The Way You Look Tonight

News The Way You Look Tonight
The Way You Look Tonight October 5, 2015

After getting ready for a networking dinner event, a woman walks into the living room and says to husband “How do I look?”  Husband glances up from newspaper and replies “…nice.”  Woman says, “I’ve just spent an hour on hair, clothes, make-up, and accessories and that is all you can come up with?”

Husband replies “What do you want me to say?” Woman says,”I look fabulous.” He responds, “You look fabulous then.”  Woman chides back, “No, you really don’t think that or you would have said that in the first place.”

Husband then thinks to himself, “damned if I do, damned if I don’t,” and returns to reading the sports page.

Moral of story: whether at home or at work, communicating with members of the opposite sex can be frustrating and challenging.  While each party is genuinely trying to communicate honestly, there is a difference in patterns and styles. Recognizing and discerning these variables can help bridge the gap of misunderstanding and lead to healthier and more productive conversations.

Some common examples of recurrent misreadings between masculine and feminine communication include:

1.  Showing support — Men use speech to accomplish a task or assert themselves and often exhibit minimal response cues.  Women may interpret this as disinterest.  Women use speech to make a connection with an individual or to find comfort.  The male tendency to offer advice instead of giving comfort is perceived as dismissive of a woman’s feelings.

2.  Troubles talk— The difference in communication can also lead to hurt feelings when talking about personal problems.  For instance a woman may reveal to her partner that she is upset because she didn’t get a job.  The male in his effort to be supportive may respond by saying many people don’t get the jobs they want.  This is seen as dismissive and belittling by the woman.  Whereas, if the man reveals to the woman that he did not get the job he wanted, her response may be to ask questions and probe to see if he is “ok” in order to establish connection.  The man sees this as an intrusion into privacy and withdraws further.

3.  Point of the story—Gender communication styles also clash when relating experiences.  The male tendency is to move through major points in a story to get to a climax. Women on the other hand like to share details in order to engage a conversational partner.  As a result men tend to view women’s storytelling as wandering and unfocused, conversely women may view men’s storytelling as leaving out all the important details.

4.  Relationship talk —Men are inclined to think that a relationship is going fine as long as there is no need to talk about it.  Women on the other hand think a relationship is going fine as long as they can talk about it with their partners.

In conclusion, men use conversation as a way to do things and solve problems where women generally regard the process of communicating as a primary way to create and sustain relationships with others.

So women, the next time if you really want to know how you look just ask another female, and men if you want women to stop asking you, just come up with the best adjective in your vocabulary without being asked.

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