It’s as natural as breathing. You look at your man and he seems distant, even aloof. What’s bugging him? Is he mad at you? Why isn’t he talking?
You turn to him and ask, for what feels like the hundredth time, “What’s wrong?”
Assuming he isn’t passive-aggressive or a whiner, chances are the answer is “nothing”. Seriously. I’m not making this up. We were thinking about pizza, or boobs, or nothing at all.
Which brings me to my other favourite question to hate, “What are you thinking about?”
Nothing. I’m just staring. I’m a blank canvas. I’m taking a mental break. I’ve powered down. I’m not thinking about what you just said. I’m not contemplating leaving. I’m not mad. I’m not even thinking about sex. I’m a dude.
Men and women are different. I can literally stare at a wall and think about nothing. I can turn my brain off. Can you? I often bring this up in a group and usually women who are present will look at me in disbelief. My traditional answer to their challenging glare is to turn to a guy in the room, any guy, and ask him if what I have just said is true.
I’m batting 1000.
I have found that when I am repeated asked if something is wrong, the issue really isn’t about how I am feeling. Often it is a passive-aggressive query asked out of insecurity, or even agenda. I have learned to stop answering with one word and make sure to turn the question on its head. When I am “on my game” I like to respond with something like, “I’m good (never ever use the word “fine”), how are you doing?” This is a simple tool that often leads to an intimate and revealing conversation about what the other person is really thinking. Grunting out an answer only tends to confirm in the questioner’s mind that there is, in fact, something wrong.
So do yourself a favour guys (and girls), the next time someone asks you “What’s wrong?” take that as a strong hint that it’s time to talk. You’ll be glad later you did.
But seriously ladies, I was thinking about nothing. And there I go again…
11 thoughts on “Nothing Is Wrong, So Stop Asking Him”
Great post. Since fibro came to stay (along with all the meds) I absolutely can power down and be thinking of nothing…even when i shouldn’t be 😉
The entire wold seems to have lost the fine art of a good conversation, on the flip side it has also lost all value for the best of silence.
The US in particular could use an upsurge in politeness, thoughtful conversation, and meditation.
Part of what I do is public speaking and I have gotten into the habit of eschewing “filer” of any type, instead I just stop, pause, think and then speak, filling the air with useless “um, like, you-know” and the rest is simply noise pollution.
What is so wrong with silence, what is so wrong with a meaningful conversation?
Agreed, great post. However, I do like asking my boyfriend what he’s thinking because usually he has a great answer, like “I’m trying to design a mark-recapture study on moray eels” (he’s not a working scientist). Usually it leads to a great discussion 😀
Brilliantly written, and oh so very true.
I can shut my brain off pretty much anytime I want through meditation – something my boyfriend can’t do, but wishes he could. Sometimes I do like to ask him where our relationship is going, though (ironically), and his answer is always “New Jersey.” This is probably why we’re not married. 😛
“Powered Down” I like that! In my case, it’s the man formerly in my life who can’t stop thinking and who refuses to believe that I can just power off.
This post is on target. As a woman I learned this many years ago and just announce when I want to discuss something but until I got there I was amazed at how men could actually not think.
Awesome idea to turn the question back around! As a woman, I still don’t believe any one can stare at a blank wall and think of nothing- my husband assures me this is possible 🙂
I loved this article! As soon as you figure this out life becomes so much better. It reminded me of an Ed Byrne Sketch about the same thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P87DS3aY4w
haha. excellent post! 🙂
yes, that’s because women are chatter boxes and if we are silent something is definitely wrong and our brains never shut down….sigh…..