been spending a lot of time at the gym—even if you can’t really tell by looking at her—you’d be wise to note how great her body is looking, Thomas says. Not only is noticing her gym time part of noticing the overall effort she puts into looking good for you, complimenting her body will encourage her to keep it up. “It’s basic behavioral conditioning,” Thomas says. “You want to reinforce the behavior you like with compliments. Women do this—behavioral conditioning with their men—all the time.”
Men don’t notice shoes. For the most part, that’s fine. She doesn’t expect you to comment on her ballet flats or her luxury riding boots (though you may want to pay attention to what she’s wearing if you’re trying to gauge her personality), or the super-cute new espadrilles she bought last week. But if she’s sporting thigh-high boots or strappy stilettos, you can safely assume it’s not a choice based on comfort. Don’t worry about naming the shoes or getting technical. Just say, “I love those shoes on you,” and she’ll know you appreciate her effort, Thomas says.
When she cleans up
Is the bathroom suddenly spotless? Is the bed made? Are there weird-smelling candles lining the kitchen counter? If your apartment feels strangely hotel-like, guess what: She cleaned up. It’s basically the cheapest maid service ever, because all she wants is a simple thank you, according to Thomas. “Just say, ‘The house has been looking amazing—thank you,’ ” Thomas says. “It will show her that you recognize her efforts across the board.”
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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.