My article found in SHE spring issue

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Yes SHE Can

Research has established that men and women are poles apart, planets apart according to some, in terms of perception. We’re wired differently and let’s not forget, we’re socialized differently as well. However, when these admittedly different beings encounter difficulties communicating, this knowledge is hurled out the window just before the insults start flying. Women can take control; they can harness their knowledge to alleviate the situation. This calls for application, application, application!

Here are five scenarios based on conversations with 220 Caribbean people. These highlight the differing male and female perspectives.  

Scenario 1: For the fourth time, She reminds him to complete a task.

She Thinks: He’s lazy. He expects me to do everything myself. He just doesn’t care.

He Thinks: She’s a nag and bossy too. I’ll do it if and when I want to.

Experts Say: Naturally, when communicating men are competitive and women are collaborative. If a man does what he is told to do, in his mind he loses status and because of this, he may resist. Allowing men choices is better than giving out commands. Ladies, learn the art of asking.

Scenario 2: After a quarrel and the usual deafening silence, He goes to bed but She can’t sleep.

She Thinks: He’s so insensitive. How can he go to sleep while I’m obviously hurting and we’ve not resolved the problem?

He Thinks: We keep going around in circles. I’m more confused now than when we started. Let’s just forget this issue and move on.

Experts Say: Men are more competent when dealing with one task at a time and they are more goal-oriented in communication.  Women, on the other hand, can handle several tasks at a time and may talk in great detail merely to unburden their minds. Therefore, women should avoid marrying issues since this really confounds men. Deal with one issue at a time and clearly specify the agenda for the ‘talk’. Bear in mind that men are not naturally inclined to talk about emotions.

Scenario 3: She comes home very upset about a situation at work and spends the evening talking about it.

She Thinks: Talking about the situation makes me feel better.

He Thinks: Complaining won’t help. Let me help solve this problem for her.

A man is a problem solver. If his mate is unhappy and he doesn’t solve her problem, he feels like a failure. Because his talk is ‘report talk’, filled with facts and bottom lines, he doesn’t fully understand her ‘rapport talk’ which is detail-oriented and aims to foster bonds. She can warn him beforehand that she just needs a listening ear but she should not castigate him if he tries to provide a solution.

Scenario 4: She brings up an issue she’d discussed with him a month ago, but He doesn’t remember.

She Thinks: Men never listen. He’s not concerned or else he would have remembered.

He Thinks: She tells me so much stuff, how am I expected to remember all of that or know which is important to her?

Experts Say: Because men are goal-oriented in their communication, they find the level of detail communicated to them by women overwhelming. Experts advise women to not rely on their men for their ‘girl talk’; female friends should be used for that. If there is something important that a woman wants a man to remember, she should point it out.

Scenario 5: Her mood changes and when He asks what is bothering her, She says ‘nothing’. He leaves her alone.

She Thinks: Even if I said ‘nothing’, isn’t it obvious that something is wrong with me? He doesn’t care.

He Thinks: Women are so moody. When she’s ready she’ll talk but I’m not uncovering that can of worms right now.

Experts Say: Men are more direct in communication while women are the opposite. In addition, women expect emotional support where men expect information. Women should not expect men to ‘figure it out’ or recognize certain cues but should be direct if they want issues addressed.

To minimize conflict, experts advise women to try to:

1)    Embrace the generalized differences but recognize the exceptions.

2)    Resist seeing their communication style as superior to that of the men.

3)    Set ground rules and negotiate middle grounds.

4)    Use communication to benefit both parties and not to prove men wrong.

It takes two to make it work, so the men are in no way excused. But why don’t we take the lead on this one ladies?

Top 5 complaints from the 220 respondents:

He Said:
 

  • Women are too emotional
  • Women talk too much
  • Women expect men to act like them
  • Women are too moody
  • Women think that they are right and men are always wrong

 

She Said:
 

  • Men never listen
  • Men have no understanding
  • Men are too uptight; they are afraid to show emotion
  • Men do not talk enough
  • Men think that they are in charge
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