Saying Just the Right Things
How many complaints does it take to lose a guy? Only one if you’re doing it wrong.
Getting what you want from a guy is more about knowing how to complain effectively, than using any trickery, animal training strategies, or extreme bargaining tactics (bribes, sex, and so on). There are seven tips to being an effective complainer, and they are as simple as ordering a sandwich.
1. “Hold the mayo.”
When you are having a sandwich made at the deli, it is usually easier if you make one request at a time. If you yell out “I’d like wheat, pastrami, hold the pickle, extra relish, quarter the peppers, squeeze the onions, and hold the mayo,” you’re probably only going to manage to irritate the person behind the counter. The same thing goes with relationship requests. Guys don’t do well with lists; it overwhelms them. Have you ever seen a guy at the grocery store, wandering aimlessly through the aisles, forgetting half the stuff his wife mentioned? When it really matters that you have his full attention, only make one request at a time.
2. “Umm… I haven’t decided yet.”
Don’t you hate it when there is a huge line at the deli? The woman in front makes it to the counter, is asked what she wants, and she just stares blankly at the menu board? Sometimes a woman may know that she dislikes something, but doesn’t have a clear goal as to what she really wants her guy to do about it. She can tell him her feelings. However, when he asks how he can help, she just stands there with her hands on her hips, waiting for him to hold up a menu board above his head. Guys don’t always know what you need, and if you don’t either; then you’re not ready to visit the complaint department.
3. “Where’s the beef!”
Rather than letting your emotions get drawn into your request or complaint, take some time to get your anger under control, so that you can explain your position more democratically. Put yourself in your partner’s place, and consider what would make him want to help you more.
4. S-p-e-a-k… s-l-o-w-l-y
During a request, it is important to speak slow and clear, to ensure that none of your points are being misunderstood. This technique also has a calming effect over men, and will help keep him from feeling attacked.
“Communication is the key to confidence. Know yourself, find your voice, speak up and be decisive.” – Psychic Deejay ext. 5435
5. “That sure is a great hat, Mr. Deli—I’d like a meatball sandwich… but please hold the meatballs; and have a wonderful day.”
A lot has been written about the “complaint sandwich,” introduced by Guy Winch, a psychologist and author of The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way. The idea is to place the meat of your complaint between two positive slices of bread, to increase the likelihood of getting what you want. For example, begin with the first slice of pumpernickel. “Love, you are always so helpful with the kids.” Now you get out the sliced turkey. “I’m hoping that you can help take them to their after-school functions more often.” Now, grab the last slice of bread, and slather on the mustard. “I know you’re busy at work, but I think we can help each other have more time, and I would really appreciate your help.”
6. “My apologies, I didn’t mean to yell; I thought I saw a hamburger on the menu.”
Men don’t like taking the full blame for anything. Have you ever watched a guy drop his camera, and when he goes to take a picture, a spring pops out of the lens, and he looks over at his wife and says, “Honey, didn’t you replace the batteries?” To take some of this weight off his shoulders, admit your part in the problem (if there is one), and then offer a solution that will involve working as a team.
7. “I’ll have my usual.”
Getting what you want can be a lot like crying wolf. If you get your way too often, pretty soon your guy won’t want to play the game anymore. A chronic complainer is only a glorified definition of a nag.
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