He Said/She Said: Communicating About Miscommunication

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As many of you savvy ladies most likely noticed, we seemed to have had a bit of a snafu with last week’s He Said/She Said. He proposed an idea. I agreed with it. And then we went our separate ways and got writing…

And when Tuesday rolled around, we saw that we not only differed on our opinions on the topic…we differed on the topic itself.

Erratic emails ensued. It was his fault. It was my fault. He didn’t understand what I was talking about. I didn’t understand what he was talking about. Neither of us was really listening…

It was a mess. But also a perfect example of the biggest issue between ladies and dudes: miscommunication. So after 4 confirmation emails (and one reminder IM for good measure), we decided that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about this week.

So let’s do it, shall we?

It was Patti Stanger who once taught me that there are 3 sides to every relationship fight: his side, her side and the truth. (She also taught me that you should wear something short but not too slutty to mixers, and that girls larger than a size 4 will never find love…but I digress.) Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship – hell, anyone who’s ever spent a night with a guy – knows that truer words have never been spoken. Because at the end of the day, we all hear things that aren’t said and say things that we didn’t really say.

And yes, I mean ALL of us. I’m not letting girls off the hook here, as much as I wish I could. We may communicate more than guys, but that doesn’t mean we communicate effectively. In fact, I can say with confidence that we often communicate with ulterior motives. We know exactly what we have to say/do/emphasize to make a point, and we abuse that power in our relationships all the time.

Allow me to show you:

Girl: Ugh, I have this stupid party that I have to go to tonight and I don’t know anyone who’s going to be there.

Girrrl, you know you’re not just pointing that out. You know that what you’re really trying to do is get your guy to be all, “Oh, I’ll go with you, sugar lips. You shouldn’t have to go alone. And you know what? Since you’re such a good person going out of your way for this girl, I’ll even quit playing HALO for you.”

[Note: OK, so I exaggerated a bit there, but you get the point.]

Now, what’s really going to happen is more along the lines of this:

Guy: That sucks.

And then you’re gonna get mad, bitch about it to your friends, and drink until you have fun at the party…or you barf. Whichever comes first.

Think about how much time and toothpaste you would have saved if you had just come out with what you wanted (for your guy to escort you to the party) and asked for it loud and clear (“Babe, I’ll make it worth your while if you come with me to this lame party for 30 minutes.”)

The same goes for the following:

“No, it’s fine. I don’t care if you meet up with the boys tonight.”
“Yeah, we can watch WWE instead of The Bachelorette reunion special.”
“Fine.”
“Nope. No plans tonight. Just hangin’ out at home.”

If you don’t want him to go out with the boys, tell him. If you’ve been counting down the minutes until The Bachelorette finale, TELL HIM. (It’s important, dammit!) If you’re angry, adding a period to ‘fine’ isn’t always as obvious as you think. And, for the love of god, if you want to hang out with the kid tonight, don’t give him some vague answer and hope he asks you out. BE HONEST. Otherwise, you end up with the opposite of what you want. And that, my friends, is what I call miscommunication.

Of course, guys are just as bad at it. Nope, they’re actually worse…because they take advantage of TWO forms of miscommunication:

Intentional: Contrary to some of what I said above, oftentimes they know exactly how girls are thinking and just choose to ignore it and play the innocent card.

Dude: “Babe, how was I supposed to know you wanted me to take you to that party? I would have gone if you asked me. And why didn’t you call me when you were puking so I could come over and hold your hair back?”

Slightly Unintentional: It’s a well-known fact that we ladies communicate/emote/talk more than our male counterparts. Guys are inherently men of few words…that is, unless they’re complaining to their bros about how their girlfriend always spins everything around and turns “whatever I say into some big fight.”

True story: there are plenty of times when we ladies over-analyze things he says and somehow turn “K” into “No, the last thing on earth I want to do is hang out with you.” But guys KNOW this happens. It’s their favorite thing to talk about. Hell, entire sitcoms are based on that very idea (King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, any show with a married couple EVER). And yet, they refuse to be more cognizant of the things they are saying and the way they are saying them. If they just considered how we might hear something they say, perhaps they’d say it more clearly so we wouldn’t have to spin things in our head.

Obviously, the key to preventing miscommunication in relationships is to be more honest and intentional with the things we say. Unfortunately, that’s a whole lot easier said than done. I mean, we can’t send 3 verification emails for everything

Dying to find out what the guys think of our tendency to speak in riddles? Do they realize they do it, too? Head on over to Coed to see how they weighed in!

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