by Gabrielle Lamplugh
A great deal of research has been done regarding the different communication styles of men and women. Indeed, communication style is something Matt and I hear about in school All. The. Time. And while it can be easy to write off the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” theory as subtle sexism, scientific research speaks for itself. It’s not that either gender’s dominant communication style is better, but it’s important to pay attention to that if you want to achieve positive communication.
Women, in general, favor a more indirect communication style. Take, for example, the old “honey, do I look fat in this?” trope. By the way, I should take this time to note that I’ve never heard of this actually taking place in real life, but ladies this would be setting your man up for failure. Avoid at all costs. Would you rather have your significant other tell you that you look “fat” in something or just tell you which outfit he finds most flattering on you? Just as we women tend to prefer a more indirect communication style, we should honor men’s general preference toward direct communication from time to time. In many ways we benefit from men’s direct communication style every day, whether it’s when solving problems, or simply when he tells us we’re pretty. Likewise, men can benefit from the more nuanced style of indirect communication when applied to development of character and expression of emotions. See, it works both ways. It may seem difficult, perhaps even unnatural at first, but he is likely to appreciate you speaking in a way that he best understands. Here are four suggestions of things you should directly say to the guys in your life:
1. “I appreciate/am grateful for you/your actions”
It can be easy, especially in a long term relationship, to focus on the negatives. After a while it’s easy to stop appreciating each other and instead start trying to refine each other. But whether words of affirmation are your love language or not, they are important to a relationship. Always, always, accentuate the positive. And when you’re doing so with guys, be direct about it. It doesn’t matter what stage of a relationship you’re in, whether this is a guy you’ve been dating for years or a guy you would like to date, everyone appreciates knowing they are appreciated and that they are doing something right. Let him know, and chances are, whatever it is, you are likely to see it repeated more often.
Now this one is a little bit vague because the best way to approach an issue differs per the circumstances, but when trying to broach in issue of personal importance with a guy, one of the most important elements is pointing out that this is an issue of personal importance. Take it from your’s truly, the Queen of Passive Aggression, I have learned through plenty of life experiences that the best way to communicate when an issue is bothering you to a member of the opposite sex is to point out, first and foremost, that it’s bothering you. Although it’s easy to think that the silent treatment and a stern face will communicate the idea (because, let’s be honest, all the females in the room are likely to pick-up on your non-verbal communication) this is another situation where it’s best to be direct. Often, the guy in question will not pick up that he’s done something wrong, and it’s really not fair to keep him guessing. Like hot wax or a bandage, this issue is something best taken care of sooner rather than later. It may be a bit awkward and sting, but trust me, it will be over quickly.
3. Call out his character.
Women often lament that men focus on and compliment the more superficial qualities of females. In present society, however, superficial assessments and admiration is a two-way street. Let’s be real, Magic Mike XXL is pulling in the dollar dollar bills at the box office. It’s easy for us as girls to complain about the unrealistic body image expectations of media, the constant sexualization of women, and catcalling, but it’s also easy for us to overlook our own shortcomings when it comes to complimenting the internal character of others.
I often hear my female friends complain about the short-comings of their significant others, which has always been a pet peeve of mine. The way I see it, when you enter into a committed relationship with someone you intentionally decide to form a two person team. Every once in a while a team might have a losing season, and undoubtedly that affects morale. But the quickest way to deteriorate a relationship is from the inside. Females often communicate through criticism, but it’s important to remember that guys respond best to constructive direction. The best tactic to overcoming issues in a healthy relationship is to call out a guy’s character in the most positive way. Tell guys when they are doing things right. If they are doing things really, really wrong? See number two.
4. Let him know he’s wanted.
I’m all for letting the guy pursue. If the opposite is true for you, and you want to pursue the guy, good for you! The problem is that often times being pursued is so fun that it’s easy to forget that the chase should end eventually. Especially, if you are in an official, committed relationship. Rather than let him pursue you, you should both be pursuing each other. That is, he shouldn’t be constantly needing to prove his worth to you. If he still has anything to prove, perhaps you should consider dating other people. Your relationship should provide you both shelter. The dialogue between both parties should feel comfortable, natural, appreciated, positive, and most importantly safe. Let him know that you are there for him, and most importantly, that you want him there. He didn’t just choose you. You chose each other. Remember that, and don’t forget to remind him as well.
Today’s photo is not mine. Although I plan on doing a couples photoshoot really soon, I have not be able to yet.
Two non-fiction characters, a guy and a girl, meet and introduce themselves for today’s Daily Post daily prompt.