Tell a woman your problems and she’ll empathise with you. Tell a men your problems and he’ll try and fix them.
Every person is different. Or so they say. But when it comes to communication, almost all men communicate in the same way, and almost women communicate in the same way which is, you guessed it, very different from men.
One of the things that strike me the most, and continues to surprise me even if I’m 30 and I talked with a lot of men in my life, is how they react when you share a problem with them, or simply how you feel.
When you share something bad you’re going through with a men, he’s immediately thinking of possible solutions, better ways to deal with it or ways to improve the situation. And it’s fine, it’s amazing that they are so practical and they want to help you. However, women brain works in a different way. Most of the times, if a woman shares a problem with someone it’s really just to get it out of her chest. It’s a way to analyse the problem by laying her cards on the table. It’s a way to open up and ask for empathy. Sometimes she already knows the solution, she just need the right space to confirm what she feels.
I haven’t read the book “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”, but someone told me a similar concept is explained in that book as well.
I find that this different communication style is one of the most common reasons why couples argue. I think the better way to deal with it is first of all to acknowledge the difference, and then to take action based on that knowledge. Here’s my suggestion:
Men, when your mum, sister or girlfriend tells you something like “I feel that friend is not behaving nicely with me”, “I’m thinking I should change job”, “I feel down today and I don’t know why” or things like that, pause for a couple of seconds before activating the automatic driver inside you that tells you to find a solution. First of all sit in front of her, look at her and listen. Resist the need to reply immediately, leave a bit of silence and space for her to feel comfortable and share what’s in her heart. Have the courage to bear that silence and stay in that space together.
Try and empathise with her. That’s what most women want. Ask yourself: what’s is she going through? Is she scared to admit that she feels insecure about her decision? Most women feel insecure, all the time, although we’d never admit it. But you know it, so with that knowledge ask her how this problem makes her feel. Listen and hug her. Ask her, very gently, if she would like a suggestion or she prefers to take the time to think about it on her own.
If all this process makes you feel very uncomfortable, tell her. There’s nothing that make two people closer than sharing what makes them uncomfortable, shy or embarrassed. And yes, I know you guys have a hard time sharing your feelings. It’s against your biological instinct. But if hundreds of years ago it made biological sense for men to show themselves as invincible and hide their emotions because they might have been killed by their enemy if they did, let’s all agree that it’s not that time anymore. You can let go. Please, do it. You can open up, you can share what you feel. Not with everyone, bear in mind. But with people who love you, you can. Do it please, and the world will become a better place.
When they say women are complicated it’s not true. We’re complex beings, but it’s quite easy to deal with a woman once you learn the code. Programming is complicated, but it’s doable once you learn the code, right?
Women, this part is for you though. We’re not innocent, we do the same mistake men do: we don’t take the time to learn their code. If you knew that most men are programmed to find solutions to what you share with them, you would probably choose more carefully what you share with them. In a nutshell: if your washing machine is broken, tell them, because they’ll do everything to try and fix it (this is a thanks for you, dad :)
But if you feel down because your period is coming and your hormones are all over the place, please, I beg you: call a girlfriend instead. You’ll get what you need (empathy) from a person who can do it naturally (another woman) and you’ll not ask a huge effort to your sweet half. At least, not more often that he can bear.
On the other hand, if your husband or boyfriend shares a problem with you, he probably wants some help coming up with a solution. They’ll rarely ask, because again, they’re conditioned not to ask for help. But if they do, please don’t do the same mistake: learn their code and reply in their language, or if you’re still learning it, ask them gently what they need from you instead of guessing they just want a hug as you do.
We’re conditioned to think that couples should meet all their needs within the couple itself, but it’s a huge burden to put on it. Include more people in your life, family and friends who can meet different needs of yours, and you’ll not put all the responsibility on your partner.
But, that said, wouldn’t it be heart warming if we could all commit to learn each other’s code? Imagine how much pain we could avoid to each other and to ourselves. Imagine what a wonderful world it would be. I hope we’ll all be able to make this little effort one day, that brings a lot of rewards. Bless us.