Unsolicited advice on critiquing women.

This advice has nothing to do with running or pregnancy.  It is perhaps, pre-“running while pregnant and life thereafter” but could also apply to the “thereafter” counterpart.  So in a sense it makes sense but doesn’t quite make sense at all.

Anyway.

It is without question some of the best advice I have ever been given.  It’s advice I have repeated to my husband once or [1161628126 x] twice and have repeated to friends, mostly men, some women, 100 times more.

I received this advice my freshman year of college while standing in a team huddle following an early season soccer practice.  Our coach was beginning to “critique” our play that evening but to soften the blow, he shared a personal philosophy he carried out with his wife, players, and students daily.

He told us that when critiquing — we women see it as “insulting”– a woman, before spewing the insult, be sure to compliment her two (or even three!) times.

He followed by continuing our soccer practice ‘critique.’
“First compliment; You guys are really coming together as a team.  I see it in your passes and your communication on the field.
Second compliment;  Everyone’s passing this evening was spot on too. You would think you all have played together for more than a months time.  Insult;  BUT you are still being lazy asses.
If you all sprinted to the ball instead of the half ass jog you’re giving, your predictability would make it easier for you and your teammates.”

Do you see? Compliment, compliment, critique.

Here’s a different senerio from a professional standpoint.

“Y, please come into my office.”  Y leaves her desk, walks down a hallway outlined by cubicles and crosses the threshold into her bosses office.  Her boss (man or woman) shuts the door and asks her to sit down.  “Y, I’ve been going over some of your work.  You rarely fail to impress me; definitely one of my top performers … but I need a lot more out of you when it comes to case files.  When editing case files, please be sure to double, even triple, check your work. I’ve noticed too many errors. An intelligent girl like you can definitely do a lot better.

Again, compliment, compliment, critique, compliment, critique, compliment.

The last couple examples are between husband and wife.

Husband Z thinks his wife looks hefty in the outfit she plans on wearing to dinner. Initially he does not plan to say anything, but then wife Z asks the famous and oh-so-touchy question, “Hunny, do I look fat in this?” Husband Z responds, “You know your red dress? You’re irresistible in it! That red dress is my standard, and this one doesn’t come close. What were your other outfit options? I’ve seen you in other dresses that look a lot better on you.  I don’t think it’s you, I simply think this dress fits funny.

Compliment, critique, compliment.

Or here’s a super duper simple one my husband has mastered.  My husband walks into our bedroom as I am changing clothes and says “Babe you know I love ya to the moon and back, right?  Me: “Yea…” Husband: “And you’re the girl of my dreams?” Me: (At this point generally knowing what’s about to come) “Mmm Hmmm.” Husband: “Well, those jeans give you Mom Butt.”

The couple compliments in the beginning really adds cushion to the insult at the end, whether the insult be true or not. It’s just so much better, so much more lighthearted, and so much more approachable than if he were to flattly say, “Ummm those jeans give you Mom Butt.” I would want to say, “Ummm F off.”

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Now, you’re probably thinking this is crazy and far too complicated BUT remember, women ARE complicated creatures!
Complimenting a woman before you critique her does more than a couple things.

First, it does the obvious; compliments her.  You’re checking that block for the day/week/month…  Whatever is necessary for the relationship you have with the woman, whether it be lovers, friends, or business.  Next, and most importantly, after receiving a compliment there’s a waterfall of positive feelings that over comes a woman as you stroke her ego, though she would probably never admit it.

The instant ego boost then grabs her attention; “Oh, you said what? You, my boss, thinks I’m the top auditor in the firm? Please, keep talking.”  So nooow she’s listening and when you throw out the ‘insult’ aka critique, she’s not going to feel as though you’ve backed her into a corner.  A woman will become instantly defensive if the first thing you say to her in regards to HER, isn’t positive, even if deep down, she knows you’re right.  But if your approach is compliment, compliment, critique, you’ll grab her attention, lighten the mood, drop her defense, and leave her thinking, “Well I obviously have nice hair and amazing eye brows, he’s right about that! So if he thinks I need to wax my upper lip, maybe he’s right😳.” — –Obviously a radical example, but you’re getting the jist.

To sum it up, when a woman receives a few compliments from someone, followed with a single insult/critique, will she argue? It’s unlikely. “Compliment, compliment, critique” is a great communication technique, especially on the lover and friendship front. Use it with your wife, girlfriend, best friend or dramatic guy friend (we all know one ;)) and I guarantee a better response from the lady you need to breach a touchy subject with.

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Pre-pregnancy fitness

Exercise and/or running (really, any form of safe, moderately strenuous activity) through your entire pregnancy IS possible. I do suggest one thing– get in relatively decent shape BEFORE you get pregnant.

Post rainy run, my dog not so happy.
Post rainy run, my dog not so happy.
I have always been active. I began playing soccer at the ripe age of three in the YMCA league back in IL.  At first you would have never guessed soccer was my calling fore I could not, for the life of me, get through a game without sitting down in the middle of the field and crying for my parents.  Eventually I got over the, heaven forbid, 15 foot separation anxiety and went on to play on an elite club team, then in high school and later at a DI college.  Since I graduated in 2010, I’ve stuck to my washed up soccer game in adult leagues, running, lifting once or twice a week, an iStroll workout and occasionally I’ll throw in a fitness class or two.

The week(ish) before I became pregnant (yes, I know the date. We military call them deployment babies 🙊) a friend and I ran a half marathon in Jacksonville, FL. At the time, I was simply strong and healthy– nothing elite. The average Jane can do it.  I was not in the best shape of my life fore I definitely peaked in my college years but I am routinely active!

Hubby and I, soon after there were 3!
Hubby and I, soon after there were 3!
Last thing: The term, “in shape” is very relative. You do NOT have to have a banging 6 pack, be less than 20% body fat or be able to run a 5 minute mile. You DO need to have a daily routine that gets you sweating and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.   Pregnancy should not be your cue to start running/working out! Wanting to be healthy pre-baby, should.