“I feel really sad about her dog dying, I….” (cut off) “That dog was a pain in the butt, he….” So the person who was sad feels invalidated and not heard. “You’re always so busy, and we never do anything fun together any more. Could we do a date night this week?” (Other person speaks,) “Oh, man, there is so much to do this week…..”

A carry-forward from cave men times, the male needs to feel like he is taking care of the family and he needs to be validated. Had the wife said, “I’m so grateful you work so hard to keep us safe, and because I have been missing you, I’d love a dinner date night this week,” carving out some togetherness time might happen. Words like, “You never spend time with just me,” or “All you care about is your work, and there is no time for me,” pushes the man away.

“If I died, my husband would need to hire 3 people to do my daily job!” Unless the man is a single father, there is a good chance he has no clue how much organization, planning and effort it takes to keep the family unit functioning. “Delicious dinner!, Thanks for packing our lunches, The yard looks fabulous! Etc.” A moment of appreciation each day can be the boost a busy mom needs.

Even though the man (or woman) doesn’t feel empathy about a dog dying, simple words like, “I like that you care about your friend and her feelings.” Most women are never going to understand why a man can cry over a football loss, and he needs to hear, “Darn, it was just so close! –or–any other logical positive comment.

Not to feel heard is to feel invalidated. Not to feel seen for who you are, adds to feelings of loneliness. Listen to the people you care about and love. Ask them how they feel about issues, things, so they feel like you see them. This is especially true for the elders in your family.

Please sent this to family and friends.

A Scott A. McDaniel photo