Campus Life

Psychology instructor talks relationships

Interim Professor Susan Sobel spoke about effective communication skills, developing support and trust within a relationship and developing appropriate boundaries during “Communicating with Men: A Program for Women” x-period Feb. 27.

The UCA Counseling Center hosted the presentation focused on romantic and platonic relationships.

“The idea for the presentation came from having the similar program [on communicating with women]a couple of weeks before,” Sobel said. “The idea came from one of our practicum students who thought it seemed relevant and [a]needed topic.”

At the beginning of the presentation, Sobel showed a video of the speech “Don’t Send a Man to the Grocery Store” by Jeanne Robertson.

Robertson said when her friends and family members die, she makes pound cakes. After a death, Robertson made a grocery list for her husband that told him what to get. She wrote out, as an example, two pounds of flour and six Sprites. Her husband came back with two boxes of two pounds of flour and six six-packs of Sprites instead of just six individual Sprites.

“I went back to the grocery store to return all of the extra things my husband got,” Robertson said. “I explained to the [cashier]that I usually make pound cakes when there is a death in the family. The [cashier]looked at me and said ‘there must be an epidemic.’”

After Sobel showed Robertson’s speech, she spoke about the basics of “man speak.”

“Men mean what they said, not what they heard,” Sobel said.

Sobel also discussed high context verses low context in relationships and how to communicate more effectively in relationships.

Sobel said to communicate more effectively, you always have to be clear, honest, appreciative and patient.

After the presentation, a woman asked the men in the room if it was possible for men to get so angry about asking too many questions.

A man answered, “Yes, it is definitely possible and let us be angry and then wait and talk to us when we are [calm]about why we were angry.”

Junior Ashton Scroggins said what she found true about the presentation was most men don’t tell many details when giving information.

“However, one thing I didn’t know that I found interesting was that most men expressed their emotions through anger,” she said.

Sobel said she was pleased the presentation was well-attended.

“The ideas and comments from students show they think about this and consider it an important area,” she said.

Sobel recommended that women trying to communicate and understand a man’s brain to read Deborah Tannen’s “You Just Don’t Understand,” Audrey Nelson and Claire Demkin Brown’s “Gender Communication Handbook” and Allen and Barbara Pease’s “Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps.”

For more about UCA Counseling Center programs, visit

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