by Gary Torres
I have come to decide that the key to a happy long lasting relationship is communication. So I am effectively communicating with my TV via the remote control and a bowl of popcorn.
Thus earnestly employed, when my too kind and loving wife who has been reading some magazine looks up just long enough to say, “Do you know? It says here that women use about 7,000 words a day whereas men only use about 2,000.”
“Don’t you think that means something? I mean why would we need to use so many words? And why don’t men use more?”
I am thinking that she is not really talking to me; that this question is a rhetorical question of sorts. But then there is a prolonged silence, followed by a sigh, so I look up from my TV and it is now apparent that she is waiting for some sort of intelligent response so I give her a reassuring, “Mm-mmmmm.”
She continues, “Well I don’t know for sure, but you know, sometimes... I think it is because you are never listening... so then I have to repeat myself. That could account for 50 percent of the extra words I use. And then Daniel never does what I say the first time so I almost always have to repeat myself. If I have said ‘scrape it, rinse it, put it in the dishwasher’ once, I’ve said it a million times. It makes me sound like a broken record... you know I bet that is it, I swear that I am always repeating myself... are you listening?”
I don’t look up but send out a reassuring, “Uh-huhhhhhh!”
I learned this technique in my active listening course. I look up to make eye contact, the instructor says that body language like that helps the listener be engaged and appear sincere; besides it is a commercial anyway.
She continues, “Well I think it means something. How else could you account for the huge difference? Basically we are awake the same number of hours in a day so how come women use so many more words?”
I am thinking... and am prepared to offer up one keen observation. “Well cuz women never shut up for starters... maybe that’s why women use so many dang more words... they just keep talking, even when people are already employed or it is time to go home.”
For example, have you noticed that when the women go for their morning power walk that even though they have talked for well over an hour; when they get to the corner, they have to stop and talk for another 15 minutes? What could they possibly be talking about?
When men run together and get to the corner, most of the times they just peel off and go home. No words said. Maybe, a “see ya” and a “yup”.
But, I don’t make this keen observation because I don’t think she will think it is so insightful. Besides, I read “Listening for Dummies”, which cautioned against blurting out the most apparent and obvious answer to a question. So I raise my eye brows and smile creating an animated and interested look.
“Are you really interested?”
No matter how strong the urge is change the channel and see what is on the other ESPN channel, I assure her, “Ohhh... yaaahhh... Mm-mmmmm... Uh-huhhh!!”
“Okay, cuz I know sometimes you just say that. You know, sometimes I tell my one sister something, then when I get together with my other sister I have to tell her the same story and the first sister doesn’t ever seem to mind. And then when we go visit mom... well I tell her the same story and neither sister seems to mind that I have to start over from the beginning to tell her the same story... You don’t think that is weird, do you?”
My first thought is “Weird, I should say weird.”
But then it dawns on me there was some dummy following women around for the entire day counting up words. For heck sakes, what federal agency funded that?
Then I have a bright thought, maybe we could just install word counters on people once they hit their word allotment people could just say, “hold on there you have used up your 7,000 words for the day, so shut ‘er down, we’ll finish this conversation tomorrow.”
“Well, good. I don’t want you to think I am weird. But, it stills seems strange that women would use so many more words per day than men. You know you should really work on that. I mean, think how meaningful our relationship would be if we could both communicate effectively.”
With one eye on the game and one on my too kind and loving wife I offer a sincere, “Yupppp..... Mm-mmmmm... Uh-huhhhhh... Yup.”