Dating

15 surprising things that are pissing her off

Relationship advice: We found the specific things you do and say that drive her nuts.

15 surprising things that are pissing her off

When you’re in a relationship—be it new, long term, long distance—you’re bound to piss her off from time to time. Granted, she’s going to irritate you, too, but for the sake of this story, let’s focus on the things you say and do that are triggering a landslide of frustration. 

We get it, it's complicated. Women send mixed signals all the time, and you have no idea you’re ticking her off—until it’s too late. To make sure you stop making the same mistakes day after day, we enlisted the help of Adam LoDolce, The Dating Confidence Coach, and Judith Wright, relationship counselor and author of The Heart of the FightRead on for 15 common missteps to avoid. 

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When You Give Her Advice

You’re having dinner, and she tells you about a problem with her boss. You see the obvious solution and tell her what it is, but somehow now she’s mad at you. You may be trying to help solve her problem, but she actually just wants you to listen, Wright says. Women talk to sort out their problems (we know, you’re shocked), so if she’s just looking to be heard or understood, she may perceive your problem-solving prowess as a way to dismiss her. The fix? Wright suggests: “Quickly assess her needs by literally asking, ‘Do you want my help solving this or do you just want me to listen?’” If she just wants to talk, kick back and relax. No troubleshooting necessary.

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When You Tell Her to Calm Down

Get ready for the mother of all freak outs. Have you ever muttered these words and gotten a favorable, well-tempered response? If you have, marry her. “‘Just chill’ easily translates to ‘You are an out-of-control, emotional mess, and you should stop being so hysterical,’” Wright says. Instead of provoking her, let her express how she feels, even if you’re super uncomfortable. Actually, tell her you’re uncomfortable and unsure of how to handle it when she’s upset or angry. “A strong relationship means feelings can surface and be worked through,” Wright says. That doesn’t give her a free pass to dump all her negative feelings on you, but the more the two of you can express your feelings, the closer you can become, and the fewer meltdowns you'll have to endure. 

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When You Tell Her Nothing's Wrong

Say you had a huge setback at work and you’re super frustrated. Shrugging it off and telling her everything’s fine is like saying the opposite. “As a man, you may have been trained that talking about problems is a sign of weakness, but it’s critical for a strong relationship,” Wright says. Even if you’re trying to protect her, shutting her out makes her feel unvalued. Let her in and talk through the problem. You may be surprised to find it’s relieving to have someone on your side when things get difficult. 

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When You Apologize Too Much

“Sometime's when guys are really attracted to a woman, they're constantly apologizing for even the smallest things,” says LoDolce. “If you lightly bump into her, it's not a big deal, save your breath.” Likewise, if you’re in a relationship and you slip up, apologizing a dozen times isn’t the answer. It’s all about balance; never apologizing and over-apologizing are incredibly infuriating. Say it once, mean it, and move on. 

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When You Talk About Yourself Too Much

You’re on a first date. You might be nervous or excited so you keep going on and on about yourself and things seem to be going great. She’s not interjecting or disagreeing, but this isn’t great. This is practically an episode of 60 Minutes. Yes, you need to talk about yourself and let her get to know you, but this isn’t an interview. You need to ask her questions and get to know her, too. “If she’s quiet, don’t assume things are going well,” Wright says. “She may not assert herself the way you do.” Remind yourself (if you’re a chronic over-talker) to say, ‘Tell me about you.’ 

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When You Leave The Seat Up

“Household fights are common in relationships–whether it’s leaving things a mess, putting down the toilet seat, or not doing your share of work around the house,” Wright says. “They seem like ridiculous things to get in a fight over, but they are really just surface triggers for deeper conflicts.” If it drives her stark-raving mad when you leave the cap off the toothpaste and you do it every morning, she’s going to feel like you’re ignoring what matters to her. Wright’s suggestion: Don’t let these little things become points for nagging. Make a plan together. What are your standards for the house? Who handles what and when? By engaging in the conversation together, both of your needs are met.   

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When Your Sheets Are Dirty

"If your sheets are dirty, she's probably imagining other women in the same bed," LoDolce says. That doesn’t bode well for you. Also, it’s disgusting. For women, hygiene and grooming are among some of the biggest turn offs in a guy. Grow up and wash your sheets. 

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When Your Jokes Aren’t Funny

We’re not talking ha-ha funny, when we say your jokes aren’t funny. We mean you made her the butt of the joke, teased, or insulted her, and then when she got upset, you tried to gloss it over by saying, “Oh, I was just kidding—I didn’t mean it.” What’s the big deal? “The big deal is you won’t cop to what you said that hurt her feelings or embarrassed her, and you’re acting like she’s an idiot for reacting,” Wright says.

Remember this advice: “Apologize if you were out of line, don’t just dismiss what you said,” she explains. “Or, deliver the truth in your [joke] more directly to her.” This may seem counterintuitive to keeping her from blowing up, but something she’s done or said has bugged you enough that you blurted it out as an insult. “Maybe you (unconsciously) did mean to hurt her feelings because somehow she’s been hurting yours,” Wright says. You need to see what’s really going on underneath that jab.

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When You Tip Poorly

“On my first date with my girlfriend, I gave a 15% tip (REALLY bad service), and she claims to this day that it was almost a deal breaker,” LoDolce says. Think about this when you’re dining out on a first date. Your etiquette, manners, and character are on full display. Is that 5% savings really worth the risk?

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When You Ask For Threesomes—With Her Friends

“You might be making a ‘joke,’ but she knows that it's a feeler,” LoDolce says. Also, if you ask her once and she seems to get upset, don’t bring it up again. If she changes her mind, she’ll come to you. Constantly dogging her about it will make her feel like you’re not content or satisfied with her—and there’s nothing worse than her thinking you’d rather be with one of her friends.

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When You Pretend You’re an Expert

No one likes that person who feels the need to lecture extensively on politics, some infectious disease, or boating knots. Likewise, your girlfriend or wife isn’t going to be happy if she feels like you’re talking down to her or treating her like she’s ignorant and can’t have an engaged, opinionated conversation. You can challenge each other, learn from each other, and feel comfortable enough to hold your own opinions without belittling each other. 

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When You Don't Own Up to Things

“If you are using the ‘That’s just the way I am’ line in response to her complaints, it implies to her that she has to just deal with things—alone,” Wright says. "She may be nagging, which isn’t OK, but underneath it, there is a genuine yearning she may be ineffectively expressing," she adds. If she's on your case about not returning her calls and binge-watching Netflix while binge-drinking beer each weekend, she could be concerned about your relationship and your general well being as a human. 

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When You Over-Text Her

It’s really simple. If you never initiate or respond to her texts, or you’re sending her five messages before she has a chance to answer one, you’re going to tick her off. “Text her as much as she's texting you,” LoDolce says, “no more, no less.” 

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When You Try Too Hard

If you pull out all the stops (wine, jewelry, flowers, more wine) whenever you screw up, or you ignore her for the better part of a week but lay on the sweet-talk once you're horny, she's going to catch on. "Use your charm when it doesn’t have a hidden motive. Love her, adore her, compliment her genuinely and sincerely, show appreciation, let her know what she means to you—frequently—and she’ll respond in kind." 

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When You're Always Right

Fighting to be “right” is a losing battle. Even if you’ve got all the facts straight, schooling her with your superior sense of logic is a sure-fire way to infuriate her and escalate the argument. “It’s often a control mechanism for you not to experience a flood of feelings,” Wright says. “It’s a way to keep a sense of dominance.” Instead of bickering about the logistics, tackle the heart of the problem head on. 

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