My parents have been married for over 30 years and each day I’m constantly amazed that my mom can sit and listen to my dad repeat the same story over and over again. Despite the fact that he’s a great storyteller, I know that just hearing the story 394,038 times will make me cross-eyed. And yet she listens to him, sometimes interjecting and getting him to stick more to the truth and less exaggerations, but always with a pleasant smile on her face.
It should be the same with our guys. Even if we don’t want to listen to him, we should. It’s what couples do, you listen to him while he offloads, and then you get to rant and rave while he listens to you. Communication is a 2-way street. Sometimes we have to have the forbearance to listen to him tell the story over again. He’s excited about it and giving him the cut direct won’t help foster any warm connections between you two.
I used to date a guy that was a Sci-Fi fanatic. If given the chance he could talk about his passion all day long for the rest of my life and Sci-fi is something that I’m not big on. I remember telling myself to give him just a few minutes on his stand and then gradually steer the conversation on to more neutral waters before I thunked him over the head with my 3 inch stilettos. He finally figured out that he had about 5 good minutes before my eyes started glazing over so he started keeping his responses more direct, less convoluted which in turn helped keep me interested.
Another trick I’ve found out is to actually ask probing questions that get him talking on and on for several minutes. That way, I can actually let my mind wander to the last episode of Sex and the City and yet still have enough time to come back to the conversation and still make sense of it in time for the appropriate response to get him on another tangent.
When listening, you should also remember to maintain eye contact. Rummaging through your purse, using the computer, or doing any other activity while breaking eye contact suggests that you aren’t really interested in what they are saying but are just listening because you don’t have a choice.
I’ve found that I’m more interested in his passions if I do a quick Google search before I see him. Just remembering a few facts, anecdotes or history gets me more interested in the conversation and gives me a better reference point. Not to mention it also makes me sound incredibly well versed;)
If you felt like you’ve been listening forever and he still doesn’t want to shut the hell up, nothing works better than a little distraction. Seduce him and he will have his mind elsewhere. A suggestive voice, look, touch, tone will get his heart racing and his blood focused on other regions. This also gets to exercise your assertive boudoir skills.
However, if all of the above fails and he’s still talking about some subject that you aren’t even remotely interested in, then by all means, feel free to end the conversation. Just remember to do it nicely, with finesse and skill. Remind them that they have a game coming up, your mom is on the other line or “I’d really like to keep talking about this honey but I have to make an appointment with my OBGYN” tends to work like a charm in getting them to shut up.
Also bear in mind that sometimes you can be a good listener without any verbal dialogue. Communication is 90% non-verbal so a hug, pat, kiss and look often say what words cannot. That he has your support. That he has your affection. That he has your love. Gestures, touching, facial expressions all add significant points to the conversation. A whimsical or enigmatic smile will lead him to wonder exactly what it is you are thinking and might even take the conversation in other directions.
As Stuckey eloquently said, "Good listening does not just have to be during verbal dialogue. I'm not much of a talker, especially when I've had a bad day. Coming home to someone who is willing to sit quietly on the couch beside me is far more important to me than having someone start asking me what's wrong."
Cater to your man, be a good listener.
Labels: Girl Talk