A few months ago, Lisa*, 25, sat in her lounge with her boyfriend, Mark*, 26, and launched into a 20-minute tirade about her boss. As she listed her grievances (‘He even made me pick up his dry cleaning!’), Mark flipped through the channels on the TV. Lisa kept repeating herself but Mark never seemed to grasp what she was saying. Finally, she grabbed the remote from his hand and screamed, ‘Are you hearing me?’ Mark looked confused. ‘Of course I am!’ he said. ‘Then why aren’t you saying anything?’ Lisa demanded.
The answer: Because he’s a guy. And guys don’t show they’re listening the same way women do. In fact, in general men don’t communicate how women do… or at least the way women wish they would. You can blame biology, blame education, blame history, blame TV – just don’t blame guys. ‘Men are simply wired differently,’ explains communications expert, Dr Sherron Bienvenu. ‘They speak the language of logic and action, while women are driven by their emotions and feelings, and this can cause all sorts of misunderstandings.
So how do you get past those verbal roadblocks and reach a level of satisfying, stress-free banter with your man? Start by clueing in to his male communication style. The more you understand where he’s coming from, the easier it will be for you to talk to him… and save yourself some major migraines.
|GUY-SPEAK SECRET #1: They Aren’t Ambiguous||Steve*, 31, hasn’t adjusted the clock in his car for three years. There’s just no way he’s going to call up the dealership and ask them how to do it. Right or wrong, men have certain dos and don’ts that are ingrained in their brains from the time they’re kids. ‘Men have to be tough,’ says Gratch. ‘They don’t want to feel like sissies or be seen as incompetent.’ For a man to ask for help, he first has to admit that he actually needs it, and that’s about as likely to happen as his ordering a tofu omelette.
How To Deal: Whether it’s asking for help fixing his car clock, letting you bring him food when he’s sick, or allowing you to give him a hand finding a doctor when he’s too busy or embarrassed to deal with anything, there are certain tricks you can try to get him to swallow his pride for a few seconds. ‘Make it a team problem, not his problem,’ suggests Bienvenu. Rather than berating him for being too stubborn or chicken to ask for assistance, offer to quickly do it together and move on. By appealing to his need for efficiency – say, hinting to him that the faster he slurps your miracle-cure soup, the faster he’ll be in shape for hot sex – the more likely he’ll be to take you up on your offer.
Another ploy: Work the ego angle. Guys like to feel useful, so saying something like ‘I know it doesn’t bother you, but it’s bugging the hell out of me’ or ‘I’m actually interested in knowing how to adjust the clock’ might get him to seek help just so he can strut his stuff.
|GUY-SPEAK SECRET #2: They Don’t Do Questions|
|GUY-SPEAK SECRET #3: They Use Humour To Diffuse Tension|
|GUY-SPEAK SECRET #4: Ask for Help? Yeah, Right|
|GUY-SPEAK SECRET #5: They Avoid Confrontation Like Chest Waxing|
*Names have been changed