Let’s start with a little joke ripped right from /r/jokes top of all-time list…
A woman goes to the Doctor, worried about her husband 's temper.
The Doctor asks: "What's the problem?
The woman says: "Doctor, I don't know what to do. Every day my husband seems to lose his temper for no
reason. It scares me."
The Doctor says: "I have a cure for that. When it seems that your husband is getting angry, just take a glass of
water and start swishing it in your mouth. Just swish and swish but don't swallow it until he either leaves the room or calms down.”
Two weeks later the woman comes back to the doctor looking fresh and reborn.
The woman says: "Doctor that was a brilliant idea! Every time my husband started losing it, I swished with water. I swished and swished, and he calmed right down! How does a glass of water do that?"
The Doctor says: "The water itself does nothing. It's keeping your mouth shut that does the trick".
The STFU Method
The STFU Method TM is a handy way to create and keep peace in your daily life. More specifically it will enable you to have a more loving relationship with your SO. We would like to examine why, how and when it is applied while also dispelling the misconception that you are a doormat for doing so.
Why do I need to STFU?
The art of listening is an invaluable skill that can be useful in all areas of your life. We listen to friends when they have trouble, kids when they want to show something off, our parents when they have some wisdom to share, and a variety of other times in our lives. How it is applied to your current romantic relationship is detrimental in the success/failure of it. I’m sure we can all agree that if you don’t listen, you can never fully understand. This is exactly why we stress on RPW to just STFU.
While communicating your wants, needs, and feelings is important, listening is often more important in the health and welfare of your relationship. Understanding what is actually going on vs what you feel makes it easier to know what the next step is. Reflexively responding to situations is only good in fight or flight situations. In the beginning of learning how to listen, it is good to just take all the data presented and digest it before actually forming an opinion about it. Over time, you will find that you instinctively can discern the appropriate behaviors for specific situations without ever needing to voice anything. In the beginning however, it is important to just S T F U. Listen. Learn. Absorb.
For new relationships, it is easy to STFU. You want to know how the person acts, what they think, what they like, and you want to please them. This is great and wonderful. The trick is when you have been in a relationship and the honeymoon phase is over, how do you keep that ability to listen and desire to please going? You see this guy at his worst and you are expected to still take him seriously? GASPS Seriously though, complacency is the killer of romance. So how do you prevent this? By listening to your partner. When you listen to your partner you are actively working on your relationship. You cannot expect a relationship to survive with minimal effort on your part. It just won’t happen.
How do I STFU
This might seem like a no-brainer. Just close your mouth and all will be well. It can be a little bit trickier than that. STFU also means body language. Eye rolling is not you STFU’ing. Gasping with exasperations is you not STFU’ing. Pouting is you not STFU’ing.
STFU is you actively and consciously removing yourself from a situation to better assess it. For those who are more practiced, it could very well be only keeping your mouth closed. However, for most of us self proclaimed strong willed bull headed women we may have to smile and say “ok my love” and walk away. These three small actions can make a big difference in your communication style.
The first step I suggest is to smile. This is probably the hardest step because you want to rip someones head off when they say something you don’t like but the more you do this the easier it’ll become. Fake it til you make it! The first few times, your SO might look at you like WTF is wrong with her? but over time it’ll just be a positive way to signal that you need some time to process the interaction you just had. You could give mean stank face but what is that going to accomplish? Who does that really hurt? You because you’re the one going to be stuck with the wrinkles. LOL. So smile and breathe in.
Next is to state something agreeable. “Yes, my love” or “ok, honey” both give a positive affirmation and also reminds your SO that you love them with a term of endearment. You acquiesce to the situation and you do so graciously. This is to preserve intimacy and the closeness of the relationship. When has being a bitch ever gotten you anywhere? Never!
Most important step here. Walk away. Go do what was told to you or just go to the other room. You can let your hamster tire out away from your SO. DO NOT GO BACK UNTIL YOUR HAMSTER IS PANTING IN THE CORNER ALMOST DEAD FROM RACING AROUND. Take this time to process what just happened. What was said, how was it said, what did you feel, why did you feel that way, what was your SO trying to say. All of these things are your hamster at work. You can use this as an exercise in reigning it in and over time you should be doing this faster and faster. This is also the time when you realize if you ACTUALLY do have something to say to your SO. This is when you can actually tell whether you should bring up something because it was detrimental on his part to the relationship. However, if that is the case, you still want to do it with a calm, cool and relaxed demeanor so taking time away is always a good idea.
Those are just my three steps. Most times, I just need to close my eyes and take a deep breath and can handle most situations. However, these three steps have always been fundamental in my growth. When a breathe isn’t enough, I walk away. If you find that you are walking away alllll the time, then there may be deeper issues with yourself at hand and those should be examined too.
When do I STFU
While reading this, you may think that STFU only applies when your SO says something to you that hurts your feelings. However, this applies to a variety of feelings. Not just hurt ones. When you aren’t getting your way, when you think you know better, when you want to control things, when you want to dominate things, when you want something done in a certain way, when you want something done now, when you don’t want to do something now, when you want to hamster, when you don’t want to have sex, when you feel bossed around, when things just aren’t getting done and you want them done NOW!!!! Etc etc etc.
Bossing, nagging, whining, bitching, complaining, griping, mothering, smothering, gumbling, belly-aching are alllllll times when you need to STFU. At times these things can be masked as coming from a good place. A gentle reminder every 10 minutes to take out the trash. A little push in the right direction because he has no clue what he is doing. A honey-do list a mile long. Sound familiar?
Now go and STFU! Please let me know if I forgot anything.
edit- formatting double edit: i really need to proofread my stuffs