It’s often said that honesty is the best policy. Anyone who’s spent much time in the dating pool, though, will tell you that not everyone communicates in such an upfront and open manner.
From well-meaning fibs like “Hey, it’s been fun” (when it really hasn’t) to more alarming lies like “I have no idea how your sister’s panties ended up on my kitchen floor!” some women feel they’ve been exposed to so much dishonesty from men that they’ve become experts in detecting it. Seeking to find out the phrases tip them off, a recent survey asked Japanese women which words they know aren’t true as soon as they hear a guy say them.
To compile the results, Internet portal Livedoor News spoke with 441 women, ranging in age from 19 to 78 years old, asking “Is there a phrase you can’t trust if it’s coming from a guy?” Before getting to the top 10, we should point out that over 70 percent of the respondents don’t deal in absolutes, answering “no” to that question.
On the other hand, that leaves 28.8 percent, or 127 women, whose warning bells do get set off by certain lines, and below are the most common responses.
10. “You’re beautiful. / Kirei.” (two respondents)
“So many guys act like it’s no big deal to say this, so I can’t believe them,” explained one 29-year-old survey participant.
9. “I’ll do it later. / Ato de yaru.” (two respondents)
The respondents didn’t specify what they wanted done, but apparently the fact that the men in question never did it is enough to convince them that, for men, the only things really worth doing are worth doing right now.
8. “You’re the only one… / Omae dake…” (three respondents)
Encompassing “You’re the only one I want to be with” and “You’re the only one who makes me feel this way,” next up is a phrase that can be completed in multiple ways. And in the eyes of these respondents, the guy saying it probably has a different finisher for each girl he tells it to.
7. “I’d never cheat on you. / Uwaki nante shinai.” (five respondents)
“Only guys who are cheating say this,” explained the 22-year-old administrative assistant who thinks some men doth protest too much.
6. “I’ll never do that again. / Mou nido to shinai.” (five respondents)
“Oh yes he will,” laughed the 23-year-old insurance company employee who designated this line as a red flag. And if he does, he’ll probably say the same thing then, too.
5. “I love you. / Ai shiteiru.” (eight respondents)
To clarify, Japanese has two ways to say “I love you.” Well, actually a lot more than two, but for now, let’s stick to the two major ones.
First, there’s suki desu, which can range in intensity from slightly more than platonic attraction to full-on romantic love. More cut-and-dried, though, is ai shiteiru, which in a dating context is only used for romantic love. It’s this latter, more serious declaration of emotion that these respondents say they know isn’t true when they hear it.
4. “You’re cute. / Kawaii.” (11 respondents)
Surprisingly, “You’re cute” outpaced “You’re beautiful” on the survey, and by a pretty wide margin. The likely explanation is that kawaii (“cute”) is the more common go-to compliment in Japanese society, encompassing a wider spectrum of warm feminine attractiveness than its English equivalent is usually used for. That prevalence itself that made these respondents feel the words aren’t genuine, with a 27-year-old IT worker dismissing it since “Everyone says it as a meaningless social nicety.”
3. “I’ll call/email/text you. / Mata renraku suru.” (17 respondents)
Speaking of social niceties, here’s another. “It’s not just with men,” adds a 27-year-old medical worker. “In general, I don’t believe people when they say this.”
2. “Let’s go out for dinner/a drink sometime. / Kondo shokuji/nomi ni ikou.” (18 respondents)
As always, the devil’s in the details. “How about dinner on Friday?” That’s a sure sign that he’s into you. But “sometime?” Once they hear that, these women know what’s coming, and it’s a lot of waiting for an invitation that’s never going to come.
1. “Absolutely… / Zettai ni…” (27 respondents)
The top answer actually overlaps with many of the lower-ranking responses. Offered as possible ways to complete the lie were “I absolutely won’t cheat on you” and “I’ll absolutely make you happy.” These respondents, though, ultimately, definitely, won’t believe a guy who lays those lines on them.
While being deceived is always unpleasant, looking over the list, there seems to be a catch-22 going on in earning some of these ladies’ trust. Sure, it’s definitely suspicious if a guy, apropos of nothing, suddenly mentions, “Oh, by the way, I would never cheat on you.” But while many of these phrases can be incorporated in painful lies, some of them, if said earnestly, are sort of required for a functional and happy relationship.
For example, having a guy declare “I love you,” before you’re done with the appetizers on your first date would probably be pretty creepy. But on the other hand, if you’ve been going out for months or years, immediately assuming he’s being dishonest when he says those three special words (or two, in the case of ai shiteiru) is going to sabotage your chances at lasting romance. Likewise, you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot if every time a guy says you look nice, you conclude he’s a liar (not to mention potentially wrecking your own self-esteem, as far as your appearance is concerned).
Taking a closer look at the data, while the women surveyed were in the wide age range of 19 to 78, it seems that many of those who answered “yes” to the question of if there’s a phrase they can’t trust are in their early 20s. Getting stung by a lie once or twice at such a young age can be traumatic, and without the perspective and experience necessary to judge people’s trustworthiness on an individual basis, it’s easy to see how many might jump to a blanket ruling of “Guys are always lying if they say this!” Here’s hoping, though, that those emotional scars heal as they move away from the bottom age groups covered by the survey.