Ask a Grown Man: Vol. VIII

5 Aug

Let’s do this…

Hey Grown Man,I went through a phase during my early–mid/late twenties (not my bi-curious phase. get your head out of the gutter grown man) where if I knew I was going to disappoint a person/friend/girlfriend with bad news (not bad news like my grandmother has diabetes, but bad news like I won’t be able to join you on Friday night at bar X, or, I won’t be able to join you in August to go to Europe) I just wouldn’t pick up the phone and call…or answer their phone calls to me. When I quit my job at Circuit City my freshman year in college, I’m ashamed to say I just stopped showing up.

As a “growing man” I’ve learned that upfront, honest communication works really well. “Grown Men” make an effort to communicate, they take initiative to communicate first, they communicate clearly and succinctly…and they do this especially when the news is bad. I’ve found that I respect this in people when I see it in my business or in my personal life.

I don’t know if you’ve already discussed this topic but I’d like to hear your thoughts Grown Man.

Forthcomingly yours,
Jacob

Jacob,

What a fantastic question.  Really, the question was not only very well put, but also answered in a way that leaves me with little to say other than, you’re totally right.  However, because I’ve got a blog to write, I’m obligated to say you’re totally right in several hundred words with a few obscure pop-culture references and a barn-load of sarcasm and judgment.  Here I go…

Being a man means different things to different people.  Yet, with many male ideologies floating around, there are some nonnegotiables that all Grown Men should heed.  Here are a few of them:

-Start and end a conversation with a hand shake and eye-contact
-Be kind to people
-Always try to better yourself
-Quit wearing sweatpants

Grown Men, Jacob has added a tremendous one to the list that must be addressed – don’t shirk on communication.  In our lives, we all have difficult, unpleasant, or at least mildly uncomfortable conversations that confront us.  Even the most zen of men are going to find themselves with that familiar feeling of knowing that before them lies a choice: avoid and ignore or face it head on.

Grown Men face it head on.  We do this because ignoring a situation leaves others hurt, leaves questions unanswered, and puts you in a position of not being respected.  We do this “Not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard”. And when we have the hard conversations, we’re looked at as men that, right or wrong, can be trusted to do what is necessary.

One more thing: What is “it” that we have to face?  Well, look no further than Jacob’s question for that answer.  It is anything from simply disappointing a friend (“Sorry, I can’t go to lunch, I’m really portly and just started Fatkins.”) to quitting a job (I can’t blame you Jacob, Circuit City sucked).  These kinds of decisions require of you to step up and do precisely what you don’t want to do: “make an effort to communicate, take initiative to communicate first, and communicate clearly and succinctly.”  Well put, “Growing Man” (snicker).

Team Jacob, thank you for presenting a great question and answer.  We all need to be reminded of this every now and again.

Team Edward?,
GM

Grown Man,

Is there anything my boyfriend (emphasis on boy) can do to make up for ruining my birthday?

Sincerely,
Hurt Birthday Girl

Hurt Birthday Girl’s Almost Ex-boyfriend,

Sir, you’ve really screwed up this time.  And, while I’m sure you’ve messed up before (remember Tijuana?), “ruining a birthday” is literally, almost, unforgivable.  I don’t know what you did to ruin it, but it was bad enough that your almost ex-girlfriend emailed some dude’s blog, anonymously, and called you a “boy” – BURNED!

But, I believe that you’ve got it in you to redeem yourself.  Why do I think this?  Because she obviously thinks there’s something you can do to make up for it, or she wouldn’t have written me.  So, I’m going to help you out.

What you’ve got to do is find the inverse of whatever you did to “ruin” the birthday and do it, a lot.  For example, let’s say you gave her a Weight Loss Yoga DVD for her birthday.  Well,  the inverse of Weight Loss Yoga DVD is making her an awesome dinner every night for two months and spending that dinner telling her how freaking beautiful you think she is.  Do you see what I’m saying?  Let me try again.   Let’s say you decided that a great night for her would be watching you build your model trains and get super pissed because the “damn drawbridge won’t go up with the new servo!”  Oh boy, good one – nerd.  The inverse of this is probably getting an outdoor hobby and letting her go to find a dude that’s not so, well, like you.

In any event, you need to work very hard, every day, and with great forethought to find the appropriate inverse and make this right.  Hurt Birthday Girl is, I’m sure, a forgiving and kind woman who may eventually come around.  But fella, you’ve got to get to work.  Good luck, we’re rooting for you.

16 candles,
GM

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9 Responses to “Ask a Grown Man: Vol. VIII”

  1. Gin 5 August 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    GM,
    I completely get what Jacob wrote about not communicating. I don’t care whether it’s good or bad news, I would prefer to hear either way. GM need to not fear communicating bad news. This happened to me recently where someone I just met stopped calling all of a sudden and I spent way too much time wondering if it was something I did and he was being a jerk about it. I eventually called him a month later and it turned out he got hit with some major life events, withdrew from everything and needed time to get it back together.

    • You're a Grown Man 5 August 2010 at 1:34 pm #

      Silence is just the worst, isn’t it? We end up taking things personally and questioning friendships. If he had even just texted and said, “Life’s insane, sorry I haven’t called” you would have been so much happier.

      Anyhow, thank you for reading, Gin and taking the time to add a very helpful comment.

  2. Strick 5 August 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    Team Edward? Really GW? :-p

  3. lookingforsomethingtofind 6 August 2010 at 8:43 am #

    I have to say though you are right us guys (me included) often don’t communicate enough of sometime just don’t do it well, either by not listening or not knowing how to respond. I’ve often made a jerk of myself by accident, by just not being good a communicating, of just finding it uncomfortable. It’s one of the many things women surpass us on, and us dudes have to work on.

    • You're a Grown Man 6 August 2010 at 9:21 am #

      Very, very well put! We can learn a lot from the Grown Women around us.

  4. mct88 6 August 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Jacob is correct and so are you GM. Guys are horrible with communication in this aspect. It is ok if you suddenly can’t make it-let someone know. It is unacceptable to resort to flaking. Then you’re just known as a liar or a flake.

    Hurt Bday-girl’s BF, do something and do something quick! Guys often think that when they’ve hurt a girl that she’ll eventually get over it or there’s nothing one can do to fix it. INCORRECT! If she’s still talking to you but giving you kinda the silent treatment when you’re together- she wants you to fix it. You need to fix it. So get on the ball before she thinks you don’t care and you’ll have a bigger problem altogether.

  5. QueenPinky 9 August 2010 at 11:44 am #

    I think the way guys communicate has a lot to do with how we women have been responding to that man for his whole life.

    From birth people disappoint others but I think women have a wicked way of making disappointments hurt someone else more than themselves, and even though women do this to men, I think subconsciously men are not interested in dealing with this from anyone – their boss, their friends, etc.

    A man has never made me feel as guilty as I may have made him feel. Just the sheer notice of tears is sometimes more than enough to make a man feel guilty. Plus when women disappoint a man, men take it way differently, or at least thats what they put on. They say, it’s okay, we’ll try again, don’t worry about it. Women on the other hand put on a guilty trip, (Most women). I think if more women dealt with disappointment logically, without getting all emotional and girly (like most men do) then men would feel more inclined to communicate logically with women in regards to disappointment.

  6. emawfischer 10 August 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Having been in a position where I was in charge of people, simply not showing up is a sure fire way to get fired. Jacob needed to hear this advice a while ago, but other men (and women) need to know that if you communicate with your supervisor(s), we are often willing to help you out some. Even if that means that you are quitting your job, we will be much less upset with you and often give you a better reference if called upon to do so. Be a man and face those tough conversations like a GM should.

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