3 Tiny Traps To Avoid When Talking To Your Man

If you talk like this to him, he's going to shut down.

Woman notices traps to avoid when talking to her man. dimaberlinphotos, jeremyiswild, 5506523 | Canva

Women often complain that it's hard to get a man to talk. Or, when they do sit down and talk with a man, 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 gender, 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.


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Here are 3 tiny traps to avoid when talking to your man:

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 hate 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."

@kategraymmft How to stop accidentally criticizing your partner #conflict101 ♬ original sound - Kate Gray MMFT

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 jerk or his mother overbearing, but they're people who are important to him. And when you criticize them, it shuts them 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 your annoying friend.

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2. Complaining

Whether you're upset about his working too late or you simply didn't like the restaurant he chose, complaining says to him, "It's your fault I'm unhappy. You screwed up." He takes it personally, even if your complaint wasn't directly about him. Not the best way to get what you want. Complaining works, but over time it will shut a man down, creating distance between you. Instead, do something that works far better and keeps a man happy and open to talking: learn to ask for what you want. For example, if his working late makes you feel neglected, say, "You've been working late so much, and I feel neglected. Can we spend some more time together?" Likewise, if you don't like the restaurant, suggest a different one next time. Men want to give you what you want — but they want to do it to make you happy, not just to ward off your negativity. 


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3. Flooding him

Sometimes, when women get upset with a man, they pour out their feelings in one overwhelming deluge or rattle off multiple points without giving him a chance to consider the words or respond. Next thing you know he's shut down, either by going silent or by walking away from the conversation entirely. You've flooded him. Flooding a man with too much emotion or arguments or accusations can overwhelm him, causing him to shut down. As a result, he'll probably be far less likely to talk about important stuff in the future for fear of being flooded again.

When you're upset with a guy, resist the temptation to flood. Instead, focus on one point at a time. State what bothers you calmly, non-blamingly, and patiently let him have his say without interrupting or overreacting. Not easy when you're upset, but when you see how much better it works, you'll never go back to flooding. If you want a man to talk to you, listen to you, and take things that bother you seriously, avoid doing things that will shut him down. Instead, share your feelings in a way that makes him feel respected and appreciated.


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Christie Hartman is a psychologist, scientist, dating expert, and author who specializes in unraveling the scientific and psychological mysteries behind dating and attraction.