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“You just don’t listen!”

When women tell us men how unhappy they are, our job is to listen, not to try to fix everything. What matters is empathy, not problem solving.

Here is a video that illustrates the principle.

My apologies to all those who saw this about half a year ago, which is often how these things work, and my thanks to 6000, which is where I first encountered it. Says 6000:

If my wife sees this, I’m dead. So let’s keep it between ourselves, ok?

So, commenters, try not to shout.

My main comment is that the still shot that introduces the video, and the title of the video, both give the game away. But maybe they have to, to get the video noticed.

16 comments to “You just don’t listen!”

  • john in cheshire

    And so true.

  • We just can’t accept that which is different – even when different is what we were looking for in the first place. Women want men to be more like women (even though most are attracted to men), and ditto for men. Oh well:-)

  • I believe it’s rule number 8 in Men’s Rules for Women:

    Don’t come to us with your problems unless you are looking for a solution. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

  • I’ve already covered that, Brother J – you just don’t listen!:-P

  • Paul Marks

    Many problems can not be solved – so people who turn conversations to efforts to solve unsolveable problems can be irritating (one does not need to be a women to know this).

    The human condition is naturally one of torment – of physical and mental decay before a backdrop of a life spent doing things one does not wish to do (because the alternative is even worse).

    Men deal with this with “gallows humour” – jokes that show contempt for both death and for the pain that is life.

    Women prefer empathy – but the difference is not that great.

    After all the subtext of gallows humour is “I am in pain and you are in pain – let us joke about it”.

    It is actually a form of empathy.

  • Laird

    That’s a rather bleak outlook on life, Paul! I actually don’t think of myself as being in torment most of the time. Hardly ever, in fact. Occasionaly annoyed, sometimes in high dudgeon, but mostly fairly tranquil. I am a leaf on the wind; watch me soar.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oddly enough, it’s actually women who want to rush right in and fix things. To quote Barbara Sher, “Women are fixers.” Whereas, according to her (and to me), most of the time we really just want somebody to listen, and really hear us…not to “fix,” but just to let us know he or she understands our difficulty.

    Men may talk about fixing, but in my experience they have no idea what we’re even talking about, so no solution they come up with is going to work anyway. (Besides, if some female brings up a problem, most of them just suddenly remember they have to go clean the engine block or something.) Whereas a woman will say, “Oh, here, how about this–.” And then she probably will jump right in and actually DO something. (If it turns out to be counterproductive, well, that’s your problem. *g*)

    “Now,” says Yrs Trly, “how deeply and how firmly is the tongue ensconced in the cheek?” ;>)

    The tongue comes out of the cheek: Alisa’s absolutely correct in her observation at the top. :>)))

  • Julie near Chicago


    “Many problems can not be solved – so people who turn conversations to efforts to solve unsolveable problems can be irritating….”

    Very perceptive. Reminds me of something my dad used to say to Mom when he was feeling distressed with the state of Everything, and she would try to cheer him up–or even to solve his problem:

    “Now, Mother, don’t take away my griping privileges.”

    It always helped lighten the atmosphere.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    Time for some Harry Enfield.


  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Just like a pushy man, to fix the gender war with a solution! Now what will women complain about if men listen?

  • Well Nick, at least there will be someone to listen to the complaints:-O

  • Andrew Duffin

    I find that the response “Here, have a glass of wine” generally answers both for sympathy and problem-solving – and often for both genders.

    But maybe it’s just me.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Julie.

    Laird – do I have a bleak view of life?

    Errr – yes I do.