Angeline was at the end of her rope. It seemed like a simple thing, but no matter who much she talked Jeff wasn’t getting it. All she wanted was to know he supported her working at her new job by helping with dinner two nights a week. Her new position as a social worker for a school district had her working almost nine hours a day with a 45 minute commute each way. They were enjoying the extra income together and although her life was turned upside down with the stress of the new job and all her responsibilities at home, Jeff’s daily routine hadn’t changed a bit. His apparent refusal to help out meant something very serious to Angeline. He didn’t support her, plain and simple.
Angeline had talked until she was blue in the face. It seemed like such a simple thing that would mean so much to her. Five weeks into her new schedule he’d only taken on dinner twice, pizza delivery, and pizza delivery. The chasm between them was gaining girth and her resentment was leaking out in other places in their relationship. Why wasn’t he listening???
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Here is the thing. Men’s brains don’t work the same way women’s brains do. They just don’t. Women talk. Men are, well, men of action. Women resolve their feelings and issues by talking them through. These elaborate conversations involve a lot of description about feelings and more feelings. Men might look like they are listening. They may be trying to listen. They may even think they are. That said, no matter how hard they try, eventually the longer women talk, the more they start sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher to the man in their lives. Obviously this creates a disconnect.
Angeline was starting her pleading with Jeff by telling him how badly she wanted to feel he supported her and how alone she felt overwhelmed by stress. Obviously, Jeff who professed to love her, wasn’t getting the message. The reality for Jeff was he was losing her before she even got to the concept of dinner twice a week. He also felt overwhelmed because she was unhappy. Yes, he understood the words that were coming out of her mouth. However, on a functional level they weren’t speaking the same language.
Top three tips for talking to men when you want something from them:
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1. Use the fewest number of words possible.
2. Choose them carefully.
3. Communicate with behavior.
Now some might think I’m saying men aren’t smart. Quite the opposite actually. Women are the ones taking the same approach over and over expecting a different result, and often being frustrated. What I am saying is finding a way to communicate to the male brain makes life for everyone easier. I am certainly not suggesting talking down to a man. He will pick up that kind of attitude in a second and won’t respond any better then you would if you were being talked down to. I am suggesting that when communicating with a man gets fuzzy, reduce the verbal clutter. Cut to the point and tell him how to get into action.