A friend forwarded this article on USA Today that talks about what makes people happy. In summary there are three things: 1) the amount of time we spend with family and friends, 2) giving to others, and 3) time spent in a state of “flow” or mindfulness, where you get so lost in a task that you’re doing, you forget time. Three very simple things that can make a huge difference in our daily lives.
I’ve been working a lot on number 1. The friend and family time these last few weeks has definitely been good for me. I feel so peaceful, so loved, so … happy. The shared meals, walks in the park, and talks over coffee have all brought a simple abundance in my life – something that I was at risk of losing sight of while gallivanting around the world.
During these great dinner/coffee dates, friends and I inevitably talk about random interesting things: social media, technology, careers, family, fears, hopes and, of course, relationships. And the relationship talks always end up being the most engrossing! Recently, a friend and I had an invaluable conversation about the (insane) psychology of women.
I call it bricklaying.
While doling out advice, as we so often do without being asked, I cited an example familiar to all men and women, young and old. It happens in movies, in sitcoms, in restaurants next door.
It’s date night. You, the woman (I’m going to write this in the woman’s point of view), spent a good portion of the late afternoon perfecting your outfit. Black dress, red pumps and that just-long-enough necklace that dares him to look where he isn’t supposed to. You’ve set up the purposeful tease. You look hot. You are seated at dinner, holding hands, staring into each other’s eyes, making small talk. Your heart is a flutter. You’re talking about your crazy week at work, your friend’s new haircut and this weekend’s plans. He’s attentive, smiling, sweet. And then the cute waitress walks by your table, and his eyes follow her very short skirt. In less than a second, you go from being totally in love to totally hating him. Oh how you hate him! Did he not notice your dress?! Your necklace? The new way you did your hair? THE NERVE he has to go and check out another woman while you’re mid-sentence trying to explain the intricacies of brown hair highlights vs. auburn. YOU HATE HIM. But you smile. And you brush it off. You let him think that he was stealth and smooth. That you didn’t notice him noticing her. The rest of dinner goes by fine. Fine. Fine. Fine. But now, just for the heck of it, you feel like picking a fight. Maybe it’s because you’re hurt about the waitress. But he doesn’t know that, and frankly, you probably don’t realize that your desire to start a fight stems from that moment too. You’re just sad, mad, insecure, hurt and somehow, without sounding like a total lunatic, you need to let him know. So, you pick a fight. About something dumb. Like that one time, last year when he forgot to open the car door for you. And the rest of the evening is shot.
You win the fight (only because he can’t understand what it was about in the first place) but you’re still hurt. And at the end of the day, you add a few bricks to the wall that you’re building to protect yourself. It’s that wall that slowly closes you off from being totally open and honest with him, the wall that will get bigger and bigger by the day unless you go and do something about it (i.e. talk to him honestly about what has been bothering you), it’s the wall that will inevitably pull you two apart permanently.
Bricklaying is insane. But we women do it. And somewhere, sometime, that wall becomes so big (over weeks, months, maybe even decades) that no man can scale it, no matter how hard he tries.
It is scary. And depressing (as quoted from one of my guy friends).
So, what do we do about it?
STOP BUILDING THE WALL!
Stop the bricklaying behaviour altogether girls! How about some good ol’ honest talking? The heart-to-heart. The sit-down conversation. Oh heck, even the crazy big yelling match! All of it is better than the silent bricklaying behaviour that drives us all insane!
How do boys deal with their jealousies and insecurities and pent-up hurts? Gym? Shooting range? Sports? Booze? Insights anyone?