Here is what they never taught us in kindergarten, and if only they had….
They never taught us that when boys are involved in a project and don’t answer you that they are not ignoring you, they are simply focused. They never taught you that if a girl starts talking a mile a minute describing a new Barbie doll set she got yesterday that you don’t need to catch all the details, you simply need to stay interested with an appropriate nod here and there to show her your interest. She does not need you to record the details, she needs to know you care. They do not teach you, ladies, that if he is giving you short answers to your questions, he is not angry or withholding, he just doesn’t think the details are important.
Here are the basics:
*Women are detail oriented, men are goal oriented. Women are all about the process, men are all about the end-game. Women can think about all the things necessary to get to an outcome, the men take one stage at a time. To men, each stage is its own goal, to the woman each stage is part of the overall process, a detail in the bigger picture.
*Since women are diffuse focused, and can jump from one thing to another quickly, their emotions can follow a similar path – ups and downs and swirlies and back again. Men are single focused and can handle one emotion, at a time, and need time to move out of that emotion before they jump into a new one.
*Men like to fix things. They are the Protectors, the ones relied upon to provide what is needed to live comfortably and in safety. If they feel the safety or happiness of one of their own is being compromised, they will swoop in to fix it. So if you are crying or upset, they will want to fix it. Don’t get mad, recognize that this is their compassion. Again, use concise words to explain to them that you need them to just listen right now. Men, don’t get all confused with all the words. Follow the gist, be attentive. Listen and show you care.
*Women will assume that if they want something, they can hint that they want it and men should guess at their intention. You are thinking like a woman, he is thinking like a man. He does not do clues and insinuations. He deals in hard facts. You want it, say so. You don’t want it, say so. And the flipside is also true, if he wants help, he will be direct and clear about it. Women, DO NOT assume they want help even though they said no. You are thinking like a woman he is thinking like a man.
*Women, if you want a man’s attention, don’t go to him while he is focused on something and start blabbing. He will not follow you, and will likely be upset at this interruption. He is so focused that when you start to talk to him, you pull him away from that focus and that can disrupt a whole flow of work or ideas for him. Or he will ignore you, not because he does not care, but simply because he is in single focus land. This is why men can watch a football game for three hours and not move. A woman watching a game would get up every twenty minutes to clear the cups, refill the chips, check on the laundry, and load the dishwasher.
Women, wait until the man whose attention you need is available mentally. Or leave a note next to where he is working/focused explaining you’d love his attention when he has a minute. Stand in front of the TV during a non-important commercial (not car or beer oriented) and very concisely say what you have to say. On the flipside, men, go to a woman whenever you want to talk to her. There is very little that excites a woman like knowing her man, or any man, NEEDS her and wants to open up to her, share something with her, etc. Respect her space, but if you let her know you need her, she will likely put aside what she is doing right away to give you her attention. Women love opening up and sharing, so go for it.
How much easier are interactions with the opposite sex when we know all of this? How many fights or disagreements, hurt feelings or wounded egos, could be avoided?
So, don’t send your son to find that baseball cap, send your daughter. If you want more details, explain to your husband or son WHY you want those details. If you are about to go on a tirade and just need your husband to listen, not to fix anything, tell him just that. If you are at work and want to go over a process, find a female colleague. If you want to go over the goal, the end-game, find a man. Don’t offer your son help tying his shoes; let him know you will go over the process with him again if he wants to. Don’t delve deeper into your son’s emotions (ie if he gets hurt, has an owie, is in a bad mood), as you would with your daughter - switch the focus. Women, if you want directions, ask a woman. And if your husband is lost, do not offer him help. He will ask for it if he needs it (and doesn’t get the “I told you so” look or lecture).
Recognize the differences.
Understand the differences.
Respect the differences.
Work around the differences.
Honor the differences.
And watch life become so much smoother in your interactions with the opposite sex!!!
With so much love and equanimity,
Honor Our Differences