It’s a rare man who knows how to deal with an emotional woman. I know that “feelings” scare a lot of dudes and in their fear and perfectly admirable desire to “fix things,” they become inert, inept, or insensitive. I’ll never forget the first time my most serious boyfriend saw me cry. He didn’t say anything at all, he just started to tear up with me. I remember thinking the man was a f**king genius! And I love him! And he should write a guide book for the rest of mankind! Not that I expect every man to cry with me, not at all, I just want them to let me feel without trying to make it stop, to comfort me without making me uncomfortable. But that’s rare. In the midst of an emotional jag, I usually end up reassuring the man that my emotions will soon come to an end and life as they know it will resume. This is why I prefer going to my female friends when I’m upset, they know better than to tell me to “buck up” or something lame like that. Just shut up and pass the tissues. After the jump, some things guys say when we’re emotional that really don’t work and some much better alternatives.
1. Lame Phrase: “You’re going to be alright.”
Of course I’m going to be alright, Captain Obvious, just give me a minute.
Better Alternative: “I can see how upset you are right now.”
2. Lame Phrase: “Don’t cry.”
That’s like telling me not to breathe. Once the tears have started coming, they’re not going to stop.
Better Alternative: “Let me get you some tissues.”
3. Lame Phrase: “Maybe you just need to get laid.”
Um, sex is probably the last thing on my mind right this second. Your magic penis can’t solve this problem.
Better Alternative: A simple form of physical affection does wonders here. Hand holding, hair stroking, or spooning recommended. We might even want to do it once we’ve found our way out of Emotionville.
4. Lame Phrase: “Stay strong for me.”
When will you learn that being emotionally vulnerable is a form of strength? Also, I’ll stay strong for me, not for you.
Better Alternative: “You are strong. You can handle this.”
5. Lame Behavior: Dead silence, a look of confusion, or a big, annoyed-sounding sigh. All non-verbal communication failures.
Better Alternative: Eye contact. A compassionate expression. Empathy tears (a very advanced move).
6. Lame Phrase: “It’s not a big deal. We don’t need to make a production out of this.”
Well, it’s clearly a big deal to me.
Better Alternative: “Explain to me why you’re so upset.”
7. Lame Phrase:“Are you getting your period?”
Aren’t I allowed to be upset and have it not be related to my period? Sensitivity happens all month long, buddy.
Better Alternative: “Are you feeling sensitive today?”
8. Lame Phrase: “There’s nothing you can do to change it, so why are you getting upset?”
If we abide by that logic, the world will be an even colder, crueler place to live. True fact: human beings sometimes get upset about stuff we can’t change.
Better Alternative: “I know it’s hard to accept.”
9. Lame Phrase: “You are overreacting.”
Well … this is my reaction right now. So … yeah.
Better Alternative: “Maybe it’s not as bad as you think.” or “It will get easier with time.”
10. Lame Phrase: “Pull yourself together.”
Oh, hold on. Let me find my “EMOTION OFF” button. Oh, crap! I don’t have one? Arrghhhhhh!
Better Alternative: “Take as much time as you need. I’m here for you.”