1. "I'M RUNNING LATE. DO YOU MIND?"
"This is a common test women subconsciously use to weed out the pushovers," says Stephen Nash, founder of New York-based Cutting Edge Image Consulting. Research at Santa Clara University in the US found that over 75 per cent of women are attracted to socially dominant men. "If she is over 10 minutes late and hasn't warned you, or this is the third time she has done this, she is game-playing. Would she leave Brad Pitt hanging about?"
Pass her test "She may be subconsciously testing to see how secure and confident you are and how far she can push you," says Nash. "Be proactive, not passive. Rather than standing there checking your watch like a headmaster, go to a coffee shop or pub to wait, then when she arrives, get her to meet you in this new venue. She'll be surprised that you weren’t waiting patiently for her."
Studies published in the Journal of Neuroscience show that unpredictability causes a rush of the pleasure hormone dopamine, which increases attraction.
2. "YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'VE DONE"
While you enjoy a break from arguing, research from Macquarie University in Sydney, found that the silent treatment is a sign she’s mentally packing her bags.
Pass her test According to the Institute for Psychological and Sexual Health in the US, women gauge the health of a relationship by how well you understand them. "They use 'symbolic reaching'," says Richard LaRuina, the author of The Natural Art Of Seduction. "If she’s angling away, she’s angry. Say to her, 'I never meant to hurt you. Talk to me so we can work through this.' Shouldering the blame lowers the chances of hurt retreating into further silence."
3. "WHERE DO YOU SEE THIS GOING?"
"Women normally ask this at an awkward time," says LaRuina. "Her hope is to catch you off guard so that you'll blurt out the first thing that comes into your head." If you don’t, that's when she’ll turn the Anglepoise on you until she gets an answer.
Pass her test Despite her fondness for Sex and the City, researchers at Durham University in the UK have discovered that 84 per cent of women feel negative about short-term flings. "What women object to is not the briefness of a fling, but feeling used and unappreciated," says lead researcher Dr Anne Campbell.
So make her feel special. "When she asks, pause and turn to face her so that she feels you are giving her your full attention," says LaRuina. "Start by taking her hand (a study in the Journal Social Influence found that she'll feel 50 per cent warmer towards you if you touch her while speaking). Say that she has obviously been thinking about this and, while you see a future with her, you want some time to do the same. If you want a future with her, set a time to talk afterwards." If not, use the time to change your phone number or leave the country.
4. "WHY DID YOU SPLIT UP WITH YOUR EX?"
She doesn't care about your ex, she wants a heads up on how you'll treat her. Studies at the University of California found that women use past sexual behaviour to predict future conflicts. If you cheated then, she’s leaving now.
Pass her test "She's going to be studying you for non-verbal clues," says LaRuina. The bad news is researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that women are twice as good as men at reading these.
Meet her eye, as it indicates honesty, and keep your palms facing up to indicate openness. "Avoid using emotive terms such as your ex's name," says LaRuina, "Saying, 'Louise is really jealous' turns her into a person and implies an emotional connection remains. Rather go with, 'She was a great girl, but we just drifted apart'. 'Was' is a trigger word – one that creates emotion. In this case it indicates that she's firmly in the past." Now all you have to do is delete her from your Facebook friends list.
5. "WHICH ONE OF MY FRIENDS DO YOU FANCY?"
Before you answer, keep in mind that this isn’t an unattainable celebrity you are "appreciating". A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that 90 per cent of women consider "harmless" flirting with acquaintances a serious threat to a relationship.
Pass her test The old advice may have been to pick the big one with the "bubbly" personality, but even this has its flaws. "Women become more jealous if they think you are forming an emotional rather than a sexual connection to another woman," says Dr Geoff MacDonald, associate professor of social psychology at the University of Toronto."She doesn't want a true answer, she wants to see if you stay cool under pressure", says Nash. “Instead of singling one out, pick a couple and pay them a generic compliment such as, 'Clare, because she's really laid back or Katie because she never argues'. The key is not to make her friend seem special or unique and thus a threat."
NB: the answer is never, ever "your sister".
6. "I'M MEETING MY EX FOR LUNCH, DO YOU MIND?"
"Women provoke jealousy to test relationship strength," says Dr David Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas and the author of The Dangerous Passion. "She is showing she has other options and if you don't display more commitment, she'll depart for greener mating pastures."Pass her test Offer to fetch her afterwards. A study in Evolution and Human Behaviour found women considered such gestures as caring. "Women provoke jealousy at their most fertile, when they're likely to cheat," says Buss. So, don't get angry or you'll push her into his sweaty embrace.