Not sure if you know this, but the Women’s World Cup in Soccer is going on right now. IN fact as I type this letter to you, it’s on; and will be on until the tournament is over…with all of its wall to wall coverage…on practically every TV in the house. If you haven’t guessed by now, I hate that this will be my life for the next month. Before you respond with just turn the channel, the reason I can’t do that is because my fiancé is the biggest soccer nut in the world. I HATE SOCCER, but she loves it and that’s all she wants to talk about. Again…I HATE SOCCER, but I love a happy home and relationship and telling her the truth about how I feel could really set her off….and I’m about ready to take that loss. Can you help me?
Dear Goal Away,
First of all that’s one of the funniest signatures I have seen yet. In regards to your questions, there have been some different schools of thought over the years. They are the following:
GRIN & BEAR IT- One School says that you should just pretend to be interested because you love your girl and this is obviously important to her. Suck it up for a month or so and deal because she probably does the same for you. The problem with this school is that while you are sacrificing valuable time pretending to do something you don’t want to do, you are spending too much time agonizing over the fact that you are doing this, and most importantly you are creating a false perception for your significant other. If they found out that you are just humoring them and you truly could care less it could potentially blow up in your face and that’s not necessary.
Be Brutally Honest- First thing you must understand before attending this school is that brutal honest really only works when you are dealing with yourself and the few close friend that you know can hear what you’re saying and not feel worse by talking to you. This is not the preferred method in relationships because for some reason your significant other will take this honesty and make it about your delivery method instead of focusing on the truth behind the actual message. Then you end up arguing about stuff that has nothing to do with the initial issue in the first place. Really not smart and ultimately attending this school of thought will be a complete waste of time ending right back where you started.
The Give and Take- or commonly referred to as the compromise. I like referring to this school of thought as a give and take because it requires a conscious decision on the front end, where I believe comprise occurs usually in the midst of a disagreement. This is what you should tell your girl (and I will admit, it’s probably just a blended approach of the first two schools):
1. 1) Be Honest but Tactful-Tell her that you don’t like Soccer…AT ALL. You are interested in playing it, watching it, reading about it or let alone discussing it.
2) Validate Her and Your Relationship- Reiterate to her that you care about her and the things that she likes; however and that you are willing to be involved in this sport or activity but on a conditional basis (side note here…when you put conditions on feelings that’s bad….but when you make responsible decisions regarding your time, energy and efforts it’s simply setting appropriate boundaries).
3. 3) Be Responsible-Develop a plan with her that allows her to share of a true passion of hers and doesn’t run you to the store every five minutes. If it’s taking 30 minutes out of the day to specifically give your undivided attention to her as she talks about her favorite thing, then commit to that 30 minutes and be done. If she wants you to watch, then tell her that you will sit with her, watch some of it, but she has to allow you to have your phone or computer to do other things like play Words with Friends or access your favorite social network (I recommend twitter).
4) Seal the Deal-Once an agreed upon plan has been decided on, both need to sign it and put it in a place where it can be easily accessed and referred to if needed.
I know those 4 simple steps may be tedious and seem ridiculous, but I guarantee, that if she is a responsible and thoughtful individual, wanting to be in a relationship with you then she will here you out, understand where you are coming from, and ultimately will see the benefit of having this discussion, before there is the opportunity for drama to occur. And in the event that she can’t do this…then maybe a re-evaluation of the relationship is in order. Hope this helps!