Returning His Balls: How to Respectfully Interrupt a Man (#9)

interrupt_2I’m an interrupter. I get so excited and I blurt something out when the other person hasn’t completed their thought. I hijack what they were going to share with a distraction of a new topic.

The “Returning His Balls” blog series is based on the teachings of Alison Armstrong’s seminar, “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women.” This week we will be exploring how to respectfully interrupt a man.

interrupt_1Out of my Man-Lessons, this one is more how-to. I didn’t know there was a proper process to ask for a man’s attention when he is already single-focused on something else. This process made me aware that just because my husband is in front of me doesn’t mean that his attention is available on-demand. I just start talking, completely oblivious that he might be doing something else or I don’t even have his attention in the conversation. I also realized that this process works in the professional setting and interacting with more masculine-energy females.

Step #1: Apologize for the Interruption: “I’m sorry to interrupt.” To someone who is single-focused, being interrupted is frustrating. Starting out with an apology communicates awareness of being a distraction.

Step #2: Make the request: This is not a demand, it is a request. He has the freedom to say “no” to requests. This is not the time to launch into an hour long conversation about the finances.

Identify the Topic.  A man needs to decide if he is in a good position to continue.

  1. “ I have something I’d love to talk to you about.” This usually implies a story.
  2. “I need to talk to you about _______ (result)”. Example: I need to talk to you about the budget for the new year.
  3. “We need to decide about ________(decision)”. Example: We need to decide about our holiday travel plans.

Identify the Amount of Time Needed. This allows a man to decide to quickly finish what he was doing, to put you on hold, or to decide to return to it later. “I need about ____ minutes.” Example: I need about 20 minutes.

Step #3: Ask the Question: Don’t assume that just because NOW works for you, that it works for the listener. “When would be a good time to talk?”

This allows the man to decide: now, soon, or later. If he is focused on work-mode, then talking about holiday plans is going to be frustrating. Asking when is a good time allows him to decide, based on where his head-space is, to book a time. He may say, “after dinner” or “this weekend” or “remind me when I’m done with this.”

Quickie Interruption: For a quick interruption, wait for the cue that the man is ready. “I’m sorry to interrupt, can I ask a quick question? {ask the question}.” Example: I’m sorry to interrupt, can I ask a quick question? I’m going to the store, do you need anything?

This next part is key. A man will “transition” to focus, then he LOOKS. Tip: Wait for the look.

He might pause the TV, physically turn his body, and then look. Usually the look means he is ready to answer. The other key factor is “quick”, meaning a short answer like yes, no, or get milk.

By learning how to respectfully interrupt a man, I get the answers I need. I get to have the conversations I want when my husband is ready to have them. I learned to work with the art of timing and being patient. Just because I’ve been thinking about travel plans all morning doesn’t mean that he is ready to discuss it. I keep learning that when I communicate with a man the way that makes him receptive, I get the best out of him. Another important lesson on “Returning His Balls”.

Resources: Workshops: Celebrating Men (website), Free Local Workshops: (website), Start Small with Free Content (website)

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1 Comment

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One response to “Returning His Balls: How to Respectfully Interrupt a Man (#9)

  1. Pingback: Returning His Balls: The UN-neutering of Men (Series Review) | My Journey to a Fulfilled Life

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