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How to Talk to Women. By Joseph Mansfield, LCSW:
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Joseph Mansfield, LCSW


The basis of personal communication is the combination of information sharing and need fulfillment. Most women are way ahead of men when it comes to personal information sharing, because they generally are aware of who they are and what their feelings and needs are. Men operate mostly on emotional auto pilot and have a very limited awareness of their feelings. 


A typical, garden variety guy just doesn't have a clue. It's really not our fault. It's not as if most guys purposefully avoided the going through the "feelings " line to go twice through the "bodily hair " or "loud voice" line. it's more benign than that but really quite tragic.


  There is usually no place in a man's upbringing that allows him the awareness of his feelings. Therefore, the day he crosses the line with a woman and becomes emotionally involved he is unknowingly starting out with a huge deficit that will lie low for a while, but as the relationship deepens, it'll ultimately rise up and bite him you know where! 


My first bit of advice to men is to notice something really killer important- the "Big Dude Upstairs" has given us two ears versus one mouth!  When you are in communication with a woman say less and listen more. When in doubt--stay silent. Women feel honored and loved when they feel truly heard. 


So often guys go into "Mr. Fix it" mode when a woman shares her feelings about a personal issue. Wrong! Unless she asks for specific advice, let her know that you hear her concerns and that you are trying to understand her situation. It's quite simple and quite magical when we men learn to witness and listen. 


Next, realize that when one partner has a problem, issue or complaint with the other, that the main goal should be the transferring of that information from one to another with the overriding concern being the solving of that partner's problem with a "win-win" attitude. This event is the most crucial , make or break factor in a personal relationship. 


The concept here is quite simple and goes like this: Partner A, within his or her personal set of values has a hurt and would like to fix it. Ideally, partner B listens carefully and joins with his loved one to fix the problem in a mutually beneficial way. Not to pick on men, but generally when the woman is the one with a problem she shares it in the context of a hurt feeling. The man then comes at the woman from a defensive or logical or even worse a lecturing Mr. Fix It stance which only compounds the problem.


 Here's a formula that will work for men in most personal relationships. If you are upset by what your partner has done, do the following:


1.  "I WILL ALWAYS APPROACH THIS PROBLEM SOLVING EVENT WITH A WIN-WIN ATTITUDE". Remember, there is no such thing as "win-lose" because when one person loses, the relationship loses.


2. Describe simply to your partner the hurt that you experience. Do not add any judgment, blame or accusation.


3. Describe simply what you'd like her to do for you to remedy the problem.


4. Develop the habit of trying to accept the emotional base of your problem and do not be ashamed of your own vulnerability. Give your partner a chance to relate to your vulnerable feelings. most women are waiting and hoping to see signs of feelings with their partners.


 Just keep this in mind: the most important feelings for us are the more tender ones of hurt and fear. It is our nature to shy away from these which lead us to the grosser feelings of rage and attack. Do not do this any more. Stay with your simple and original feelings. I can't guarantee that it will work with all women. But when you come from a place of integrity, you are on the most solid footing.


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