communication

How to Emotionally Connect with Women (Part 1)

men oneMany 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.

Personal questions or comments? Need advice? Email me thelovemanifesto@gmail.com

Check me out on Twitter @jesse_leake

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54 thoughts on “How to Emotionally Connect with Women (Part 1)

  1. Agreed, It’s good for men to be emotionally intelligent, but it’s not good for us to lose our objectivity, that’s what makes a man a successful leader. Emotional intelligence is more than just thoughts and feelings it’s understanding the body language and sub-verbal cues associated with different emotions. Also it’s important for woman to balance themselves with objectivity. Overall we should make decisions based on the consideration of others.

    1. You are right. I am NOT saying that we should be driven by our emotions. I think that the key is being vulnerable and open about them. Not necessarily that they guide and direct our decisions. Thanks for the input.

  2. Beautifully written and very insightful. Biologically speaking, I believe most women think relationally. However, I think there are some women that think objectively. This is based primarily on experience and environmental disposition of the woman. Looking forward to more post from you! Cheers!

    1. Great point. I think environmental impact is important and effects how we communicate. It seems that overall we are half a result of our biology and the half a result of our environment. Half nature. Half nurture.

    1. Thank You. There are not enough man out there writing about this topic. Sadly there are not many men who read about this topic either. Which I think is where a lot of the problem is. However this blog is for women to. Wow this series focuses on man I have lots of stuff I have already written for women as well.

    1. I agree. Certainly we need to be in control of our emotions I’m not let them run our lives but we should be allowed to show them without fear of ridicule. I think that certain parts of the country are worse than others.

  3. I was very proud of my husband as he gave a very emotional eulogy at his Father’s funeral last month. I felt he provide a great role model for our son as he stood there and cried before he could even speak and intermittently throughout. I think things are looking up for the men in our world and applaud you for your role in this.

    1. It is refreshing to hear optimistic perspective. I think that there is a lot of growth among men in the world today. And there are a lot of changes that we will see and how many relay and interact. The world is changing so fast that these are challenging times for everyone. we often get our roles confused.

    2. There is nothing wrong with man showing his feelings. I probably will cry at my father’s funeral some day. I think there are two extremes – one is to say men must do this, to cry and show feelings or else they are somehow not as enlightened as they should be. The other is to say if men cry it makes them look like less of men. I believe if comes natural to you, then let it out, if you don’t feel the need to display your emotions in front of others, then that is fine too.

      Now there is a big difference between men crying, and men telling their wife and kids on regular basis how much they love them and are proud of them. This is may require some personal growth for some men, but they need to do that. I try and tell my wife and kids every day how much I love them and am proud of them.

  4. So true. When I look at how men (and women) act in my culture compared to others, I realize how much society influences our perception, personalities and traits. Sometimes we confuse things that we learn for things that are innate.

  5. I have two brothers who are very involved in my children’s and grandchildren’s lives. I think they tend to be both rational and relational, along with good analyzers. You make some good points. I think whoever you talk to you, as best you can, you should look at their expressions to discern their interpretation of what you said. If you see a frown or any sign it may have bothered them, then you need to backtrack and ask questions. You are doing great at helping others to see these things and your lists are easy to read, although containing material that has depth.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this. It goes both ways. Women are also confined to social stereotypes. I have a bit of both types, since I was raised by an aerospace engineer and a librarian. The ‘engineer’ in me confuses both men and women. I am not supposed to ‘act that way’ or ‘speak that way’ ’cause I am a woman.

    Keep writing. You have a wonderful viewpoint. 🙂

  7. Catalina here, crazy dumped girl writing about divorced and moving on. What a breath of fresh air you are. Sorry about the male bashing I do, I do though believe that we as women need to never become bitter and never ever give up on love. You are proof that there is love out there. Man we just have to really fight for it. Scary thought that for every 1 man there are 10 women. I wrote an article about it that scary thought do we have to resort back to the days of the harem and share our men. I find myself to much of a selfish woman, I would be screaming …MY TURN MY TURN…EVERY NIGHT!! Love your writing and your message!! Thank you for writing my crazy writing from the craziest loving woman around.

  8. Thank you for liking y post. I am very lucky. I am married to a wonderful man who is more than willing to communicate from his heart. We are deeply connected because he is willing to be vulnerable. Keep up the good work.

    Rebecca

  9. You had me right up to the last line, ” . . . learning to communicate on a woman’s level.” I do understand & appreciate your efforts to explain the male point of view. It is even admirable that you are trying to help other men understand & learn. However, communication is gender neutral. It isn’t like there are two different languages.

  10. Yes, communication often gets derailed because on person said one thing that was misinterpreted by the other person. This happens often between the sexes. Good blog! thank you for visiting and liking mine.

  11. Reblogged this on Biblical Gender Roles and commented:
    I respectfully disagree with the main idea of this post that men stick to talking about actions and concrete ideas without verbalizing their feelings because of lack effective roles models.

    Men do these things because they are men, it is how we as men are designed.
    The reality is that most men (not all) simply do not feel the need to attach feelings to most things in life. Men are objective by nature, and women are relational by nature. It is how God designed us.

    Objectivity is what makes men better leaders and problem solvers than women often times because most men (not all) are able to separate their emotions from the task at hand which must be done.

    I reject the modern concept that men need to change themselves to be more like women and women need to change themselves to more like men where in the end we have this new great unisex being.

    God created us distinctively different and instead of fighting the sex differences and trying to change them we should respect and embrace these differences.

    Does that mean a man should never listen to his wife’s feelings? Of course not. But does that mean a man needs to try and modify his thought processes to be more like a woman, where they attach relational aspects to each and every event? No.

    Do husbands and wives need to communicate? Absolutely. Every successful relationship depends upon good communication, whether it is between a husband and wife, a child and parent, or with coworkers at work.

    But good communication does not require a man to be more like a woman, and woman to be more like a man.

    For instance anyone who has been in any long term relationship or married for any length of time knows that women sometimes just need to talk out their feelings. They don’t need the “problem” fixed or analyzed, they just want to talk about it. So we as men are told not to try and solve the problem but just to listen.

    I believe that advice is good to a certain extent. However, sometimes a problem needs a resolution and it needs to be addressed right away, there is not time to sit around and explore “how we feel”. In this case a man needs to use his objectivity and analytical abilities to cut through the emotional fog and fix the issue.

    Other times when an issue is not as urgent or it does not require “fixing” then I agree men just need to listen.

    But women need to realize that when we are listening to them vent, and just supporting their venting process this can sometimes (not always) be a painful event for us as men. Our analytical brains have solved your issue 12 times over, and we feel like you may have repeated the same information 40 times. We may not have much emotionally to say except, “I am sorry they did that to you” or “I am sorry that is making you feel so bad”. Women need to accept that may be the best we can give as men.

    In the same way that men can’t expect their wives to get into all their hobbies the same as their guy friends do.

    With men and women there are varying degrees of emotional openness. I have shed tears in my life much more than I saw my father shed them. But it has to do with my personality. Some men are naturally more emotionally vulnerable than others. In the same way some women are more emotional than others.

    I am not saying I don’t believe in personal growth either. As a Christian I believe I am called to grow each and every day. But personal growth does not mean a complete change of personality, or that I can or should make myself more like a woman, any more than a woman should be expected to be more like a man.

    I am not saying it is not valuable to read books or blog articles to find out how the opposite sex thinks, and how they process the world around them. I highly encourage that. Men should read about and learn about a woman’s thought processes work and women should about men as well. But that is not the same as modifying one gender, to be more like the other gender in their actual world outlook and brain processing.

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