Does it seem like you end up in the doghouse more often than the bedroom? Always seem to say the wrong thing at the wrong time? Left wondering “what the hell just happened?” when you find yourself on the receiving end of the silent treatment?
No, you probably aren’t that big of a dick. You probably just have a knack for saying things that your girl doesn’t want to hear. To help you stay in her good graces, here is a list of common offenders:
"It’s not that big of a deal."
Whether it was a snarky comment from one of her co-workers that hurt her feelings or an asshole cutting her off on the morning commute, she is upset about it. Downplaying it, even if you don’t really see what the big deal is, will only make it appear that you are trivializing the offense and not supporting her. Even on small issues, girls want you on their side.
"You really think that is a good idea?"
Your girl has just run one of her “brilliant” ideas past you and she is really excited about it. You don’t quite get the big picture, and you burst her bubble by negatively questioning it. Denouncing her idea will most likely lead to hurt feelings, or her feeling like you don’t trust/support her judgment. If you still feel the need to criticize... focus on constructive comments.
"Your Mother/Friend/Sister is crazy!"
You may think throwing out that comment when she tells you a story about her mother/friend/sister is a show of support, especially if it appears to be true. However, she may take it personally. It’s like how you're allowed to pick on your little brother/sister relentlessly, but the first time anyone else tries to do it, you are going to punch them in the face. Women are very protective of their friends and (especially) family, so tread lightly.
"Why didn’t you just….?"
It was a rough day at work for your lady. She tells you about the meeting with her boss and how she handled it, and you ask her “Why didn’t you just (insert your solution here)? “ This offends in two ways: First, it sends the message to her that you think she handled it wrong. Secondly, it tells her that you think you could have handled it better than she did. Considering that she is probably still sensitive about the situation, she is looking for support, not second-guessing.
Oh no you didn’t! Yes, many men tell women to "calm down," and this phrase, above all the others mentioned, will land you in the doghouse quickest. The last thing your lady wants to hear when she is expressing something to you that she finds to be important, upsetting, or offensive is to have you tell her to “Calm down.” That statement will have the opposite effect of what you want to see happen. In fact, she will probably turn her emotional drama in your direction as she will find it insulting and dismissive.
So, What Should You Do?
It may seem like you can’t win when facing the situations above, but you really can.
First, take a minute to just listen to what she is saying before you offer up a solution. Most of the time, women really just want to feel that they are being heard, more so than looking for a solution from you.
Secondly, you can offer support. Even if you don’t see the major offense or bigger picture, offering her your support will go far. Asking questions to learn more about the situation will show her you are engaged in what she is saying and will go a long way towards helping her feel validated. This also helps to build trust between the two of you. If she feels like she can share with you and you will really listen and not immediately shut her down or judge her, she will be more likely to share with you on important things going forward.
When all else fails, or you are uncertain of what to say in a situation, silence is golden. If she just wants to vent to you, listen. If she wants your opinion/solution/advice rest assured, she will ask you for it!