While talking about what we shouldn’t say to our lover and what we can say instead, we thought we would ask you. Sometimes our partner just says the wrong thing, which puts us off. Any pre-Valentine advice? We’re stuck in the office on a sleety day reading your website.
–Anonymous, Providence, RI
There really is an art to nurturing closeness in a relationship. Certain phrases are an absolute turnoff. Others can bring you closer. You could say that closeness is the antidote to loneliness — which you can control. Try self-correcting before using some of these killjoy phrases to tighten up your relationship. The most awesome Valentine’s gift you give anyone you’re fond of — or even love — is politeness in conversation and being aware of your e-tiquette chatting online.
Instead, try using some of these unwritten cultural rules.
Try not to start sentences with the word ‘Why.’ Why? Because, think about how annoying it is when the word ‘Why’ is the first word you see on your lover’s text, as in ‘Why are you always late?’ Or ‘Why can’t you ever be on time?’ He wonders, ‘Why’ does she do this when it’s so irritating? Instead, use ‘What,’ as in ‘What is that all about?’ Nobody likes being grilled. Say, ‘What made your day?’ Ask, “Tell me about your day,” or ‘What did you do today?’ to open dialogue. Then, without asking ‘Why,’ it might even make sense to you why the person was late. Even help you figure out how to help them not be late.
Another really weird phrase is, ‘You need to,’ as in ‘You need to listen to what I say.’ Instead, say, ‘We can work on being better communicators by actively listening to each other.’
Don’t you just hate it when someone says, ‘I’m sorry, if I hurt your feelings’ — or — ‘I’m sorry if you felt that way.’ How about trying not to duck out of taking responsibility by throwing it back on the other person. Simply be accountable for your action by saying, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.” Or, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” By dropping the word ‘if’ you sound more sincere. Using ‘if’ makes you seem unsure — as in iffy.
To get back to why, the word ‘why’ can be such an obnoxious word. Then, add the word ‘just,’ as in ‘Why don’t you just listen?’ and you’ll really turn off your Valentine. Like criticism, everyone knows that unsolicited advice is a buzzkill. Simply say, “Let’s brainstorm a solution,” and let them talk it out.
Shall we not ever say, ‘I just need you to listen.’ Another downer. Let’s not seem needy when it is not an emergency.
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Accepting A Compliment