Sunday, December 31, 2006

"Tell Me (Don't Tell Me) About It"

There are a few more ropes to learn in the shaky bridge that spans the perilous communications gap. One of them is discovering how to keep the love knot tied even when your partner is upset. Hunters, it's easier for you, because you need to learn only one phrase. Gentlemen, when she looks obsessed, angry, pre-occupied, or annoyed, use the magic phrase. Ready? Here it is: "Do you want to talk about it?" Men, when trials and tribulations come tumbling down on a buddy, you're accustomed to clamming up or punching your pal's shoulder and saying, "Ah, it'll all work out. Don't worry about it." However, if you give your female Quarry this brand of consolation, a flag goes up in her brain which waves, "Insensitive man. The brute doesn't want me to bother him with my problems." Let her know you are there for her. Even if she grumbles, "No, I don't want to talk about it," persevere. Say, "Come on, I know you'll feel better if you talk about it. I'd really like you to share your feelings with me." Then the dam will burst. Be prepared to be drenched with whatever is bothering her, but never fear. All you have to do is close your mouth and listen. Listen the way a woman listens, not like a man. To many men, listening means getting the wax out of their ears just long enough to gather sufficient data and then offering their solution. Women listen to each other knowing that they need to get whatever is bothering them out of their systems. Let your Quarry talk. As her stream of consciousness starts to slow to a trickle, you may probe and possibly offer gentle suggestions to show you are concerned about her problem. But do not feel you must solve her problem. Do not feel it is your responsibility. Do not feel as though she is blaming you. Simply listen. TECHNIQUE #65 (FOR HUNTERS): TELL ME ABOUT IT Hunters, when your Quarry is upset, beg her to tell you about it. Then listen—like a woman listens. It makes you a more loving man in your Quarry's eyes. Huntresses, when your Quarry is angry, disturbed, or upset you have even less lines to learn than a man. In fact, don't deliver any lines at all. Simply close your mouth. Respect his silence the way one of his buddies would. Men are not accustomed to sharing their feelings, so if you insist he talk about it, you're asking him to twirl his hips in an exotic fandango that he never learned. Incidentally, Huntresses, there is an added benefit to respecting his silence: You do not become associated with his distress. When the storm has blown over, you will be his refuge from the internal tempest he suffered, not part of it. You can let him know you are supportive, sympathetic, and definitely there for him . . . in one sentence or less. Say, "Of course you're upset and if you'd like to talk about it, I'm here for you." Period. Then just go about your own business. Do not be hurt if he chooses not share it with you. In his terms, he is demonstrating his respect for you by not burdening you with his problem. TECHNIQUE #66 (FOR HUNTRESSES): WHEN HE'S MAD, STAY MUTE Huntresses, if your male Quarry is upset about something that has nothing to do with you, do not smoke him out of his foxhole. Do not make him feel guilty for not telling you about it. Let him know you're there if he wants to share, but give him the freedom to burrow in his foxhole until he is ready to crawl out all by himself.

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