Problem Solving – Men vs. Women

Advice for men.

(Ladies, feel free to print this out or forward it to your clueless guy.)

Why is she so upset with me? I was just trying to help.

Every time I see a question like this from a mature male, I wonder how he ever got a second date much less, stayed married for years and years. Men and women are natural problem solvers but that doesn’t mean they go through the same process. Men meet a problem with an immediate desire to solve it. A list of possible solutions jumps into our minds and we start weighing the outcome of every one. Granted, for some men, avoiding or ignoring the problem is a legitimate solution but still it is part of his thinking process. When the woman he cares about is upset about a problem in her life, he naturally wants to help. So what does he do? Immediately, he launches into his problem solving mode by offering a list of possible solutions…”Here is what you need to do.” or “Have you tried this or that?” WRONG!! All of her raw emotions turn to frustration and rage focused on her clueless partner. What these men do not understand is summarized very well in this quote by John Gray:

Problem solving

I am Mr. FixIt, a compulsive problem solver, and believe me when I say I know how tempting it is to start offering solutions to anyone with problems. But when your partner comes to you, stressed and upset about a problem in her life, she is seeking support and understanding, someone to listen and empathize with her. Bite your lip if you have to, offer a hug, open ears and at most an “Uh-huh”, “That’s terrible” or “I understand”. Even, “It’ll be okay” might be too much. You can offer all the solutions you want a little later when she is ready to solve the problem. If you want her to brag about you to her friends, be the best, most understanding man alive and keep your mouth shut.

A note to my female readers:
I know most of you are strong, independent women who might want to bash me for using a stereotype emotional female image in my post. Please don’t. Not all guys are the clueless idiot character either but they are out there and need help. If you have some more advice for men in this situation, please add a comment.

One day at a time is the only way we can live.

Rick

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