Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Redirect Feminine Ire (i.e. How to Stop Getting Nagged)

There was a man I once knew who had married a wonderful woman. That woman, however, for him had become, over time, an insufferable, nagging shrew. For this unfortunate gentleman there appeared to be no end to her persistent reminders of tasks unfinished, jobs forsaken or failed promises. More than once I marveled at the sandpaper texture of her voice, as she used it to knock the rough edges off the man ("cretin" was a word I heard once) she had married. Unsavory innuendos and harsh threats had become for her second nature, and she seemed to take special relish in pointing out this poor chap's every flaw to anyone within earshot. On more than one occasion, the miserable bloke confided to me the situation had grown intolerable, but he was at a total loss to know what to do to regain the sweet bride he had married.

So what caused this wonderful, sweet woman to turn into a God-awful shrew?

As the man was desperate to find some answers, we set about to determine the problem. There was for him most definitely a listening issue, and he was quick to admit it. When I asked him how their conversations went -- particularly when she was requesting something -- he had to confess his attentiveness was less than what it should be. He cited numerous examples where, in an effort to get her to the point, he would rush her along, glossing over most of what she said, eager to be free of this unwanted intrusion. The problem here (you can probably see it already) was that he half-heard most of what his wife was saying, mis-heard the rest, and soon forgot most all of it 15 minutes later.

Can I get an "Amen," brother?

Now if that dear, sweet woman in your life has some nagging tendencies (i.e. she's an overachiever when it comes to asking for something), there's a way to fix it. In fact, there is a guaranteed cure!

It will involve time and effort, but the rewards are worth the effort -- if you take the time -- that is.

It's really very simple. Here you go: listen closely, resist the urge to rebut on every other point, and check (better yet, slay) your ego at the door.

Listening involves a few easy steps:

1. Look at her. Maintain eye contact. Let nothing distract you. I repeat: let nothing distract you.
2. Do not judge, dismiss, belittle. Let her speak and finish what she has to say.
3. Restate what she says or asks. Be clear on what is being said or requested.
4. Follow through with what you said you would do.

Once you put your ego in check and you're listening, really listening, (i.e. not just giving her your best impersonation of listening), you may find what she had to say was, well, something worth listening to in the first place.

And, if not, at least with some practice, you'll only have to hear it once.

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