You know that moment mid-fight, when you feel the smoke coming out of your ears and you are ready to just throw down? You love your partner, but in this particular moment – anything goes. Then… they beat you to it. They verbally gut-punch you where it hurts with the one thing that makes you curl your fists and push your nails into your hands. Time Out.
Yeah, we’ve all been there.
In any given day, a average human experiences over 21 different emotions. You can be energized, distraught, panicked, or defensive. The likelihood that your partner encounters you in only the best of moods is pretty much zero to none. When we are upset, we naturally use phrases that are engrained in our vocabulary, but some of these can be detrimental. Conversation is designed to bring you closer together and you may be using words that will tear you apart. Here are some of the worst offenders:
TELL ME WHAT TO DO THEN
I feel like nothing drives a woman more crazy then when a man says “tell me what to do” we want to throw a pillow at you and yell (say it with me ladies) “I shouldn’t have to tell you, you-should-know!” Don’t know? Give it that old college try. Hell, even an educated guess will do. And just to be clear, it’s not because we don’t know what you should do. We made a complete mental list of what you should have said, done, and what shirt you should have been wearing when you did it all. Trust- we know, we just don’t want to do the work for you
First of all, that’s mean. Second of all, I shouldn’t have to explain this one. Dream with your partner, explore their hopes and goals for themselves and your future together. Have a different vision? Explain that one and have a dignified conversation. If you find yourself feeling like you need to tell your partner they are pathetic or someone is saying that you, it’s probably a red flag.
This is one that often gets tossed around during a fight and can possibly be worse then a curse word. Silencing your partner in an terse way can detrimental and one sided. Can’t take the heat anymore? Walk away and say “let’s take a breather” or HIMYM it with a “pause”. The exception to this is of course, “No way, Adnan is getting a new trial? Shut up?!” That’s always okay. #SerialFans
I DON’T CARE
Well, you should. Being in a partnership means that you care about things that don’t effect you. Do you know how many times I cared about the fourth quarter holding penalty during a game of two teams that I can barely point out on a US map just because you have a fantasy player on your roster? Care. It makes you empathetic and people with empathy are better people. Think of it like eating more broccoli, it’s good for you.
YOU’RE NOT MY MOM
Fighting words. No one wants to be nag, but if you’re slacking when it comes to your responsibility and your partner chimes in with reminders it’s not cool to silence them. Some people’s worst fear is to be like their parents, I, on the other hand, have learned -as an adult- that my parents were freaking awesome and that is now a compliment. Ha! Also pick up after yourself or I’ll call your mom and tell her. No shame in the tattletell game. Have fun being a 30 year old explaining to your mom why you haven’t done laundry in 3 weeks. Boom.
Insert *any* expletive here, or better yet- don’t. There are so many words in the English language, cursing is for those with word poverty. You can eloquently explain your position in a multitude of ways and I guarantee they will be better received. Cursing is a sign of disrespect and while you may not agree with your partner at the time, you should always respect them. If you wouldn’t say it to grandma, don’t say it to your man.
Let’s take a general poll of life experience, in your 18-34 years of age- when have you ever said “calm down!” to someone and it worked! Magic! They immediately calmed down and said “Wow, you were right! I’m so calm now!” That’s right- never. It’s not going to start now, quit saying it.
Or if you are dating “let’s break up.” Don’t throw around ultimatums unless you mean it. When you reduce the longevity of your relationship to the outcome of a single fight then you are slowly tearing down the wall of security around your relationship. If you keep punching holes in the wall, eventually it will tumble. Breaking up should never be an option (unless you are dating a loser, then by all means- get out!) but don’t throw around the “D” word unless you mean it.
How many boxes did you check? What about your partner? It’s totally okay to be guilty, but no one likes a repeat offender. Send this post to your partner and solemnly swear (Marauder’s Map style) to do better and treat each other with respect.
Take steps to better your communication like learning each other’s Love Languages. Ultimately, it’s all about having an understanding with each other- but don’t be fooled. It’s not always natural or easy, but you have to get through the rocky conversations early on so that you have a foundation of communication when real problems hit. If you can’t manage a discussion about laundry what will happen in the future (god forbid) if you have a sick child or a sick parent? Deal now and set the habit of positive communication skills.