The Memo


Your girlfriend/wife/daughter comes to you overwrought and starts unloading her problems. Assuming you are together at the moment (not on the telephone or texting), here is your first step. Are you paying attention? Because this is important. You rub her back and listen. Unh-unh-unh!    Did I say try to give her solutions?    Stop!    Suppress that urge for the time being. This is your first step: Rub her back and listen.

OK, quiz time. Your female loved one is very troubled by something and starts unburdening herself on you. What should you do first?   If your answer is to tell her that things aren’t that bad and that she actually has a good life then you need to go back and read paragraph 1.
The correct answer is to rub her back and listen.

Let’s run through this again from the top. The woman you love is feeling low and only seems to have negative things to say. You may be tempted to commiserate by telling her you know what it’s like because you have experienced something similar. DON’T do that at this moment. There may be an opportune time for that, but (fill in the blanks) the first thing you do is

__ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __.

That’s right! I am so pleased that you have the insight to know that your first job is to rub her back and listen.

I know that the listening part may be hard because being a man of action you are anxious to dig in and solve her problem or, I don’t know, get back to the football game you were watching. Luckily, the back rub may be the more important part of it. Just understand that it is not a time to be judgmental or flippant. It seems that we of the female gender need to hear ourselves talk about our problems in order to move on. You bring the most value if you can act as a sounding board.

Posted by Lucy 10/08/2010, revised 10/08/2010 by Lucy

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