Men: How to Deal with “Drama” – And, Why it Matters

Posted by on Apr 12, 2014 in Blog, For Guys | 0 comments

Men: How to Deal with “Drama” – And, Why it Matters

Gentlemen, don’t you hate it when a woman suddenly gets upset and acts hurt or angry? Maybe you find yourself saying “She is overreacting. She is blaming me. This is unfair and ridiculous. There is nothing I can do. I am f—-d. I hate this. This is going to ruin my evening. This is going to take forever to deal with…”

Below are  some very simple steps to deal with the situation that get results, require the least amount of time and emotional energy, and have the best possibility for a good outcome.

(Now, why is this important – also known as, “Why should you care?” or “What’s in it for you?” According to John Gray in Men are From Mars: Women are From Venus, the number one complaint that women have about men is that they don’t listen. And when a women is upset, that is perhaps the most important time for her to feel like her man is listening. And, according to John Gottman in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: “The determining factor in whether wives feel satisfied with the sex, romance, and passion in their marriage is, by 70 percent, the quality of the couple’s friendship. For men, the determining factor is, by 70 percent, the quality of the couple’s friendship. So men and women come from the same planet after all.”

Isn’t being able to resolve things when someone is upset an important aspect of friendship? And, practically speaking, don’t you think your lady is going to love on you really well if she feels like you listen to her when she’s upset?)

So, here are the steps for dealing with a woman’s “drama:”

 

1. Adjust Your Attitude.

First of all, if a mechanical device malfunctioned, you wouldn’t take it personally, would you?

Sometimes emotions just get clogged up and you need to take time to unsnarl them a little before you can go on.

If a toilet started to overflow, you wouldn’t argue with it saying “That’s ridiculous. You’re overreacting to what I put in there. You’re blaming me and I don’t like it. I don’t have time to deal with this….”

No, you’d just deal with it.

Backed up emotions can be the same way. So, deal with it.

 

2. Take the heat off yourself.

Don’t worry about whether she thinks it’s your “fault” or not. Let go of the defensive posture, and take a deep breath.

 

3. Cut her some slack.

If she’s upset, she is probably feeling insecure. You feel insecure sometimes too, right? Cut her a little bit of slack.

 

4. Listen, and try to understand things from her perspective.

 

All you need to do/say is “I am sorry you are feeling upset. Tell me what is going on. I am listening.” And then try to put yourself in her shoes for a few minutes. Even if where she’s coming from seems really foreign to you, try to understand it. Sometimes just by listening for a little while, you will defuse her bad feeling quickly.

Please NOTE: You are not apologizing for anything – you are not saying you’ve done anything “wrong,” you are just listening.

I think of the expression “That which you resist, persists.” If you assume you understand what she’s really upset about, and dismiss her feelings, you’ll probably add gasoline to the flame and create a bonfire or an explosion.

 

5. Get to the root of the issue.

What she’s saying she’s upset about may not be the root of the issue – it might just have been the final thing in a series of things that created an upset in her mind and heart.

Assume that there is something there that is really bothering her – even if it doesn’t actually have anything to do with you.

When I worked in manufacturing improvement there was a Japanese analysis tool for machine problems that they called the “Five Times Why” and it went like this:

 

–       The machine has an oil leak.
–       Why is the machine leaking oil?

–       Because there is a ripped gasket.
–       Why is the gasket ripped?

–       Because there is too much heat in that part of the machine, and it is drying out the rubber.
–       Why is there too much heat in that part of the machine?

–       Because the fan isn’t working properly so the machine is getting overheated.
–       Why isn’t the fan working properly?

–       Because two of the blades of the fan are broken.
–       Why are the blades of the fan broken?

–       Because it is past the time when that part of the machine was supposed to be maintenanced and replaced…..

Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve worked in manufacturing improvement – so this example may be a little bit wacky. But you get the point.

If you just took the surface level of the problem, and fixed the broken gasket, you’d keep on getting the same poor result, very quickly, over and over.

Similarly, if a woman is upset, and you minimize or dismiss the first thing she is saying, and assume you know the whole story about where she’s coming from, you might be buying yourself more aggravation and more time dealing with the situation down the road….

…or worse yet, you might create a blockage in good communication, and loss of trust in the relationship.

…or worse yet, an unnecessary breakup.

Stephen Covey calls what actually works in this situation “empathic listening” and it is one of the keys to his “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” in business – and in life. He says:

“Empathic listening takes time, but it doesn’t take anywhere near as much time as it takes to back up and correct misunderstandings when you’re already miles down the road; to redo; to live with unexpressed and unsolved problems; to deal with the results of not giving people psychological air.”

Empathic listening is so powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with. Instead of projecting your own autobiography and assuming thoughts, feelings, motives and interpretation, you’re dealing with the reality inside another person’s head and heart. You’re listening to understand. You’re focused on receiving the deep communication of another human soul.”

(For the rest of the quote, see http://cultureofempathy.com/References/Experts/Stephen-Covey.htm )

 

6. Make Any Adjustments Needed.

Maybe there is something you can do or say to make things work better. Are you willing to learn and keep growing? We are all works in progress. Are you ready to be accountable for the impact of your words and actions?

If you’ve done something you feel you want to apologize for, then do. If you haven’t, then don’t.

Do whatever is appropriate, then let it go, and move on.

****

IN SUM

That’s it. Totally simple. Often it doesn’t even need to end up taking very long if you don’t resist it:

  1. Adjust your attitude.
  2. Take the heat off of yourself.
  3. Cut her some slack.
  4. Listen, and try to understand things from her perspective.
  5. Get to the root of the issue.
  6. Make any adjustments needed.

By the way, these steps work for HER when YOU are upset too….

Want to understand this type of situation more from a woman’s perspective? Read  blog post “Ladies: Why Guys Hate Drama & What to Do About it!”

Now, of course, life and relationships aren’t perfect. And sometimes if someone is just too upset, or you simply feel too defensive, it’s best to cool off before talking.

But then, once you both ARE cooled off enough, try the steps. They’re not a magic bullet – but they are an excellent start.

And, let’s face it, isn’t make up sex some of the best?

Good luck.

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