Bridging the Communication Gap

We decided the University of Richmond Campus wasn't a large enough bridge.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Birds: What Do the First Three Letters in “Assume” Spell?

By Mr. SR...C

Now it’s time for a completely biased point of view. See what I did there? I put you on the defensive immediately. This is directed at the females, but men can be guilty of this too; say what you mean, do not expect me to fucking understand your non-communicative version of communication. Why? Because it is fucking stupid. Like if your dog is hungry, it probably will whine or beg. If Olive Oil screams for help, Popeye knows to rescue her. If the condom breaks…enough said. So why is it that people feel that others will know what an issue is without any communication? Sometimes it may be generally understood but why not shoot for clear communication all the time? I will grant men mostly are the guilty party of not understanding these unexpressed signals but women just have to get over the subtle shit. We men are just freaking “she Jane, me Tarzan” at the end of the day.

I want to give an example of this “you’re not telling me shit” phenomenon. Ralph is eating a sandwich in the kitchen. His girl calls him and says “I am outside the apartment, you home? Oh, and I stopped by the grocery store on my way over”. He says, “Okay, come up” and continues to eat his sandwich. He finishes his sandwich and turns on the game, it's funday Sunday, calls up a few buddies see if they want to stop by and watch the game with him. Ralph notices his girl is taking a while getting to the apartment. Fifteen minutes later she opens the door and has bags of groceries. Ralph goes up to her and notices she has a not too pleased look on her face and says “Nicole, baby, what’s wrong?” and she replies “Oooh nothing, I think I’m going to make some food for night game”. Nicole’s face softens and whatever was bothering her seems to have faded as she cooks. As she finishes up and the late game is about to start Ralph gets a call from his boys saying they are downstairs and to buzz them up. When Nicole hears this conversation she gets pissed, calls Ralph a jerk and storms out the apartment and says “I’m going home, you are so selfish”. Ralph is confused and as his girl leaves his boys come in and they have the WTF look on their faces. Ralph goes after Nicole and begs her to tell him what he did. Her response is simply “How do you not know?!”

It is clear to me that not every woman does this and not every man is clueless, but from countless encounters and stories I can imagine this is quite common, maybe not as serious as the example, but it happens. The problem is that Ralph never knew what was wrong, he just knew something was wrong, but that was offset by the fact that Nicole said “oooh nothing”. If nothing was bothering her why did she have a displeased look on her face walking in the door? I created the scenario so I know, but Ralph has no clue. She had never asked Ralph for help with the grocery bags, but instead assumed he would come down and help her. All she had to say was “Can you come down and give me a hand with the bags?” Assuming that Ralph is the average decent boyfriend, he would have gone down to help with no problem. Granted, he could have asked “do you need help?” The point here is when he wanted to know why she was upset she replied “oooh nothing” and literally communicated nothing even though she was upset. Nicole could have reprimanded him for not asking or coming down to help her. Regardless of whether or not Nicole is right about being angry, not verbally expressing why she is upset causes an unnecessary rift in the relationship, and pot holes only get bigger.

Storming out when Ralph says “the guys are coming upstairs” and responding with a rhetorical question is terrible conflict resolution. Remember: I do not believe all ladies take it to the extreme or would not voice their displeasure, but many do some version of this. Please, please, please, just tell the man why you are mad, he is asking for a reason, he has no fucking clue, and if he has a clue he wants to be sure. To be real, men are as simple as the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS). If you do not say what you feel when we ask, then our assumption is it has nothing to do with us. WE ARE NOT MIND READERS, maybe mind manipulators, but that is not exclusive to nor even mastered the best by the dick-swinging portion of humanity.

Listen, there are surely guys who do the same type of lack of communication bullshit to their significant other the same way some females do, and, conversely , there are women that may not get the hint the same way some males don’t. There are different personalities and it may be difficult to sometimes express how you feel (Helga Pataki’s secret love for Arnold comes to mind) or express how they feel with no intention of having dialogue after it is expressed, think Squidward and Spongebob. Now there are so many variables in a relationship, but one thing that is at least in control of both parties is communication and not assumption, a corny old man I knew used to say “what do the first three letters in 'assume' spell?”, don’t make that you.

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