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A Failure to Communicate
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
Despite a long, long time on the planet together, men and women still have trouble getting the opposite sex to understand them.
Take the phrase, “do what you think is best.” That’s an incomplete sentence. It doesn’t look like it, but believe me it is.
Here’s the problem: when people do what they think is best, it’s usually what’s best for them, not the person making the request.
Then, when the person who did say, “do what you think is best” realizes the person did what was best for them, that’s when the shit hits the fan.
And I have to ask why.
Women are more perceptive than men, but guys, we aren’t mind readers. If you tell us to do what we think is best, you’ve dropped out of the picture. Doesn’t matter what the decision is—new cell phone plan, switching cable providers, choosing paint colors—we’re going to do what WE think is best. If you really want us to consider your feelings, you’d better speak up. And even then, if the choice means more work for us in the long run, good luck getting what YOU want.
I only thought about this recently after a late night phone call from someone who needed someone to talk to. I couldn’t really do anything about the situation. I felt bad for this person, but given the circumstances, the woman probably made the right choice.
Just not the right choice for him.
But of course I didn’t point this out. He felt bad enough about the situation anyway, so I didn’t want to say, “well, you DID say ‘do what you think is best’”. If I were a guy, I might have, but I have a smidge more compassion than that. No, instead this is a teaching moment for men and women.
If you are wanting a certain outcome, do NOT say, “do what you think is best.” There’s a chance that you won’t get what you want. You may seem like you are being generous in saying this, but if the decision doesn’t favor you, no, you don’t get the right to be completely pissed off. Well, okay, be pissed off. But before you speak those words, make sure you really mean them. If you do, be like Elsa and let it go.
On certain things, men just don’t sweat the details. Just tonight, I had a woman come in and tried to select a paint color. The marching orders from her husband? “Pick a good color.” I saw the text myself. I led the woman over to the brochures highlighting exterior paint colors. I pointed out the hot pink door, but I said he probably wouldn’t like that. He did give her until Tuesday to pick out of a color, so based on the color scheme of the house, I suggested a deep burgundy, or a black. I know men usually don’t care about the color, but even I know enough to know that a hot pink door wouldn’t go over, even if it was pretty cool looking.
But shame on you dude—it would have served you right if I had convinced your wife to go with Olympic’s Muted Fuchsia—it would have popped against your gray house with white trim. “Pick a good color.” Well, that’s what you said—you didn’t say, “pick a color that I like.” And what exactly do you consider a “good” color?
In the end, I sent the wife away with some of the burgundy color chips. Even the brochure with the door colors hardly had any tame ones to offer. Most of them were red, or yellow, or black, or bright green or orange. She has until Tuesday, after all.
But “do what you think is best” and “pick a good (anything)” are phrases that should be uttered with utmost care and honesty. If you are man (or woman) enough to say these words, live with the decision—whether or not you get dumped, the Internet/television/phone package changes, or you end up with that hot pink door paint that some sales assistant talked your wife into. Trust me—pink isn’t just a good color—it’s freaking awesome. I should know. My bedroom is the same shade. And I LOVE it!