It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Complicated Communicator” whose letter — and my advice — stirred up quite a bit of controversy when she wrote in in June. As you might remember, she and her boyfriend had a big argument on the phone one evening when he mentioned a TV personality and the LW responded that he was a “fraud and an asshole.” She wrote: “He said I invalidated his opinion with mine, and that I do it all the time, and it’s getting to the point where he doesn’t know if he can ‘do this’ anymore because I talk to people in such a way that makes them not want to talk to me.” After the jump, find out whether they worked through their communication differences or whether they decided to go their separate ways.
There were some reader comments that I found particularly helpful, and upon the advice of those people, I consulted a number of friends and family to see if I came across as confrontational to them, or if my guy was being overly sensitive. The consensus was that I can be aggressive in my manner of communication, but almost every person polled told me that they thought it was because I was excited about something, or interested in the topic at hand, not that I was trying to one-up someone or try to make them feel inferior.
I talked to my boyfriend about this a few days after I wrote you, and when I brought it up, he was completely flabbergasted that I was still thinking about the argument. He told me that he thought it was a ‘simple conversation,’ which ended up being perfect, because it illustrated both of our points perfectly–he thought an hour long lecture on the phone was merely a conversation (that caused me mental agony for DAYS) and conversely, I thought that I was simply making a joke and it was something that in actuality he took personally. We realized that after 4 months, neither of us really knows the other to the extent that we thought we had, and agreed that in the future, we will try to remember that how each person sees a situation can be completely different from the other, and that we had much more to get to know about the other. I worked on not interrupting him when he talks, and he worked on taking my opinions as just that, and not as something combatitive, as well as letting me know when something is bothering him, so that we can nip it in the bud immediately, rather than letting it fester– so much better than past relationships where silent begruding led to massive fallouts.
Long story short, it’s been almost 2 months since that letter, and our communication with each other has vastly improved, and our relationship has only strengthened from it! I honestly didn’t know if we were going to end up being compatible at all, but we are still quite crazy about each other, and it no longer feels like there’s any tension when we talk together. It was important for me to find out if we were going to be able to work this out, and I am optimistic because we talk like adults, rather than fighting, and both benefit from it. I am quite happy to report that we have a flourishing relationship now, and in taking the time to get to know each other better, we’ve really developed something fantastic!
Thanks again for the help! — Complicated Communicator
What a great update — thanks for sharing!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.