Author: Ann Schiebert
Dear Ann: Every time I try to talk to my husband, he wants to give me a solution! This makes me so angry. It’s as if he thinks I’m too stupid to figure things out for myself. What I really want is for him to listen to me. Why can’t he just, “be there,” for me instead of always blowing me off by giving advice?
Have you ever felt like you are having parallel conversations? What you are saying is being responded to by someone who seems to be unable to grasp your content? When this happens, the speaker has to establish what the topic is, and what is wanted from the listener. For example:
“I want you to just listen to me tell you about the argument I had with my mother, today.”
“I can do that. If you want feedback, will you let me know?”
Then, the listener is, QUIET!
At the end of listening to the speaker, ask if there is anything that you can do that would feel supportive?
Give empathy: “That must have been awful!” “WOW! I can’t imagine what I would do if I was in that situation.”
Although this is a gross generalization, many men want to solve issues for those who present them with problems. This delivers a covert message that the female speaker doesn’t have the tools/skill to solve the issue herself. MEN: JUST LISTEN! Over the years, many women have reported that if their mates just listened instead of trying to give advice, they would have felt much closer and more free to open up.
WOMEN! “Us,” against, “them,” often feels supportive to a male who is discussing an issue with us. Remember, it is NOT your issue to solve. After polling many men about this subject, the majority agree that taking on the problem as yours is different than taking on a challenge as, “ours.” Women: join in, be on the side of your mate.