Everyone knows it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind – but that doesn’t mean she should try to change her man. I recently got an email from a client who was quite upset about a Valentines Day gift she had given a man she was dating. To make a long story short, my client went to a great deal of effort to find just the right gift. I was actually really impressed by the thoughtfulness, effort and appropriateness of the message behind her gift.
Here’s where the trouble started....
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My client also went to a great deal of trouble in delivering the package to her man while he was out of town at a conference. Despite the fact that he was out of town attending the event, he responded with a text that read “Wow. That's amazing.” His brief response caused my client to feel “cheated out of a decent response to her thoughtfulness” and that’s when she approached me about how to handle her frustration and disappointment.
Let’s take a step back
Let me start by saying this – there’s no excuse for bad manners or rude behavior. Nor am I suggesting that you lower your standards or have poor boundaries with how you allow others to treat you. On the contrary, the one thing I focus on MOST is helping my client’s know their value and communicate it clearly. However, in this case, my client’s intent was beautiful – but her frustration was somewhat self-inflicted...allow me to explain:
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As a rule, masculine energy navigates the world via logic and reason while feminine energy navigates via emotion. Men don’t typically get incredibly emotional about gifts (or much of anything, actually) so his response, while definitely not overwhelming, was fairly “normal” and predictable. “Amazing” is still a very good descriptor of a gift you really like. In addition, masculine energy also tends to be single-focused & outcome-driven...especially at work so it’s not unusual that he would be pre-occupied at his conference. Add that to the fact that texting may be the world's worst way to effectively communicate and it starts to form a "perfect storm" of disappointment. My client was very upset because she expected him to do what SHE would have done...which only sets her up for disappointment. Ladies, no offense, but if you really want an over-the-top, gushing response to a gift, it’s probably a better idea to just buy one for your girlfriend.
It is what it is whether you like it or not
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My client had her feelings hurt (remember – she navigates via emotion) because her “blueprint” or expectations didn’t match her results. For her, it was essentially like peeling an orange and expecting to find an apple. That’s probably not a great strategy because it will always end in disappointment. That’s why I focus on helping men and women UNDERSTAND one another better – rather than simply cursing what they don’t understand and setting themselves up for disappointment again and again.
Sometimes your expectation is wrong – not your partner