Informative article on what you can say to help if your partner is having a frantic day, and you don’t want to throw gasoline on the already smoldering fire. Will you give a test run of the phrase on your partner? Check it out
(Womens Health Magazine) I used to work for a startup that was big on using certain phrases to promote workplace harmony. I thought it was more than a little cheeseball at first—until I realized one in particular worked really well on my husband, Chris.
I actually discovered it by accident. Chris was ticked off and frazzled by his job, and after I listened to his venting, one of my work phrases just slipped out on autopilot: “How can I help?” He immediately relaxed, apologized for his tirade, and vowed not to let work get to him so much. Holy crap, it worked!
I whip it out when Chris is stressed and upset and even when he’s annoyed at me. I’m such a big fan of “how can I help?” that I’ve told my friends about it, and now they use it on the regular. And it works every. Freaking. Time. Their partners usually take a beat, chill out, and tell us what we can do to help make the situation better.
It almost feels like I’m cheating the system—I skip all the venting, bypass the part where I will definitely might say something that’ll upset Chris even more, and get to where I can actually take action to help, all in a matter of seconds.
What is it about this phrase that’s so amazing?
It has pretty much everything you need to show your partner you care, which is crucial when they’re upset, says New York-based relationship expert Jane Greer, Ph.D., author of What About Me? She says “how can I help?” conveys five important things: You’re tuned in to your partner, aware of what they’re going through, considering their feelings and needs, empathetic to their situation, and looking to help out on a supportive, concrete level.
Even better, Greer points out that the phrase gives women an exact roadmap on what to do next. You’ll usually get an answer as simple as “just listen” (psh—already done) but if your S.O. needs something more in-depth, now is his chance to speak up. If he doesn’t…well, you asked.
But my favorite part is that it keeps you from saying something that can make the situation worse. “A lot of times, we will look to help by offering advice, which typically is the last thing someone wants to hear or will find helpful,” says Greer. Err, this is where I used to get in trouble.
So when Chris, who is a chef, would vent to me about how he was ticked that his swanky boning knife broke, I’d suggest just gluing it back together. (Wrong answer, apparently.) Even though my little Oprah moments clearly used to agitate him, I’d have them anyway because I didn’t know how else to help.
Now, I just drop a little “how can I help?” into the conversation, and we’re good to go. The answer is usually “nothing,” but hey—he still appreciates that I tried. Via WomensHealthMag