When you hear the phrase “read between the lines,” you might think of a movie with an ambiguous ending, or a book with a hidden meaning. Reading between the lines involves figuring out what is being said based on what isn’t said. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
As humans, so much of what we say is expressed not with words, but with body language. If you ask your partner is Thai food is okay for dinner, and they say, “Yes,” while rolling their eyes… then the answer probably isn’t yes. Sometimes, getting to know your significant other involves listening beyond just their words…
It’s frustrating when someone doesn’t say exactly what they are feeling, but there might be a good reason. Maybe they are stressed out, and being honest in that moment would be too difficult. They could have had a bad experience with expressing themselves in the past, or maybe they’re just not ready to state something.
If you see your partner roll their eyes, or respond in a short manner, or slump their shoulders when they say something, recognize that they may not be trying to be difficult. It could help to figure out why you have to read in between the lines.
To read in between the lines, it’s beneficial to pay attention. Pay attention to not just what they say, but to how they say it. What is the tone of your partner’s voice? What does their body language look like?
If your partner’s tone lacks excitement, then they might be upset – even if they don’t say they are. If they’re hunched over, avoiding eye contact, then they might feel annoyed. While ideally, your partner and you will communicate openly about how you are both feeling, it might not always go that way – despite even their best intentions.
When you partner with a matchmaker, they will ask you all kinds of questions. They’ll ask about what you are looking for in a partner, your habits, and your hobbies and interests. It’s important to ask questions so a matchmaker can get to know you.
Similarly, ask your partner questions. Try to get in their head, just like a matchmaker does when they get to know you. Sometimes, we don’t express ourselves until someone gives us the chance to say it. That chance might just look like asking the questions we didn’t know needed to be asked.
Sometimes, you’ll know how your partner feels before they even have a chance to say it. You might be tempted to address the issue right then and there. While it’s important to address the issues at hand, right now may not be the best time.
When you have to read between the lines, sometimes that means you need to wait to address what isn’t being said. Reading between the lines means not just knowing what your partner may be thinking, but letting them have the moment they need. So, wait an hour or two, and then talk about what you need to talk about!