Hello - I'm new to this forum (about 10mins old) but I read this question with a bit of interest since it's a prblem I've had recently as well. I have been trying a method of assessing correct contrast which seems to work very well on many of my negs. It goes ...
First print for the highlights on a very low grade contrast filter (1 or less). Ignore all shadows (I know it's hard to do). When you have the correct print exposure/paper combination to give the highlights you want in the final print, then look at the shadows. Are they clean with good density, or 'muddy'? If muddy, then try a higher contrast filter. Check the shadows again - clean/dense or muddy. Keep going until you have the look in the shadows that you want without too much loss of detail there.
Only rule - never change exposure time and filter at the same time (the old don't change two variables at once rule) it will throw all your hard work out the window! and practice (until the Zen thinking takes over!!!) :?