No, I don’t mean grammatically. I mean, why can’t women understand how to talk to men?

I had a conversation this morning with a friend of mine, angry at her boyfriend for not listening. Does this sound familiar? It should. You hear it everyday, the women complaining that guys don’t listen, and guys complaining that all their women do is nag.

Well, I’m here to say it’s all the woman’s fault. Yes, you heard (or read) me correctly. It is the woman’s fault. You never hear a guy say to another guy “Damnit Jim, I keep telling Bob to fix that radiator and he just doesn’t listen.” No. Of course not. The conversation usually goes like this “Jim, I told Bob to fix the radiator. He did it.”

You may be asking yourself… “Harvey, but WHY is it the woman’s fault and how can she fix it?”

I’m glad you asked.

Ladies, you like to talk a lot. And I mean a lot. All the time. At any time. Guys… not so much.

A typical stream of conversation make go like this:

Her: Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Him: Unh.
Her: Blah Blah
Him: Yep.
Her: Blah Bla Bla Bla Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Him: Unhuh.
Her: Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Him: Ug.
Her: Blah Blah……. Are you listening to me?
Him: Of course, baby.
Her: Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Him: Ug.
…. etc, etc, etc.

Now the important part in that whole conversation was the “Bla Bla Bla” in the middle of all the other “Blah”s. Yes, go back and look because I’m sure you missed it. The “Bla Bla Bla” could have been something like “Honey, the faucet is leaking you need to call the plumber”, but we wouldn’t know that since it was right in the middle of tons of other information that we may or may not need. Since it’s coming in too quickly to decode, we just shovel it all away in storage. That’s why we get that “look” when you say “Remember I told you about it LAST WEEK!”. The “look” is us digging through storage trying to remember when you said that.

The problem lies in the fact that women don’t realize they are talking to men. You can’t talk to us like you talk to your girlfriends. We just won’t get it. Now, I know the first thing the ladies will say is “I shouldn’t have to talk differently to him. He should JUST UNDERSTAND ME.” Baloney.

Ladies, you have to speak appropriately to your audience. You don’t speak to old people the same way you speak to young people. Do you talk to your toddler the same way you talk to your 16 year old? Do you talk to your dog the same way you talk to your boss? Of course not. So why can’t you just learn to speak to men differently than you do your female acquaintances?

I’ll give you a few pointers that should help you communicate more effectively. Remember, I’m here to help YOU help US help YOU. In other words… I’m tryin’ to help YOU out.

  1. Get their attention. This means make sure they are actually paying attention to you before you say something you need remembered. When you call their name and you get “Huh?” or “Unh?” or “Whuh?” or some other guttural sound, you do NOT have their full attention.You can furthermore help yourself by talking to us at an appropriate time. This means not in the middle of a game, not while we have power tools in hand, not when we are in the middle of mowing the lawn, not in the middle of a poker game, not while we are doing anything that has our brow furrowed in concentration. The only reason a game should be interrupted is if the building is on fire and the TV is about to explode. Anything else can wait until a commercial. If for some reason you DO need to interrupt at such a time (if there really is a fire), make extra sure that we are paying attention.
  2. Speak clearly, succinctly, bluntly. Get to the point. “I believe the house is on fire, I think we need to leave now” is a good example. It is short, and to the point. Even better, is “House. Fire. Go. Now.” Make it clear what the situation is, and what you expect us to do about it. If you just say “The house is on fire” you may get a response like “Um. Ok.” and then we turn back to the TV.
  3. Do NOT remind us over and over again. This is called “nagging.” Each time it is repeated means we are paying less attention. A good rule of thumb is to tell us once in advance, and once right before you need whatever it is you told us about. That gives us time to go do it really quickly in case we forgot. And yes, we do forget sometimes. This is a completely different situation from “not hearing you in the first place.”
  4. Use keywords or phrases. Yes, just like Google, to find what you need you have to use the right phrases. Things that get our attention no matter where they are in the stream of conversation… “mother-in-law”… “it only costs”… “sex”… “no cable”… “fire”. Your particular man may have other key words or phrases, you’ll just have to figure those out on your own.

Don’t get angry at men for not understanding you if you aren’t speaking in terms they can understand. You might as well get angry at the dog for not taking the trash out. Or angry at the blender for not toasting your bread properly. Or mad at your hairdresser for not dry-cleaning your favorite blouse just right. Or upset at the plumber because he can’t fix your computer.

Now if you’ve tried all the above hints and it still doesn’t work. Then you probably need a replacement. After all, what good is a toaster that can’t toast bread right?

I hope this is able to help you ladies better communicate with your men. If I missed something, please put it in the comments and maybe I’ll tally them up later as an update…

4 responses to “Why can’t women speak properly?

  1. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this particular topic. Usually, I’m in total agreement or laughing hysterically. However, I need time to think and ruminate on this. Hmmmm…..

  2. Thanks for the tips Harv. Even though I’m female and fall into the perils of bad communication with my significant other from time to time…I agree with you. Why? Because your statments support my theory that…MEN ARE MENTALLY SLOW. They are not as skilled as women. They can’t multi-task or be cross-functional (listening is a separate ‘function/skill’ that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to men). But that’s okay…we love you all anyway (most of the time). And although it is challenging for us to deal with the communication-challenged among us, I think our lives would be so less stressful if we lowered our expectations of men….always assume that he is NOT “listening” to you…even if he can “hear” you. That way you can speak in a manner more comprehensible to him, and you won’t have to waste time repeating yourself. It’s okay ladies…we are used to being flexible. And here is another tip for the ladies: If you speak LESS, it scares them…they then want to know what you’re up to (scheming) and will turn their attention to you. Now you have a curious and more captive audience. :-) Did you get all that Harvey? ;-)

  3. Hmmmmm….. not funny.
    Maybe you should consider writting on how men should learn to listen to women.

  4. Mo puts it PERFECTLY above. “Men are mentally slow”. (At least in regards to communication since of course there are scientists and doctors and the like who are, of course, men) I can’t agree with you more. Ladies, you have to realize who your talking to. Don’t get mad at the microwave because it didn’t know to take out the trash even though you dropped a bunch of hints about it.

    And Elaine, of course it isn’t really funny. Although I always try to put a humorous spin on it. But men just can’t talk on that same level as women do. You can’t reasonably ask a toddler to speak like you do can you? Same thing with guys. You can either continually be frustrated by it, or learn a new way. And it has to be the women who adjust as you can always “dumb it down”, but you can’t “smarten it up”

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