Hug It Out

After reading my summary of Chapter 7 in Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, JKnitt asked a good question:

It’s all fine and good to say that, “she needs your love, support, and attention. But she doesn’t want your advice on how to fix her problems, Mr. Fix-It.” But to quote the great Ralph Wiggum, “that’s unpossible!”

I’m not going to speak for all guys, but I don’t know how to show love and support WITHOUT offering solutions. (So if you could fill me in on how to do that I’d be much obliged.)

Well, JKnitt, or Ralph Wiggum…Can I call you “Ralph”? Remember that a woman’s main need is to be heard, not to have her problem solved.

Woman: Work is just so stressful.

Man: Honey, I’m sorry. (::HUG::) What happened?

The hug shows that you love her. Asking a question shows that you’re concerned, and it allows the woman to vent and achieve what she really wants: for someone to listen to her.

Woman: Sally is always making my life miserable.

Man: Sally’s a b*tch. (::HUG::) What did she do now?

By taking her side about Sally, you are showing support. Again, notice the question technique that allows the woman to speak and the man to listen.

The primary problem isn’t Sally (she’s the secondary problem). The primary problem is how your partner feels, so your solution should be how you can make her feel better, not how to put Sally in her place.

Woman: I just have so much to do!

Man: (::turns off the TV, and then hugs woman::) Let me give you a massage while you tell me what I can help with.

First give your partner your full attention. By asking her what you can help with, you are offering support, and the hug and massage show your love.

And this response even incorporates a man’s need to offer a solution. The hug is part of the solution because it will make her feel better. And by helping her, you are the solution. How cool is that?

Men, when in doubt, hug. Ladies, please feel free to jump in with more suggestions.

Ladies, you’re welcome for the massages you are all about to receive.

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About thoughtsappear

I eat lots of sugar. It's the only way to keep up with my new baby and to outrun zombies. View all posts by thoughtsappear

5 responses to “Hug It Out

  • sittingpugs

    i’m not going to speak for all guys, but I don’t know how to show love and support WITHOUT offering solutions.*

    That’s just it. Expressing love and support is not always about offering solutions. Not all problems or sources of frustration can be remedied by the person who is distressed on account of that problem or source of frustration.

    Expressing love and support is fundamentally about offering undivided attention. Exceptions aside, how many times does a person simply want someone to lend her their ears? To just listen to a rant or a summary of a specific incident?

    If a person wishes to have the listener’s opinion, a person will ask. Yes, there are instances where a person does not come right out and “What should I do.” If the listener really wants to offer a suggestion about course of action, the listener can initiate that line of conversation with, “Wow…what can you do about it?”

    Person with grievance replies, “I have no idea. What would you do? Knowing me, what should I do?”

    On the flip side, person with grievance might already have a solution in mind, but if the listener thinks that solution is unwise or ineffective, the listener can convey his concerns to the person’s closest friend.

    There’s usually one friend whose opinion counts the most and is exalted above all others’.

    *Unless the problem is tangible and literally can be fixed either by taking the malfunctioning object to a specialist or having the specialist come to the malfunctioning object. ^J^

  • TonyVote

    You’re absolutely right. Since I began to read “Men are from Mars…” my relationship with Reese has improved drastically. I owe it all to you, for opening my eyes to this book. It’s very convenient that I came across your blog when I did, since you offer much great help, especially with my wedding being 9 days away. I’m sure everyone knows that the pressure is on those last couple of weeks leading up to the wedding.

    Once again, thank you for this piece of wonderful advice, the advice you have and will give in the future.

    • thoughtsappear

      Awww…I’m glad the book is helping, and during such an amazing (yet stressful) time.

      I’m so excited for you and Reese. Weddings are always fun. Will you post some pics afterwards?

  • illumeateight

    It’s definitely possible for a guy to provide commentary and analysis without having to make grand suggestions on how to fix them. Sometimes we do want suggestions to fix problems, but in those cases, usually we’ll ask. Or if they could just ask us if we’d like suggestions to fix our problems, before imparting their sage wisdom, that would be kind of nice.

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