“Say It Sweetly” Is Bad Advice

“Say It Sweetly” Is Bad Advice

Hey everyone! I’m Jenny Hale and you’re watching my truth bomb series – a series of short videos about advice for relationships that’s completely wrong, why it’s wrong, and where the truth really lies.

Today I’d like to talk to you about the piece of advice – in English culture we actually have an expression which is “you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”- and the idea is that if you say something sweetly and nicely you’ll get what you want more often than if you say it in a sour or harsh way.

I don’t really know why we’re supposed to want flies in the first place … but leaving the expression aside, the idea that whenever you want to express something when you’re in conflict with your partner, when you’re trying to resolve an issue, that you’ll get a better result if you express it sweetly and kindly and nicely.

Oddly enough, in our culture you find this advice being offered to women more often than to men. There’s something in our culture which says that women should be sweet and polite and nice when they’re expressing their concerns and their needs and their boundaries. With men, if they’re a little bit more forthright, a little bit more angry, a little bit more aggressive that’s just to be expected.

But as time goes on, and we’re looking at the masculine/feminine stereotypes, this advice is morphing into a generic advice which is being given to everybody, men as well.

It seems completely obvious. If I think about it, if someone’s coming to me to tell me something that I might not want to hear, I would prefer they said it nicely.

Intuitively, you think if you’re polite and sweet and nice, people will take it in. If you’re hostile, aggressive, of course people push back.

It seems intuitively obvious, and we all have these experiences.

However, when it comes to our intimate relationships, when it comes to people who are close to us, there is one thing which is even more important than politeness and palatability and sweetness and acceptability. That thing is authenticity.

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If you speak to your partner in a sweet way that’s not really true for you if you’re putting it on, if you’re wrapping your message of anger and resentment in a sweet wrapper, it probably isn’t going to get you the result that you want.

Depending on your partner and their level of sensitivity and self-awareness, for some people it will scare them. The mismatch between the wrapper of sweetness and the underlying emotion of anger, which they can feel, is actually scary for some people. That will put them into a shutdown and they won’t be able to engage with you at all.

For some people if it’s in a sweet wrapper it just doesn’t penetrate. If your tone of voice is gentle and sweet it’s just kind of background noise. It’s not until you actually display some strong emotion that these people go “oh wait a minute, I need to pay attention to this”.

Particularly if you’ve got somebody who’s very task-focused as a partner, somebody who whatever they’re doing, they’ve got their full attention on it, and you want to get their full attention to go from whatever it is they’re currently doing now to some issue in the relationship then it really helps to allow the genuine emotion of frustration or anger or whatever it is, allow it to become on the surface and be visible.

If you do this in a responsible way, you don’t shower them with accusations and blame, but you do allow the emotion to be heard and seen and felt then you’ll reach these people. You’ll get through to these very task-focused people in a much better way than if you use soft gentle language which to them just sounds like more of the same of everyday stuff that they don’t really need to change focus for.

So there it is. Yes, in general, when we’re dealing with people it is good to be sweet, to be kind, to be polite. That’s reasonably common sense. However, when it comes to communicating very deep emotional things in intimate relationship, it can actually become unproductive to wrap that in a sweet wrapper that’s not authentic.

Authenticity is one of the most important features of an intimate relationship. If you aren’t authentic with each other about your emotions, particularly your unacceptable, unpleasant emotions, then in the end it’s going to undermine the basis of the passion in the relationship.

You’ll end up just playing a role for each other and that gets boring and stale and ultimately it will kill the relationship.

So although in general it’s good to be kind and sweet and polite, don’t do it at the expense of your authenticity. Figure out a way to bring your authentic emotions forth in a responsible way. Not an argumentative, attacking way but also for them to be seen and to be felt by your partner. That is what will keep passion alive in the relationship.

You Don’t Need To Be An Alpha Male

You Don’t Need To Be An Alpha Male

Hi everyone! I’m Jenny Hale and this is another one of my truth bomb series, where I look at pieces of misinformation about relationships, and what the real truth is underneath (if there’s one at all).

Today’s truth bomb is this idea that what women are really attracted to is a “man’s man”, you know, the alpha male. This entire industry, I don’t know how many millions of dollars are spent by a hopeful young men to listen to slightly older young men tell them how to be a man. But let me tell you, at the end of the day, speaking as a woman who’s worked as a relationship coach with hundreds of women that it’s not true.

You don’t need to man up.

You’re not “beta”.

Yes, there’s a whole lot of research that’s gone into the explaining and misinformation around the use of the terms alpha and beta and I’m not going to go into that here because I really want to just hone in on this idea and what it does in relationships.

Our culture has a picture of a man’s man, a real man, an alpha man and we all kind of know what that picture is, right? He’s physically strong and dominant, and he’s confident. He knows where he’s going and he’s somebody who seems to never make a mistake, or if he does, he just pushes on through and turns it into a win.

And women are we attracted to him.

So a couple of things I just want to put to rest about this.

Number one, the characteristics of the man’s man in our culture are pretty much the characteristics of a narcissist. And it’s true, if you can present as a narcissist you will attract codependent women because codependent women are attracted to those features.

The insensitivity, the self-absorption, the grandiosity, the big stories about how great they’re going to be, and the ability to just push people aside and get their stuff done in the world – those things are attractive to a certain kind of woman. The thing is, women who are codependent are codependent for a reason, and the reason is that they had terrible childhoods and they’re full of issues.

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If you make yourself look like a narcissist so that you can attract a codependent woman who’s completely into you, and dependent on you, and focuses her whole life on you, you’re going to have to deal with her childhood issues, and they’re not pretty.

If you want a healthy well-balanced woman who can take care of herself and have resources left over to take care of you, who will help you to be a better person, and will help you to be a fully rounded human being, then it’s not a good plan to make yourself look like one of these alpha males.

Now, you might get more one-night stands by presenting like an alpha and doing all the pickup artist stuff, but …

… what you won’t get is a safe, secure a long-term relationship where you can be yourself, and be accepted for who you really are, and just relax.

If you use these kind of techniques, if you present this man’s man, it’s stressful. And you have to keep it up for the rest of your life, or you lose the person.

I will say again that there is a nugget, and the nugget is this.

What a healthy, well balanced fully rounded woman wants is a healthy, well balanced, fully rounded man. If you are still psychologically a child, if you’re looking for mummy to take care of you, or you’re looking for a source of sex that won’t give you too much trouble, then you won’t be attractive to a fully rounded functional human woman. You will be attractive to the damaged women who are magnetically attracted to  bad boys and problem boys and want to spend their life looking after ducklings with broken wings.

You don’t have to be a duckling with a broken wing (or a duckling with a broken wing pretending to be Superman) in order to get a really rewarding long-term relationship.

So what does a woman really want?

Because I tell you, women don’t really want the stuff that all the pickup artists are telling you they really want. They might have a fling with that, but that’s not what they actually want in a partner for the long term.

If you want someone who’s going to take care of you when you’re old, then you need to offer something else other than this narcissistic macho alpha persona. All you have to be is real. A real human being, honest and authentic, not perfect but willing to work on all of the areas where you are not perfect, and willing to improve to spend a lifetime improving.

I tell you, one of the things that just amazes me is that these guys don’t get – these guys who teach all these courses to men about how to get women – not one of them I’ve seen say this.

What women really, really go for is potential.

Women love a man who’s going somewhere. Not a man who’s going somewhere materially, like he’s got a business and is going to make a lot of money. A man who’s going somewhere as a human being. A man who’s capable of growth. A man who becomes a better person every year.

That is what will get you the high quality women.