Every couple gets into fights; unfortunately in my experience, men can't concentrate and women are great at concentrating. The disconnect is that guys don't listen. If we knew how to speak to one another and listen, we'd cut down on the fighting/annoyances.
Here are some pointers on keeping your guy engaged:
Is He The Right Audience?
Sure, I know what a loofah is, and sometimes I try to impress women with this knowledge. But if you're trying to get your guy to listen to certain things (like an annoying pedicure experience for example), you should save it for the girls. We tune out pretty fast.
Make A Point
One day at work, my friend Margaret called me over to her desk and bitched about some email. I asked: "What do you want me to do about it?" She said: "nothing, I just need someone to stand there so I can vent." I was so confused. Another friend told me that her ex said that she tells so many pointless stories.
This is the practical side of the male mind: we figure, if you're going to speak, there's a point. This is the same reason I have two pairs of shoes and I won't buy new ones until there are holes in them. But you have lots of shoes, and they are all in great shape. Who needs that many shoes? Who speaks without making a point?
Visual Aids Are Good
Men are visual creatures. Last Thanksgiving, my mom sent me out to pick up something for dinner. She launched in to this incredibly boring list of steps I had to take to get to the item I had to pick up:
"So when you get into the store, turn right and you'll walk past the flower guy. That guy is so nice. His kids are about your age. Then turn left and right. You'll see laundry detergent. From there, go to the back of the store. Yoiu have to pick up the one with frosting. They'll have three choices, frosting, no frosting, and low-fat no frosting. Get low-fat frosting."
Unfortunately, my mom lost me at "so when you get into the store, turn right..." I drove her crazy calling her and asking questions when I got to the store. Now, when Easter rolled around and she sent me out, she simply handed me a box: "Rich, go to the store and get THIS PRODUCT." Awesome. So simple, clear and no boring talking! I literally matched up the boxes at the store, and returned home in glory: mission accomplished.
Ever wonder why guys love sports? They are little snippets of action with breaks in between. So if you're trying to get your guy to do something, make a list with him, and he'll perform the tasks while checking them off. Lists anchor me and help me do my job with confidence. Maybe you can even make your conversations a little "listy": main point, main point, main point.
Meandering stories turn us off quickly. This is another rule my friend Margaret struggles with. She'll tell a story that does nothing, and goes nowhere and has no conflict. Remember in English they taught us how to write: first you need a hook, then rising action to engage the listener. Then you need a climax, and denouement (falling action). After something that good, the listener is happy and fulfilled (and needs a cigarette).
But a climax/conflict to a woman may not be a conflict to us guys. Margaret told us one of her Southern stories, and of course it took forever to get to the point. And after what seemed like an eternity of white noise, Margaret hit the "climax" of the story:
The room was silent. I was empty: wanting more, waiting for more, but it never came. Meandering stories can take on a lethal combination of not having a point and intended for a femal audience.
You don't have to change your personality to get us to listen. Men and women are wired differently, and that's what makes it fun. We don't ignore women to be mean-- we just aren't wired to be engaged all the time. So when it really counts, perhaps keep these four points in the back of your mind when you need him to listen.
Do you find that most guys have trouble listening? Do you ever get into arguments over it? What strategies do you use to keep a guy listening and engaged, and make sure he performs "tasks" correctly?
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GIFT IDEA: Buy him cologne this holiday season... Plug in his current cologne and get suggests for others he'd like.