Say What You Mean

I’ve come to believe that women have no clue (or don’t care) that guys are frequently forced to navigate conversations with their romantic partners with supreme caution. The ultimate caution. Because one minor verbal misstep and an entire moment can be crushed in an instant. It’s like a soldier making his way through a minefield…or a puppy running through Michael Vick’s backyard. Yes, the moment can be that precarious.

Guys, for all intents and purposes, are simply more direct and wear thicker skins than women. Am I generalizing? Yes I am. And anecdotal stories about yourself or your friends’ experiences doesn’t change that this is generally a truism. There are many issues at play, obviously, but a primary one is that women tend to speak in code with the expectation that her guy will get the message by reading between the lines. So when she says, “Honey, I’m going to empty the trash,” a guy may hear that and respond with an, “Okay”. He may even go with a, “Hey, babe, I’ll do it,” to which she will respond, “No, that’s okay” so the guy will let her empty the trash. Little does he know that she was really saying, “Hey, can you empty the trash.... and do it right now?”

The problem is that what she meant isn’t what she said. While she stews over her guy’s apparent lack of understanding and/or sensitivity, the guy is thinking….nothing. Because she said she was doing it, even insisted, so…end of story.

But this is soooo not the end of the story. Because then she comes back into the home in a crappy mood. He senses this and asks, “What’s wrong?” Her response?

“Nothing.”

Which is the one code word that is universally known by guys to mean, “Something is definitely wrong and it’s your fault, pal!”

What’s worse is that this approach to communication eventually leads to the guy reading into everything she says because he’s been conditioned to look for hidden messages – even when she isn’t sending the secret signals---which consequently leads to more miscommunication and more arguments!

Furthermore, these situations regularly create the impression that the guy is constantly being tested with a series of trick questions and comments. This simply isn’t healthy and smacks of a bit of immaturity.

You know the problem here - men are from Mars..blah,blah,blah. But once emotions get fired up, all understanding about the differences between the way men and women communicate goes out the window. So before you get angry with him, take a deep breath and remind yourself that he’s not a mind reader and more importantly take his intent into account.

He wants to make you happy.

And keep this in mind as well, I know it’s difficult, but the more direct you can be about your feelings and motivations the better off all parties involved will be. Guys really do respond to that direct approach. And his sensitivity to your feelings may even surprise you.

Are there ever times you feel as though a more direct approach to your addressing issues with your partner would have been beneficial?

Please share!

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