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…