Monday, December 1, 2014

You're Not Enough

I saw {this article} going around sometime last week, called "21 Women on the Simple Act of Chivalry that Men Don't Do Enough."

Honestly, I still haven't read it. Don't worry, I will before I finish this post. The thing is, I don't have to read the article in order to make my point.

Does anyone besides me feel like men get criticized a lot? I see memes get passed around about "cute things girls wish you'd do," and all this other garbage. And I see more of them attacking men than I do women. That is, if I disregard all the jokes about how women don't make sense or don't know what they want (cue the "it's not that simple" clip from The Notebook).

I've heard multiple times throughout my life that if you want to encourage good behavior, you have to proportion your positive to negative comments at 7 : 1. I was curious if that was actually the case, so I found {this article} that suggests a 5.6 : 1 ratio. I don't know how you can give .6 of a positive comment, but there that is.

On one hand, I can't fault women for directly suggesting something they want a man to do. I think women could use more directness in general, and men appreciate that kind of straightforward feedback. But when it's overwhelming, like a list of "21 things you're failing at" in so many words, where is somebody even supposed to start?

As a passenger in his car, I've noticed that I frequently order Patrick to signal. I try to be a considerate driver, and I like to give people notice of what I'm doing. So when he doesn't signal (until he's turning, guys), I get frustrated. After ordering him to signal repeatedly, he's actually started doing it! Guess what I switched my comments to recently? "I'm so glad you signaled so early! That tells that guy he can turn sooner! Good job, honey!" It might sound condescending, but it doesn't seem to bother him (or maybe he just hasn't told me because he thinks I'm a monster or something--sorry babe). The point is, I've switched my comments to positive versions now. I probably should have been doing this all along.

The article I noted above says, "Only positive feedback can motivate people to continue doing what they’re doing well, and do it with more vigor, determination, and creativity."

When the bell rings in my class, students are expected to start a journal immediately. So when that bell rings, I instantly start picking out individuals doing what they're supposed to do, and I thank them for that specific behavior. "Oh, I see ______ is starting his journal, thank you! And ______ has her pencil ready to go--nice job!" Suddenly, the kids who are slacking start panicking to get started. And the kids who got praised want to do the same thing next class.

I can attest to the truthfulness of the positive to negative ratio based on my job alone. So ladies, if you see anything on that list of 21 things that your man already does, let him know you appreciate it. It will go a lot further than listing the negatives. It will work in your favor, by the way, because when men want to do something awesome with more vigor, determination, and creativity--you're going to notice!

Forgive my public display of appreciation; you can stop reading here if you don't want to see it.

He's great with babies, too ;)
To my Patrick: I found nine things on that list of 21 that you're great at. I love that you called me regularly when we started talking again. I appreciate you opening doors and offering me your coat even though you think I'm silly for not bringing one with me. You always walk on the outside of the sidewalk--not saying anything about it, but maneuvering so that that's the case. Thanks for coming to my door to get me, and for patiently waiting if I am not ready. You're a great tipper, and I love that you have cash on you for tipping and just general spending. I love that I never have to pay for our dates, and that you never make me feel bad for ordering a soda. I appreciate that you respect our relationship and our privacy. You are thoughtful and are so good to me, and I'm publicly thanking you so you keep being wonderful. You often joke that you're a terrible boyfriend. It is entirely the opposite. I am lucky to have you. Thank you for setting the bar so high.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Hey Janae--I'm taking your "I love blog comments" post to heart. So, I think this is a great post. I totally buy into the whole philosophy of a "5.6" or so positive to 1 negative ratio. I think that people reflect back the behavior is expected from them. I always try to use positive framing with my students (although often I fail epically in doing so), but I probably don't use the same technique enough with my own husband. I am more of a straight-up nagger. You've really got me thinking here, and I will try to apply this more in my own life. So, thank you! :)