What Men Can Learn from Women’s Nature During Times of Stress

by Kregg Nance, MA
Author of “Get the F Out of My Life: A Men’s Breakup Survive and Thrive Guide”

There’s a very revealing story about a couple that highlights a big difference in how men and women deal with struggles. The wife had gotten a flu bug going around that left her feeling lousy. Even though she has a husband, who everyone assumed was probably taking care of her, her female friends checked on her and asked if she needed chicken soup and offered to help in any way. One of her friends even invited her to a salt cave which helped with breathing and healing. The husband ended up getting the same bug that lasted for weeks. One male friend did call to ask how he was doing after he had been sick for a while, but all the others left him to deal with it by himself. His friends didn’t check on him or ask if they could help.

This made me think of how men leave each other alone when going through tough times instead of supporting each other in a more obvious way. In researching my book, I found that this different way of dealing with struggles also occurs after a bigger issue like a breakup or divorce. The default male behavior is to try to deal with issues ourselves and our male friends assume that we want to be left alone to deal with it.

How to Not Hate Holiday Parties

by Kregg Nance, MA
Author of “Get the F Out of My Life: A Men’s Breakup Survive and Thrive Guide”

Since the holiday season is upon us, people who are struggling through a tough time may have a hard time seeing everyone around them smiling and laughing while they are internally feeling bad.

I’ve never been a fan of someone telling me to “think positive thoughts”. I found something that works better for me. I call it Do It Anyway, no matter what I’m thinking or feeling.

It’s different from the big shoe company’s phrase of “Just Do It”. That’s great for super athletes who are really disciplined, but I needed something that works for flawed people like me. I found that when I did something positive, even though I didn’t feel like it, I would ultimately feel better, maybe not at that moment, but over time.

The pursuit of happiness is a long game, not a short play. Happiness is a mindset as much as a feeling. We can have control over our happiness, no matter the situation that has been thrust upon us.

By adding the word anyway to doing something, I am able to frame a mindset that works to get me through it. In other words, the word anyway is an acknowledgment that I do have internal struggles, but I am choosing to go beyond those struggles to do something.

Many years ago, I was still somewhat new to mediation and I had been working with the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center and Sumner Mediation Services doing victim/offender as well as civil mediations. I had noticed several times how often apology can be an impasse breaker no matter the subject.

A transformative moment happened during one particular mediation between a pastor of a church and a former congregant, who had become disaffected with the church and was now disrespecting and disparaging the pastor. The pastor had gone to the police to try to get the young man to stay away and not bother the other congregants as they came to church. We spent an hour or so going through both sides and had been able to address some of the technical issues and turn it into an agreement, including that the young man would not trespass or bother other church goers. I had assumed that we were going to be wrapping it up soon when unexpectedly the pastor turns to me with tears in his eyes and says "I am a third degree black belt, please help me".

Looking past your first instinct on how to respond to conflict and why you will be better off

by Kregg Nance, MA
Author of “Get the F Out of My Life: A Men’s Breakup Survive and Thrive Guide”

A few years ago, I was going for my favorite morning ritual of a coffee and at the time, the best place nearby was a local Starbucks. I would often see friends and, of course, get the nice morning buzz going. One reason Starbucks has been successful is the vision created by Howard Schultz that a coffee shop could be a friendly gathering place. He had traveled to Italy in the early 80’s and become fascinated with the romantic nature of the coffee experience there. He wanted to create this welcoming “third place” between work and home. They thought of it as “a place for conversation and a sense of community”. I always enjoyed this idea. And what made it so welcoming was the well-trained baristas, who always try to remember your name and what you order. They are friendly and look directly at you, unlike many establishments where the people behind the counter are more interested in their co-workers than the customer.

However, on this day there was a barista I hadn’t seen much who had a sour attitude. No big deal for one day. We all have bad days. But his mood was like this every day, and when he happened to be the one taking my order, he had this same crappy attitude and I got more bothered by it. It was unlike the other employees and it was messing with my friendly welcoming feeling about the place. Then one day, I was taking a few extra seconds to decide what I wanted, and he looked at me with his arms outstretched in that “what’s taking you so damn long” expression. Now I was feeling angry.