Speak their language
Inspire their love
When it comes to communication, men and women are still from different planets! Not understanding these differences can lead to confusion, hurt feelings and a great deal of frustration. As I talk about these differences I am speaking in general terms and realize that not everyone fits these criteria exactly. My goal here is to give you some information that will help you understand communication styles that affect most men and women.
Emotions vs Facts
Women do not separate emotions and facts as much as men. For us everything is connected. Men compartmentalize more and usually focus on one thought at a time, so they can find our communication style frustrating. I have noticed that in my conversations with men, when I change topics quickly, incorporate too many topics in one conversation, or ramble on with lots of ideas, they get this far-away look in their eye that tells me I have lost them. With clients, I handle sessions with men and women in a different way, considering how they process information. I must admit, I still forget to do this sometimes in my personal life. That is when I get that glazed look, a clear sign I am off track in my communication style.
Need to be Heard vs Solutions
Sometimes when women are talking, all they really need is to be heard and to feel supported. They may not be looking for a solution at all. This is hard for men to understand since they are more solution oriented. This causes discord in relationships when a woman only wants to vent and feel heard and her partner is trying to solve a problem. He may feel disrespected because she does not seem interested in his solutions. Guys, if she is discussing a problem that involves emotions, just let her vent and support her. If something is broken, then offer to fix it. I know this is a simplistic scenario, but many times, women walk away from a conversation even more frustrated because they simply needed to be heard. They are looking for an emotional connection. For men who are unsure of how to proceed, just ask her.
The bottom line
Men generally prefer to get to the bottom line as quickly as possible. When discussing a problem or issue with your guy, it is very important not to criticize, judge, or coax, during these conversations. It will not move the conversation forward in a positive direction. Conversations with men need to be shorter and more to the point. I suggest giving him the Reader's Digest version of the problem. If you can keep the conversation short and drama free, he will be much more likely to hear you and to respond in a positive way.
Men want to be successful in all areas of their lives and this also applies to communication. If he feels he won't be successful at finding a solution, he may shut down or stop communicating. Women talk until they find a solution, but men often need quiet time to do the same. They prefer to think of all the possibilities alone and then discuss a solution once they have their thoughts together. I have noticed that women often interpret this as him not caring. They do not understand that he just problem solves in a different way. You might need to agree to meet at a later time to discuss the issue further. Then give him some time alone so he can think and process.
Understanding the differences between men and women in communication styles helps us connect with each other both feeling like we are getting what we want and need in the relationship. This can take some practice and fine tuning but is well worth the effort. Communication can be one of the most effective ways to create and keep a strong healthy relationship. Learn to speak their language and inspire their love
If you would like further information on this topic or clarification on your specific communication issues, feel free to schedule a free strategy session with me.
Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS
Certified Relationship Specialist