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People Who Repeat Themselves

Hi everybody, this is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. This is a good question; this answer may last a couple of days I love this question so much. Here we go:

My boyfriend repeats himself. I find it incredibly annoying when somebody repeats themselves. It seems like a habit, he will say something and then say the same thing again only in a slightly different way. I have asked him if he thinks I can’t hear, or I’m a terrible listener. He always says no, then proceeds to say he just wants to make sure I understood. Other than that we get along great. I would appreciate any tips you could share with us.

So, let me make sure I understand this. He explains to you “Ok, so today at work I did a, b, and c.” And then he’ll say “So, what I’m saying is today at work I did a, b, and c.” I’m assuming that’s how it is.

I think you’re doing a good job saying “Hey, I was here for the first enunciation of the story.” But yeah, I have a couple tips.

Sometimes people that repeat themselves are doing so out of habit. Other times it’s conditioned because they came out of a background where they never really felt heard. So they developed this tendency to over explain things, because they felt misunderstood all the time. If that’s the case, the biggest tip I have for you is when your boyfriend says something the first time, just acknowledge that you understand by some means other than “I understand”. For example “Let me make sure I’m clear…” and then follow that with some summary or clarifying statement about what he said. This will make him feel comfortable that you understand.

Just saying “I understand” probably isn’t good enough; you’re probably going to have to work together to kind of say it back. So either acknowledge or ask a question that indicates that you understand. If you shame him about his repetitiveness, it isn’t going to fix anything, and if you just say “I understand”, that’s not going to do anything either. Indicating you are interested or paying attention via a statement or a question is really useful, and the two of you will be less annoyed with each other.

I hope that’s helpful!

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