Men and women have very different ways of communicating and bonding.
It’s been the subject of many published books, talk show topics, private diary entries, and even front-yard screaming matches between lovers.
We can’t deny it – we are very different from each other. Maybe a little insight into our Bonding styles will help us make peace with those differences.
“Hear Me Out” (Reasons Why We Clash)
Studies claim that men use an average of 12,000 words a day. Women tend to be closer to 14,000. I am beyond curious about how they came up with those averages. But I digress…
A woman loves to communicate. Talking about things helps her release pent-up emotions. To her, communication is an intimate connection. She uses words to process her inner feelings and seeks a sounding board to receive those words.
When she initiates a conversation with a man, wires can get crossed. He believes he is rescuing a damsel-in-distress and assumes she needs a solution to a problem. Moreover, he doesn’t get that she just wants someone to listen – not dissect the meaning behind her words.
Men prefer that you get right to the point. They’re ready to analyze the dialog for decisions that need to be made or an issue to be resolved. To a man, a conversation has a specific purpose. He considers any extra fluff in the exchange a waste of time.
Men and women try hard to find a mutual ground of clarity. But sometimes they crash and burn. A woman wants someone to ride the emotional roller coaster with her. This is where the man may jump in and offer, “Here’s what you need to do…”. He is a problem-solver, after all.
But that may not be what she had in mind at all.
She throws her hands in the air and accuses, “You never listen!” He feels unappreciated for his valuable input.
As a result, they are both thrown off track and the two of them go sailing off in different directions again.
“Girl, I Get You” (Women Bonding With Women)
I could tell she was very upset. Her voice quivered as she whispered into her cell phone as she paced in the teachers’ lounge. I had seen her around campus, but we’d never had a personal conversation. Still, her suffering was pulling on my heartstrings at that moment.
She ended the call and looked over to where I sat with two female coworkers. Maybe it was the compassionate looks we sent her way that caused her to walk over. She quietly shared what an awful day she’d had. We shook our heads and murmured encouraging words.
I had to ask, “Do you need a hug?” She did, and I willingly threw my arms around her. Strangers had become friends.
It comes so natural – how women Bond. A simple exchange of supportive words and a listening ear and the magic just happens.
Men often complain that women are complex creatures that are impossible to understand.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. Our needs are fairly simple.
We crave meaningful communication sprinkled with love and acceptance. Let us express ourselves without interruption and you will have an admirer for life.
Women tend to bond faster than men do. An elevator full of women will know each other’s pet peeves and favorite department store before the jaws of the elevator open on the next floor. We don’t need to analyze each other. We don’t waste time weighing the risks of letting down our guards. One smile and we are bonding.
“Let’s Do This, Bro!” (Men Bonding With Men)
Men want their bonding to be low-maintenance. They size things up and find common ground. It’s not unusual for them to open up a dialogue with, “What’s up? What do you do for a living?”
How do they ever get around to bonding?
Men are physical creatures by nature. Anything that can be tackled (physically or mentally), wrestled, or conquered is the main attraction in their world. They seek those traits in other men. Loyalty in friendship is valued. They need to know their buddies have their back.
Even males in the animal kingdom bond this way. While male-bonding in the animal kingdom is rare, it does occur for mainly one reason. Ready for this? Male species come together to attack and kill other groups of animals. Well, at least they know how to get things done, right? (Word of caution – if you see a bunch of guys forming a small herd in a corner of the room, get yourself out of there. Lol.)
Guys vs. Girls (Bonding With Each Other)
Her skill set is word exploration – lots of words. His skill set is problem-solving – minimal words.
Not the ideal start for communication.
I will give the men a pass here. First of all, God did create them to be protectors and leaders. They need a healthy dose of testosterone to do those jobs. The “divide-and-conquer” spirit is what many women admire and depend on to keep the world in line. What a woman doesn’t get is that men can’t just turn that adrenaline off and switch gears to be the attentive listener she desires.
Mutual Compromise: Outside Our Comfort Zones
Girls, you need to understand his need to be valued. Hear him out when he offers suggestions. You may not appreciate his ideas, but at least show him respect.
A guy likes to fix things. He wants to be helpful and to make you happy. A woman’s emotions are unfamiliar territory to him. They are not something he can just fix! That alone leaves him feeling overwhelmed.
Men, count to 100 before you speak (maybe 500, depending on how emotional she’s feeling). When she is done sharing, ask her, “Do you want my advice on this or do you just need to talk it out?” Don’t make assumptions. She may form her own solutions just because she was able to process it out loud.
Come to terms with the differences men and women have. There is truth behind the phrase, “opposites attract”. Compromise when you are in a stalemate. Celebrate the things that you do share and what you can learn from one another.
After that…just shrug your shoulders and accept the things that you don’t understand.
Oh, and keep in mind, if you see men or women huddled together in a group
with their own kind, I would be a little suspicious. Just saying…
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