I hope you can imagine it, because that is as close to the picture as you’ll ever get. Imagination! Discussions like this one never happened in primitive culture and have only been possible for about the last 160 years. Up until then, the primary concerns of most men and women were matters of survival.
“How do we eat and stay alive?”
As hard as it is for us to believe, conversations about plans for the weekend, fashions, and emotions have been part of the human picture for a very short period. Considering the length of recorded history, the need for men and women to communicate is still in its infancy. Of course, if we take a look around at how poorly most of us communicate with the opposite-sex, it is pretty easy to agree that “infancy” is the best way to describe it.
Maybe more frustrating to the situation than our lack of communication maturity is our ignorance of what is going within the person we are trying to communicate with. Our “reality” paints a clear picture of the faults and shortcomings of the opposite sex and, without knowing it, our own faults and shortcomings are being painted clearly by their “reality.”
“She’s too emotional.”
“He just won’t talk about his feelings.”
“She’s so flighty!”
“He’s too serious.”
“Why can’t she be more organized?”
“Why can’t he be more spontaneous?”
On and on it goes until we reach overwhelm and decide that the other gender is simply incapable of getting it right. Their behavior does not match our behavior or expectations and so we are constantly disappointed in the result.
Stereo-types aside, communication between the sexes is a global problem. 1,000’s of people, from very different cultural, racial, socioeconomic backgrounds, and countries, have received this information through corporate and couple’s workshops, high school and college events, as well as medical and mental health presentations- a huge diversity of people.
What becomes obvious in each setting is that men and women have a hard time appreciating each other. The female clients think the men are indulging in typical “male” behavior, while the men are convinced the women are indulging in typical “female” behavior. They each believe there is something broken about the other and things would be great if only they could be fixed.
We have all heard plenty of jokes about men, women, relationships, and marriage. Some of the jokes are funny and make us laugh at our circumstances, but unfortunately, jokes usually hide anger, misunderstandings, and fears.
Despite all the real enlightenment achieved over the last couple of decades, the “battle of the sexes” exists and continues to grow because we still have limited understanding about the “enemy.” We may think that we understand the opposite sex because we use the same basic language (English, in this case). We further assume that a word and its meaning are the same for everyone, even though we know that the meaning of a word may change by region of the country, race or religion, and certainly between generations. What we usually overlook is how words are interpreted due to gender.
The confusion really gets going when we see that each gender has different internal signals that define positive and negative feedback. Some of these signals are inborn and some are learned in order to survive in our respective environments. Even though survival is no longer an actual issue for most of us, we continue to experience and respond to the world through these signals.
Exploring these issues and presenting the findings is not intended to support the ignorant, chauvinistic attitudes of both men and women. However, some attitudes contain a seed of truth and it is important to investigate that seed to find the source of the behavior. When we understand the seed, we can better nurture what it grows to be.
The goal of a new book I’m writing is both answers and questions. Ideally, after reading, you will have a few answers that cause you to ask more questions of the opposite sex rather than assume you understand what is being said. The content and examples are directed primarily to women who are seeking to better understand men, however; men can benefit from learning more about our own communication issues and how to better relate.
I predict your mindset will change and you will trust more by listening and seeking to understand the differences in male and female experiences. I also guarantee you will find yourself easily resolving situations that used to cause problems before you read this book.
Gender-based differences affect our business lives as well as our personal relationships. I hope you will be able to take the information that follows and use it within your management style, corporate structure, and leadership choices, as well as in the roles of your family. But be warned! You may begin to develop more compassion and trust for everyone around you as the understanding of different motivations and realities of men and women come to light. (That wouldn’t be so bad bad, would it?)
I further promise to make this as fun to read and easy to implement as possible. Otherwise, it’s useless. Discovering the truths hidden in our design and development can be a little academic if we aren’t careful. Rest assured though, you will be nodding your head and even giggling a little at the examples as you relate to them.
You will also have “ah-ha” moments where a long held belief about the opposite sex (maybe one member in particular) will collapse under the weight of what you have just learned. Embrace the opportunities for growth and please, focus on using the new information to work on yourself first. This isn’t a hammer to go beating the other person over the head with.
If you are up to the challenge, register below for a free download of the book as soon as it is released. I’m targeting June 3 and those on the list will be the only ones who get this opportunity. Thanks for being here and I look forward to better conversations!
Be your best,