Communication between men & women–oh that tangled web they weave

he-cant-hear-de.jpegAgain I was reading Redbook magazine while on my lunch-break and came across the article written by Bryan Stipe.  When I was in grad school we had a class where we studied communication styles between the genders.  IE men tend to think in a linear patter:  A + B=C while women will normally think in a more circular pattern taking in outside factors (IE multitasking)….

I already knew (innately) that men and women appear to communicate with each other differently.  It seems we women tend to use non-verbal language as opposed to being upfront about our feelings and/or desires, while men on the other hand rely on being forthright and if they have issues will keep quiet.  I am talking about the average here….there are always exceptions to the rule.

Stipe stipulates that:  A lot of the time we guys do need help in the “What the heck are you talking about?” department. The Everybody Loves Raymond way of explaining this phenomenon is that we men are too thick to read between the lines. And, okay, this is kind of true. Kristen will try to tell me in every possible way about presents she’d like me to get for her. She might say, “Hey, those earrings are nice!” And nine times out of 10, I do not copy. I might think, Wow, she really likes to talk about jewelry a lot or Wow, does she not realize that I’m not a woman and that I don’t care about earrings? Maybe if I’m quiet for long enough she’ll change the subject.

Women, on the other hand, use a little more nuance. You imply things more than men do; you depend more on subtext. I remember in the beginning of our marriage, Kristen kept telling me that I looked sexy in black underwear. It took me about two months to translate that into “Your old white underpants are graying and disgusting. Please get rid of them and replace them with something that ages better.”
We misunderstand you most often when you want something but are afraid to (or don’t think you should have to) ask for it, whether that thing is compassion or a back rub.


The more I think about it the more I wonder if this is true…I mean all my girlfriends are always complaining how their men “don’t listen” and I hear men saying:  “women are too emotional.”

What I also found interesting about the article is how it dicusses the scientific basis regarding these behaviors.  I tend to rely a lot on science when issues such as these arise…

“There’s a difference between how men and women process stress. In a woman, stress produces a reaction in the emotional center of the brain. Talking stimulates the production of serotonin to relax the brain, so she’ll instinctively talk in order to feel better.

“For a man, stress triggers a reaction in the action center of the brain. So when you talk to him about a problem, he’s so intent on taking action to fix it that there’s no way he can actually hear your point of view. But if you tell him that the solution is just to listen, he can relax. He doesn’t have to hunt for a solution, so he can listen, and maybe even empathize.” —John Gray, Ph.D., REDBOOK Love Network expert and author of the upcoming Why Mars and Venus Collide


Now I am not saying this excuses men and women due to these findings…I feel that we are cognizant human beings and we should make the necessary efforts to maintain relationships but findings such as these at least gives us an inkling what is going on behind our significant other’s brain…..