Girl Talk pt. 3Posted: 07/29/2011
Okay boys, I told you this was coming. And you know what, I think you’re ready for it.
Today we’re gonna talk a bit about the cold shoulder. This is a common phenomenon among members of my gender(sorry!), so I’m gonna walk you through what it is, why it happens, and what to do to make it stop.
So the cold shoulder. What the hell is it? Urban Dictionary has some, um… interesting definitions for it, but I define it as a general withholding of love and/or affection. To go into a little more detail, if someone close to you stops communicating with you seemingly out of the blue, or for instance if they act mad all the time but just around you, they’re probably giving you the cold shoulder. Also, there’s glaring. Lots of glaring. Glaring is key. If someone glares at you but doesn’t talk or say why they’re mad, this is a huge symptom of the cold shoulder. And so is any of this.
But why, you’re asking, does this happen? What went off in her brain to make her this way?
Okay first of all, it might not even be her. It might actually be you, in which case, put on your big-boy pants and get ready for what I’m about to tell you. This all stems from a communication problem, in the most basic sense. Maybe you said something she didn’t take as a joke, maybe you didn’t say something. Maybe you forgot her birthday/your anniversary/to let the dog out/whatever. It doesn’t matter what it was, it matters how you handle it.
This brings me to my next point… How do you handle someone who’s giving you the cold shoulder?
The best advice I can give you guys is to not do ANY excuse-making, especially not before you find out what is wrong. This could be a mix-up, a simple misunderstanding of terms. This could also just be a really, really simple mistake on your part. The key to all of this is finding out what it is, and even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, that doesn’t matter. Do you value your relationship with whoever is angry at you? If you had been enjoying certain privileges and now are not, would you swallow your pride and apologize like an adult to get them back? (Pro tip: If you’re answering “no” to either of these questions, stop reading and piss off. This blog is clearly not for you.)
For those of you still with me, remember it’s always always ALWAYS easier to apologize for a small issue as soon as you come across it. Always. This is how we keep things from being blown out of proportion.
I asked around to some of my friends, to figure out what they do when someone’s giving them the icy glare of anger. The vast majority of them asked me what I did to sabotage my relationship now, but after assurance that this was for research and a few laughs, I got some pretty awesome answers (I have great friends, basically). The overwhelming response was “ask what you did to deserve this and go from there”. Like, literally all but one person said this – we’ll get to that in a minute. Dear Katie and Flannery had the wisdom to recommend doing something extra-sweet or super-nice in addition to a sincere apology. Rachael and Josh said a heartfelt “I am SO sorry for ______” will save a lot of headaches from popping up and reduce the drama in your love life.
What intrigued me was the response I got from my buddy Kim. She didn’t recommend asking what was wrong – her exact words were “confront them”, which personally sends up red flags, but everyone has their own way of dealing with things. The rest of her reply seemed a little counter-intuitive to that whole “maintaning a relationship” thing at first. She said, “If they won’t give you an answer, then do the same thing they are. At least that’s what I’d do. Or ask someone else who knows them well if they know what’s wrong.”
This was a really good reminder that you might not always get the answer you need from that person. They might not be ready to talk about it, in which case I say stick it out, they might be looking for an excuse to break up with you, in which case I say let them break up with you like a grown-up. They might even just be waiting for you to figure it out on your own because they think you’re smart enough. This last case? Definitely ask the friends if you’re stumped. Seriously.
So let’s recap a bit in the “what do you do” department, because this is a lot of stuff to remember.
1. ask what’s wrong – be really REALLY nice and don’t make assumptions
2. take some time to cook up a spectacular apology
3. apologize. Be honest, tell her how you feel about this, listen to what she says.
Now for some really, REALLY crucial stuff, okay? Don’t EVER start in on her with the “well you did THIS and THAT that one time” routine, even if she does it first. Sometimes she will just need to vent about past transgressions and such. Sometimes she’ll try to bait you into doing it – remember these words, gents. Always remember, too, that relationships are built and not made, and it’s one step at a time. This is also how a lot of relationship troubles can be solved – one thing at a time. Focus on the issue at hand, and keep your eye on getting through it. I think you’ll find you’re a lot happier overall.
But wait, you might be saying, I forgot a step, didn‘t I? Isn’t there some magical way to avoid the cold shoulder altogether? No. No there is not. Believe me if there was a way, wouldn’t I have told you by now? Everyone gives the shoulder, and it’s something we all have to get used to – sometimes, life is just a bitch.