We must avoid gender stereotypes at all costs !
Nevertheless, neuroscience supports the fact that male and female brains are ‘wired’ differently.
I grew up with brothers, and greatly admired my father. My own family is also male dominated.
Since I have spent much time talking with boys and men, I’ve observed their verbal communication style. While these observations are generalizations, they are supported by sociological research.
I offer the following, in the hopes of better understanding, and facilitating communication :
- men’s communication style is task-oriented, and is focused on problem solving. Words are used as a necessity towards achieving a goal. This contrasts with women, who often view talking as a way of bonding, or achieving greater emotional intimacy. While a woman may desire a man to listen, and provide empathy for some difficulty that she is experiencing, men will generally seek to ‘solve the problem’ for her. Usually women will desire empathy, and a listening ear, as she works out her own solutions to a difficulty.
- men generally are more comfortable with silence. Often women will perceive lack of talking as a symptom that something is wrong in a relationship.
- men generally prefer to use fewer words, and use them as necessities in achieving a goal. Flowery descriptions of the decorations at a recent baby shower you attended are often not appreciated.
- men generally are more direct communicators. They prefer not to deal in innuendos, game playing, or ‘mind reading’. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Always avoid giving someone ‘the silent treatment’ as a form of ‘punishment’. Stonewalling destroys relationships.
- men do not appreciate being asked to multi-task. (No one should be asked to do this). Male behaviour and language patterns are action-oriented, and goal driven.
I have learned never to attempt a conversation with my husband while he is driving !
- men, being problem solvers, and task oriented, thrive when they know that they are appreciated, and respected. Please, tell them this, often.
It is healthy, and vital, for both men and women to develop close friendships with members of the same gender. I cherish, and appreciate my female friends, as my husband likes spending time with his buddies.
May God give us the grace to recognize that our close relationships are gifts from him, and may we treasure them, and nurture them.
Pictured are stones, and a tiny starfish, in the ‘backyard’ .