I get it. You had a bad
day. You’re going through trying times. Or maybe you’ve just got a nail stuck in your head.
So you want your mate to be there for you. To hear you out. To acknowledge your struggles. To tell you that you’re right and whoever’s on the other end of your issues is wrong.
But while you’re telling them that really long story about how your day went [the one in which you keep saying, ‘To make a long story short”, though the story keeps getting longer], you can’t seem to hold their attention, or you can tell they’re not really listening and their gears are turning.
Or maybe you’ve just finished explaining yourself and instead of acknowledging what happened, they offer a well thought out [‘cause they were thinking about it for the latter half of that super long story] solution for the problem they think you really have.
You’re infuriated. After you finish letting them know how insensitive they are, you should make sure to tell them how much they never listen or even care for what you have to say. ‘Cause it’s the truth, right?
I don’t think so.
Your desire to connect is partly what makes your need to feel understood so strong. So it’s understandable that you feel your partner isn’t doing enough to make that happen, leading you to want to slap some sense into their
head until they can get an idea of where you’re coming from. But maybe you can take some steps to meet them in the middle?
Here’s an idea: Talk better. In a world where attention spans continue to shrink due to content overload and social media, an accessible ear has become more and more valuable.
While your mate wants to provide that for you, long, drawn out stories and never-ending venting [at least that’s what it feel like] only makes it more difficult for them to do so. Keep it as simple as possible.
Also, be crystal clear on what you want from them: “Would you mind hearing me out for a few minutes? I need to vent!”
This is so important because a big complaint I get from a lot of ‘fixers’ is that while that they’re trying so hard to be a great listener, their partner never really feels understood. And because their efforts seem futile, they start to see listening as this impossible feat and give up.
Give them the opportunity to connect with you by letting them know exactly what they can do for you in the moment. Whether it’s a listening ear, a solution for a problem, it’s the only way for them to be able to get to know what you’re looking for, and to get good at giving it to you.
So what say you, folks? How do you bridge the gap of misunderstanding that so many couples are plagued with? How have you tweaked your communication to get you and your partner on the same page?