In the past 30 days, I’ve been to Brazil, Spain, and Switzerland. That’s Portuguese, Spanish, and German language in my ears. Trying to navigate my way through the day with limited understanding of these languages is sometimes exhausting and quite frustrating. When you are trying to discuss something with someone whose native language is different than your own there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Likewise, communication becomes critical to keep down the confusion and allow a relationship to move along smoothly.
I don’t believe that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. God created woman from the rib of man. She was created to help him navigate his way in life. Without her, a man never really becomes a man. (Darwinians just go with it, will ya? I’m headed somewhere.) And despite the skewed notion that God sits on high and sets us up to fail for His personal entertainment, He equipped men and women with the ability to communicate with one another in order to achieve our purpose together. However, it takes some work because our languages, though the same, are very different. For example, I’ve been to Puerto Rico and I’ve been to Madrid. Both Spanish speaking people-NOT the same Spanish. If you are not an international type, think of it as Massachusetts and Alabama. Both English speaking people- NOT the same English.
So here are 5 guiding principals for intergender communication(TM).
#1 Men Can’t Hear Women When They Are Emotional
I was discussing this issue with a male friend last week and we both agreed that men shy away from a woman’s emotions. Particularly, if that emotion is anger. Most men tend to be non-confrontational with women. Therefore, confronting a man needs to be a logical and well-thought out plan. If he has done something wrong and you want him to know it, the best way to approach him is to calmly explain what he did and how it made you feel. This makes for an easier path to resolution and gives you a higher chance of success in meeting the ultimate goal. Togetherness.
#2 Men Think Quietly
Ladies, when your man goes quiet in the conversation. Let him be quiet. He is either 1) trying to think up lie which you will immediately know is untrue so don’t sweat it 2) considering what you said and formulating a thoughtful response, so appreciate it 3) completely ignoring you and thinking about something else, so forget about it. In any case, continuing to talk at him at that moment will be useless and you can use that time to do something else more productive. Let him think about it and get back to you. CAVEAT: Ladies when there is no active conversation and your man is quiet DO NOT ask him “What are you thinking about?” The answer is probably “nothing” because he is absolutely, positively not thinking of a damn thing. He’s just not talking because he has nothing to say.
#3 Women Think Out Loud
Men need to understand that sometimes when a woman is talking she is merely talking through her options. It doesn’t necessarily require a response from you. Many times you happen to be in the room while she is talking, but she is not necessarily talking TO you. So let her talk it out and respond only when requested. But, be sure to add in some “uh-hu” and “mmm hmmm” in critical moments to let her know you are listening. AND you should be listening even if we are only talking AT you.
#4. Women Talk in Real Time, Men Respond on a 7 Second Delay
Guys, when a woman talks to you about something, she has already thought the whole thing through in her mind. A woman’s words are deliberate and deliverable. She expects you to respond immediately. For example, when she says, “Honey, the light bulb is out in the garage.” She means for you to change it. Now. I know you probably heard, “Honey, when you get a chance the light bulb needs to be changed”. However, you did not hear correctly. Get up and change it. Ladies, try to remember he is not intentionally ignoring your request. Your man is operating on a 7 second delay. Because he tends to do things when he “must” he thinks you are giving him that option.
#5. Women Say “I love you”, Men do “I love you”
Women say. Men do. Women are expressive with words, be they from their own mouths or from Hallmark’s Mahogany collection. Women want to tell our men how we feel and we expect the same in return. However, men “do” in order to show their affection. Ladies, a man who goes to work everyday to pay the bills considers this the grandest expression of love. Say thank you. He washes your car and buys you nice things because he loves you. Men, please don’t think a woman ungrateful if she values the card you gave her more than the actual diamond bracelet in the box that came with that card. She loves it! CAVEAT: Please realize that a woman views things in this way…doing something FOR me is doing something that you would NOT otherwise do if you were alone. You would still go to work everyday with or without me. When you decided to go to (law/film/teaching/medical/grad) school or to be a (insert career choice here) you weren’t with your lady, so you don’t really go to work FOR her. Just something to think about guys.
There are thousands of ways that men and women communicate with one another. Choose the one that gets your point heard, not just the one that gets your point out in the air. In any case, communication is a necessity so keep talking…in word and deed.