Men are from Mars-Women are from Venus. Or so the saying goes. You know what? They very well could be. And I have personal experience to back this up. OK, so this is what happened. The significant other showed up at the doorstep and I was completely ready cause we'd had this plan made for the eve.
And all I said (in passing, I swear) while I strapped on my red sandals, was that my colleague was having trouble at work... how that got to mean that I wanted solutions for her problem, I dunno. But that is exactly what happened for the next half an hour while we traveled to the theater and way, way till the up-coming film trailers stopped. Every time I tried telling him that I was 'just saying' and that I didn't really need solutions, there were a barrage of questions put up.
And it left me with just one thought―what was with these communication barriers between men and women? How was it that we spoke the same language and still didn't understand each other? The words, they made perfect sense, but the meaning sometimes, never did.
If you've ever been in that phase of 'just not getting what your partner is trying to say', even though he/she may seem to speak exactly the same language that you speak, but never convey the same meaning, then this piece is for you. In this piece, we will be looking into the various communication barriers that are formed between men and women and try to understand how to overcome them. Go brew yourself a cup of coffee then, put on your most intelligent looking specs and get ready for a dose of some relationship babble. In a good way, of course. By the end of this, you will have had an insight into the communication patterns of men and women, how they differ, and how one is to live with those differences.
And the Barriers are...
The barrier or what acts as a barrier is the fact that men and women are built in different ways, one, and then society feeds on this difference and makes it a basis of forming more barriers, two.
Differing Mind Sets
The example of earlier? That was a woman's perspective. If you ask a man about women and their style of communication, you'll typically hear things like, all women do is talk. All they do is talk about things that are not even related and just refuse to come to the point.
Why does that happen? That's because men and women are made in different ways―Women communicate to build relationships, men communicate to solve problems. This being the basic stance of why the communication styles of men and women often differ. They are driven by different needs and that is why the styles of communication that follow through are differing as a general rule.
The How, Why, and What
Women communicate to build relationships. They communicate in such a manner that they are able to get to the roots of a person. They need to know why the person is like that and the like. That is why asking questions and getting into details becomes an important part of their communication process. On the other hand, men are more action-oriented, they look at communication not as a way to build relationships, but as a tool for expression. That is why, on an average, women will use more vocabulary than men.
To Share or Not to Share
As a woman, how many times have you ever experienced this? Say, you know that a man is upset and when you ask him why, he'll pretty much mumble something and say nothing further. Then you wonder why he isn't 'sharing his feelings' because you know for a fact that talking about it makes it hurt a lot less. But you see, men are not made that way. Society does not encourage a man to communicate and share, it does not encourage crying for release. Men will suck their feelings in and not talk about them. Women, on the other hand, are encouraged to, and always will, end up sharing their feelings as a form of release.
Listening and the Lack of it
Women will complain that men don't listen, that they are not wired to simply listen and be emphatic, that they will try to 'solve' every problem, that they will want to right every wrong. While all they want is for someone to listen. And men? Since sharing is not a part of their psyche, they base all their interactions on the way in which they communicate with their male friends (perhaps), that when someone talks of a problem, they are talking about it because they want solutions.
Let's just say that there are many, more things that act as communication barriers between the two sexes. But a basic understanding of why men and women behave the way they do will help one in bridging that gap and meeting at a common point. Let's review some of those pointers in the following segment.
Overcoming these Barriers
So they are made differently. How does it matter? Of course it matters! It's not a question of 'The West is West and the East is East and never shall the twain meet'. The two sexes have been put together and that's not going to change. So you might as well find a middle ground and help them in going about developing near-perfect communication with each other. Here are some pointers that will help.
Understanding the Difference
Understanding how men and women communicate differently, that you are made differently and that it is bound to show in the way that you communicate, is the first step to communicate well. When you know this, you are more open to accepting the difference and working through it to solve the relationship communication problems.
Talk and Listen
Women need to understand that the reactions that they want from a man are probably not going to happen unless a lot of time has been spent together. If they want to share, therefore, they should try to do that with a girlfriend. In that way, they'll be much more satisfied. If you want a man to talk, you need to get him to do that by talking about things that are of interest to him. Strike a conversation about sports or his job and then see the way he goes on and on. As for the men, understanding that when women tell you about a problem it is not always so that you can give them a solution. Sometimes they just want you to listen. You develop this trait of just listening and you'll have a happy, happy girl at the other end. Understanding the importance of communication by sticking to the same page is what is required.
Actions Vs. Words
Men don't talk as much as women do. Men are more action-oriented than women, it is said. What women will want to say with words, men will want to say with action. A sudden jolt for a man 'You don't love me anymore, do you?' will leave him completely speechless. He'll ponder over the origins of the statement (which will be the death of him) and why it has been put through. The woman will ask it because he doesn't say it enough, maybe without realizing that he is only trying to portray it through his actions. So you know what to do―men need to learn to be more expressive, and women need to decipher things from their actions as well.
Men will be men and women will be women. But to understand what makes them the way they are is half the battle won. If it's a relationship that needs to be nurtured then there has to be a compromise on both sides. Getting beyond the realm of 'I'm made this way and I will not change' is not going to help any. So women will try to be more direct, choosing well their battles of sharing and talking, while men will not always let their problem-solving attitude get the better of them and will try to be more receptive to talking and sharing.
Just imagine the kind of world that would be. With no...um..considerably less communication barriers between men and women. Would not that be a good day? Indeed it would. Are you going to make it happen then?