Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How NOT to Talk to a Woman

Sometimes it seems that men and women are speaking different languages. And, in a way, they are. According to John Gray in his most recent book, Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice, men are naturally motivated to communicate in ways that will lower stress in men. But men have no clue that this same style of communication may increase a woman’s stress level.

When a woman communicates, she is looking for a warm, supportive response. When she “shares” her concerns about a person or situation, she wants to be heard. Unfortunately, what a man hears is a problem—and his natural situation is to look for a solution or a way to dismiss the problem. That’s the way men are hardwired.

So he thinks he is being helpful when he expresses an opinion or offers a solution. She feels he’s either being cold and heartless or he simply isn’t hearing what she is saying.

Here are examples from John Gray of what NOT to say to a woman because it sounds dismissive:

 Don’t worry about it.
 Here’s what you should do…
 Just let it go.
 It’s not that important.
 That’s not what he means.
 Don’t get so upset.
 Don’t let them get to you like that.
 It’s simple, just say…
 All you have to do is…
 It’s not such a big deal.
 You shouldn’t feel that way.

Men mean for these short comments to be supportive. But women are likely to feel like they are insulting and perhaps condescending.

Instead of jumping in with a “fix-it” comment, try listening. Make reassuring and sympathetic comments. Use supporting comments such as “Tell me more” and “how did that make you feel?” Unless there’s an emergency and there’s water leaking all over the bathroom (or something equally as urgent), she doesn’t want you to fix her problem right now. She just wants to be heard.

To find out How NOT to Talk to a Man, read my most recent blog posting on www.datingwithoutdrama.com.


  1. As a man, it is very hard not to try to solve a problem that a woman brings up. I don't understand the venting without working on a solution. Different wiring, I guess.

  2. I cannot begin to express how much I love this post! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for saying something that women have been trying to tell their partners, but just don't seem to be "heard". Maybe hearing it from a peer or two might make the difference...I can only pray :)

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