Monday, April 18, 2011

Responding to What We Think is Said

If you read the last post on "what we say and what the other person hears," you know that this can sometimes be a tricky situation in relationships. Today I'd like to address what we should do if we don't like what we think we hear.

Let's go back to the example from the last post. You and your husband are going out on a date. He asks, "Is that what you are wearing?" You hear "you're fat." In reality, though, he may simply think it's too dressy, or not dressy enough, for where you are going. BIG difference!

So, what's a woman to do?

We need to check our interpretations with our husband. And we need to set our insecurities aside long enough that we don't come across as accusatory, otherwise we start a vicious cycle of negativity ("So I'm FAT?!"..."No, I didn't say that"..."You MEANT it!"..."Wait, why are you yelling at ME?"...both parties are then escalating and preparing to ruin a perfectly good evening out).

Let's go back to his initial question. . . "is that what you are wearing?"
Your best answer is something like "yes, why?" If he says "no reason," don't let him off the hook! He did ask for a reason. But you also need to be prepared for his answer. It's best to be honest here ("Look honey, I know I've gained weight lately. Are you trying to tell me that what I'm wearing isn't flattering on me?").

When he answers, thank him for his honesty and make a decision about whether or not you are going to change. By setting aside your insecurity, taking his thoughts into consideration, and keeping your calm, you demonstrate respect and trust for your spouse while preserving your night out. That's a great combination!

Have any examples of He Said-She Heard? Share them here!

Happy Communicating~

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