Created By: StevenT on February 14, 2012 Last Edited By: StevenT on August 1, 2014

Girls Drop Hints, Guys Don't Get Them

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Should We Have This??

A gender-specific subtrope of Hint Dropping.

This trope is generally Truth in Television. On average girls tend to not be specific about how they're feeling or what they want and instead drop subtle hints, usually through body language. The problem is guys tend to be oblivious to hints. Especially body language. In comedies this often leads to misunderstandings, usually followed by the guy getting all the blame for not being more receptive and the girl getting zero blame for not being straightfoward.

Compare Captain Oblivious, Forgotten Anniversary, Oblivious to Love and Poor Communication Kills.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • February 17, 2012
    This is a good idea for a trope, but I would leave out discussing whether or not it is Truth In Television, and focus the description on how this is portrayed in fiction.
  • February 26, 2012
  • March 5, 2012
    It makes sense, but you have to define the difference between this and Oblivious To Love.
  • March 5, 2012
    I'd say this also touches on some Unfortunate Implications of a Double Standard. Women aren't always encouraged to be clear and upfront about what they want, and sometimes are disparaged for being "bossy" or "demanding" if they are. So a woman may drop hints, perhaps in the hope that the man to whom the hints are targeted will pick up on them and believe he thought of the idea himself. This can preserve the illusion that the men took the initiative. Trouble is, of course, the man has to perceive the communication for it to work.

    Generally, the failure you describe occurs, and the misunderstandings and attendant fallout are Played For Laughs. Alternatively, these situations serve as "evidence" for the idea that men and women don't/can't understand each other.

    As for a difference between this and Oblivious To Love, I'd say this could cover specific desires that aren't necessarily romantic. Things like wanting the guy to spend more time with her (assuming an existing relationship), dropping a recent change in grooming she doesn't like (say a beard or moustache), changing or not changing a residence. This could be a prerequisite of a Forgotten Anniversary or a forgotten birthday or an awkward holiday gift scenario if she drops hints about what she wants for the occasion and he becomes Captain Oblivious.

    I'm sure I've Seen It A Million Times, but of course, I cannot summon a single specific example right now.
  • March 5, 2012
    Happens in an episode of Home Improvement in this instance Jill actually realizes she's at fault because she never explicitly stated what it was she wanted.
  • March 8, 2012

  • March 9, 2012
    An episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show opens with Rob & Laura driving home from a night out and Laura very angry at Rob, but she won't tell him why; she just says things like "I think it's pretty terrible not to be able to send our son to college," and "if you don't know what I'm angry about I'm not going to tell you." Turns out she's upset about Rob's habit of always grabbing the check when they're out to dinner with friends.
    Rob: Don't tell me we're going to have another one of those arguments where I have to guess what it is. Come on, it's not fair. At least give me a hint.
  • June 29, 2012
  • July 4, 2012
    we don't get them because we're not bloody mind-readers, that's why.
  • July 4, 2012
    the trope description needs a lot of work. The current brief is rather inflammatory, is a Double Standard trope, the Truth In Television label is stereotyping. The initial description is really biased. Can anyone propose a better one?

    all that said, I think there's the potential for a great trope in here.
  • July 4, 2012
    I think some material from 69BookWorM69's comment could be easily incorporated into the trope description to make it better & more balanced.
  • July 4, 2012
    Why not remove some of the double standard and split this into two tropes.

    Trope A) Character Drops Hints - Alice wants a specific present for her birthday, but it would be gauche to ask for it, so she lets slip clues for Bob to buy it for her.

    Trope B) Needs A Clue By Four - Unfortunately, Bob's as thick as a Kansas City steak and can only get a hint if dropped on him from a great height.
  • July 5, 2012
    because the point is the interactions between these two is its own dynamic. The issue is that the original description is heavily biased and inflammatory.
  • July 11, 2012
    We really, really don't need any more tropes complaining about how women are manipulative and poor innocent men always get blamed for their wicked ways.
  • September 23, 2012
    ^^^ uh... because this is how it's really used?
  • September 24, 2012
    I tagged with Tropeworthy.

    Now I'm confused if this tagged can be applied to Should We Have This pages after reading the pothole.

    I don't know how to take away the tag, so if I made a mistake, can someone do it for me?
  • September 24, 2012
    Yes, the description does need to be made less complain-y. But this is definitely a trope. I've Seen It A Million Times in media as a source of comic conflict. I half-remember an example (probably one of many) between Susan and Lemont in Candorville, but I have no idea where I'd find it in the archives.
  • September 24, 2012
    By the way, Mars And Venus Gender Contrast is a related trope, worth mentioning in the description.
  • September 26, 2012
    Adding to the Truth In Television: It is actually a fact that women are generally more perceptive then men when it comes to body language, according to "The Definitive Book of Body Language." However, it also states that men in "nurturing" occupations, such as artistic types, actors, and nursing, does well; gay men also.
  • August 1, 2014
  • August 1, 2014
    I'd have to watch the movie again, but I believe Grace does this to Bruce in Bruce Almighty.
  • August 1, 2014
    In Despicable Me 2, Lucy makes it obvious she has a crush on Gru, but Gru fails to notice.
  • August 1, 2014
    ^ That just seems like Oblivious To Love.