As a woman have you ever had this kind of conversation where you suddenly get emotional or excited or euphoric or even angry and furious? Your voice gets louder. Your hands move more while you talk. Depending on the subject or the emotions bubbling up (anger, sadness, happiness), you might have tears in your eyes. You are trying desperately to communicate your feelings.
Who are your conversation partners in those situations? Is it a best girlfriend, a female colleague, another mother? Someone that can relate to your emotions?
Or is it your husband, your boyfriend, your co-worker or even your boss.
And how do they act and react when you become like that?
Just the other day I had a similar conversation with my husband, which made me think about this problem of miscommunication.
The worst distance between two people is misunderstanding.
To understand why miscommunication occurs, we first need to understand of course that the thought processes of men and women are different.
Equally, the way emotions are being processed and expressed is also different.
I do not want to sound gender biased, because as we all know, every individual, may it be man or woman, is different. To make yourself more familiar with the scientific side of this subject, you should read WebMD’s article The Mind of a Man before continuing. I tam sure you already know that men and women are wired differently. However, it definitely makes sense to know what those differences are and why.
I will tell you from own experiences, when you should “let it go” and what you can do to improve on your communication.
Also, I am going to tell you why, when you get the kind of reaction that is so counter productive, you should not just quietly “take it”.
So let’s go through this:
1. Listening comprehension
You: “You never listen…”, “I specifically told you to…”.
Does it sound familiar? Have you used these sentences more often than you can count?
In my case, very often this is the reaction I am faced with from his side:
“You always yell…”, “I can’t talk to you…”, “You don’t listen to me either…”
The last one is probably my most hated one. It becomes present, when he does not have anything else to retort, so he will take your points and turn them around at you. Trying to make it sound like you should not complain, because apparently you do the same.
How can this be solved?
Swallow your own pride. “Let it go”! Don’t expect any change. Make the change happen.
It is difficult, yes. The outcome however can be rewarding. You will actually get him to do what you want him to do and there will be no “I told you!” or the fight that follows that sentence.
Here is how:
When you tell him to do something. Don’t just tell him. Write it down. Mark it in a calendar. Make a memo. And make sure he gets it. Don’t just put it on a post-it somewhere.
Don’t think about things like: He should learn to listen.
It won’t happen.
Or: Why is it my responsibility to make sure he does what he should?
This thinking will not get you anywhere.
Believe me, I am still struggling with the same thoughts every time.
2. Keep calm and… 😠!!!
You: Hands flailing in the air. Emotional outbursts. Angertears running down your face as you try to convey your feelings.
His response: “Calm down!”
This is a red flag!!!
It is condescending, demeaning and seems like he is trying to deny you your emotions. It is not acceptable and you don’t have to “take it”!
I have to say, I am so glad my husband does not utter these words, ever!
But I do have experience with it.
And from what I have learned there are two ways to deal with it.
The first one (not recommended):
Take whatever object you got close by (make sure it is something of his) and throw it at him!
It’ll make you feel better, but only until the next time. Also it might not be very appropriate in the workplace.
The second option (recommended):
While not fighting. When you get the chance for a nice comfortable conversation. When it’s just the two of you. Try asking him if there is one specific thing that you say or do, that he would like you to change. Be prepared for criticism and don’t get offended or go into attack mode. This is to show that you are willing to work on yourself and in return, you can ask him to do the same.
Once the ground for the conversation has been laid, explain to him why these words make you feel so bad. Try using analogies and metaphors that relate to his thinking rather your own.
Of course, the success rate is not a 100%, but when repeated, the probability of a change happening increases.
All jokes aside.
The most important factor in dealing with miscommunication is ironically ‘communication‘. Bit by bit, while learning and understanding enough about the other person, we need to communicate our own feelings.
Sometimes the words we leave unspoken are the most important that should have been said.
Nobody is a mind reader even if some people claim to be very intuitive. When we express and share our feelings and emotions, it has to be done in a setting that is not hostile towards either party.
Accepting the faults of the other and working around them is often a better solution than trying to forcefully change someone.
Feel free to leave me your feedback and opinions in the comment section!