Have you ever thought that your partner understood what you were saying but realize later that they totally missed it? Me too! It’s taken me awhile to untangle it but Men and Women have different dictionaries!
One day I was talking to my husband about what is meant to feel connected. It was an ongoing chat where I talked about how much I loved going to the movies and chatting in the hot tub at the end of the day. These activities made me feel connected. Then suddenly he says to me, “Oh, I thought you meant physically connected!”
Wow! The whole time I thought we were talking about the same thing. Even the word connected means something different to each of us.
Some of you might be relating to this with a similar story. Realizing how the opposite sex communicates differently is the starting point. Awareness is always the first step of change.
Key Differences Between Men and Women:
1. Men see communication as a means to an end.
There generally has to be a purpose or a logical reason to keep talking whether it’s planning a vacation or solving a problem. They feel a strong sense of accomplishment when they can help their partner figure things out.
2. Women, on the other hand, talk to gain understanding of what’s happening and connect.
The purpose is to spend time together and give support. For us it’s an adventure of talking through all the ups and downs – sometimes over and over again!
So let’s take “Jerry.” He listens to his wife complain about work and immediately sees an opportunity to help. He thinks – “I know just what she needs” – and he tells her exactly what she should do.
He is shocked at her response. She responds by saying “I wish you would just listen instead of telling me what to do all the time!”
He thinks “I was only trying to help! You never appreciate what I say anyway.” He walks away frustrated.
For “Brenda” she came home wanting to talk about what happened at work. She vented to Jerry and went on for several minutes expressing her frustration. For her the act of talking is where she gets the most relief.
Instead when she gets advice, she feels interrupted and unsupported. He thought giving a solution showed support. They both walk away mad.
That’s why the book from John Gray – Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus is a classic and still a great read today!
John Gray’s book outlined the idea that men need to retreat to their caves while women need the exact opposite in wanting to talk things out. Of course this explains why communication can be so challenging.
When you understand the differences between men and women – relationship expectations become more realistic and less frustrating!
Tips For Men:
Make time to listen when she’s upset. Ask clarifying questions to show interest. If you need a break first, it lets you know that you’ll be a better listener after some “cave time.” She’s not looking for solutions, just a supportive ear.
Tips For Women:
Don’t expect him to talk like your girlfriend. Let him know what you need in terms of support. Define it clearly so there is no guessing. Let him have his “cave time” if he needs it. He will be much more available to listen if you wait for the right time.
There will always be fundamental differences between men and women. My husband and I have a running joke that there are times when we just don’t get what the other person is saying.
Sometimes we just need to accept that men and women have different dictionaries and that’s what keeps things interesting!