Good men don’t purposely frustrate the women they love. But it happens—often when there’s a need for information transfer. The phone call he took about a party, a job change, or the kids’ schedules becomes an irritating game of Twenty Questions.
After many years of marriage and countless conversations with girlfriends, I’ve found getting the details about a phone call or an upcoming event out of a good man can be frustrating and confusing. New Jersey psychotherapist Richard Drobnick suggests one reason:
“He prioritizes productivity and efficiency in communication….When he tells a story he has already sorted through the muck in his own head, and shares only those details that he deems essential…He might wonder, ‘Why do women need to talk as much as they do?’”
Details that aren’t completely worked out may not seem important to him yet. Specifics that are uncertain or superfluous aren’t worth repeating. While his wife or girlfriend wants, even needs, to “talk it out,” he has already done the sorting in his own mind and many of the details have been weeded out and discarded.
Even though it’s really hard, as women, we can start by assuming he’s not purposely trying to frustrate us or withhold information. Our good men deserve the benefit of the doubt in conversation. Sometimes we’ll just have get the details from another source.
Men, consider ways of transferring information that minimizes frustration and Gestapo-like interrogation. Maybe it’s as simple as documenting the main points before you forget them or texting the details before the information has been pre-processed in your mind.
Good men don’t always communicate exactly the way we women want, but they consistently strive to be good men. And when we remember that, it can balance out a lot of frustration.