Many of the stereotypes surrounding the male gender do not apply to all men. Yet their widespread acceptance inhibits the way men communicate. For example, not all men prefer to occupy their Sunday afternoons sitting on the couch, eating potato chips, yelling at the TV over a football game.
Traits such as having a sense of fashion, appreciating art, or knowing how to dance are often perceived as feminine and males who possess these qualities must be homosexual. Questioning the sexuality of heterosexual men based on these traits is a mentality that much of our society shares. Sexual preference is not determined by personal interest or personality.
Regardless of your sexual orientation, men tend to be confined by “social norms” or generalized based on gender (often against their will). For many generations men have been crippled by the effects of these stereotypes. For example, the belief that men have no desire to communicate emotions or engage in conversations involving anything more than superficial chit chat, hinders our confidence to do so. This lack of confidence has created avoidance which has limited the availability of men who verbalize emotions effectively to whom we may model ourselves after.
To put it simply, men fear openly expressing their feelings and emotions because society perceives this as weak and rarely do we witness examples of such vulnerability in others to follow.
Exposure to positive role models, those who efficiently express themselves, is a fundamental part of our growth. The ability to communicate effectively is something we must learn through practice and observation. While many of the typical male stereotypes are misconceptions, there are certain aspects of the male thought process and communication styles that remain consistent. This stems from a combination of learned behavior and genetic predisposition.
Men tend to communicate objectively. If there is a problem, we begin to look for solutions rather than waste time discussing the problem in depth. If it’s broke, fix it. If it can’t be fixed, throw it in the trash and move on. What’s the point in talking about how it makes us feel? Even philosophical discussions may be viewed objectively. In contrast, women don’t typically think in such concrete terms.
The difference in our thought processes can lead to breakdowns in communication between men and women. Being direct and factual can get you in trouble with females. Women are going to interpret emotional connotations in the things you say regardless of the intentions of your message.
Women communicate relationally. They tend to look at situations and circumstances in terms of how this relates to me or how these two people or events relate to each other. A guy might see a terrible car accident and comment on the destruction and of the vehicles and the injuries the passengers sustained. A woman might think about those poor families who lost loved ones in the accident or wonder how emergency personnel cope with such tragedies.
A friend once told me, “It’s not so much about what you say to a woman but about how she feels about what you say”. Realizing this simple concept gives you an advantage when learning to communicate on a woman’s level. However, just being aware of this notion is not enough.
In the next few posts I will do my best to help guys understand how to emotionally connect with women (and each other). So stay tuned for more!
Author: Jesse Leake
Witten and Edited in part by: Elizabeth A.
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