Are you frustrated, confused, flabbergasted or confounded by men?
Do you find yourself uttering platitudes like “all guys are jerks” — even though you know, deep down, that it simply isn’t true?
Do you expect your husband or boyfriend to act like a mirror image of yourself, with identical values, feelings and listening techniques?
Are you shocked and dismayed when the men in your life don’t react the way you think they should — the way YOU would?
Let me break it down sharply: men and women are inherently opposing creatures. We have different motivations for talking, listening and expressing our feelings. And this isn’t fluffy theorizing — it’s backed by neuroscience + evolution.
Often, as women, we assume that he’s thinking what we are thinking. (Not true). We presume he’s motivated by the same forces that we are (also not true). We assume that we’re on the same page — and often times, we’re not even reading from the same book.
The key to successful, sustainable, loving relationships with men lies in shifting from assumption to appreciation.
Men should be appreciated for their inherent strengths — which also happen to be their inherent differences. They should be celebrated as our ideal counterpart — not berated for being un-identical to us.
Shifting from assumption to appreciation begins with re-designing your communication approach.
The next time you’ve got something important to express, try this formula for success:
1. Check in + clear the slate.
Women are natural-born multi-taskers, while men tend to lock into one activity at a time. Make sure he is mentally available to listen and respond.
If he is engaged in a project, or his attention is diverted, initiate the conversation later.
When his mental slate is clear, start by asking, “Is this a good time to talk? I’d like to ask a question.”
2. State your case. Then zip it.
Once you’ve said what you needed to say, let him respond without interrupting.
Don’t butt into his train of thought with “mm-hms” and “me toos.” Don’t re-phrase what he’s expressing, midway through the statement. Don’t add a running commentary. He is focused on answering you. So, let him!
Wait patiently, sister. (Pretend there’s duct tape across your mouth.)
3. Don’t jump to “WRONG!”
Be open to his response, even if it doesn’t align with your attitude or expectations. Don’t let your subconscious scream out “WRONG!” if he answers in a way you didn’t expect. Be willing to appreciate his thought process as different, unique, and complementary to your worldview.
Got some thoughts, insights, gems of wisdom on the subject? Come on over and leave your comments below!
I’m a Los Angeles based relationship + life coach. I offer a sharp combination of keen insight, know-how + intuition. Want more life + dating advice? Jump on my newsletter. Interested in laser focused one-on-one treatment? Hire me. You won’t regret it.
© 2011 Danielle Dowling