Ladies, men can’t read our minds! We tend to think that just because we said something that they actually heard us and understood us. This would be great if it was true, but it absolutely isn’t. They might hear us, but not understand us, which can be way worse than them not hearing us at all, because our message either gets lost or completely misinterpreted.
In my practice, I hear women say every day that she said this or that and the man will look at her with a blank stare and say, “Yeah, so?” When I turn to the man and say, “What does what she just said mean to you?” it is almost guaranteed that his response will be drastically different from what the woman was actually meaning. If you simply say to a man, “I need you to start calling me when you leave the bar” he might think you are just trying to keep tabs on him while in reality you need him home sooner because you worry yourself to death until he arrives home. If you don’t give the why or reason behind your need, the other person will automatically fill in that blank with something that may or may not be accurate. So in this case you could say, “Sweetie, I really need you to give me a call or text when you’re leaving the bar or planning on staying later than expected, because I wake up at 1am and think you’re dead in a ditch, worry myself sick, can’t sleep, and then wake up the next day feeling horrible. I don’t mind if you’re out late at all. I just need you to communicate with me so I don’t worry so much.” Always try to use, “I need _____, because _______.” If you do this, you’ll leave much less room for miscommunication and misinterpretation. Now, if you do all of this and he’s still confused or appears to be dismissing you, ask him if he understood you or ask him to explain how he understood what you just said. If he did misunderstand something, you’ll now have the opportunity to try giving the why again in a different way that might make a little more sense to him. However, if you never ask if he understood or what he exactly what he understood, you’ll assume he got the message loud and clear. The next time that incident occurs, you’ll be upset and think he is actively defying your needs while, in actuality, he thinks he is doing exactly what you wanted.