Selfish Means Never Listening
Q: I have a problem with my girlfriend. She's really great looking and I'm lucky to be with her. But she talks a lot. About herself mostly. When we're together, she'll tell me what happened at work and things people did to her and why they're wrong. When I try to give her some advice, she ignores me. Even if I try to tell her something that happened to me during the day, she just makes some little comment and then switches back to her drama. I want to be supportive of her and be a good listener like women say they want, but this is getting old. She's always focused on herself. How can I get her to listen back? -- Chris, 31
Dr. Susan: You probably can't change the self-centeredness of your girlfriend. In a good relationship, you don't have to work too hard to be listened to. People take turns talking and offering whatever kind of support the other prefers (i.e., she may not want your advice, just your ears). Think hard about her personality: is she selfish and self-centered in other ways? Have you tried mentioning this to her? Permanent change is unlikely, but you have to try before you give her up.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.