Without mentioning names, raise your hand if you have a friend of a friend who has snooped through her executive man’s phone while he was in the shower because he wouldn’t talk shop with her.
Story time! Quick, go grab your glass of wine before I get started. Ready? Kay, let’s do it.
Imagine this scenario:
You are an intelligent successful woman who is dating an executive man. He’s got a lot of responsibility at work because he runs his own business, but so do you. Granted, your business is a bit smaller than his and in a completely different industry.
Bae comes home late 4 out of 5 nights because he takes clients out to dinner. When he gets home, he’s usually exhausted and the last thing you should be asking him is about his day. He does not want to talk about it.
Because he works long hours, it doesn’t leave much time for him to do anything else. This leaves little to talk about before bed. However, you notice that he’s constantly checking his phone.
Now, any normal woman would think he was cheating and my friend did, so she snooped through his phone while he was in the shower. If he’s not coming home smelling like strip club or Black Opium and his hairstyle isn’t what I like to call sex hair, then you don’t have anything to worry about. Yet.
There are a few reasons why he won’t talk shop with you:
1) He wants to do anything but talk about work after a long day at work – fair
2) He doesn’t think you’ll understand – not fair
3) He doesn’t see any value in talking about what’s stressing him out – ignorant
4) He doesn’t think you can fix his work problems, so what’s the point in talking about them? – also ignorant
5) He can’t share details of his business with you due to confidentiality reasons – fair
Here’s how to overcome those reasons:
1) Respect his wishes and don’t bring up shop talk on a day that he worked.
Make it a point to have dinner with him on the weekends and bring up work at that time, once he’s had time to decompress. Be sensitive and general about it, asking questions like, “How’s work going? You seem extra stressed lately.”. If he gives you generic answers, then ask more probing questions. After two or three questions, if you still get nowhere with him, then move on to a different topic of conversation. Revisit work again the following week if you feel he’s still being distant.
2) Often the best way to show your executive man that you can relate to his business issues is by sharing some of your own and asking him for advice – even if you don’t need it.
It helps establish trust and open communication. It also help you bond over something you spend most of your life engaged in. Eventually, he’ll realize that you do understand shop talk and he’ll voluntarily start opening up to you.
3) There will be times where you can’t offer any sound business advice and that’s okay.
But there is still value in venting. Most men don’t realize this. Venting can go a long way in helping him unload some of the stress he may be feeling.
4) Besides venting, talking about business problems out loud and explaining them to an outside helps the person experiencing the problem see it from a new perspective.
Mr. Executive better recognize he’s lucky you want to talk shop with him, okai *diva snap*. Most women could care less as long as the black card never gets maxed out. You may not be able to offer any advice, but hearing himself talk can be therapeutic to his mind and his business.
5) Tell him you’d like to help by offering advice, if you can, since an outside perspective can help provide clarity he can’t see because he’s too close to the situation.
Men often don’t know how to intentionally communicate selectively so he may seem hesitant. What do I mean by communicating selectively? He likely doesn’t know how to summarize or frame the issue in a way that won’t compromise confidential information, so he may choose to say nothing at all. Promise not to ask questions that might compromise the confidentiality of his business. Guide him by telling him he can change names of people involved and not mention any numbers, products, services or vendors, etc. He doesn’t have to give you specifics.
Getting your executive man to talk shop with you requires gaining his trust. He also needs to know that you’re going to understand the context behind what’s causing him to be so distant and appreciate the space he needs to decompress after a long day. Be his escape and his confidant at the right times and he’ll seldom be distant again.
Challenge number 3 is up next! Sign up for the Candy Jar below so you don’t miss it.