Did I Really Say What You Heard?

It may be a huge oversimplification, but I’ve heard that when women tell men about their day, men try to fix it whereas women just want to vent. I’ve been sitting here wondering if that is part of the problem with our communication lately. Lion has trouble when I use nonspecific pronouns. When I was telling him about my boss creating a form, I was careful to say who “she” was. The problem this time, however, was not the pronoun. In his mind, the story was about the form and what could he solve about it. That’s what I think happened at least. It didn’t matter that the form wasn’t really the issue. He was focused on that form. What program? What does the form do? My boss should do X. I thought I had been careful, when he interrupted the first time, to tell him that the form itself or even which program was used wasn’t the hero of the story. I think he was already off and running so he didn’t hear that part.

I can’t explain what happened with the coffee pot. I thought I framed the conversation as fact one, fact two and fact three. I lost him somewhere between one and three. Is it that Lion isn’t really listening? There’s a difference between hearing and listening. Does he not hear it at all? Or does he hear it and glosses over it because he’s thinking about fact one? Maybe I need to pause between points to make sure he’s following me to the next point. I might think I’m being very clear, but if he’s stopped to smell the roses along the way, he’ll miss something.

Another possibility is that I’m not communicating as well as I think I am. Maybe I do leave gaps big enough for a bus to drive through. Maybe we need to record conversations to review later. Did I actually say what I thought I said? Did I say it the way I thought I said it? Did Lion not hear what I said? Or did he hear what he thought I said? Too many variables. It’s a wonder humans understand each other at all.

The only thing I can think of is for me to work on my communication skills and for Lion to work on his listening skills. I’m sure we each need to work on both points. I’m certainly prone to hearing things very differently from the way Lion said them. I tend to take his observations as criticisms when they weren’t intended that way at all.

I’m willing to wipe the slate clean this time even though our misunderstandings happened so close together. I may not be so nice next time.

1 Comment

  1. It’s hard to weigh in definitively without hearing the conversation in question,but it is obviously important to you both as you have both blogged about it. You write a daily blog and hold down a steady job, obviously your readers understand you and I assume your colleagues do as well. If Lion is expecting you to be the authority figure in your relationship it seems obvious that he should make an effort to listen to what you tell him. He’s a writer, he has a strong grasp of the English language and he presumably knows you and your speech patterns better than anyone.

    If there is a genuine problem with a loose pronoun a simple question should clear it up, such as “Sorry to interrupt, but when you said ‘she started shouting and swearing’ were you referring to the bus driver or the cyclist?” It’s a waste of both your time to let you tell a full story or give a list of instructions only to find out at the end that he’s got lost along the way.

    I like you both but the ending of Lion’s last post was bullshit (sorry Lion!)! I’m not surprised it drew so many comments. Make it clear you need him to listen to you rather than learning to placate you. There is no point nodding along or assuming he’ll figure out everything at the end of your story. He sounds like a schoolboy who is looking out of the window rather than listening to his tutor! If you think he’s “stopped to smell the roses” ask him to recap what you’ve told him. You’re in a DWC relationship, if Lioness 4.0 finds something is bothering her this much then you have every reason to lay down the law with a furious spanking!

    RIP Coffeemaker. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

What do you think?