Mistakes happen. We all make them. Most of us try to learn from our mistakes to that we can be more successful in the particular endeavor/opportunity/relationship at hand. Thus, whenever I come across an article pointing out mistakes I pay attention to see if I am making that mistake and, if so, how I can correct it. May I presume that you have a similar outlook? This “mistake” article focuses on some of the mistakes men make with women. I will present the view as presented by Stephanie O’Neill (those in quotation marks) with a few comments where I feel differently or embellishment might be appropriate.
- NOT LISTENING: “The number one complaint of women is that men don’t listen to them. Women get a dopamine hit (feel good chemical) which build bonds through conversation. Women talk to connect. A man thinks she is talking to tell him something.” Men would be wise to get those ears in prime working condition as well as saying things such as “Tell me more”, “That’s interesting”. Might even look at her some!
- NOT OFFERING HELP: Men often are not attuned to seeing what a woman is doing to make the household work or what might be done in that vein. It would be nice to say “what can I do?” or noticing something that needs to be done – and then doing it. Examples dish washers usually need to be emptied and put up and trash usually can be taken out.
- THINKING MEN AND WOMEN ARE ALIKE: “When men “give” it’s often based on what they want, not what their partner wants.” I don’t like this one for its overly stereotyped statement. Yes, men and women are different (insight of the millennium) and I think most men are very aware of that – sometimes painfully so. I would prefer a statement that says men often are not very attuned to a woman’s thinking and/or needs and the consequent behavior required.
- MISUNDERSTANDING THE “SILENT TREATMENT”: “The silent treatment is not meant to punish – it just means she’s hurt and can’t speak. Silence is not a good sign.” Here men should ask what’s wrong. Come with compassion so a woman feels safe enough to express her real emotions.” Too often men get defensive and withdraw instead of staying engaged and assisting in working through whatever caused the “silent treatment”.
- FAILING TO COMMUNICATE: “Women say men don’t tell them what they are thinking. Men save words and don’t explain well. Often the wrong message is sent or received.” Yes, men need to speak up more and contribute better. However, a fundamental difference between most men and women is that men go into much less detail than women. I continually say to couples in counseling that men should talk more and listen better and women should give more bullet points and less details and not detour into ancillary subjects.
- THINKING THAT PHYSICALLY PRESENT IS ENOUGH: “A man believes if his body is in the house it’s a form of intimacy. Women want more.” Examples would be more reaching out – physically, emotionally, and mentally. O’Neill suggests the “Three T’s”: talking, touching, and tuning in. Remember that song, “Reach out and touch”. Worth trying.
- FEELING HURT BY A WOMAN’S DISTRACTIONS: “Women multi-task. Men feel hurt or less important and they get their feelings hurt.” Not so sure about this one. How many men really get bent out of shape when a woman is doing something else while communicating with her man?
- NOT GETTING HOW WE OPERATE: “A man screens out everything irrelevant to his task” Women multi-task, men are more focused. I think Ms. O’Neill should have quit after Number Seven. This one seems redundant.
I guess the reason for the O’Neill article, as well as this one, is to help men, and women, realize some of the “mistakes” that individuals make in a relationship that deter a closer bond. It never hurts for each person to raise his or her awareness of what “mistakes” are occurring and how they may be limiting the relationship. Perhaps some “good communication” dialogue between you and your loved one might uncover a mistake or two in the relationship that could be corrected! If so, this writing will have served its purpose.
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates