Last week I talked about how men release stress, so now I’ll give equal time for the women.
Over the last three weeks I’ve had the pleasure of explaining this to four of my male clients. It’s good information for both men and women to understand.
Once again, let’s symbolize a woman’s stress as a full glass of water (remember, I like visuals). She’s completely filled to the brim with her feelings. And the way most women release this stress is to talk about what’s bothering them.
If the stressed woman is talking to another woman, she’ll get lots of time to talk out her feelings because instinctually the other woman knows this is what makes her feel better.
If the stressed woman is talking to a man, it’s typically a different story. Men are more “action” oriented. When a man hears the stressed woman talking about a problem (and truly their ultimate goal is to make us feel better), he may immediately offer a solution. Ironically, he’ll find this has the opposite effect. It doesn’t make her feel better and she might even get mad at him.
I explained to my male clients that, because her “glass” is full to the brim, there isn’t any room for his solution. And because I know his intention is to do something to help her feel better, I explain that “just listening” is like “dipping a large spoon into the glass” and taking out water. It begins to take the pressure of the stress away, and this helps her feel better. Just making sounds like, “Hmmmm” or “Oh my” or “Oh yeah” will make her feel you care about how she is feeling.
The process of repeating her words back helps even more. For example:
She says, “My boss is a jerk.” Instead of saying, “You should just quit”, say, “I agree your boss is a jerk.”
She says, “I had to stay home all day with the kids and I’m feeling overwhelmed.” Instead of saying, “Just get a babysitter,” say, “I see how overwhelmed you’re feeling because you stayed home all day with the kids.”
This reassures her that you’re listening to what she’s saying and you understand how she’s feeling.
The ultimate goal is for the woman to have the chance to empty her glass. When the man listens and empathizes with her feelings, she’ll start to feel better.
Typically, when a woman has emptied her stress-filled glass she will either say, “Thanks, I feel better” and she’ll ready to move on to other topics. Or she’ll say, “Thanks I feel better and what do you think I should do about my horrible boss?” Then, the man gets to give his great advice and the woman is ready and willing to hear it.
So, for women reading this – explain to your partner you just need to talk and you promise if he doesn’t interrupt you’ll feel better.
And for men reading this – there’s an additional benefit of listening. Along with relieving her pressure and helping her feel better, you don’t have to keep thinking about a solution to her problem. You can relax and just listen (I know, I know – easier said than done). Treat this like any muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets and the better you get at it.
Dating and Relationship Expert
Goal Setting + Purposeful Dating = Satisfying Relationships