Note: I am in no way a professional shrink. I just say the shit that pops into my head.
I was really tempted to simply write, “You can’t” and have that be the extent of my article. And probably all the legit professionals are going to read this and be like, “Are you fucking kidding me? I’m a trained professional and this is not how we do things.” Trainer professionals all secretly have potty mouths, we know it.
Also, many women will get annoyed that this doesn’t really encourage talking about “feelings,” or be all indignant and say, “Speak for yourself, this doesn’t apply to ME.” But really, they’re just mad that I’m revealing shit, like when magicians reveal how a trick is done. And this is geared towards dudes, not chicks.
There’s no denying, us women are OUTSTANDING at arguing. I don’t know if it is an innate ability, or learned; I’m not a psychologist or a bartender or a hairstylist, so I’m not professionally experienced with the inner workings of women. But one day, we just grow up, graduate from high school, and once that diploma is handed to us, it’s like we got a second, invisible diploma.
A diploma in “Argumentology”.
First of all, you guys could avoid 99.9% of all arguments if you could just learn to read our minds, which, by the way, we fully expect you to fucking do, yet you all refuse to get off your asses and even try.
Thirdly, start doing crosswords or sodoku or something to improve that memory. Because here’s a secret: while we do have excellent memories, some of the shit we “remember”, we either only remember vaguely and so are spinning in our favor, or we’re just plain making it up. We just know that a) your memory is shitty enough that you aren’t 100% sure we’re bluffing, so you won’t call BS on us and, b) you know calling BS will just enrage us and drag the argument out further.
Or, if you’re feeling really gutsy, call our bluff. But you should know that the rules of Scrabble apply, so if you call our bluff and we can prove our memory is correct, you automatically lose a turn.
Second, you have to understand that, much of the time, whatever it is we are arguing with you about is not the reason why we’re actually pissed. We’re pissed about something you did 2 weeks ago and it is manifesting in our irritation at the fact that you have the nerve to sit next to us on the couch and start watching videos on your iPhone while we are in the middle of watching an old episode of Private Practice.
Ok, that one may have gotten personal.
I know that, as I was mentioning that whatever it is we are arguing with you about is not the reason why we’re actually pissed, you men were all nodding your heads and thinking, “YES! Yes! Why do women do that? How are we supposed to know what you’re pissed about?!”
I hate to beat a dead horse, but if you all knew how to read minds, you wouldn’t have to ask why we do it.
Also, you men are all about strategy, so this one’s on you. There is so much missed opportunity to be strategists here. You can crack the code. It’s within you to do it.
Sidenote: How has the term “Woman Strategist” not become a thing? Don’t worry, we’ll make it equal, there can be “Man Strategists”, too. Although that job wouldn’t pay as much because it’s far easier to crack the man code than the woman code, and women are still getting paid less than men (I threw that in there for the feminists who are reading this and about to throw a blood clot). Ladies, if you find a man whose code is hard to crack, move on. Trust me on this one. You’re not going to be the one to “fix” him. You’re not that special.
This is just like solving a mystery and you guys just need to play closer attention. Chances are good that, before the fight errupted, you already had a feeling that she was annoyed with you. You, of course, ignored that feeling and passed it off as gas or indigestion because bowel issues are way more pleasant than arguing.
But every woman has a tell when she’s pissed, and you likely know what it is. So think back to when you noticed her irritation start: did she suddenly go quiet one day? Did she start slamming doors a bit harder? Did she give you short, quick, one-word answers like, “Fine” or “Whatever”? Yup, she’s pissed.
This is where my patented (not at all) method (hastily written words after too much coffee) will change your life (that statement is not proven and is unlikely).
Start a short list of her biggest complaints, think of it like an investigator’s notebook for mystery solving. Note the complaints she brings up a lot. If you find yourself blocked on complaints, try this exercise:
Finish this sentence in your head:
“I’m going to lose my shit if I hear her bitch about ___________ one more time.”
Write the answers to the blank on your list.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy list, just open a notes app in your phone and jot down a few of her voiced frustrations:
1. Wants me to take her to more chick flicks
2. Hates it when I belch at the dinner table
3. Gets annoyed when I watch videos on my iPhone right next to her while she’s watching old episodes of Private Practice
You don’t have to write this all in one sitting. You may have blocked most of it out, so feel free to take notes as you go along.
Now, when your wife or girlfriend gives her cue that lets you know she’s pissed, pull out your list and see which complaint best fits the scenario that occured just prior to the cold frost setting in. Now, here’s the important part that we all know you hate, but trust me, an ounce of prevention is a worth a pound of cure:
Be the one who brings it up. Bring up the thing on the list that you think it may be.
Even if you’re wrong about what is making her angry and she’s mad about something else, chances are good she will be caught off guard that you a) were proactive by being the one to bring it up and b) were listening at SOME point. And even if she’s pissy now, it won’t be as bad as it will be a few weeks down the line when it comes up by her exploding.
Also, this is a “duh”, but the best way to get her to stop bitching about something is to make an effort to fix it. Even if it doesn’t make sense, you may want to weigh which sucks-ass more: fixing the issue, or hearing her bitch about it and getting the cold shoulder.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of reminders on your phone. If something she complains about is something that can be solved by setting reminders on your phone, it’s worth the 60 seconds it will take to set a recurring reminder. And if you’re looking for a good app, Calm-ass Husband and I love Kahnoodle.
And if it has been two weeks and she’s been festering, go by my personal rule of thumb: