Ladies, how often have you been miffed at the “spaced out” look that you get from your guy-friend after a half hour of talking? And gentlemen, haven’t you noticed how you are “supposed to have known” what she wanted?
“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” American author and relationship counselor John Gray’s bestseller introduced the common man to a better understanding of the opposite sex. It is a well-known fact that men and women are inherently different in the way they are “wired”. When it comes to communicating with each other, problems often arise because of a lack of awareness or acceptance of these differences. Here are a few tips on how you can communicate better with a member of the opposite sex:
The Importance of the Word – Women speak a lot more than men in a day – 20,000 words versus 7,000 words. As you may expect, this gap can lead to miscommunication. Women tend to have an “introductory” or a “scope out the situation” part, “what the content is” part, and a “closure” part to a conversation. In contrast, men usually get right to the point without preamble. The key to better communication is to strike a balance. Ladies, try and speak slower and cull out words that don’t really matter. And men, try and lay a smoother path with your conversation instead of jumping right in.
Also, before using hurtful words, take just one moment to rethink. That one moment can make a huge difference.
State very clearly what you want – Sometimes, plain listening is the key. Women may have noticed that when they’re talking to their male friend or partner about a problem they are facing, the man is quick to suggest or recommend a solution to it. Men have always been “problem-solvers”. So their instinct is to fix something, whereas women are often seen complaining that men just don’t listen enough. The only way you can communicate better is to tell the other person honestly what you expect.
Those little non-verbal signs make a huge difference – Physical communication and body language goes a long way in building understanding. A smile is a great icebreaker. Show interest in the conversation by always keeping eye contact with the other person. And one thing that a lot of us don’t know is when to stop talking. Make sure you give the other person a chance to respond.
Tolerance for conflict is different in the two genders – While men are inherently tuned to tackle conflict head-on, most women tend to do everything possible to avoid it. In a conversation that involves the opposite gender, it pays to respect this crucial point. This helps you keep the tone of the discussion lighter, and avoid strong language or non-verbal cues.
Proximity while communicating – Have you noticed how you feel different levels of comfort in a conversation based on where you’re sitting or standing? Women prefer to be “side-by-side” with a male friend or partner while having a conversation; on the other hand, men prefer to be face-to-face. Also, in intimate relationships, women like more physical contact, which is perhaps why the “side-by-side” approach works for them.
While these tips are to help you be more aware of the inherent differences in communication styles of men and women, the key lies in acceptance and taking action. Start making small changes to accommodate the other person and you will notice a world of difference.
Visual Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/faceme/