Many arguments between couples stem from simple misunderstandings based on different communication styles. For example, women often want to vent, and a man will often misinterpret this by thinking he's meant to find a solution. Likewise, women sometimes misinterpret what it means when a man says nothing at all. Often, men need to work through a problem in silence, and women can misread his actions to mean he simply does not want to talk to her. Are Gender Differences A Myth?
Better understanding how men and women think and speak can help us have better-functioning relationships. Here we've asked three YourTango Experts to sound in on some of the most common misunderstandings between men and women, and what we really hear when the opposite sex talks.
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1. Men Ask, Women Hint
Men are socialized to make direct requests, while women are socialized to put others' needs above their own. How does this play out in relationships? Women often expect men to read their minds and know what they want without actually telling them. If women can ease into asking for what they want instead of leaving their guy to guess, they'll get much more of it with no mind-reading necessary.
2. For Women, It's In The Details
When she says, "Do you remember that sweater I wore on our second date?"
He hears her say, "If you cared, you'd remember!"
Women have an amazing memory for details, and they're more sentimental than men. Women should keep in mind that men don't remember details as well because of differences in how they process information, not because they don't care.
3. Problems: Listening Vs. Solving
When a woman has a problem, a man offers solutions. Often, she's simply looking for understanding and validation. And a woman tends to give men what she'd want: a shoulder to cry on, which is often the last thing he wants. As a rule of thumb: men should offer women compassion first and then help, and women should offer men help first and then compassion.
4. Men Compartmentalize, Women think "big picture"
Women and men don't think the same way—maybe you've noticed. Men compartmentalize, mentally and emotionally separating work, relationships, etc. Women think "big picture," connecting all the aspects of their lives.
For women, when he seamlessly switches gears from your serious conversation to the football game, it's not that he doesn't care about the conversation. For men, it's good to remember that her brooding over things and bringing up the past doesn't mean she's trying to nag. It's just the way her mind works—connecting one event to another.
—Dr. Amy Johnson, Psychologist/Coach
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