Are you a woman, and have you ever thought like this? Why is it so difficult to deal with women? Have you ever experienced this? Have you ever felt that in personal relationships too being friends with boys, while in school or college or work place, was less complicated than girls?
I think, that on professional front, surely, it is a lot more easier to deal and communicate with men than with women. You can be to the point with them, they don’t mind if don’t get into a polite talk before coming to the main agenda. But, women being more sensitive, tend to feel bad if we get too officious with them. They feel you are showing your authority, and hence get defensive. Not that, this does not happen with men, but I have experienced it less. Again depends on the educational background and the age group of a man, how he would respond to an independent woman. Keeping in view the psyche of women, I have always had a softer approach towards them, especially at work place.
Also, since, I am a sensitive person, I like to be sensitive towards others. I am careful with my selection of words with men, understanding that men have a big ego, no matter what are they working as. But had been extra careful with lady co-workers, juniors and seniors.
I understand that although women and men are equal as far as professional work is concerned, but some amount of sensitive behaviour is required while dealing with women. So, I do maintain it, always maintained it, till this day, when I am forced to question my choices, forced to question my strange thought process about dealing with women. (By the way, listening to this, my junior, a man, joked that it is men who keep these soft behaviour and courtesies for women! and that he had never heard a woman being considerate for other women co-workers. He had a point!)
Well, a situation which I faced at my work place just 2-3 days back, has made me rethink about my choice of being considerate towards the females.
The Incident which triggered this unrest in me
Everybody is supposed to follow certain norms, and if one person chooses to ignore it suddenly, there has to be some reason. It pertained to my work area, so the polite talk got off the track, when I asked a point blank question to this lady, senior to me, as to why she chose to return the papers without signing them, which she was supposed to read and sign?
The only reason to be so direct was to understand the reason and I had all the right to know it. It was no done – be it a man or a woman.
To that question, a man, might have simply replied telling me the reason or his apprehension or his mistake or would have requested to meet me to tell his view point. But this lady immediately made our office, the drawing room of her home and our discussion turned into accusation with me feeling like a Bai(!!!) She turned the official talk into some domestic maid discussion, by adding a personal attack to it (starting with “if you have a problem, then….”). From where did I come in between, I am following instructions given by my boss, and it’s equal for everyone. Nobody had a problem but her. I don’t like to argue, but this time I did.
Needless to say, it left me with a bad taste and set my mind thinking, questioning my choice to be so polite with someone just because of the gender.
This incident left me feeling very hurt for a few hours. But I did not share my feelings with anyone, because I wanted to do a self analysis. I didn’t want any sympathy for a senior’s rude behaviour, I wanted to understand what made her say what she said. I took it as a learning.
Understanding the communication patterns:
My conversation, a typical conversation with a male colleague would start with a greeting and I will say what I have to say. No dilly dallying, no worrying out hurting his ego or something. I am just doing my work, so it should be fine with him, of course I will be courteous while dealing with my senior, but it’s point blank, followed by a little formal smile, and off I go.
Now compare it with my conversation with a lady – colleague or a senior. It would always start with looongish greetings, followed by a little small talk on the dress or weather or children or schools ( huff! I just hate small talk!) And then, it will be about the work. (As if work was only an extra activity, we are here for!) Again followed by a large ear to ear smile and a byeeee (as if we are parting for life!) And , huff, then I take a sigh and begin my work.
You will wonder why do I have to do it, if I so dislike it? You have a point dear! But let me tell you, your interaction (I mean if you are a woman) with another woman depends on more factors than the work, or work place. There are a few things, which I have observed over these few years.
How another woman would talk/interact with you depends on:
Your looks includes dress up – If you are good to look at, one, you can be treated as ‘dumb’, and two, you are going to deal with some insecure women around!
Overall personality, includes your smartness, your communication skills, etiquette etc- If you have these traits too, you are bound to face tougher challenges, as you fail to fall in the category of “dumb”!
Position in the organisation – Your work profile, your placement in the organisation, or your designation affects other people’s interaction with you not just related to work. But also their personal equation depends on which step of the staircase are you standing on. Obviously, how so ever smart you look, if you have been assigned a work which does not involve much interaction with seniors, you are much less a threat!
Your rapport with your seniors and bosses – Now this one hurts the most. If you happen to have all the above traits and then, due to your meticulous working, your positive attitude, your team work, your dedication, you happen to be amongst the well trusted persons of your boss, then lady, you’ve had it. Be ready for some fumes!
Your social status – Let me admit that this also works at the background. This factor includes the occupation of your spouse also in some places.
Either be ready for a clash over petty things, or simply be a little smart, and be nice and polite and get going with that small talk.
Having said that, let me clarify, that these factors are not really gender specific. While women would consider these factors in this order to ascertain how to interact with you, men consider these to see whether to interact with you or not, I mean given a choice!
Also, let me say that women can be real good friends, in fact, I am lucky to have a close friend, J. The very basis of our friendship is that communication between us is straightforward and have no space for niceties and small talk, we have no qualms about being out of communication for days altogether, we don’t discuss other people, and we are honest to each other, at times ruthlessly honest, and we don’t mind it, but still we use the three magic words – sorry, thank you, please, in abundance.
Trying to analyse .. well this is loud thinking
I was trying to analyse this situation. (although I am tempted to rant over this!!!!) I think it is more to do with the left brain – right brain theory. Men tend to use more of their right side of the brain, which is responsible for logical thinking, calculation, facts, etc. and women, generally, tend to use more of the left brain associated with feelings and emotions. Of course, there are exceptions.
But that day, I learnt a new lesson of interaction with women. No matter what you do, some people don’t seem to understand that they are being given this treatment by virtue of their gender. Today, I am bound to think, was my gender specific treatment right? Should I have been, in the first place giving ladies a preferential treatment? The idea was only to have a good working relationship, to have a warm working environment.
I have been proven wrong, it is not about gender. It is about the person. It’s not that I was rude with men, but I was to the point with them, and they (I have more men as colleagues and juniors than women) had no problems with it.
This day has changed my perception of women completely. Not that, in the past, such things were not thrown on my face – women talking behind your back, women gossiping, arrogant women, women using emotions to get a lenient treatment at workplace, but this is the final straw for me. When your politeness is taken as a right, you should know how to show a person his or her place! And I am going to do that.
What do you think? Understanding women is more difficult than men? Ah, of course I have seen those lists ‘what women want’ thing! Is dealing with women bosses tougher too? Is working with women sometimes makes you scratch your head? Do let me know!
PS : Wanna know are you a left brainer or right brainer? try this! :If you cross the fingers of both your hands, forming a loose “Namaste” or the way we fold hands to pray, we tend to put one thumb over the other. Do it quickly and see! If you have ur right thumb up, you use more of your left brain ie, emotions and the vice versa. I don’t know whether this can be scientifically proven, but I have found it to be true for many people. It works for me too!
PPS: I am ready for the brickbats now!