It’s eight o’clock tonight, and you’ve got a computer, a television set, a cell phone, and a paused game of Skate 2, all grappling for your attention. The last thing you feel like paying attention to is your girlfriend, and whatever trivial matter she’s decided to complain about. There’s a difference between your girlfriend and all of those other things, though: if you don’t pay attention to her, she’ll totally leave, and that would suck. That doesn’t mean that you actually have to devote your attention to her, but you’ll have to figure out how to make her think that you’re focusing on her, rather than the action-packed finale of Whale Wars that’s blaring in the background. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
Blinking is your way of telling the rest of the world, in a bold yet silent voice: "I am conscious!" Use this to your advantage. Women love it when a man remains conscious during a conversation. Blinking consistently is a great way to tell them that you’re both alive and awake. Try not to focus too much on it, though, as overly excessive blinking can be distracting, and even signify health problems or brain disorders, and you do not want your girlfriend thinking you’re retarded. With some practice, you should be able to blink naturally while your girlfriend is complaining to you.
Nod Your Head and Look Concerned
A well-timed head nod can go a long way. The classic up-and-down gesture is a traditional response of affirmation and agreement, and it will signify to your whiney girlfriend that you’re on her side, and that you understand her. Looking concerned is a slightly more difficult manuever, and may require some technique to execute believably. Start with a slightly furrowed brow and pursed lips. Combine this expression with the head nod, and you’ll appear to be a good, faithful, concerned boyfriend who really cares about your girlfriend’s needs, and is not secretly watching a dog crap on the sidewalk outside while it’s owner awkwardly fumbles with a plastic bag, and then picks the dog crap up, but drops some of it onto his pants in the process.
Listen for Key Words and Phrases
This is a complicated but incredibly important skill to master. By utilizing "selective hearing" and focusing on "words that your girlfriend says", you can greatly increase the probability of her believing that you’re actually paying attention to her. Listen for anything that describe her current emotional state in reference to the topic that she’s discussing. Words like ‘hate’, "like, "enjoy", and "want" are good indicators that she has a particular feeling about whatever noun immediately follows that word. Keep an ear out for key phrases as well, like "it bothers me when", "I can’t stand that", and "my point is". These phrases will also help you to determine exactly what the f*ck she’s talking about.
Speak Only When Questioned, and then be Brief and Vague
So you’ve gotten to the point in the conversation where she finishes rambling, and now she’d like to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter. You feel like you’re running through a gun powder factory in a tuxedo made of pure fire: you’re uncomfortable and sweaty, and one small mis-step can result in a catastrophic explosion. Tread carefully. Deliver a vague opinion, and then follow it up with a question that directs the conversation back to her view of things. Something like, "That’s interesting. What made you think of that?" would be perfect. You’ve deflected the talking back to her without giving a solid opinion at all. You’ll only be able to use that specific line once, though, because if you keep repeating that statement, she’s going to think there’s something wrong with you, and then you’re back to your girlfriend thinking you might be retarded, which is a bad thing. Just focus on getting out of the ‘you having to talk’ phase as quickly as possible, because no amount of blinking and nodding can save you here. With practice, anyone can master these few skills, and in no time at all, your girlfriend will think you’re clinging to her every word. Now get back to that Whale Wars finale, because the last five minutes of the last episode is the only good part of the entire series.