- Gender and Relationships»
- Advice & Tips for Women in Relationships
How to Talk to Women and Live to Tell
Conversing with women (and surviving the experience) is far more than a highly developed skill; it's an art! Let the maestro guide you through the maelstrom of speaking with the fair sex. Written primarily for men — who need the most help — this guide will also aid other women in the fine art of conversation with other women that won't lead to injury or death.
Follow along, but be warned, you will need patience, humility, and a willingness to learn.
The first and most important thing to remember in talking to the ladies is: shut up and listen! Some men seem to think that conversations are two-way exchanges. Worse, there are men who seem to think that conversations are just chances for women to listen to men dispensing facts, opinions, lies, damn lies, bragging and begging (sweet nothings). Not true! Conversations are in fact opportunities for you to listen to a woman (or even several women at once). You can and should listen and learn. (And, as a side note, you can also learn an awful lot at rickzworld.) Learn what women think is important, what they care about, who they like and who they don't like, what they need and want, when they want it and need it, and how much it all is likely to cost. And, most importantly, you can and should learn everything that is wrong about you.
After you've done a good amount of shutting up and listening — say, a few months' worth or more —you'll be ready to gingerly begin inserting a few words of your own into your conversations. Start with one- or two- or three-word phrases that signify neutral-to-positive recognition and acceptance of what the woman has just said. "Yes." "I see." "Good point." "Is that so?" are all good examples. Try to insert such phrases at a regular and measured pace. Insert too many too often, and you'll be seen as pushy and dominating and controlling the conversation; insert too few too far apart and you'll be accused of being obtuse or not really paying attention. At all costs, avoid phrases like "I know", which smacks of presumed male omniscience, or "What?" or "Oh, really?", which suggest incredulity. Never, ever, ever express anything of a negative tone! And, it should not need to be said, never convey the slightest trace of irony or sarcasm!
After you've mastered the well-placed acknowledgement and assurance phrase, you are ready to strike out into lengthier and more complicated sentences. The best place to start is by parroting back what you've heard earlier. Some examples: "Isn't she the co-worker that wore those hideous skirts?" or "Perhaps I can pick up your drycleaning before I cut the grass." or "I can't believe your Mom still doesn't realize how hurtful her comments can be." Such conversation shows your solidarity with the sisterhood, while also proving that you were really listening all along. It also shows that you have no agenda of your own, and are willing to let your conversational guard down. It lets a woman know that you are on her turf, and are open to her advances, whether they be with stiletto or stiletto heels.
Next, you must remember that conversation with a woman is neither a novel nor a DVD: there is no beginning, middle nor end. Unlike men's conversations, which must always go somewhere and reach some kind of conclusion, women's conversations stop and start and leap about from topic to topic like caffeine-addicted fleas. The non sequitur is the norm. So it is best to join conversations with women as one would view the glut of commercials at the Super Bowl halftime: be prepared to be jolted to another topic, another issue, another crisis, another dialogue, every 15 to 30 seconds or so. Hang on for dear life, and pay attention, and sooner or later you'll begin to follow the tenuous threads of conversational continuity — you may even begin to comprehend a perverse logic behind it all.
Only after you have successfully mastered the previous steps (and feel yourself to be near-totally emasculated), can you proceed to the crucial next step: turning conversations to your advantage. Begin by phrasing anything you want or need as if it were her idea or was initiated by some concern of hers. Here are some examples: "Since we've both noticed my spare tire, shouldn't I at least go golfing or something to try to work it off?" "Won't the tricked-out top of the line sedan be nicer on those nights when I take you dancing downtown?" "I'll just have a few beers with that clod Randy after work, to keep him from coming around here and ruining our quiet weekend." Over time, you'll become adept at non-confrontational conversation that slowly but inexorably leads to the topics you most care about. You'll be truly talking with a woman, and you'll probably survive to tell about it.
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