Why Males and Females Can’t Communicate (part 2)

Why Males and Females Can’t Communicate (part 2) October 25, 2013

How Males Communicate

In contrast to the way females communicate, males often prefer a more simplistic type of communication that gets directly to the point.

I was speaking at a conference explaining to a group of mental health professionals (almost all of whom were women) on how to communicate with males–specifically younger males.  I was explaining that because male’s have shorter attention spans, that female counselors needed to get to their point sooner and use less words.  In addition, the women needed to stick to one topic at a time during the course of a conversation.

One woman raised her hand and said, “I think it would be disrespectful to my husband to talk to him like that.  It would be like talking down to him.”  I asked the two lone men attending the workshop their opinion.  One said, “It would be very refreshing to have a woman speak to me like that.”  The other said, “I can only dream that my wife and female co-workers would speak that way to me.”  I suggested to the woman that she was interpreting communication through her filter and not through a male’s.  Likely, a woman would feel disrespected if you spoke to her in short, simple sentences.  However, because of the way his brain is wired, it takes longer for the average male to process information and to decide what he is feeling, especially when multiple concepts are involved in an emotional context.  It makes sense that simplicity would be a preferred way to communicate to him.

Later another woman in the audience took issue with some of my theories about empowering young males academically and gave me a stern dressing down in front of the audience.  It was obvious as she became more emotional and louder that she had been deeply wounded at some point in her life (probably by a male) and was compelled to vent because I had inadvertently pushed an emotional hot button.  As if to confirm my previous point, one of the male participants in the group later sent me an email about her comments saying, “What I found ironic is, in all that she said, I felt she was more concerned about spewing out technical words and used about four times the words she needed to. I was actually confused as to what her point was!  I wanted to say ‘can you say that again in 20 words or less?’”

It’s important to understand that neither way males nor females are predisposed to communicate are right or wrong—they’re just different.  Understanding those differences allow us to be able to create effective strategies to communicate better.

Men’s brains also have the ability to compartmentalize events in their lives.  That is why they can go off to war, experience horrible circumstances, and then come home and live relatively normal lives.  Or why they can be arguing one minute and ready for sex the next.  Or why they can’t do two things at once.  I often share with audiences that because of the way their brains are wired, men struggle with multi-tasking.  I can’t even sign a book and talk at the same time.

After talking about that topic to an audience one evening, my wife and I were having breakfast at the restaurant of the lodge we were staying at the next morning.  Our male waiter was pouring water into our glasses when my wife said to him, “Are you ready to take our order?”  To which our waiter very deliberately replied, “No Ma’am, just a moment please.”

When he finished pouring each of our waters he put the pitcher down, looked my wife in the eye, smiled, and said, “Okay, what would you like?”

Clearly he had learned not to try and do two things at once.  He was very effective at either pouring water, or at taking our order, but he couldn’t do both things at once—at least not proficiently.

The male brains inability to process what’s said and then to respond as quickly as the female brain, means that they struggle to communicate verbally during stressful situations.  It’s why they tend to get angry in their frustration to express themselves during arguments.

Because males do not perform as well as females in verbal encounters (and males are very performance-based), men are frequently hesitant to engage in emotional topics or talk through problems.  But guys remember this, ignoring unpleasant issues or repeatedly avoiding them always causes them to fester and eventually erodes your marriage.  Many marriages operate under a low-grade fever of discontentment or anger.  But contentment in your marriage is not a result of the absence of problems—it’s effectively resolving those problems when they appear.  Every marriage is going to have problems.  This is why good communication is an effective part of a healthy marriage.

Question – Guys, what do you struggle most with trying to communicate with your wife?

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