Give A Man 5 Extra Seconds

Matt Lauer and crew are now in London broadcasting Olympic coverage for NBC’s Today Show.  He and his cohorts have been there all week at different venues and some crew is still in the New York studio.  When the broadcast switches locations, I’ve noticed a sizable delay, a silence, a very pregnant pause.  It’s because of transmission between satellites, but somebody always ends up staring blankly on-camera.  This gap of silence reminds me of a rule I learned interviewing couples married 50-plus years regarding communication with men: “Honor The 5-Second Delay.”

It’s a well known fact that men and women are wired quite differently in the ways we communicate.  Men want the quick facts, condensed version, get to the point.  Women gorge in details, elaborate descriptions, the more the better.  Plus, we interpret what we hear quite differently.  For example, you might say to a man, “I heard your cousin John was in a car accident yesterday.”  The man will want to know “What kind of car was he driving?  Did the air bags inflate?”  Make the same statement to a woman and she will want to know “Did John get injured?  Does he have a family?”

Now, about the Honor The 5-Second Delay rule…..Ask a man a question, any question — “Where would you like to go to dinner?”; “What did your Mom have to say when she called?”; “When does your football game come on TV?”  There’s silence.  A pregnant pause.  If you’re a man asking a question to another man, that pause is perfectly comfortable.  If you’re a woman waiting for an answer, that pause triggers anxiety.  Your blood pressure rises.  Your body seizes up with stress.  The veins in your neck tighten.  You wonder, “Did he hear me?  Should I repeat the question?”  You struggle, “I don’t want to make him mad by repeating the question.  I don’t want to sound like a nag.”  To every woman, this is what you need to do….

When A Man Pauses


  1. Ask Man question.
  2. Breathe.
  3. Count backwards slowly, and I do mean very slowly, 5-4-3-2-1-0.
  4. If you get to “0” and Man hasn’t answered, it is safe to ask the question again.

These steps will save every woman a lot of frustration and irritation when talking to a man.  So, ladies, while, you’re watching the Olympics over these next few weeks and hear a “pause” in the broadcast, give it meaning.  Remind yourself of your new daily habit: Honor The 5-Second Delay.  When we honor our differences and adjust accordingly, we get along better, much better.

Get Along Better provides you relationship tips with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  An excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

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3 Responses to “Give A Man 5 Extra Seconds”

  1. Viveca from Says:

    Excellent! This happens all the time. I ask M. a question and there is a long pause … then I say (or yell if I’m in another room) “Did you hear me???” Next time I’ll count down slowly and give him the kind regard and patience he always gives to me.

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