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When asked to rate the qualities they admire most, women often claim to value honesty above all else. This is, of course, rather ironic since honesty is the trait they least tolerate in men. Admitting that, yeah, now that she’s mentioned it, she does look kind of chubby in that dress, will not win a man praise for his integrity. Most likely it will simply lead to a trip to the ER to have a size 8 stiletto removed from the side of his neck. Men learn—often through painful experience—how to read between the lines.

Women, on the other hand, tend to have an intuitive understanding of the need to speak in code. They recognize that nothing is more detrimental to a relationship than being overly truthful. Watch them when they are talking to members of their own sex and you’ll see an exhibit of tactful tongue-biting that would be the envy of a UN diplomat. Many women can barely tolerate one another as it is; if they were to tell each other what they really thought (“Which dog groomer styled your hair?”) it would be the end of civilization as we know it.

With a little practice, though, anyone can learn to translate what is said into what is really meant. Here are twenty-five examples to get you started:

“I don’t kiss up to anybody.” — Translation: I’m a tactless jerk.

“I don’t care what anyone thinks.” — Translation: I’m deeply insecure and constantly worry about what everyone thinks of me.

“It’s not you, it’s me.” — Translation: Let’s not kid ourselves, you’re definitely the reason we’re breaking up.

“I’m just crazy like that.” — Translation: I’m so clueless that I think other people are actually impressed by my goofy behavior.

“I have to learn for myself.” — Translation: I’m an idiot.

“What do you do for a living?” — Translation: What socio-economic category can I place you in so that I may judge your value as a human being.

“Money isn’t everything.” — Translation: I’ve come to the realization that I will be broke for the rest of my life.

“We need to talk about our relationship.” (Spoken by a woman) — Translation: We need to talk about what you’re doing wrong.

“Fine, let’s talk.” (Coming from a man) — Translation: Please, please, let’s get this talking stuff over with before SportsCenter comes on.

“Deep down, he’s really a good kid” — Translation: I can’t bring myself to admit my kid is a hellion.

“I’m just not good at taking tests.” — Translation: I’m too lazy to actually study.

“I prefer a guy with a sense of humor” — Translation: I prefer a guy who can make me laugh as long as he is also rich and good-looking.

“Do I look fat in these pants?” — Translation: Your verbal reinforcement that I’m thin enough is the only thing keeping my self-esteem out of the toilet.

“Do you think she’s pretty?” — Translation: Are you dumb enough to admit you find her more attractive than you do me?

“It was really nice meeting you.” — Translation: Five minutes from now I won’t even remember your name.

“Sure, you can call me sometime.” — Translation: I will be changing my phone number tomorrow.

“You look great! Have you been doing something different? — Translation: I forgot how terrible you looked the last time I saw you.

“I’m know I’m high-maintenance” —Translation: I’m not going to apologize for being obnoxiously impossible to please.

“I’m always honest. If you don’t want the truth, don’t ask me.” — I will say anything I want and if it hurts your feelings, you’re the one with the problem.

“You’re not spending enough time with me” — Translation: You’re spending too much time at work

“You don’t make enough money” — Translation: You’re not spending enough time at work.

“What’s wrong?” (Coming from a man) —Translation: What did I do wrong this time?

“Nothing.” (Coming from a woman) — Translation: I’m too angry to tell you.

“What are you thinking” (Coming from a woman) — Translation: What are you thinking?

“Nothing.” (Coming from a man) — Translation: My mind is—as usual—a complete blank.

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