Sunday, July 24, 2011

"We Need To Talk."

Those have to be the four most dreaded words no man ever wants to hear. It never bodes anything good. I’m betting J. Lo made have said those same words to Marc Anthony recently. What the guy hears when you say those four words is she’s going to tell me everything I’m doing wrong. It may be a long list and I don’t want to hear it. What do you do when you don’t want to hear things, you don’t listen. Most of you can see where this is going.

In comics, you have a woman yammering on about their relationship and the man with smoke over his head, not exactly good communication. So how do you communicate with a man? It isn’t rocket scientist, you communicate by saying what he needs and wants to hear. It needs to be authentic commenting on his rock hard abs, when he doesn’t have any is just cruel.

A blog featured on, entitled “How to Talk to Your Boyfriend” explains what men need to hear, but it could apply to husbands, and other males you know. The first one is compliment the man on his appearance. He may not be Tim Gunn, but he still tries. I will admit here to complimenting my boss on his various outfits and he loves it. As for your boyfriend, you might be the person picking out the outfits, still compliment him. As for how you make comments about improving his wardrobe, be gentle.

This is what we call in the parenting and education field as shaping. You compliment the outfits you do like. You might suggest different colors and items that might look better on him. Don’t go after his raggedy old team shirt because his reaction might surprise you. Dated a man who hated my terrycloth beach pants with a passion, I still have the pants, but not the man.

As 21st women, we often try to go it on our own. Ask your man for help. He wants to help it is in his DNA. It also makes him feel wanted and needed. I once read that a good relationship is supposedly when you don’t need to be together, but you want to be together. I understand this, but I want to be needed because it makes me feel important. So does your boyfriend, so leave a project until you can at least get his advice on it.

At work, we joked that our boss always compliments the women on their appearance, but never tells anyone that they are doing a good job. We want to hear what we’re doing right. Men are no different. Compliment what you love about him. Recognize how hard he works on his job. Tell him you’re proud of him. Value him.

Men love compliments. Is this a surprise to anyone? Most men feel part of their identity is in their cars, with that in mind compliment his car. Even if it recognizing how he keeps his twenty year old Honda still purring. As women, we don’t totally understand this. Think of it this way, to them a car is like shoes, but much more expensive.

Did you grow up in a house where mom did all the cooking? It could be because your mother wouldn’t dare let your father cook anything or she failed to compliment him when he did cook. Now all men aren’t natural chefs in the kitchen and they feel unsure, especially cooking for their girlfriend. Rewarding their efforts with praise is a guarantee of future meals you won’t have to prepare.

Isn’t it great when a guy plans out a date from when it is to where are you going? It might even be a mystery date where you know nothing until you get there, but all this takes work. Your guy could use your suggestions. He could go all year and never know there was a Renaissance Festival, ghost walk or even murder mystery dinner theatre, you’d like to attend. He really would appreciate the suggestions, but maintain some balance and allow him to contribute too.

The relationship is progressing nicely, but he has one annoying habit, probably more than one. First, decide how much it impacts the relationship before mentioning it in a conversational way. Then don’t harp on it. If you decide to target it, he may keep the habit and lose you. My grandmother used to be embarrassed that my grandfather was such a cheap tipper. Instead of harping on it, after they dined out, she always added a few more bucks to the tip. Everyone knew she did this, including my grandfather, it worked for them.

As your relationship changes, decides what works for you. I recently read an article in COSMO, that condemned calling your boyfriend names like sweetie, honey, or handsome. It stated you should call him by his name. I asked my SO what he thought of that advice and he told me whenever I call him by his name he always figures he’s in trouble. LOL

Just a few more things you should know, but may not. Do not compare your boyfriend to your father or previous boyfriends. Do you want to hear how his last girlfriend not only won Miss Bahama Bronze contest, but also could make killer ribs? Comparisons even if meant to be flattering, just brings another person into the relationship making it crowded.

Things aren’t going well in the bedroom. Surprisingly, the bedroom would be the wrong place to bring it up. Save that conversation when you’re both busy with your hands, so direct eye contact is not maintained and he’ll feel less threatened and judged. Don’t throw everything at him at once, either. Always find two things to compliment to balance out something you’d like him to change.

Finally, honestly evaluate your communication style. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of being labeled a whiner or a nag—the two most detested communication styles. No one likes a whiner. A whiner would complain about a beautiful, sunny day because it hurt her eyes. The nag picks one thing and harps on it into infinity. If you’re unsure if you’re a whiner or a nag, ask a sibling.

Your guy should not cringe the next time you talk, although you probably shouldn’t start with “we need to talk.”

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Strike those words. As a woman, I don't want to hear them either. I like the tipping suggestion. It's sometimes best to just figure out a way to reach an unstated compromise.