A viable relationship is dependent on your ability to validate your partner’s feelings while also doing your part to help move past any rough spots. When your girlfriend is annoyed, you may be unsure about what to do to make her smile again. Perhaps she’s not answering your calls or replying to your texts; she may even give you the silent treatment. However, by making small changes in the way you are relating to her in these moments, you can help your relationship move beyond the conflict.
The Right Perspective
Try not to get annoyed about her mood. Feelings are ever-changing, and they also tend to disappear as quickly as they appear. So, even though you want to make her happy, keep in mind that your girlfriend's annoyance will probably pass on its own over time. However, if she is annoyed because of something you did, then you should try to lighten the mood immediately.
Acknowledge Her Feelings
Sometimes all you need to do to make her feel better is to listen. A person who loves to talk more than listen is, in most cases, annoying, says Peter Bregman in "How to Really Listen" on PsychologyToday.com. He says that when you stop talking and start listening, you acknowledge your partner's feelings. Listening, he says, is fundamental to dealing with most problems. Bregman states that talking rather than listening almost always makes the situation worse, so he suggests you listen, say back to your girlfriend what was said and then ask questions to demonstrate that you understood it.
Don't Mirror Her
The normal reaction to a negative emotion such as being annoyed is to become annoyed yourself. In fact, moods are contagious, reports a study that appeared in “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” in 2000. Writers Roland Neumann and Fritz Strack say that often, but not always, people copy the moods of others. So, if your girlfriend is annoyed, you will likely be annoyed. However, to help her, you should try not to add to the negativity by getting into a bad mood yourself. Instead, try to remain calm and unruffled by her emotions.
Find a Solution
Your girlfriend may have a minor stressor that hasn’t been solved that underlies her annoyance. Daily hassles are a common reason why people get in negative moods, reports Niall Bolger, et al. in a classic study that appeared in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” in 1989. Try to be her hero and solve the problem for her. For example, if your girlfriend is annoyed because a heel broke on her shoe, stop what you’re doing and get some glue. Solving that minor problem may elicit positive emotions, such as gratitude, in place of annoyance.
Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.
Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images