By Laura Snyder
You recognize the obvious signs - the pout, the scowl, the silent treatment were all dead giveaways. But when she won't tell you what's wrong, how are you supposed to help her?
She's Not 'Fine'
When you ask what's wrong, she says "nothing." Which is obviously untrue. Why won't she just say she's fuming? Because she thinks it's so obvious you should already know. Ask questions - "Did something happen at work?" or "Did I do something?" If she still stonewalls you, she's waiting for you to follow up. Ask, "Are you sure? You seem upset." If you point out how obvious her unhappiness is, she'll have a harder time saying she's "fine."
When she finally says what's got her so sulky, it's now your job to be her biggest cheerleader. She wants your sympathy and support - not a solution, even if it seems simple to you. You're only trying to help, we know, but what she needs now is to just vent. So validate her emotions (yes, even the totally insane ones) with statements like, "Tell me what happened," "Oh, that's too bad," and "That sucks. No wonder you're upset."
Despite your sweet and sensitive nature, she may still need some space. Give it to her. If she wants some alone time, feel free to take off, but let her know she's still on your mind. Tell her you'll call to check in later and then make sure you actually do it. She wants to be alone, not abandoned.
Make Her Laugh
"Laugher is the shortest distance between two people," says Enda Junkins, author of "Belly Laughter in Relationships." "Couples tend to withdraw from each other when they're in a bad mood; a sense of humor counters that by offering a change in perspective and by showing you that things aren't that terrible. Plus, laughter releases endorphins, chemicals that elevate your mood, so it's impossible to feel down when you're laughing."