Girls and guys have different communication styles and that can make talking things out a difficult task. Women want to include discussions of feelings while men tend to want to talk about an actions, meaning what can be done to remedy the situation. This can be frustrating to both parties involved, but women have a particularly hard time bridging the gender communication gap.
So, how can you tell what he’s really thinking?
Sarah M., a clerk at a local grocery chain, was in a heated fight with her fiancée. It started with a discussion over where they should go on Friday night and it ended with two days of silent treatment. She didn’t really care where they went but suggested a movie, or dinner. Her fiancée also didn’t care, so he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “ I really don’t care, you decide.”
She took his statement to mean that he didn’t want to do anything, and when she asked him again (and again) he simply repeated his answer. As it turned out, he really didn’t care, he just wanted to be out of the house and he wanted her to be happy with the outing. What she took for apathy was simply a man trying to please his woman.
Most men like to see their women happy, but they get stuck in a loop of having an opinion and being seen as controlling or not having an opinion and being seen as not caring. It can be a maddening position to be in, as Larry G. found out when trying to buy a house with his new wife.
He says that, “after finding faults with the first two houses, my wife started getting frustrated with me. I decided to not be too picky on the next house and she got mad that I didn’t want to help in the decision. I didn’t have a leg to stand on.” His frustration is something many men have felt.
Action based communication works
Women don’t always understand that men like to fix things. Sure, the house and car come to mind, but it also applies to relationship issues. They want to fix issues, not talk about them endlessly. This is a point of contention in many relationships, and one that could be avoided if women would keep it in mind when talking with their man.
Give him a specific thing to do, an action to take, a precise question, and you’re likely to be more satisfied in your communication efforts. If you find it hard to do, or if you’ve had a long history of blow-ups, consider getting the assistance of a counselor, even if it’s only to learn better communication skills.
The Springfield Marriage and Family Institute, LLC, is a great place to start. You can call them at (417)882-6767 or email them for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.