Listening

It's Not About the Nail

At first glance, I think this video can come off a bit sexist.  It seems to adhere to some traditional and stereotypical views of how men and women communicate.  Speaking broadly, men and women tend to have different needs when it comes to communication in a relationship. While men steer towards fixing, women tend to have a need to feel heard and understood.  In my therapy practice, I tell men to take off the tool belt, that their partners are not projects for them to fix.  While your buddy might be fine with getting all the expert advice you have to give on better, modern living; your lady may need you to just listen.  Let me say that this can be an exceedingly difficult practice for men, bordering on reeds underneath the fingernails.  As depicted in this video, men can see the problem as very clear and easy to handle, just do this-  just try that, and your troubles will all go away.  Here's the problem, women typically know what the solve is, they just need to process their feelings around the issue.  At some level, I think men feel responsible to make their partners problems go away-to fix it.  In my practice, I relieve men of the responsibility of fixing anything and instead give them something to do, like asking clarifying questions e.g."What was that like?", "How did that make you feel?" or "Was that difficult for you?".  As men, we tend to think that if we can fix the problem we will show her that we care.  What we don't often understand is she will feel cared about when she knows we are interested in how she feels.