As many people who have tried and failed to find the right person even on the best online dating website can attest, not knowing how to handle yourself while you are in a relationship makes finding one only part of the problem. In fact, many people find it is actually easier to find someone to date than it is to continue dating someone, even if they are not particularly social.
That is because, while there are always more people looking to spend time with someone else, or even spend the time looking for their perfect match, you do not always have the time or leeway in the relationship you are in to really work things out. There are always constraints of time, money, and attachment that make any relationship difficult. Adding in prickly egos just makes everything that much more difficult to deal with.
Understand Her Position Before You Begin
One of the key points to being able to teach someone is knowing where to start. In this case, however, we aren’t just talking about knowing what level of capability she has with whatever it happens to be. Instead, we are talking about the position she is in that made her need or want to improve. Her mental and emotional state, in other words. In the end, that is going to have a far greater effect on how she acts, and how difficult it is going to be to teach her than anything else. If she finds something you can do just really awesome and wants to learn just because of that, then great; you have an easy course to follow.
In many cases, however, it is far more likely that she really needs to learn something for a specific reason. Either someone is making her life difficult because she doesn’t already know it, or she needs to update her work skills, or what have you. In other words, there is generally some tension involved. It is your job to understand and address the tension before you start.
The main reason we emphasize knowing where she is coming from is that it helps to identify situations which make it more or less impossible not to seem patronizing. Learning to identify these situations can help you avoid or nullify them. This is a much easier, and a general relationship-safe approach than blindly trying to help no matter what. That is because, for example, if she used to know a good deal about something, but got out of it and now is returning and you happen to know more, you are probably going to have to deal with a bruised ego and some turbulent emotions from having to be taught anything over again, let along something she probably considered herself fairly good at.
Identifying that as the situation before agreeing to teach her can help relieve a lot of the pent-up tension and irritation she has with herself before it can be projected on to you. So take the time beforehand to make sure you really understand exactly why she wants to learn whatever it is you can show her. As usual, a little research now will keep you from having to find a great site like Chemsitry.com all over again.
Get a Feel for Her Competencies
This advice is twofold. Just like the time you spent trying to find the best online dating website before you actually launched into online dating, so too can you expect to invest a decent amount of time into finding out not only where her knowledge of the topic leaves off, but also what other things she may know that you can relate it to. You always want to make sure of both before jumping into any teaching session, but especially one with someone you are trying to maintain a relationship of equals with.
Think of it like tutoring. If you had to get a tutor for calculus and they started by reviewing basic addition, you would probably feel pretty insulted, right? Just because you don’t know something advanced or something you were simply never taught, does not mean you don’t know anything at all. The same applies here. Figure out what level she is already comfortable with first and move from there.
We recommend starting by asking her to explain her understanding of the topic at current. This will help you learn how much of her understanding is textbook, general overview, on hand, or a mix of the three. Whether or not she uses appropriate jargon and if she does so correctly can tell a lot about the breadth of a person’s knowledge with very little conversation needed. In addition, asking her to explain first shows that you recognize the knowledge she already has. It is a way of setting up the conversation to follow so that if you happen to waver or make a mistake along the way in some other manner, you at least have this frame to settle back on. Being able to say you misunderstood what she had originally been telling you is a lot easier than debating whether or not your tone was patronizing, after all.
Keep in mind, as well, that knowing the things she is good at even if seemingly unrelated can give you a starting point in your explanations. If she wants to learn how to drive a stick shift, for example and does not have a significant amount of car knowledge or experience, you may think this is no better than not being able to find reviews for the best online dating website before deciding to sign up. On the other hand, remembering that she is good with console video games can give you a point of reference for how to explain timing mechanics, as you can relate it back to something she has already done and is at least familiar with if not good at. In doing so, you bring her the knowledge she wants without sacrificing what she already knows or bruising her ego for not knowing in the first place.
Make Sure to Watch Your Tone
All of that having been said, you could end up as the best instructor in the world and still come off condescending when you explain things. In the end, it is all in the tone. Especially when we first start to teach something, it can be easy to become frustrated with the lack of knowledge or understanding on the other end. Something that is so obvious to us may be completely baffling to someone else and it is hard to wrap your head around the concept without demanding to know where the hang up is. After all, if she learned that other thing, what is making this so difficult? The thing is if she knew that she probably would not be asking you for help in the first place.
So try to keep exasperation, frustration, and irritation from your tone as much as possible. If you start to have difficulty, call a break. If you honestly cannot tell when you are being condescending, make sure to ask that she tell you, at least. We all look at things differently, after all.