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Working on Issues Can Look Different Depending On Who Is Doing It

·529 words·3 mins
Communication Relationships

I was joking the other day that my nickname should be Update Girl. But it’s true.

When I’m working on something for someone else, I’m the person who pops in and says, unprompted, “Hey, here’s how it’s going.”

I don’t assume they know I’m making progress on it, unless I tell them I am.

This is particularly true when it comes to romantic relationships, if there’s some issue we’re working through that requires I do something different on my end. That I take a new perspective, change a long-standing behavior, whatever.

I pop up periodically and say, “I’ve been working on that, and this is how.” I point to any evidence I have that I’m working on it.

Because I figure working on an issue and not working on an issue look exactly the same. And really the only way to let my partner know is to walk them through it.

It’s true that it’s possible to fake such a progress report. But honestly, a lot of times it’s about as hard to fake a progress report as it is to actually work on the problem. And at the very least, a progress report demonstrates to the other person that you remembered the issue. That you’re paying attention. And that you’re taking it seriously.

And for a lot of folks, that’s just as important as actually working on it.

The Silent Worker Is Married to Update Girl

My husband, however, isn’t like this. He silently tackles issues and works on them on his own. A lot of times I’m not sure he’s actually even heard me when I talk about an issue. Or if he’s taken me seriously. Nothing will change outwardly. And then suddenly… on some day into the future, the issue is magically addressed.

Which is awesome. But a lot of times it’s unsettling and I’m not ready for it. Because in these cases, I’ve often decided that it’s not going to happen. That I’ve been unreasonable in asking for a change. And so I’ll quietly revert on my own to a space where I’m trying to work out coping with the fact that the change will probably never happen.

And it’s at the moment that I’ve accepted it won’t ever happen that — lo and behold — it suddenly does.

So my challenge a lot of times with my husband is whiplash. Because he’s incredibly caring but a silent mover who doesn’t provide updates unless pressed (and then even if pressed provides nothing really descriptive or expansive, just a kind of “yes” or a nod or a “I’m working on that”).

And his challenge with me is that he feels like I’m over-explaining. Telling him things he doesn’t need to know. That I’m being Update Girl.

What’s Most Important Is Caring & Trying, Even If Similar Effort Looks Different

Sometimes it can be a little frustrating — for both of us, in different ways. But here’s the important part: It doesn’t really matter, not ultimately. Because we both care about what the other person needs and we both work on it, even if we look or sound a little different when we’re doing it.


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