1. COMPLAINT vs. 2. CRITICISM -- this is the most important.
If you can understand the difference between these 2,
you will be waaaay ahead of the game.
Not understanding the difference is what leads to most real fighting.
The other categories are all pretty self-explanatory. These are the trouble-makers.

Are you willing to pay the price for a peaceful and loving relationship?

If so, here's how to do it in 4 easy-4-u-2-say steps.
If you hear a complaint or a criticism, at first you won't know which it is, so you
(1) restrain your impulse to avoid blame (see "background" below)
(2) offer sympathy -- good immediate response to either
(3) determine if it is criticism (is it really all about you?) or complaint.
(4) give the proper response.

The response to a complaint is VERY different from a response to a criticism.
Response to complaint --> sympathy.
No advice, no suggestions, just sympathy.
And especially, no "not my fault"s.
The words to use are variations on:
"That's terrible. How awful. How rotten for you. I feel for you."

And don't belittle or diminish it. Never say, "it's no big deal" or "it doesn't matter."
If you exaggerate its importance, you may make her laugh. If you minimize it, she will be hurt.
(See the "Feelings" post.)

Explanation: If you respond with reasons why it's not your fault, she will think you're telling her it's all her own fault and she deserves no sympathy from you.
If you respond with advice or suggestions, she will think you're saying she's too dumb to cope and you know better than she does what she should do.
If you minimize it, she will think you don't care about her and what hurts her.

The response to a criticism --> apology. Unless you really enjoy being harangued and nagged, just apologize a'reddy! Apologize first, then briefly state your excuse and apologize again.

If she continues to criticize, never repeat your excuse. Don't worry -- she heard it.
If it's legit (in her eyes), she might still make the criticism again, so just apologize again.
If it's not legit (in her eyes), repeating it will just make her madder.
If you know it's not legit, just say "I have no excuse." That will disarm her better than anything else.
Then, if action is called for, do it (take out the trash, tell her you love her, pick up your newspapers) immediately. Not later, now.
It may go against the grain, but it's the price to pay for a peaceful and loving relationship.

Background: Unfortunately, most guys think that complaint = criticism.
This is just NOT SO.
If a woman is complaining about something, it is NOT a criticism.
If a woman is criticizing you, she will say so.
If she does NOT say so, it's not a criticism. So don't apologize.

I know, when your woman makes either a complaint or a criticism (same thing to you), you go into to "excuse yourself from blame" mode. Excuses start pouring from your mouth automatically. It's a guy thing. That's what happens. You may not even realize you're doing it -- it's reflex.
So, refraining from doing it is difficult. It requires a conscious effort, and practice.
Same goes for knee-jerk apologizing. Don't apologize to a complaint. Don't apologize unless you're sure it's a criticism.

The good news is that you will finally realize that she has not been criticizing you all these years, just generally complaining. She doesn't blame you. Usually she blames herself. That's why she needs sympathy.

1 comment:

  1. Back to my original premise, too hard. Just repeat the last thing she says. Works every time. No need to try and determine if it's a complaint or a criticism. Just repeat the last thing she says.

    Example One: Criticism.
    She: You never take out the trash

    He: The trash

    She: Yes, the trash, you never take it out!

    He: Never take it out

    She: Well what are you going to do about it?

    He: Do about it

    She: Stop listening to the stupid horseman and take out the trash!

    (see, you don't have to figure out what to do, she just told you)


    Example Two: complaint:

    She: My PC locked up on me again

    He: Again

    She: Yes, that's what I said, again

    He: Again

    She: Yeah, can you believe it?

    He: Believe it.(You could shake your head if you knew what was going on, but you wont, so don't worry about it, just stay the course)

    (At this point, her eyes will narrow, she will think she has stumbled on the Jedi Mind Trick and you will have her right where you want her)

    She (Cautiously): Guess I'll have to get a Mac

    He: Get a Mac

    She: Right, lets go!

    He: Right, lets go! (bring your cheque book.)

    See how easy?