No great build up to this blog. It's been a long week already and I'm tired. To jump right into the point, I got a question that I thought was very intriguing: How can I talk to a man without hurting his ego and so he will hear me?
Awesome question! It deserves a response.
First, a note to the men: It's hard. I know you'd rather be test driving a new car or sawing something, but learn to give her a few minutes without being prompted, asked or begged. Also, listen without judging...listen without criticizing...and listen without trying to solve the "problem" whatever it may be. In other words, part of the communication piece is on us, too. We have to make it easier to deal with us.
This reminds me of maybe the best "relationship" scripture ever written!
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger." ~ Proverbs 15:1 (NASB)
When someone is heated, more heat will only spark a fire. Try going the other way the next time. Answer gently. Don't meet her words (even if she's angry) with more anger. Now you've just got two people yelling and no people listening.
We can so much more peace if we just learn how to "dial it down" instead of "dialing it up" every time things get intense. The Holy Spirit is a good guide in this. He is often in our spiritual ear saying "Don't go there!" when we take the time to listen. I know! I've heard Him. I've also ignored Him - so I know what I'm talking about. It's better when you listen!!!
Finally, guys, some conversations can't be avoided no matter how distasteful they are. Not only must we be courageous to have the tough talks, but sometimes we need to initiate them. I've had to learn a lot in this area and I still have a lot of growing to do. Sometimes the emotion and heat of a situation make you just want to avoid it altogether. Sometimes I'd rather be anywhere else in the world than talking about (feeling like we're talking about) all the ways I suck at life! You can make it through. Communication is necessary!
Many times we men will avoid talking until everything is absolutely at the boiling point. Not good!
Now...how do you talk to a man? Here are some tips in no particular order. But if you follow some of these, I know he'll thank you for it!
1. Break it down into bite-sized pieces. Most men don't process as much raw data as most women. Our brains are wired differently. There aren't as many synapses between the left and right hemispheres in men's brains. That means he'll have a harder time processing information that mixes emotion and data at the same time.
2. Don't require him to respond immediately. Men like to think through their thoughts before responding. He may not even know his thoughts yet. Give him some time to search things out. When you do, everyone wins. I've rarely seen pressing a guy to talk before he's ready work out very well.
3. Be clear. No code. No guesswork. No "if he loved me, he'd know what I was thinking!" allowed. He doesn't know what you're thinking! You change your own mind often! How is he supposed to keep up? If he's supposed to know, tell him!
4. Don't assume you know what he's thinking. Just like he's not a man, he's not a woman. He doesn't think the way you think. His mind sees the world differently. We've talked about this before! You might think he sees the details you see, but you're likely missing some perspective that he has, as well. Grace!
5. Set an appointment. If you know it's going to be a tough topic, don't spring it on him. Set an appointment. Say to him "Hey, let's talk about whether we should let Pookie move in with us soon. Can we do it Tuesday evening?" That's much better than either A) having Cousin Pookie already on the couch when he gets home from work Tuesday or B) a screaming match about how much he doesn't like your family anyway.
6. Don't wait until you're boiling over. Don't wait until the situation needs emergency repair. If there's a leak, let him know before the pipe bursts. (If you were clear and he does nothing about it, that's on him). What I've seen a lot is women will wait until they are PAST the point of no return to bring up certain issues. Then there's often nothing anyone can do.
7. Talk during an activity. A lot of men listen and engage better while doing some activity. It's been said that "Men bond shoulder-to-shoulder while women bond face-to-face" and I've found this to be true. One great way to talk to him is while doing chores, mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage, etc. Try it!
8. Be safe. The main reason a lot of men don't talk to you is they are concerned about the backlash from sharing their true feelings. I've said myself that men can often tell two versions of the truth. The "true" truth and the version he knows you can handle. A lot of guys feel stupid, disrespected and looked down upon when they share what they really think. Work on being safer to talk to.
Talking to men can be difficult if you don't understand how they are wired. Talking to men is difficult for other men, too, because we really just don't talk that much anyway. Even if your guy is very verbal, he still may not be comfortable or good at sharing thoughts, feelings, or sentiments.
What do you think? Do any of these surprise you? What have I missed?
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