Abby: Being a good listener is the best way to be heard
Dear Abby: I am responding to “Tired of Talking to Myself” (Feb.), whose husband’s ears slam shut when she begins to speak. This is not a problem that’s exclusive to men. Women do it, as well. As a retired PA (physician’s assistant), when talking with patients, I would refer to it as selective hearing loss.
“Tired” needs to look at her own behavior because I have never seen one partner be the only guilty one. My wife can hear the ticking of the turn signal that wasn’t turned off, but she doesn’t always hear my questions or statements.
There are many reasons why it happens, but the way to resolve it is to listen when your partner talks to you. If you do, you will find that he/she returns the courtesy. Perhaps if “Tired” gives a closer look to her own behavior, she’ll stop referring to it as a male problem.
Frank in Portland, Texas
Dear Frank: Thanks for your letter. When I asked readers for input, they heard me loud and clear and gave me an “earful”:
Dear Abby: Focus is a strength for many men like me. I am a little hard of hearing and need to focus on what I am listening to. If you want open ears, hold my hands and make sure I’m looking at your face. I want you to be happy and will do what I can for you.
A Little Hard
Of Hearing (Chuck)
Dear Abby: Some researchers say women speak about 13,000 more words a day than men do. There’s a joke that explains it’s because we have to say everything twice!
Jenny in North Carolina
Dear Abby: Men have no patience. They only want to hear a brief, straight-to-the-point version. Women tend to tell the story from beginning to end with every detail explained so nothing is misunderstood. When men hear us talk, they will say all they hear is blah, blah, blah. “Tired,” if you try to be patient and use the abridged version, maybe communication will get easier with fewer repeats.
Heidi in Florida
Dear Abby:I have been married for 35 years and, recently, my wife has started pointing out every little thing I do that she thinks I should do differently. I have reached the point that when she starts one of her observations, I say, “Could you add it to your list and put it somewhere?” and that’s the end of the conversation. Nitpicking does not make for a great marriage.
Tim in Arizona
Dear Abby: There are three words men always respond to: sex, food and money — not always in that order. Use one of those words when talking to them and you’ll always get a response.
Beth in the South
Dear Abby: We gave my 19-year-old daughter a formal church wedding last year. Of the 100 guests invited, several were my longtime co-workers, who took the time to purchase lovely gifts and travel two hours to the wedding. My daughter still hasn’t sent out thank-you cards. I see my co-workers week after week, and I’m humiliated. I have mentioned it to my daughter several times, but she says it’s too late to send them now. Should I take the reins and send a short letter of apology to these dear co-workers?
Torn Up in Texas
Dear Torn Up: A note of apology from you would ease the embarrassment you feel facing your co-workers, but it won’t put your daughter in a better light. She and her husband are equally responsible, and failure to acknowledge a gift reflects poorly on them both.
Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.