Communication is an important part of a relationship, so much so, that when your communication breaks down, so does your relationship.
Dating and relationships can be work at times to say the least, but having awareness of the differences between men and women and how we communicate can decrease misunderstandings and foster empathy and consideration for the other person.
Using the examples below, let’s take a closer look at the difference in communication styles between men and women and how we communicate.
Men & Women: How we communicate
“How could you not know?”
As connectors and feelers, women have a tendency to assume that men know exactly what they’re thinking and need. Men on the other hand, communicate in a much more straightforward way through direct requests. It’s important to understand that men are not mind readers and unless the woman communicates her needs, he’s not playing a guessing game with her. In order to meet in the middle, the best approach is for the woman to be open about her feelings and not make any assumptions about what the man may or may not know.
“Do you remember that amazing song that was playing in the background the first time we met?”
Women have a striking memory for details especially when it comes to relationships, where as men don’t. It’s important to be conscious of the fact that just because a man can’t recall all the details, does not mean he doesn’t care for the woman.
“This what you should do.”
When it comes to solving problems, men are entirely solution oriented. A man’s main focus is to give the woman advice and solve the problem as quickly and affectively as possible. This approach by the man can seem cold to a woman who is seeking compassion and advice. To meet in the middle, it’s important for a man to approach a woman seeking help with sensitivity first, and then approach the problem. For women, it’s important to offer help first then follow with sensitivity when it comes to men.
“I just need some time to myself.”
One of the biggest misunderstandings when dating or in a relationship is when a man feels the need to retreat. Men seek recluse in order to solve problems and deal with their emotions, where as women crave communication in order to process their emotions and let it go. Women often perceive the retreat of a man as a threat to the relationship because of her difference in communication style. In order to meet in the middle, as a woman, it’s critical to provide the man enough space in order to work through his problem. On the male side, it’s important for the man to show interest and compassion towards the woman. Ask her how she’s feeling and be available to talk through the problem with her.
“Why are you always bringing up the past?”
Women connect everything, while men compartmentalize. What this means is, men like to focus on one thing at one time. Women on the other hand, connect everything and have no problems multi-tasking. For men, when a woman tries to talk about the past, it’s only because she is connecting one event to another.
“Hello? Are you listening?”
Women love to communicate and talk, as men that can leave them sometimes on the receiving end. It’s critical that a woman see’s and feels you’re listening to her. That could be a simple nod or acknowledgement within the conversation. On the woman’s side, it’s important to not over talk your man. Create space and pause for him to contribute to the conversation.
“He hardly shows he loves me.”
Women prefer reminders and affirmation that their men love and care for them. These don’t have to be grandiose gestures, this could even be cooking her dinner after a long day of work or telling her how great she looks today (refer to the 5 love languages). Where a man assumes a woman still remembers his nice gesture from two months ago, a woman needs a bit more reassurance and affirmation.
Although how we communicate may differ, notice, it’s our response to these differences that really make or break your interaction with your partner.
In order to ready yourself for the relationship of your dreams, it’s important for both genders to be able to meet in the middle, to have compassion for their communication differences and work through them to be able to anticipate and respond appropriately to their partners needs.