OK, ladies. How many times have you tried to talk to your husband or your boyfriend about something really important, and it’s like the shutters immediately close, and he is battening down the hatches?
For instance, you need to have “the talk” about how you don’t like it when he doesn’t return your text within seconds of you hitting the Send button. Or, you have to remind him, yet again, how inconsiderate he is when he shows up five minutes late without calling to let you know. Such discussions are often met with stony silence, or worse yet, he may simply walk out of the room.
How do you get your guy to listen to you?
Your man does not try to purposely tune you out, nor does he find it enjoyable to make you angry. However, nearly every guy seems to have this built in defense shield that activates whenever he feels backed into a corner or attacked. Rather than lash out at you, he may just shut down.
Consider your approach to these types of conversations. Have you ever stopped to consider that how you frame a problem may get different results? No one likes to be constantly nagged, and the more you do it, the less effective it becomes. Going in to sensitive conversations with guns blazing, and a take no prisoners attitude may backfire on you.
First, men use their own frame of reference when deciding how to behave. Their guy friends wouldn’t fly into a rage over a less-than-timely text, nor would the world come to an end if he doesn’t call his buddy to say he is running a few minutes behind. It’s not done to deliberately hurt you. It just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.
Except it is a big deal. To you. You have your reasons for wanting, no, expecting, certain courtesies from your guy. But does your guy know what those reasons are? Or did you expect him to read your mind? Men aren’t, and never have been, mind readers. In fact, they will try to stay out of a woman’s mind as much as possible, because it’s scary in there! They don’t intuitively understand. You have to spell it out.
All too often, women have expectations, then feel disrespected or slighted when those expectations aren’t met. For the guy, though, it’s like being handed a math final without first getting a study guide. They need you to communicate what your expectations are BEFORE they fail to meet them. Communication is a two way street.
No one is perfect, even your perfect soulmate. There will still be times when you may need to consider gentle reminders about what you need or expect from him in certain situations. Women have an innate skill of being able to verbally skin a man alive, and some practice this skill often. If you want your guy to respond better to your gentle reminders, going in with your verbal guns blazing will likely send him running for the hills and looking for cover.
Here is an approach to try: tell him how his actions make you feel, instead of pinning him to the wall with accusations. Your man is with you because he loves you. He cares about your happiness and wants to live up to your expectations. He wouldn’t deliberately hurt you. It’s OK to feel hurt and angry, but be honest with him about how it makes you feel, rather than trying to punish him. You may get better results, because you address the behavior and the results of that behavior, rather then using personal attacks that may prick his self-esteem or cause him to withdraw from you emotionally.
Here are a few examples:
- Bad: You are so disrespectful when you make me wait two hours to answer my text!
- Good: When you don’t text me back as soon as possible, it makes me feel like getting back to me isn’t important to you.
- Bad: You are so rude! If you are going to be late, the least you could do is let me know!
- Good: I feel worried when you are late. I worry that maybe you were in an accident or something bad happened. It would make me feel better if you would let me know when you are running late.
- Bad: You never listen to me! All you ever want to do is play on phone!
- Good: When you play on your phone while I’m trying to talk to you, it makes me feel like you don’t think I’m important.
You can still get the same point across with a slight change in how you approach the conversation. Your man will appreciate not being attacked, and you are much more likely to get the results you desire if he knows that his behavior has hurt your feelings or caused you pain. Communication like this is essential in an honest, open, caring relationship.