Men, regardless of how advanced our societies may be, have wondered the same thing ever since ancient times – how to talk to women. To be fair, women often wonder the same about men. The fact is that there are huge differences between sexes, which sometimes hinders communication. These differences are based both on biology and psychosocial development. When we reach adulthood, they are very difficult to change – in rare cases, it is even possible.
So, the best course of action is to simply learn how to communicate with the opposite sex despite the differences.
How men and women differ
One of the best reads on the differences between men and women is now classic Barbara and Allan Pease’s Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. This is a well-informed and science-based book. But, it is also a very humorous account of those subtle and not so subtle differences between the sexes that make most of us go crazy over time.
Biology and cultural norms turn men and women into beings from another planet, to some extent.
For example, men have a narrow-focused attention, something like a tunnel of concentration. They focus very well on one thing, but that usually means shutting everything else off. Women, on the other hand, have a bit shallow focus, but it encompasses a wide range of stimuli.
Or, women can (they do) talk and listen at the same time. Which is why, to men, a female gathering resembles, well, a bundle of words all mixed-up together.
Furthermore, when it comes to the issue of the purpose of talking, as funny as it may sound, men and women also use it for different reasons. Men see it as a means to transfer a message, negotiate express one’s thoughts. Women use conversation to explore how they’re feeling about something, to seek comfort, to work through her emotions.
How these differences turn into a mayhem in communication
For this reason, Biblical Babylon and a conversation between a modern man and a woman might present striking similarities. For example, a man might want to simply discuss a problem of the utility bills objectively. To resolve the issues at hand as efficiently as possible.
The woman, however, first thinks of why the man started this conversation, why at that moment, how does he feel about her, why he’s being so unemotional, does it mean that he’s angry with her…?
So, he will probably try and be more and more concise and precise, believing that he’s not presenting his proposal clearly enough, since she appears to get more and more agitated and, also, irrational.
She, on the other hand, will truly become more and more anxious about the whole thing. In fact, she will probably completely disregard what the man is talking about. For her, the conversation happens on a different level entirely.
How to talk to women and actually understand each other
Therefore, as with all else in life, the key is in understanding and having respect for the other person. In this case, men, don’t lose patience and start shouting insults at women. Yes, it might appear as a madhouse at times. But, if you have in mind the woman’s perspective, you’ll understand that she isn’t trying to be irrational and annoying.
Instead, try the following. And if it may sound like too much trouble, just think off all the hours lost in a futile communication.
Spend some time getting to understand the psychology behind how women communicate.
Learn about the differences between the genders. And the next time you talk to a woman, try to bear in mind the fact that you do differ, but you can also work through the differences.
For example, don’t try to offer reality checks to your wife, such as pointing out that she might be overreacting. You may think you’re solving a problem for her. But what she hears is that you don’t really appreciate her feelings. In other words, you’re acting out of care for her, while she hears that you don’t care for her.
When talking to women, it’s important to moderate your need to offer solutions.
Instead, validate her feelings first, and listen for a while before presenting a suggestion. Bear in mind that you might not hear a definite stance on something and be patient. She needs to bounce her ideas off of you and work through possible perspectives. Your job, as her husband, is to be there, support, listen, and aid only if necessary. That’s the best help you can give her.