A few days ago, I was talking to my bf about a problem I’d observed between some friends of mine. This was not a problem anyone could solve, but I was concerned because they were my friends.
So, I talked to my bf about it.
“Okay, Alisha, what do you want me to do about it?” he asks me. And I look at him like he hadn’t the slightest clue as to what I’d been talking about for the last fifteen minutes.
What do I do?
I start explaining the whole situation ALL over again. Because apparently, he had not been listening. I finish explaining, “Alisha, what do you want me to do?” he asks me again.
Now, to say that I’m peeved is an understatement. Obviously for thirty minutes now, he has not heard a single word I’ve said. There is no solution to the problem I’m talking about.
So, I take a deep breath and for the third time begin explaining again.
In the middle of my explanation, he interrupts me, “But Alisha WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?!!??”
Now, I’m really mad because he’s interrupted me, he’s asked me the same question three times, and he’s NOT LISTENING!
“I just want you to LISTEN to me!” I tell him. But now, I’m mad and I don’t even want to talk about it anymore because obviously he doesn’t want to listen. And we’re fighting over a problem that doesn’t even have anything to do with us.
When I finally cooled off, I thought of a book I read a few months ago, Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps.
There’s a whole section dedicated to the difference between the ways men and women communicate. There’s even an example that goes a little like the one I just talked about. A wife and husband are sitting at the dinner table talking; she’s talking about her day. She says she slipped and broke a heel on her shoe. He tells her that she should’ve worn more sensible shoes on a rainy day.
She then tells him that after slipping, breaking her heel, and getting it fixed; when she got to her car her back tire was flat. He tells her she needs to check the tire pressure more often.
He thinks he’s being helpful and solving her problems. She’s mad because he’s interrupting her and NOT LISTENING!
My bf was listening. He was just trying to solve the problem.
I was frustrated because I thought he wasn’t listening.
Then I realized that maybe I should’ve been more upfront and said something like, “Babe, I have a problem I want to talk to you about. I don’t want a solution. I just want you to listen.” Maybe that’s something I’ll try next time. I can say what I want to say, he can listen, and we can go about our merry way. At least until the next issue rears its ugly head.
For now, I’m off to pick up Why Men Don’t Listen, and Women Can’t Read Maps again. Maybe I can get some more insights into how the male (and female) mind works, and why they work that way. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.