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Voice Effects

You probably never thought about lowering your voice during an argument. You probably never heard about the power of reducing your volume when tempers flare and emotions spill over. Here's what you need to know:

The transition to college is a balancing act for students and their families. Too little engagement can leave a student feeling lost or disconnected, and can leave parents feeling like they’re in the dark. Too much engagement (e.g., so called helicopter parenting) can actually interfere with students’ growth and development.

Prompt Each Other

It's a widespread complaint of women: men don't know how to listen without rushing in to give advice and offer a solution. "I'm not looking for advice," many women say, "I just want to be heard, to get something off my chest." Through some mysterious blend of nature and nurture, guys just want to find a fix.

Women: try a prompt.

How Was Your Day?

Is there a more banal question than How was your day? When asked, we often treat it as a throw-away and reply with a quick and mindless "fine" or "okay," our eyes never leaving the computer or the television screen. We rarely expect it to be the start of a conversation.

Sleepless Nights = Worse Fights

We know that hunger can leave us susceptible to poorly-handled arguments with a partner (see Nibble, Then Quibble).1 So, too, can insufficient sleep.

During (and after) moments of conflict, we tend to create, for ourselves and others, linear stories that focus on cause and effect, good and bad, winner and loser. "You showed up late for our dinner reservation and ruined my evening." It's a simplistic approach, black and white in its thinking.

Women once sent love letters on scented stationery, hoping the fragrance would arouse the object of their affection. Those days are largely gone, but the wish to arouse a loved one still remains. Only the vehicles of communication have changed.

Hiding Negative Feelings

Imagine that for twenty minutes, your 4-year-old has been fussing at the playground, crying and complaining and kicking sand at other children. Feeling growing irritation, you inch toward delivering a serious scolding. But you sense the watchful eyes of parents nearby, and so you suppress your feelings and handle the moment with faked aplomb.

Tip to all heterosexual men in long-term relationships: women’s sexual desire operates differently than your own.

Although research has found that heterosexual men in the early stage of relationships typically overestimate a woman’s sexual interest, this overestimation doesn’t persist once relationships evolve into long-term. Recent studies have found that men in ongoing, romantic relationships seem to underestimate their female partner’s sexual desire.

Tell your college-age sons and daughters that more than 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related accidents each year, and nearly 600,000 are injured while drunk.1 Tell them that over half a million are assaulted by another student under the influence, and 97,000 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.2