April 12, 2008

"Fine" Is Not Fine

The following comes from the book For Men Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldham. This is a great book for men to read about how to understand their women better. It's not too long, gets straight to the point, and I'd definitely recommend getting a copy for yourself.

Erase "fine" from your response options.

Fine is not fine...
Fine is what you mumbled to Mom when she asked you how school went.

One wife mentioned that if she asked at the beginning of an evening how she looked, her husband would typically say, "You look fine, sweetheart." But as she put it, "I worked this hard for fine ?"

I think guys say that word because we simply misunderstand the real question. When she asks how she looks, we think she's wondering if she looks presentable. But what she wants to know is if she's still rocking our world--like she did on that first date. So "fine," sort of by definition, tells her, "No, you're not rocking my world."

I think this is a great point, and one we would all do well paying attention to. Next time you're tempted to say "fine," remember: She doesn't want to know if she's going to embarrass you in public or not. She wants to know if you like what you see.

Helpful words:
beautiful, gorgeous, fantastic, great, really nice, yeah I like that a lot, wow (And adding "absolutely" in front of any of those takes it up a notch.)


  1. For any men who don't believe you (or the authors), I can tell you this:

    I once broke up with a guy because he answered EVERY one of my questions with "fine." I hated his "fineness." Women want something more.

  2. Thanks for sharing, MLM. We definitely appreciate hearing that a woman actually agrees with these things!

  3. AMEN! When my husband says "fine" what i really hear is "I don't feel like putting any effort into this conversation, an answer, or any interaction right now.."

  4. My guy has a very good way of giving compliments. He'll say, "You look extra nice," or, "Your hair is extra soft." Which not only is a specific compliment, but short-circuits that feeling of, "Oh, don't I usually look OK?"

    I know, sometimes it seems like men can't win, no matter what they say.

    I wonder, though, if some men really don't want to put a lot of effort into reassuring women about how they look. It may feel unnecessary and needy to them to be constantly asked for reassurance.

    1. Yeah, I kind of assume "fine" means, "nothing special", or "not fine"...

  5. Heh heh. From reading the headline, I thought this was going to be an article about when your women tells you: "everything is fine..." when everything is actually not fine. But I guess I was wrong. :)

    Some other helpful words I'd like to contribute: hot, sexy, stunning

  6. honestly, i tell my wife she's it whether she asks or not. she actually never asks, but I dish it out plenty anyway.

    It's actually the reverse! I ask if I look OK, and she'll say "Sure." "Sure" is her answer to every question. I mean EVERY question, too. To her it means yes, and to me it always meant "I guess."

    that's role reversal for you, huh?

    1. Yes. Because I'd like to be told I look nice occasionally I make sure I tell the hubs when he looks nice. One-sidedness is not nice...

  7. GAH! You'd think, as a woman, I would have realized by now why "you look fine" bothers me so much. Nope! Took another man to make me realize it. If my boyfriend says "fine", it better come out as "fiiiiiiiine."

  8. But you maintain in your posts that we should be honest in a relationship. So should you lie even when you think she is not that "fine" ?

    I come out honestly (but not too much honestly) when she asks me after dressing up or after putting on make up or after she has had a new hairstyle. If I think it is OK/fine, I say it looks great. If it does not stirs me, I point out something specific. Like, get matching shoes, get matching earrings dear, that other hairstyle was much better. But no negative words.

    All the same. Fine is never OK with me in a conversation. When I do mean I am not interested in a conversation and want to express it, I say fine.

    Whatever compliment/criticism you give, be honest.
    Be honest in a subtle manner if it's criticism.
    Be honest in a grateful manner if it's compliment.