Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Men Know the REAL Meaning Behind "We Need to Talk"

I am happy to share this excerpt from the Barbershop Chronicles, a book dedicated to all the good men out there who desire to be better men.

This book is designed to give you insight into the minds of all the Good Men who honor women, take care of their children, support their communities and don’t feel as if they need a badge of honor for doing so.

These men often feel voiceless and homeless because their thoughts and concerns are not often heard. Many of these stories are taken from the one universal safe haven for all Good Men – the barbershop!

Here is an excerpt from the book, which will be released late next month. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for other areas we should explore.

# 1 

She said, “Baby we need to talk.” 

In his mind, he said, “What did I do this time?”

Ladies, we know full well when you utter the words, “We need to talk,” what you really mean is the following:  I have a problem with you I need to get off my chest and you need to sit and listen.

I am going to “sugarcoat” it by saying “we” need to talk, but what I really mean is “I” need to talk and “You” need to listen. And since I am the one who brought it up for discussion, anything you have to say does not matter. If you had something to say, you should have been the one to come to me. So sit down, listen and then change before I have to come back and say, “Baby we need to talk.”

Ladies, when we hear those dreaded words, we “shut down” because we feel like the student in the class who hears his teacher say, “I need to see you after class.” When the teacher says that, we KNOW we are in trouble. And when you say, “We need to talk,” we know there is an issue you want to scold us about.

You don’t really want US to talk.  You want to talk, and you want us to sit docile and listen while you get the weight of the world off your chest.  You want to rant and rave and tell us how “wrong” we were for this or for that.

Once you have made up your mind that, “We need to talk” you skipped an essential part of the communication process. 

You neglected to sit down in a place of calm and ask yourself the following, “What was my role in us being temporarily divided or angry with each other?”

As beings of emotions, you allowed those emotions to overtake you, and you were going to set us straight NOW!!

And then you got offended because we did not want to listen.

You know why we did not want to listen? 1.  Your approach was confrontational. 2. You decided “We need to talk” when our favorite show or sporting event was on. 3. You wanted to talk after you had already shared your feelings with your girlfriends, many of whom are bitter and unhappy with their own lives. 4. You acted as if you were talking to your child and not your man.  

Instead of saying, “We need to talk,” be more creative and attempt this: “Sweetie, I have a pressing issue on my mind we need to talk about within 24 hours.  Please give me a good time within that time frame we can sit and share with each other.”

Already some of you are thinking, “Keith must be crazy. I’m not doing that.” 
Ladies I am just offering an alternative which will give you positive results.  I PROMISE you the results will be different. 

You are his woman, not his mother.  Come to him in Love and Peace, even if the discussion might be somewhat tense. We are smarter than society gives us credit for.

“We need to talk” will only cause your mate to mentally and emotionally shut you out, and you will be talking to a “Good Man” who will be looking at you but whose mind is not with you. 

Ladies I am NOT saying you are WRONG for wanting to communicate. 

Furthermore, you may be correct in your reasons for why we need to talk. I am only pointing out the APPROACH and AGENDA may need to change. 

We’ve often heard the following: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

I will go a step further.  It’s not just what you say or how you say it. It’s how people INTERPRET what you say.  Because we know each other quite well, we know our patterns and we are keenly aware what key phrases such as “We need to talk” actually mean. Also, the agenda should include both of our voices being heard, respected, and in the end, validated.  Just because you are the person who initiates the discussion does not mean only your point of view should be validated. 

In his award winning book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, acclaimed author Steven Covey points out we need to create a “Win/Win” situation in all aspects of our lives. 

That simply means when we are done talking, we may not totally solve the issue; however, there should be no winners and losers, only winners and winners.  I am also aware that you may not be able to “kiss and make up” at that moment because you may still be upset. That is natural. However, we should be able to end the discussion in peace, knowing full well we are not going to hold grudges and we are going to reconnect in love soon. 

What do you think? Does any of this ring true to you, Good Men? What about you, ladies? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Check back Monday to read more, including why Good Men often don’t communicate their true feelings.


  1. Keith you are so right about all the above. As women we need to spend quality time checking ourselves and looking at the woman in the mirror. Then and only then we will be able to approach our men with the things on our agenda. We spend so much time getting on their reserve nerves instead of honoring them for their TLC, support, and being the breadwinner. Keith thanks for the reminder. Every relationship can use some refining. :-)

  2. Ok cuz...I'm feeling u on this. Now I appreciate the advice on how to approach my spouse in a respectful way. I think that all women can benefit from alternative communication strategies such as those u list in ur post. Truly all men want is our respect, to be held in high regard and out loyalty. No we aren't our mate's parents so there shouldn't be scolding from either party. Sometimes we lash out on our mates because of our own insecurities and thats not right. I'm 13 years into my relationship and I learn something new each day about my spouse. Relationships r about making considerable strides in the improvement of one another. If u aren't better by being with a person than either u r with the wrong person or ur intentions are questionable. Take a good look into the mirror and be honest. There is no dress rehearsal in life. Take ur own personal inventory before u r upstaged by the understudy...we commonly call them mistresses. Great topic! Love ya! Peace, Muhsinah