Can’t help joking around

When my boyfriend wants to have a serious talk, I just crack jokes. How can I stop feeling awkward?

Our elder has some advice on learning to communicate.

Dear EWC

Hello, and thank you for taking time to read this. I’m in my first relationship, and I seem to have a problem. My boyfriend sometimes wants to talk about serious stuff in or relationship, and I keep making random jokes. He thinks it’s because I’m nervous, which I usually am. I’m not good with serious situations because I never really know what to do. My anxiety doesn’t exactly help, because then I get even more nervous. In fact, it’s part of the reason. Its part of how I cope worth situations where I don’t know what to say or do, or when it’s tense. I feel really awkward when I do this, but I don’t really know what else to say. Please help? Thanks!

Alexis replies

You appear to take being asked to talk seriously as a type of emotional intrusion. Joking around is avoidance, one of several coping mechanisms used to handle the anxiety of being put on the spot. However, by joking around you are putting distance between you and him. You must ask yourself if that is what you truly want. Since this is your first relationship, it could be that you are just not ready for anything serious.

If you are not ready for anything more complicated than friendship, maybe it’s time to tell your boyfriend this rather than just distancing yourself (avoidance). Just be open and honest in your assertion. If you keep him totally in the dark, he’ll probably withdraw from the relationship on his own. If you want him to stay involved with you but be patient until you’re ready to talk seriously, tell him you need a certain amount of time to evaluate how you feel toward him.

Giving yourself time to examine how you feel allows you to get ready to talk openly. You could get a pal to help you do role-plays so you can experience less stress/anxiety when you open up to him. When you do talk seriously, have feelings ready to share and questions ready to ask. He should not do all the questioning. You should not joke around, because doing so might make him feel belittled. Have the planned discussion on schedule. Don’t procrastinate.

You will be faced with having serious talks your whole life, and it is better to learn early on the healthiest ways to communicate. If you don’t know how to be assertive, get such training from a counselor or from a book on this subject. Assertiveness is an ability you can use repeatedly. It sets up an atmosphere of mutual respect where problem/issue resolution is forthcoming.

Maturity does not just happen. It is earned by taking positive action and learning valuable lessons.

Fare thee well.

Reference 402591
Category: dating/relationships

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