I posted a few days ago that women still don't know how to get men to share their feelings. My good bud Franziska chimed in that she would like me to tell her how to do that. Here's my best shot.
One thing that works well with me is to trick me into it. I read a fascinating article a while back about how a woman "trained" her man to pick up around the house, organize himself, etc. She used the same approach that exotic animal trainers use. She rewarded the behavior that she wanted (however small it may be) and when things weren't going as she might have liked, she didn't add to it by getting angry and critical. Slowly but surely, it worked.
So, one thing I was thinking about is that by simply admitting that I don't know how to talk about my feelings, is in fact talking about my feelings. I'm uncertain (maybe you can get to scared later that's a little to big of a jump for the first take) and maybe even a little confused which are sort of like feelings.
My bet is that as a woman it would be really hard not to take the bait and go with it and want to burst through the door and go all "View" and want to dig deeper. But I think just recognizing the success (and rewarding me for it) would at least help me. And, btw, maybe even a little compassion like "I know it's hard to do this, hell I even struggle with it and I, as a female, am supposed to have this down".
Secondly, I had a good friend, who I know I'm indebted to, who just didn't give up on me. She just kept saying "No, tell me how you feel Tim. Good, bad, okay are not feelings." Granted it was tough and I shut her down on a number of occassions but like a prize fighter, she just kept coming back (insert AA joke here if you like!).
Next a few ideas of when NOT to start to teach me to talk about my feelings:
- In the middle of an argument and even after it. I'm sorry it just doesn't work. Just like the woman who wrote the article avoided giving "feedback" when her husband stormed around looking for his wallet. I know it's hard becauase we're at our most dangerous when arguing and afterwards (we hurt your feelings and then won't take responsibility for it, much less even validate that it much matters....) but it doesn't seem to be a good time to learn.
Teach us when the stakes are low.
- When there are ANY other males around. Sorry, for us beginners, it's probably good to include sons in this one, better to expose them to the new and improved product then the testing phase.
- When any "real" sports are on. Several years ago, I went to the Figure Skating Nationals in San Jose and Rudy Galindo won. I had a huge lump in my throat and maybe even a tear or two. I'm sure I was impacted by the major femininity around me. I'm sure my former wife would have loved to talk about how I was feeling. Ummmm, not a good idea.
Dudes don't watch sports to talk about feelings, they watch sports to think about stuff and maybe occassionally feel themselves like all the baseball players do.
- After sex. This is a real tough one for me to type and I KNOW that many women want to do it (talk about feelings) after we....do it. Let's face it women are more attuned to the union and feelings shared during sex than men are.
Ladies, I'm not suggesting that we dudes will never be able to speak about our feelings in these situations, I'm just saying give us time. I also understand that coming to "our" side is WAY easier than coming to "your" side. I hope we all remember that on a round planet...there's no choosing up sides (sorry I just heard that from Wayne Dyer, I don't know why it came out...)
Anyhoo, do us a favor and throw us a bone to begin with and we can all re-discover puppy love.