Saturday, August 30, 2008

Relationship Talk Series: Express Yourself

Although it’s never been scientifically supported, the going theory is that women use twice as many words per day as men. Yet with all these words flying around, people often struggle to find the right one’s to express themselves in their relationship. And when you add in the often inevitable emotional misinterpretation, what you get resembles that of a “who’s on first” meets vaudeville mash up. It often goes like this:

Girl – “Babe, the other day when you said blah blah, what did you mean by that?”
Boy – “I didn’t mean anything”
Girl – “Well, it’s just that, when you say things like that it makes me think you don’t blah blah”
Boy – “....siggghhh...”
Girl – “What was that about?”
Boy – “I didn’t even say anything!”
Girl – “I know but you sighed!”
Boy – “So I can’t sigh now?”
Girl - “Ugggh!! This is exactly what I’m talking about!”

If you are now convinced that I have somehow taped your phone conversations, fear not. Ineffective communication is a common reality in relationships and is often cited as a prevailing catalyst to divorce. That being said, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed. But you should definitely get a handle on it before it completely hijacks your relationship. Start by being direct and saying exactly what you mean. Beating around the bush only makes you and your partner dizzy and frustrated. Be careful not to let “emotional red-herrings” like sighing take your conversation off course. And if your partner is just not getting it or you feel like you’re speaking at the verbal equivalent of an eighth grader, just stop and try again at a later time when perhaps the emotions of the situation aren’t so high. And if all else fails…listen.