Moody Spouses, Small Talk, and More


What to do when you walk in the house and your wife is clearly in a mood.

Say nothing, and start helping. Without ever meeting your wife, I'm willing to bet that in that particular moment she feels like she's the only one who does anything "around here." So, don't waste time asking her what's wrong, just put a plate in the dishwasher, take the trash out, and get your kids started on the clean-up or homework mission. There's nothing you could say that would be more helpful to her in that moment than her NOT having to tell you how you can help.

What to do when you can't get a single thing done at the office. 

Get a kitchen timer, seriously. Schedule 30 minute work blocks. I promise, your clients, boss, husband, BFF, and most of the time your kids can live without you for the next 30 minutes. Turn off your email notifications, silence your phone, set the timer, and get some freaking work done. When the timer dings, see who called, texted, emailed, and stopped by your desk. Then, do the whole thing all over again.

Common question from people who can't get anything done: Can I just use my timer on my phone? Heck no! That's the thing that's got you distracted, right? Isn't that where your email lives - and Facebook? No, put your phone down and pick up the $2 kitchen timer people.

What to do when you hate small talk. 

Make a list of 3 questions. Ask them over and over and over again to each and every new person you have to make small talk with. Keep asking questions. If you run out, say "tell me more..." By the time you part, they'll think they have a new BFF. People love talking about themselves, and so, by extension they'll love you.

Need some ideas? Try any of these:

  • What industry are you in? How did you get into that field?
  • What’s the most fun thing you did last year?
  • What do you do when you’re not working?

What to do when you want to spend time with your hubby.

  1. Nag him about how much time he's spending with his phone (computer, friends, TV, or work) while he ignores you and sits in the other room.
  2. Actually tell him that you'd like to spend time with him because you enjoy his company.

Yes, the correct answer is 2. Sure, he might say "well, I don't want to spend time with you," but I'm guessing that the chances are low. And then you won't have to make up a story in your head about how he cares more about his phone (computer, friends, TV, or work) than you. Unless he actually says he doesn't want to spend time with you, and then, won't it just be nice to know the truth and stop guessing?

How to cure ping pong brain. 

You know the drill. You're keeping everything you have to do in your head, constantly revisiting it from the time you leave the office until you turn the computer on again in the morning. Just before leaving the office, set the timer (you know the one you bought so that you could get work done) for five minutes. Write down everything you can think of that you need to remember or do tomorrow. Tape it to your monitor or desk chair. Clock out.

The Curve is an almost weekly post that captures the essence of lessons learned in coaching sessions. If you're interested in coaching, send me a quick email and let's connect: