Male Female Communications

This will come as a shock to some of you, but women and men don't speak the same language. We have different communication styles, among other things. What you have to understand is how we differ so that you can control the outcome of the interactions you have, rather than the interactions controlling you.

How many times have you found yourself in a conversation or argument with a woman as you felt things go wildly out of control? Something like this:

Yolanda: "I'm thinking about taking a course in astrology next year."

Frank: "Do you think you're going to tell fortunes or something? I'm not sure astrology would be a good course choice. It's not practical, and it wouldn't help for your degree. Aren't you going into accounting?"

Yolanda: (shrugging) "I'm not sure yet. I was thinking about going into marketing."

Frank: (sighs) "Marketing? That doesn't sound good right now, especially in this economy. You should stick with your accounting. You're good with numbers."

Yolanda: (crosses her arms) "How do you know what I want? Aren't you listening to me?"

Frank: (raising his voice) "Of course I'm listening! You just told me you want to change your cours e over to astrology. And you're thinking you're going to change your major."

Yolanda: (rolling her eyes) "That's not what I was saying at all!"

What was Frank's big mistake? He overlooked the fundamental principle of male-female communications. Women talk just to talk. Men talk to solve problems and reach solutions.

(This is covered in much more detail in John Gray's book, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.) Essentially, men frequently get drawn into arguments with women that are unnecessary, primarily because they feel that in order to talk to a woman they need to be interacting and giving advice.

Men are brought up that conversation is an almost aggressive act, a clash of egos. We call each other names and use talking as a battleground of wills and opinions. We win when we've cowed our opponent into seeing that we are smarter and have more information. Later the conversations turn into men advising each other on everything from stocks to cars, each person needing to win by having the best advice - being the know-it-all. Often times, men derive pleasure from the put-downs and stings to the ego. Even more often, the conversation becomes a bragging contest.

Women, on the other hand, are socialized to never hurt another girl's feelings (in her presence.) They talk about things between them to share information and to just hear their thoughts out loud. They listen to advice from each other (but not typically from men.) They talk to share drama and emotion.

Essentially, female talk is currency that they pass back and forth, where men talk with weapons that are brandished.

Understanding this will help you when you feel yourself being drawn into the same kind of gambit that poor Frank was. Here's the way that conversation should havegone^

Yolanda: "I'm thinking about taking a course in astrology next year."

Frank: "Astrology, huh? That's sounds different."

Yolanda: (shrugging) "I'm not sure about it yet. I was even thinking about going into marketing."

Frank: (widens his eyes) "Marketing? Wow. What interests you about that?"

Yolanda: "Well, I don't know. I like the part about finding target markets for products, and the research. I think I could be good at that."

Frank: (nodding) "I'm sure you'd be great at it. Especially with your talent for numbers."

Yolanda: (smiling) "Thanks! But, you know, since my major is already in accounting, I'd better stick to that, don't you think?"

Frank: (smirking) "I think you should mix astrology with marketing. You could forecast your ad plans based on their sign. Or you could be an accountant for an astrologer." (winks.)

Most of what Yolanda was saying was just "thinking out loud." She wasn't serious about any of it, really. She just wanted to make some interesting and dramatic talk. Frank learned that his best approach was just to ask questions and get her to talk more. Yolanda wanted nothing more than to feel heard, not to solve any dilemma about her major. She did not need guidance or correction. (And did you notice how Frank threw in the humor at the end? A little teasing for Yolanda, and extra points for Frank.)

You'd be surprised just how many men engage in conversation with women as you saw in the earlier example, ruining their opportunities with women because they can't stop themselves from giving advice - or worse, bragging. Once you get her feeling angry or hurt, you've got an uphill battle.

If you need to be appreciated for your fix-it ability, open a garage. Dating and women are the last place you should be looking to be a know-it-all. The more you can let go of your ego, the better off you'll be.

You don't have to talk like a woman to communicate with them, and all this requires is letting go of your need to control and dominate when you talk. She's talking for talk, and you can, too.

Questions

You will be tripped up by a woman's question at some point or another, and chances are it's already happened enough where you're nodding your head in bitter acknowledgment as you read this. Women love to ask us questions that put us on the spot. Almost none of them really need to be answered.

Deflection or evasion with humor is another important concept. Women will ask you questions all the time. As a general rule, you never answer a woman's questions directly until you are sure you know what they are really asking you. Most of her questions will be probes and will even intentionally provoke you on occasion. You must use some self-discipline to insert that pause between stimulus and response so that you do not get misled. I have added an appendix of how to answer these questions. I suggest you memorize them and make them your own.

Many of the questions women ask are tests:

- Do you think she's pretty? / prettier than me?

Are you a player?

Are you seeing other women?

They are especially not looking for answers to these questions. Most importantly, no answer you can give them would be correct. Why? Because ultimately, the real question behind these boils down to: "Can I trust him?" and following right after that, "Can I just find out what the fault is quickly so I don't have to get hurt again?" (See: "Tests")

The best way to handle a question you don't want to answer initially is to deflect it. Let it flow by and around you. Use humor and a delicate touch and she will get the hint that if she keeps pushing this line of questioning, she may get an answer she doesn't want to hear. If she persists and calls you on your deflection, which will happen many times, you must have a good way of shutting down the question with confidence. Here's an example:

Tina: "So, I wanted to ask you, are you seeing other women?" Marco: "About fifteen now, but it's gone down since the dot-com fallout." Tina: (smiling) "No, really, are you dating a lot of other girls?" Marco: "Why do you ask?" Tina: "Well, are you?"

Marco: "You tell me, are you seeing other women?" Tina: "C'mon, really, I'm just curious. Are you?"

Marco: (realizing that she won't let up, puts his hand on hers) "I'm sure we're both a little worried if the other one is someone we can trust, but I'm not comfortable talking about other people I may be seeing at this point . I don't know enough about you to talk about that quite yet. Maybe if we become more than friends."

Marco stated exactly what his intention was, without apology. He also managed to throw down a gauntlet of challenge to Tina, telling her in effect that he wasn't sure if she would be more interesting than a friend. He also threw in a clever reversal, stating that he wasn't sure if she was trustable as well. And he managed to leave the question as to his dating status unanswered. Another thing Marco could have said in response to her question is: "Why? Are you feeling a little insecure?" That reply calls a woman on her root cause for asking, but it has to be handled very delicately, and only after she has shown that she won't give up.

What would have happened if Marco said "Yes"? He would have had to let her make an instant judgment about him that may or may not have been accurate. If he said "No," she would have been a little worried that he was going to come on too strong since she was all he was focusing on.

Any question can be handled as Marco did, as long as you are prepared to answer in a way that states confidently how you feel about it and that you are not going to be bullied or forced to answer something you are not comfortable with. Do not appear apologetic or insincere! You simply state in a nice way that it's none of her business, and then move on to a new topic.

Arguments

As I stated before, arguments are necessary for the healthy functioning of relationships. They provide dynamic tension and help you know where the limits are. Healthy conflict is required; it's the motor oil of dating and relationships. A good argument stirs up the blood and

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gets things exciting again. A couple that says, "Oh, it's so wonderful; we never fight!" is kidding themselves. No fighting = no passion.

A woman starts an argument for one of three reasons:

1) She has a legitimate gripe or complaint, and she's angry

2) She's feeling an emotional need for attention and drama

(Or any combination of these three.)

That being said, I think most men would love to find the magic key to winning all arguments with women. I have this key, but I'm not sure if you're going to like the solution. It works almost every single time, if you know how to use it correctly. If you do it right, you earn her respect and avoid unnecessary drama. If you do it wrong, you could end up a henpecked wimp. The solution is this:

Delay every argument. And, if you cannot delay the argument, let her "win."

The first key is to avoid the argument entirely. You can simply tell say something like: "Anita, I appreciate that you want to talk about this right now, but I'm not prepared to discuss this with you. Let's talk about it a little later. I'll think about it some more and we can come back to it." She will very likely not accept this at first. The emotional nature of an argument is that she will feel very attached to hashing it out right now, and if you don't go along, it's only more reason to stomp her feet and pout. You have to find the backbone and resolve to not give in and get into it.

The number one reason you want to try delaying an argument is that almost nine times out of ten the argument was just an emotional outburst, and it will just dissolve on its own without having to get into a power struggle. There's no sense wasting energy on a situation that will clear itself up if you just let it pass on by.

The second reason for delaying is that men are incapable of putting up a good defense to a woman when they're caught off guard. When her arguments come up, you will not be fighting her on a level playing field. She'll throw everything at you from an emotional standpoint, and engage your emotions as well. The disadvantage you have is that men can only argue effectively with logic, and you'll just get into another senseless power struggle - likely ending with no sex. Men tend to react rather than listen. Delay until you can detach yourself from the emotional aspect of what she is saying and hear her out, without reacting.

If you absolutely cannot avoid an argument, you should then understand that the best way to survive - intact - is to not try to win the argument, especially not the way you would with another man. I'm not saying that you let her walk all over you, either. What you need to do is to avoid getting into a debate over who was right and who was wrong. You'll always lose, even when you "win." The more you try to be right, the more she will dig in her heels and cross her arms, and you won't get any for quite a while. What you should understand is the wisdom of the East that says:

The reed that bends does not break.

When you are faced with an argument, you must know how to bend - how to let the argument pass by you, instead of ramming your head straight into it.

Hey, I won't kid you, it takes a great deal of self-discipline to manage arguments. I still get drawn into them all the time. But it's a lot less severe when you can avoid reacting and take a second to pause and see that the issue is A) usually less important than it seems (way less), and B) not a personal attack on you, as it often appears.

Feathers

Watch out for feathers when you get into arguments. Feathers are distractions that will fluster you and allow her to gain an upper hold, in the same way that ducks throw up a disturbance of feathers when they're threatened. Both men and women tend to use them, and they appear when one person gets close to an insecurity of the other. An example:

Wanda: "I wish you'd clean up the bathroom once and a while, Danny. I'm sick of cle aning up after you."

Danny: "I cleaned it last week. Remember, we were going to alternate that chore?"

Wanda: "Well ... I didn't think we agreed on that. And, besides, you never said you we re going to vacuum, either. I vacuumed the last two times."

Danny: "But you didn't even give me a chance to do it. You just grabbed the vacuum cle aner and did it without asking me!"

Wanda: "I had to do it, because your dog's hair is all over the apartment. Why don't you ever brush him outside?"

Danny: "My dog? You like Buster as much as I do. Why is it my duty to vacuum when you feel the hair is piling up?!?"

Wanda: "I wish you'd clean up the bathroom once and a while, Danny. I'm sick of cle aning up after you."

Danny: "I cleaned it last week. Remember, we were going to alternate that chore?"

Wanda: "Well ... I didn't think we agreed on that. And, besides, you never said you we re going to vacuum, either. I vacuumed the last two times."

Danny: "But you didn't even give me a chance to do it. You just grabbed the vacuum cle aner and did it without asking me!"

Wanda: "I had to do it, because your dog's hair is all over the apartment. Why don't you ever brush him outside?"

Danny: "My dog? You like Buster as much as I do. Why is it my duty to vacuum when you feel the hair is piling up?!?"

Uh-oh. Danny got sucked into Hell, right next to the Eternal Lava Pits Of Pain.

The thing to notice is that most arguments are an abstraction from the real issue a woman is dealing with. The argument gives her a chance to heat things up and cook them a little before she pours off the sauce of her discontent. Wanda didn't care about the bathroom. Chances are it was just her way of asking for either 1) attention (arguments are often used for this), or 2) passion and drama. But Danny got carried away. You can sense these kind of endless no-win scenarios are coming when you hear the words "and besides," or if the pattern is to move on to another of her laundry list of problems.

Feathers are thrown up to distract. They usually come up when the woman feels that they are in danger of losing their point or not being heard. If she feels cornered, she will use feathers as a way to save face and divert the energy of the argument to some other area. When feathers go up, it's a good indicator that you've over-pursued your side of the argument. You may have proven you were right, but you'll still lose if you push it too hard.

If you get sucked into an argument, the best thing to do is to throw up your own feathers, but not on topics that will keep you arguing. Instead, throw up a few good points about her, and watch her reaction turned to stunned silence. If she complains or needles you about something, give her back a compliment in return. It's totally counter-intuitive, and it breaks her pattern. These are called pattern interrupts, and they work in almost any heated, emotional situation. Use something completely absurd to stop the dynamic from spiraling out of control.

Let's try that argument with Wanda again:

Wanda: "I wish you'd clean up the bathroom once and a while, Danny. I'm sick of cleaning up after you."

Danny: "I cleaned it up last week. Remember, we were going to alternate that chore?"

Wanda: "Well ... I didn't think we agreed on that. And, besides, you never said you we re going to vacuum, either. I vacuumed the last two times."

Danny: "Did you do it naked? I love it when you vacuum in the nude."

Danny: "You are so totally hot when you do housework. It gets that Y chromosome of mine all excited."

Wanda: (Smiling) "Stop! I'm trying to be mad here ..."

What normally happens in the argument dynamic is that a man gets pulled into what he thinks is a battle instead of being able to participate by watching from a distance. Here's what's really happening under the surface, and the reason you always feel powerless:

The man doesn't lose arguments by giving in and agreeing that she was right; you lose when you lose your self-discipline and composure and she gains control by getting you on the defense.

The woman doesn't really want to win by getting you to bow down and admit you're wrong and you aren't worthy. She just wants to express her feelings and be heard and understood. That's why even when you say, "Yes, dear you're absolutely right," it's not enough. She doesn't want victory in the way that men want victory.

Use humor as a calming tactic

Very frequently couples will get into arguments or disagreements in front of friends or family when a sensitive topic comes up. They feel embarrassed that their buttons are being pushed in front of company, and it can make for a very uncomfortable moment as one or the other tries to save face. One good style of managing this situation is to de-escalate it with humor. If she brings up something that is inappropriate or starts to get emotional or angry, you can deflect it by saying something like:

Your number one defense against arguments is not being drawn into a defensive posture.

"Now, honey, not in front of the kids." Or, "It was never like this on 'Leave it to Beaver.'"

If things do get a little out of control and tense, acknowledge it with humor.

"Well! That was sure uncomfortable, huh? Wow, I'd hate to be me later."

The key is to use that sense of humor (and his brothers, the other two S's) to keep things loose and non-abrasive. When you get in private, you can then employ other strategies to handle her anger.

There is another situation that arises with respect to arguments, and it's typically when the man finds that his grievances are almost always dismissed. We've all run into a woman at some time or another who cannot accept blame or admit wrongdoing of any kind. In fact, when you bring anything like this to her attention, she's got a justification for everything. With this woman, there's nothing you can do to get your point across.

Mostly, this is a defense mechanism of a very fragile self-esteem. She guards her castle and prevents any trespasses by locking her gate and never letting any criticism inside. As a result, she comes across as overly defensive, and often self-righteous. She's never wrong.

These women are dangerous to argue with at any time. Until you can find just the right approach to avoid her slamming her castle gate shut, you'll wind up spending many cold and lonely nights in the moat. And even then, you always feel like you're walking in a minefield. If you encounter a woman with an extreme case of this syndrome, you should think about collecting your coat and hat and head for the door.

Always keep an eye out for what is rational and irrational in arguments. Very often, women will throw in the irrational, which you cannot argue with. You'll trip over yourself and lose your composure, and she'll win.

A woman will always have a list of seemingly good reasons (excuses) for why she did something or why something happened. Everything is justifiable to her. This does not mean it is acceptable to you. It's up to you to use your new perception about her behavior to see if you're being manipulated.

Joe: "Anne, why the #&%@ did you slap me after we walked out of the restaurant?"

Annette: "So you're mad that I slapped you? After sitting in that lobby for an hour while you talked to your buddy from work? I was going to catch a cab. That was so thoughtless!"

Joe: "But I didn't ... you ... he ... DOH!"

Joey is letting her divert the argument over to her offense. The point is that she's trying to justify two wrongs being right - that Joey's oversight or minor error warrants retaliation. He has to step back and not resolve her act of physical violence. Again, the simple solution is to control your emotions and not be distracted by the feathers.

Also remember, just because someone apologizes for something, that doesn't mean you have to accept it.

Continue reading here: What Women Really Want

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