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Recognize and Understand Processing

You should not be surprised to know that one of the top things on a woman?s survey list that makes her feel special and loved is, ?He listens to me and he accepts and validates my feelings.?

At the end of the day, women usually want to talk about what happened during the day. This is processing. It?s a way many women resolve issues and events in their minds so they can let them go. We were discussing this one day at work when Pam, from a local paging company, told us, ?Men can?t do women talk.? This is true.

Because when women start talking it?s like going on a journey. There may or may not be a final destination. Most men aren?t packed (prepared) for the trip.
Many women try to use women talk with men. It just doesn?t work with most men. Ladies, this guy you are trying to do women talk with is not your girlfriend.

This processing is difficult for most men to comprehend. What many women don?t realize when they start talking to a man is that the guy radar comes on and tries to gather facts and statistics. It moves in a logical direction to fix, judge, or control a situation and ends at a concluding point which resolves an issue. Big clue here guys. Most of the time women aren?t looking for the fix or solution. Often, most women just want a good listener like a girlfriend. As Pam told us ?Two plus two doesn?t have to equal four when women want to talk.?

It?s this processing that most men don?t understand. That?s because most men process in a different way. Many men try to solve their problems alone. Women often find solutions or other topics to discuss by talking. Men might do some processing during the day. Most don?t want to come from work and talk about problems. It just brings back emotions and frustrations. When they get home they just want to decompress like a scuba diver coming up from a deep dive.

This usually consists of working on a project in the garage, sports, playing at the computer, or surfing the channels on the TV. This is often perceived by his partner as a complete waste of time. Women don?t want commercial time. They want prime time. During this surfing time, there is a lot of sorting out going on. And it?s done in a way that the man doesn?t need the woman?s help.

This is hard for most women to understand because processing for them involves one or more other people. If you try to short circuit this decompression process, it is like opening the decompression chamber on the diver. He would get the bends, killing him and any chance you had of conversation.

Ladies, your partner probably doesn?t have a clue as to what?s going on when you?re processing. Explain to him how to recognize and understand your need for processing. Have him repeat what he heard. He still might never fully understand. If he can only accept your need to process, it could be his most rewarding time for listening. Don?t assume that your partner will know when you?re going into processing. Give him a gentle reminder before you take off. Your chances of keeping his attention are better if you tell him how long it?s going to take. For example, ?Honey, this is going to take fifteen minutes.? Then stick to the fifteen minutes.

I meet with a bunch of guys at a coffee shop each morning. Some of these guys have been meeting for 15 years. It?s the closest thing to a male ?Joy Luck Club.? One of these guys, Bob, told me, ?I would pay somebody to come in and sit while my wife talks.?

Is it possible for men not to go directly into the decompression tank when they get home? You both have been immersed in the depths of the work day. There is great opportunity here once a man can understand the necessary processing many women need to go through at the end of the day. Could you meet at a comfortable sub-level depth, before he surfaces, for a quick debriefing? It probably won?t take long. If a man knows all he has to do is be a good listener, he can adjust to the debriefing depth and bl*w off the CO2 bubbles from his mask. Then he can go into the decompression chamber. When he comes out, he might find a better reception since the air has already been cleared. It could be like ?aloha time? in Hawaii! It?s easier to breathe when you?re doing easy time.

When my wife Harriet would come home from work and start processing the day?s events, I would do the guy thing and try to resolve the issues. Obviously, it didn?t work. Now that I know the ground rules, that I don?t have to come up with a solution and I won?t be blamed, I just listen. It took some practice, but it has paid off big time. Now, I say a lot of ?uh huhs, yes, no, amazing, hum, really,? and ?you?re probably right.? I do listen, though, because I know I could be tested.

And there are those times when women need to talk about the same subject once, twice, three times or more. This drives most guys nuts. Guys will say, ?I thought we were done talking about that. Why do we have to revisit it again?? Some woman will say, ?Well, he didn?t listen the first, second, or consecutive times.? What might be going on here is that women need to talk about the same things so many times because they need to resolve things within themselves by connecting all the dots, completing the loop, in order to process and let it go. Guys, you?re not going to be done until she is done. Accept it.

If this happens, go for a walk. And practice these words. ?Uh huh, yes, no, hum, really, amazing,? and ?you?re probably right.? This will keep you out of the penalty box.

I made a second presentation to an association meeting. One of the guys came up and told me that after the day I last spoke, three of the guys took their wives away for a getaway. The three guys decided to see how this worked. They would try not to fix, but just be good listeners and use the appropriate words to respond. After a while the wives asked, ?Hey, what?s going on here?? I inquired how the trip went? They all said, ?Fabulous!?

There are those times when Harriet does ask me my opinion. When this occurs, I first ask what she thinks. Then I say, ?If I understand you right, you mean this or that.? Harriet often replies, ?No, I mean this or that.? Using this process, she sometimes comes up with the answer she is looking for. If not, I will do the guy thing and offer my solutions.
There are women, though, who don?t care for this processing idea. If their partner did this, they would get mad. They really want you totally involved in the conversation. They want all your feedback, comments, the fix, possible solution, the whole deal.

I honor this and so should you! Don?t fool around here. Step up and go for it. Ladies, if this is what you want from your guy, don?t assume he knows. You must tell him in a way he understands and can repeat it back to you.

Even knowing how this processing works, I still got into trouble when my wife was processing after work one day. I made the cardinal sin of giving a solution when none was asked for. I got my head taken off. When I realized what I had done, I said, ?Time out. Cut off the roller derby jam. I did the guy thing trying to come up with the cure.? When I went back into my listening mode, Harriet completed her processing, and then?viola?she scooted away.

One day, I moved Harriet?s car out of the garage to make a repair. After I was done, I moved it onto the street so it wouldn?t get dirty as I worked on my van. Later, Harriet came into the house and said, ?You left my car on the street unlocked with the keys in it with all my stuff.

?You always leave my car on the street with the keys in it.?

?You never care about my stuff.?

I apologized. She kept going. I apologized again, and then a third time. Finally, I said, ?I don?t always do that. I have just said I?m sorry three times. I take full responsibility for my actions. What more can I do? I?m feeling the blame in a big way.? Harriet replied, ?Oh, I?m just processing.? I had failed to recognize some key words for processing. ?You always . . . never . . . every time.? If a conversation sounds too far out in orbit, it?s probably processing.

Nugget: Recognize and understand the need for

How: Use the evening debriefing period when you first get home. Use a gentle reminder before you take off. Listen, really listen. You could be tested.

You?re probably right.
??Captain Bob?

From the book the book "Fire Up Your Communication Skills" learn more here:
This message was edited by captbob on 8-8-04 @ 6:47 PM