Ladies, I feel like letting the cat out of the bag today. “You don’t have to fix” this may be the words that you’ve been looking for.
It sounds kind of dirty, doesn’t it?
Actually, what I’m about to tell you may be helpful — as in, extraordinarily helpful.
Sometimes, we forget that men are hardwired to be problem solvers.
They’re driven to find the solution and offer the resolution.
Men must fix things.
It’s in their dang DNA, so it’s not their fault.
And it’s fantastic when the kitchen sink’s drain is clogged, or the washing machine’s spin cycle sounds like it’s about to take off into orbit.
Women, on the other hand, need to talk about things.
We need to vent and it “get it out.”
So when you put a venting woman in the same room with a problem-solving man, frustrations can quickly mount (giggle), with each person perplexed by the other’s reaction.
“What the hell is her/his problem?”
IF these two aren’t working together on the same problem, the tension can quickly mount (that’s what she said!), because one person is simply venting and the other person is trying to solve a problem they have no control over.
See where I’m going with this?
I have a younger coworker who was venting to me the other day about how she can’t vent to her live-in boyfriend, because he doesn’t like to talk about her “work.”
She said it frustrated the hell out of her, because she felt like she couldn’t “get her shit out” at home and had no one to vent to.
This is just a guess, but I’m pretty sure this is where I was being useful in her world.
After listening to her speak for a while, I told her about how long it took me to figure out that men are hardwired to fix things.
Men become frustrated when their women vent to them about their work issues, because they can’t solve those particular issues for them.
The typical male resolution?
Shut down and avoid the topic in the future altogether.
That’s the thing, Ladies.
When men hear us vent, they think we want them to fix the problem, when all we want is to get it out.
“Yeah,” she said. “It sucks.”
“There’s an easy solution to this,” I consoled.
“Before you start to BRIEFLY vent about the day’s highlights that you absolutely must get out or you’ll explode, you must get his full attention FIRST and say six simple words to him: YOU DON’T NEED TO FIX THIS. I just need to say it.”
The key here is to get his attention first.
Smack a couple of kitchen pans together, if you have to, but make certain you’ve got his full attention and START with, “YOU DON’T NEED TO FIX THIS.”
Followed by, “I just need to get this out.”
Doing this immediately absolves your man of his hardwired, caveman drive of, “Me must fix problem.”
It let’s him just let that “fix-it” drive go for the next few minutes while you speak.
In fact, he probably isn’t even really going to be listening to every word you say, because you just gave him the green light to mentally and emotionally check out.
You get to vent. He doesn’t get frustrated, when you’re presenting him with what he perceives as unsolvable issues, because he knows he isn’t supposed to solve these problems.
Winner-winner, chicken dinner!
But it’s absolutely critical that you have his undivided attention FIRST and say those six words, “YOU DON’T NEED TO FIX THIS.”
Snap your fingers and make sure you have eye contact THEN say it.
If you say, “YOU DON”T NEED TO FIX THIS,” and you don’t have his attention, it’s all for nothing.
And I’m sorry, Ladies, but you’ll have to say those six words every dang time. Hardwired men don’t hang onto six-word messages from day-to-day.
It’s an easy habit to get into.
You man will appreciate the fact that you’re letting him know there are topics that he doesn’t have to fix.
Because, believe it or not, your man thinks about what you tell him while you’re venting. How to possibly fix those problems weighs on his mind, because that’s what he’s hardwired to do.
If you can eliminate that stress altogether, he’ll thank you for it in other ways.
Then, you two can focus on the real problems that you can solve together.