If you’ve ever stood by helplessly as your girlfriend sobbed, then you’re well aware of the emotional gulf between the sexes. We know talking about feelings makes you squirm, but sometimes we’re going to need to unload on you, our boyfriends, about a bad day, a fight with a friend or a wash of general insecurity. And if you’d like to avoid hearing, “Don’t you have any feelings?!” as mascara runs down her face, you’d better heed the following advice:
Empathize: Sympathy will only get you so far. The key is empathy: Identifying with her feelings and connecting them to your own experience. Tell us that you also hate it when X happens, or that you understand how we feel because of a similar situation that happened to you (insert personal anecdote here).
Soothing tones: A warm and comforting tone will go a long way.
Be stoic: We’re already vulnerable and pissed off. We’re not proud to admit it, but our chances of trying to pick a fight with you at this point are higher than usual. Be the bigger person and refuse to take the bait; we’ll feel grateful the next day. (Note that being the bigger person includes saying nothing about being the bigger person.)
Collaboration: We can’t just tell you our problem and call it a day. We want to discuss our problem with you, in vivid detail. Please, indulge us, engage in a passionate back-and-forth about our dilemma, how we feel about it and what course of action to take.
Image courtesy of César S.