Next Up: Men + Women = Communication Disasters

Why are men and women so different? To be more specific, why do men and women argue differently?  I can create an argument for or against something and I am willing to hear arguments against the belief or opinion and I understand that people are arguing against the belief. I take this argument and consider it in my argument. However, my wife will decide on something and I will argue against it but she takes it as a personal attack against her not the argument. Talking to my friends it seems as if this is status quo for men and women. Why?
Brewster, New York

This is a great question!  Let’s discuss why I think this happens.

Although women are often regarded as better communicators, men are considerably more direct.  When men talk about a type of car they like, they’re just talking about cars.  When women talk about the car they like, they’re not just talking about cars.  They’re talking about: how they feel about the car company itself, a childhood experience inside one of those cars, the way the brand’s ad campaign makes them feel, or a host of other issues they’ve associated with this inanimate object.

So if a woman tells you that she loves Jaguars because her brother owned one, it might mean that she misses her brother who is stationed in Iraq right now.  If you hate Jaguars and tell her so, she will immediately believe that you don’t care about either her or her brother, and you are being entirely insensitive to her needs.

This may be an over-simplified example, but this is often the way women think.  There is most likely some kind of personal element she is gathering from your argument – with an irrefutable truth or fear at the bottom of it.  You may say, “I had a friend who worked for Jaguar, and they said the guys who there don’t know what they’re doing.”  As innocent as that argument sounds, she might interpret that as you think your friend knows more than she does.  This belief may be based on another comment you made about her intelligence weeks ago, and she’s been stewing about it ever since

In order to diffuse the situation when your wife becomes unreasonably agitated, it’s best to approach her with kindness.  If she is upset and you get mad at her in return, she will now not only feel insulted, but that you dislike her, too.  Simply, but genuinely say, “I must have said something that bothered you.  Could you tell me what it is, because I probably just misspoke and you’ll feel better once you know that I didn’t mean to upset you.”  Women are always hoping that their men will prove their fears wrong.  She may be reluctant to tell you what’s going on in her head, but if you come to her with genuine concern, she will be grateful that you care – and surely soften up a bit.  After she has calmed down, remind her that she should trust in you, and not automatically perceive something negative when you are having a casual debate.  Let her know that she should give you more credit, and that it upsets you when she assumes you must be criticizing her.

Try and remember that keen sensitivity present in women is the same quality that inspires women to take care of every little detail in their family’s lives, and ensures their children are clothed, fed, bathed and hugged by the time the lights go out at night.

Men & women communication disasters don’t need to occur.  Let’s bridge the gap.

Don't forget to email me at: with your questions!  Looking forward to talking to you!


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