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Don Boice
New York
Expert on gender communication
Interests: Gender communication, Gender communication at work, translating what men and women say, couples communication
Recent Activity
I am moving the location of my blog to www.boicecounseling.com I just did a facilitated discussion with a wonderful group of couples. We separated the men and women and asked questions for them to discuss. For example, what are some things you wish women knew about men and men knew about women? What do you wish you knew about the other gender? I also asked them to write down blocks to communication. For example, when women say ____________________,( “Do the dishes?”) what do you think they mean? They had to fill in the blank and then ask the women. We did the same for women to men. Go to my blog to read more www.boicecounseling.com Continue reading
Every single relationship is a clash of cultures, a clash of ways of doing things, of what is important. Treat it that way and your relationships have a better chance of being successful. Continue reading
Businesses have business plans, what do relationships have? So what is your vision for your relationship/marriage? Do you have the same one she does? Do you share one? Continue reading
Are you and your partner making decisions together, from scratch? Does one of you suggest and idea and then agree or disagree? How do you make decisions together? Do you make decisions together? This is the basis for fights, right? This is how couples get into the most trouble is making decisions. Then there is discussing differences and not navigating them well. How one gender sees partnership is often different than the way the other gender does. We both want partnership, but if we define the term differently, do we truly want the same thing? No. Can we connect on this issue? Continue reading
I am going to postpone blog entries for awhile so that I can re-evaluate it. Thank you to all of you that have read excerpts and made comments on the blog, Facebook or in person. Continue reading
Women are more likely to talk about what is bothering them and bond through doing that. When guys do not share what is happening for the above reasons, often she hears that as he does not want to connect with her, right? He “doesn’t value her enough to share” what is going on, is the message some women describe to me. “If he really loved me, he would tell me about it,” she thinks. That is not true from his perspective, so if she is telling herself that, she is going to be really hurt and confused. EXCERPT: It appears that not sharing is often more destructive to the listener. I wish more men understood that. It would make their lives richer and the women in their lives would really appreciate that. Continue reading
Excerpt Sometimes in counseling, I remind couples to communicate gratitude for how good it is right now. As soon as we accept our partner and communicate that to them, the impulse to grow kicks in. How odd is that? As soon as you accept me for who I am right now, I am willing to make the changes to be even better. Continue reading
Some people are shocked that their spouse would really like to hear their thoughts, especially if the thoughts or feelings have to do with anger. I ask them to experiment with filtering a little bit less for a week. When they come back, a very high percentage say their spouse was fascinated at their thoughts and now feel closer to them as a result. Thank you for comments and questions! Continue reading
Excerpt from the blog: You also hit on something powerful when you mentioned how to accept help. Most couples struggle with accepting, believe it or not. They may not feel worthy or deserving of the love, the nice words or kind acts. They may sense there is an imbalance and feel like they are taking too much and not giving enough. They may believe there are strings attached. When the couple talks about this process, good things happen. They stop mind-reading and guessing at one another’s motivation. PS I love comments and questions from people Continue reading
Tips for helping people connect Are you nodding when you listen, encouraging her to continue talking? Are you leaning in towards her to show interest? Are you gazing at her eyes while she talks? These things are encouraging the conversation. Do you use words like “uh huh,” “yeah,” “exactly?” Or, while she is talking, are you reading the newspaper, playing with your phone and answering with monotone? Want more tips? Please read the blog and feel free to make comments or ask questions. Continue reading
Are you “tuned in” to your spouse? Learn one simple technique. Continue reading
As we mature and grow emotionally, we improve our ability to “read” one another. As you grow in the relationship, you may not necessarily read their mind, but you read between the lines, you get the nuances and have an emotional resonance. Next blog: How to develop empathy Continue reading
Each time she talks, listen to her. Turn off the TV (don’t make her turn off the TV, too), the music, your tools etc. Look at her, preferably in the eyes, and gently at that, no staring her down. Listen to what her words are and actually try to see the point she is making from HER point of view. Don’t fix the situation or prove her wrong or defend yourself. You are simply trying on her perspective. One of the benefits of trying on her perspective is that you will have a chance to understand how she feels, as well. That is where you truly connect. Remember that, write it down if you want and post it around your house. She wants you to connect with her emotionally. If you really understood what that meant, you would want the same thing. Continue reading
Many women complain about the men in their lives, specifically their husbands. The common complaint is that they are two people in the same sandbox and he refuses to play with her. He is working on his own sandcastle and she is doing her own play. He does not initiate playing together. If she initiates, he may play together, on occasion. Are you willing to connect with your wife? Are you willing to do what it takes but just do not know what it takes? Many men are in this category. We want to love our wives more fully, we really do, but no one has taken the time to teach us how to be in relationships. We have taught ourselves, watched movies, read books and we are experimenting. We may think we are doing really well. Interested? check out the blog Continue reading
Be careful with contempt, it can destroy relationships. For example, someone may be very direct and another indirect. “Which way is correct?”, I have been asked. In my mind, it depends on the situation and the context. Go to the blog for more on this. Continue reading
Try saying, "We have different valid and legit priorities. What you think had to happen, does not have to happen in my world or vice versa. Now you want me to drop what I am doing to help you do something that does not (in my opinion) have to be done? I have a problem with that.” Try not to hold one another in contempt. Continue reading
Just finished Dr. Deb Tannen's book Talking 9 to 5. It deals with gender communication at work- fascinating read- highly recommend it. One of the main points is that men and women often have different expectations for the rules of the communication. They do not talk about the rules or shoulds they have and when the other gender violates the unwritten rules, feelings get hurt. I will be referring to her book in upcoming weeks. Thank you Dr. Tannen! Continue reading
Do you say “yes” to your spouse and then spend the time resenting him/her? Do you both take time for yourselves? Mature people sacrifice for those around them; selfish people do not. Where do you fall in the continuum? Continue reading
Men don’t tend to talk about private things, even with their spouse. Some men were taught, “Do not make your weaknesses publicly known.” Also consider that games boys play do not involve disclosure. Sports that men watch do not involve disclosure either. Not much of what men do, involves disclosure for that matter. Continue reading
We have been taught/socialized to be different, according to gender. Boys are expected not to cry by other boys and by men and by some women. It is not just crying, any emotion is suspect. Emotional men tend to be judged rather strongly in our society. Continue reading
Men seldom seek to level the playing field in life or at work, even in a relationship. Connecting is not first and foremost on their mind. Most men need to be taught how to connect and how you want to connect. Continue reading
I vow to honor and respect you in front of them at all times, no matter how I feel. I vow to defend you if I hear them talking poorly about you. I vow to let them have time with both of us so they develop more fully. I vow to follow through with visitation and money commitments. I will ensure they have their own space in my place that is just for them. I vow to remind them that it was not their fault. I vow to keep you informed of the school and medical needs and I vow that I will stay involved in both those areas, knowing it is not your responsibility to do that for me. Continue reading
I release you and forgive you. I forgive myself as well. I let go of the silly arguments about money, in-laws, parenting or intimacy, the power struggles, contempt, criticism, words that hurt, the petty disagreements that were based in pride and ego, the minor hurts that somehow became bigger. I release the marital bonds, the dreams we had that did not quite work out. I release the acting out behavior and the context that made that possible. I release jealousy both now and in the future. I release my selfishness. I release both our attempts to control one another. I let go of any resentments that may have lingered. I forgive both of us when we were weak and said things that really hurt. I release all the disappointments and judgments. I do not see the whole picture. Continue reading
Part III of III Many men have learned that self-disclosure can and will be used against you. Factual discovery, solution focused practical talks are fine. It should not be personal because talking is used to exchange info or show dominance, in the male world. Speaking is not about feelings or showing you feel their pain. That would be admitting vulnerability on some level. Can you see the built in conflict? It does not improve just because you are divorced. As a matter of fact, if he is feeling burned by you, he may do only small talk or avoid you altogether. When women look to men for emotional support, I cringe. Unless he has been trained to do this, he is either unwilling or unable to do it. Again, this is more true after a divorce. Many men simply do not have the tools necessary for emotional support unless they have been through counseling. Next blog entry is about releasing your ex and letting go of the relationship more fully. Continue reading
Now imagine you are talking about the rights of the children during and after the divorce process. You are negotiating whose needs are primary- the adults or the children. You are talking about not sending messages through the children. You are talking about using money to punish one another. You are talking about visitation. You are talking about how children need the love of each parent. You ask your ex to not pump the kids for info about your new love interest or to stop talking badly about you in front of them. How deep are these conversations going to get with your ex? Should you expect them to be deep at this point in the process? Probably not. Please check out the full blog to read more. Continue reading