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Do Men and Women Communicate in the Same Ways?

men and women communicating

So what do you think the answer to that question is?

The simple answer is no! However, the truth is actually much more complex and worth looking into, especially if you deal often with the opposite sex.

Ladies… have you ever called your son, father, brother or male partner at work and asked them to fetch the dog at the Vet, pick up the cleaning and buy bread and milk at the store? If so, did you get what you asked? Not likely! However, before you become too smug, here it the truth: you are just as much to blame as he is. And here is the reason why…

man workingMale and female brains are not wired the same. Women have many, many more connections to both the sensing/communicative/creative side of the brain as they do to the pragmatic, scientific, problem solving side. Their brains look like a big mass of intertwined wires. Men’s brains have very separate compartments for very specific items: cars, sports, work, sex, and their favorite: the nothing box. They prefer to do one thing at a time and can be very focused on it. Women, on the other hand, have smaller brains (same number of brain cells, but the brain is more compact) and have a harder time focusing on one thing at a time. We are usually multi-tasking and men often think we never focus!

So, when you call him at work, he is in “work box” with the door locked. If you want him to do errands for you, you need to grab his attention sufficiently so that he will leave the work box, (close the door behind him) and walk down the hall to “errand box” so that he can compute that message. Otherwise, he may do one of the things you asked, and although you will be very upset, he will feel badly, too, and sort of remember that you called, but not really what the call was about.

Instead, as most of us have cell phones or tablets that we use constantly, if you know that he will read a SHORT email or text (notice the emphasis on short!), then send the information to him (if you can put it in all the subject line, even better) as a text or email that you know he will be likely to read before leaving for home. Then neither of you need to be troubled by something that did not pan out as expected.

Men generally can only process only so much information at once, whereas women love the anecdotal version of everything. That is why when you ask him, “how was your day?” He answers, “Fine!” You, the woman, on the other hand could probably go on for about 30 minutes about what happened to you today.

Here is a short story that exemplifies how differently men and women deal with personal issues.

Two couples were very good friends and had been for years. One very sad day, one of the couples decided they were going to get a divorce. While this process was happening, the two fellows decided to go away on a fishing trip for the weekend. When the one man returned to his wife, her first question was: “how was the weekend?” He told her it was fine. She then asked him what was happening with the other couple. He looked at her very confused… and told her, “we did not talk about that, we just went fishing. If we had spent the weekend talking about their divorce it would have ruined the weekend away!” Now, ladies, you know if you had gone away for the weekend with your friend, the two of you would have spent the entire weekend talking about the divorce. Women like to talk about those sorts of things and most fellows do not. This demonstrates another one of the differences in how men and women communicate.

beautifulMost men want specifics, not necessarily lots of detail. They tend to get impatient with too much information. If they want or need more details, they will ask for them.   Most women, however, like more information — in fact, the more the better. It does not mean they are not interested in the main issues, just that they enjoy more of the intricacies and extras of a situation.  The different approaches are not “right” or “wrong”, they are just that, different. The same results can be reached using either style, it’s just a different route being taken.

Men tend to be more interested in results and winning. This is testosterone driven. They are also usually more impatient, do not like waiting in lines, like things to just happen without a lot of fanfare, and are usually not good about asking for directions or more information from their medical team.

Women tend to be more interested in the process and inclusion. If the sale is good, they are happy to wait in line to get the bargains. They do not mind asking for directions and are usually more diligent about going to their physician and getting the information they need, both for themselves and for other family members. These actions are driven more by the hormones estrogen and oxytocin, as these are more nurturing, concerned approaches.

There are certainly women who act more like men in their dealings with others…..are more results oriented and have no patience for all the details. And, there are definitely some men who when a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, would rather speak the thousand words. But these individuals are more the exceptions than the rule.

Understanding the different styles is what is important so that when dealing with the opposite gender you can be more successful and less frustrated and disappointed when they do not behave as you do.

Ladies, be sure to keep your girlfriends so that you can enjoy the lively and informative conversations that keep your friendships alive. This does not mean that you cannot enjoy your partner, son, father, uncle and male friends as well, just in different ways.

And, the same goes for the men, be sure to keep your guy friends as you like to talk shop, sports and cars or not, together! This does not mean that you cannot have a lovely time with your wife/girlfriend, daughter, mother, sister, aunt, etc.  Just take into consideration who you are with and try to find ways to adjust your communication style to suit theirs and you will suffer far less grief!

Again, remember, neither way is right or wrong, just different and that is okay!

Truly, if we were all exactly the same it would be a pretty boring world!

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