Sunday, November 14, 2010

Men, Negative Self-talk, and Technique of the Week

Men are users too — of negative self-talk. I've heard them say neg stuff out loud about themselves, although not as often as I hear it from women. Attribution theory again. when good stuff happens, women attribute it to luck, random happenings. Men take credit. When bad stuff happens, women take blame and med attribute it to bad luck, random happenings. OOPS!  Not a gainful stance for women.

If you've been reading this blog regularly you already know about attribution theory. You also know that the research findings show that women are the biggest, best ( or worst?)  gender group of NSTers, according to Women Who Think Too Much by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema Ph.D.

Out of curiosity I've searched online occasionally for stuff about men and negative self talk. Not much out there, but the information that I have found (written by men for men) is focused on eliminating negative self-talk as it applies to picking up (now more generally called hooking up with) women. Not surprisingly, if a guy is thinking, "She'll never give me a second glance. She's so hot and I'm such a geek," he won't come across as the cool, confident, successful guy many women are looking for. On the other hand, the guy who is thinking, "I'm looking so cool, feeling so confident, and in fact am so successful, this babe is gonna feel really lucky that I'm showing some interest," doesn't quite make the grade either.

I have two entirely different reactions to this piece of NST trivia.

•  I feel empathy for men. I remember reading something from Warren Farrell years ago that men have to face potential rejection at least 172 (not an exact number from me) times from meeting a desired women and sleeping with her. That's exhausting to even think about. If they only knew that half the women they were hitting on were thinking to themselves, "He's cute, but he wouldn't look twice at me," they'd feel much better. But of course they can't go around saying, "Are you a negative self-talker?" as a way of finding commonality. It would be unusual and could work to increase bonding, but certainly would be a counter-gender culture move.
• I feel some annoyance that the only finding about men and NST online is related to picking up women. What about a little more NST about being a boss, or a father, or a spouse? When you're only an occasional NSTer, not an addicted overthinker, a little negative self talk can motivate useful change.

A piece of advice given to men online isn't bad, but it won't help." It’s going to take some dedication on your part to get this part of your life sorted out. It’s not going to happen overnight. You need to get that negative self talk rewired and then go out and start talking to people." Getting the negative self-talk rewired? What does that mean? How does one do it?

So all of this provides grist for the new technique of the week tip:
When you as a woman find yourself negative self-talking in a dating, bar, pick-up situation, focus on the man or men and figure out if he's an overly negative or overly positive self-talker. This is a  form of the distraction, detachment set of skills. This specific form of detachment hasn't been researched, although the general category of detachment is certifiably effective.  Let me know what happens. You'll learn something. Anything is better than same old habit.
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