Monday, September 12, 2011

On communicating with women....

On the 21st of September my lovely wife and I will be going to Pensacola, FL to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  In this day and age 20 years is a huge deal and I'm very proud of us both for having stayed together for that long.  To me it's one of my proudest accomplishments.

Although I am far from a relationship expert and there's much more that I need to learn, here are a few things that I've learned about the differences in how women and men communicate:

Reading between the lines.  Women seldom verbalize their wants in the same way a man does.  A man might say "may I have a sandwich", which means, of course, I would like a sandwich.  A woman will express her desire for a sandwich in an entirely different manner, posing a question instead of directly saying what she wants.  For instance, a woman saying "doesn't a sandwich sound good right now?" really means "I want a sandwich, go fix it."

Using the truth expounded above, let's say in this scenario your wife or girlfriend says "Doesn't a sandwich sound good right now."  What is the best way to handle that situation?  Is it:

a.  Ask her if she would like for you to fix a sandwich.
b.  Say yes and tell her that you want ham and cheese.
c.  Say yes and ask her what kind she would like.

Let's discuss these one by one.

Scenario A - Incorrect.  The answer you will be given if you ask her directly if she wants you to fix a sandwich is something along the lines of "don't worry about it."  Don't worry about it really means "I hate to bother you right now, but do you mind fixing me a sandwich."  Asking her if she would like for you to fix her a sandwich is going to frustrate her because she has already asked you to fix it by saying "doesn't a sandwich sound good right now?"  If you ask her if she wants you to make it she will just feel like you weren't listening to her.  Never mind that she never really asked.

Scenario B - Also incorrect.  Remember, although she didn't really ask you, in her mind she asked you to make her a sandwich.  Plus if you allow scenario B to play out, the end result is you sleeping on the couch.  She wanted you to fix her a sandwich and ended up making her own and you one as well, in her mind that is the height of selfishness.

Scenario C - This, of course, is the correct answer.  What if you don't want a sandwich?  Pretend that you do, go make hers and then tell her that you changed your mind and didn't really want a sandwich after all.  That small fib will save you a ton of grief and will keep her happy.

Help her communicate.  Sometimes the "no it's okay" isn't directed at you and there will be times away from home that you have to interpret for others.  For instance, earlier today we went to Cracker Barrel and my wife asked for the cornbread muffins with her meal.  When the waitress came out, she said that they were cooking a fresh batch.  Time marched on and we were done eating, this is where the man has to spring to action.  What should the man do:

a.  Tell the waitress that the cornbread muffins are still in play, despite the fact that your wife seems to have forgotten about them.
b.  Ask your wife if she still wants the cornbread muffins, then query the waitress.

Scenario A - Correct.  There is no statute of limitations on cornbread muffins, of course she still wants them.  Again, asking if she wants them in the alternate universe that women inhabit just means that you weren't paying attention to her wants.

Scenario B - Incorrect, see scenario A.

Now, my wife threw me a curve today because the training period never ends, when you think you know everything, she will quickly remind you that you don't.  So what happened was I asked about the cornbread muffins and the waitress asked my wife if she would like them to go.  What did my wife say?  "That's okay, don't worry about it."  Which means what?  "Hell yea I still want the cornbread muffins."  Women don't understand each other any better than they understand men or men understand them, so what the waitress heard was that my wife was passing on the cornbread muffins.  This is where you, as the man, have to intervene and should say yes, she would like the cornbread muffins to go.

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