Women often complain that it's hard to get a man to talk. Or, when they do sit down and talk with a man, that he gets resistant or argumentative, doesn't tell the full truth or just tells her whatever he thinks she wants to hear. Why does he do this? Often, it's because he's had bad experiences talking with you or other women and has developed some defense mechanisms to avoid further punishment.
Conversation can be tricky business. As a woman, you've developed a communication style over the years, one that works reasonably well with women or one that everyone in your family uses. But when you converse with a date or partner, you're not only communicating with the other sex, you're communicating with someone who will assign more weight to what you say. Which means it's much easier to get into trouble.
There are many conversational ditches one can drive into when talking to a man, but most of them fall into three categories:
1. Criticizing what matters to him. Openly criticizing a man's appearance or actions is never a good idea. Even the most thick-skinned among us hates to be criticized, and criticism is the slow death of relationships. It's always better to make suggestions or ask for what you want. However, there's also a subtle, indirect form of criticism that can get you into trouble: criticizing his interests, friends, or family.
For example, a man you've begun dating plays fantasy football. You think it's stupid and tell him so. He'll respect your honesty, right? And your problem is with fantasy football, not him, right? Wrong. When you say, "Fantasy football is stupid," you're effectively telling him, "You're stupid."
Likewise, if you deride his obnoxious friend or his overbearing mother, he will take it as a personal insult. Sure, his friend may be a douche or his mother a bitch, but they're people who are important to him. And when you criticize them, it shuts him down, leaving you very little leverage for dealing with these challenges.
"So, what, I'm supposed to pretend to like fantasy football and his annoying friend?"
Not at all. You have every right to your opinion; the trick is how you express it. For example, it's okay to admit you don't get the whole fantasy football thing or why he hangs out with the obnoxious friend. Show that you don't judge his choices. He'll love you for it. Moreover, he'll probably reciprocate by not judging your large collection of shoes or by spending less time with the annoying friend. Keep reading ...
More relationship advice from YourTango: