Dale Curd, our expert on men, came by to talk about how men and women listen differently and what the sexes can do to make sure each side is getting the message.
What do men listen for in a conversation?
Watch this segment in Episode 44 now.
Typically speaking men will listen to hear facts - that's how they've been conditioned - not to talk about feelings. They don't talk to other men that way. Guys who speak directly are considered "straight up" types by other guys.
Men are not good at listening to get a "feel" for what's going on - they listen for a specific problem. Their mindset is, "I'm looking for what the problem is so I can find a solution." So they find it frustrating if they have to listen to try to understand the feeling behind the problem. When their partner's talking to them they listen to tone, and language. If there's a problem, they'll know in a second, but they're unaware of the problem itself.
What to do?
We need to understand that that we're wired to talk differently and we communicate differently. It's each person's responsibility to make sure that they are understood.
If a man says something direct and the woman has a "deer in the headlights look" it's smart to say, "How did you hear me?". That question is good for both sides. There are few things more painful then the perception that you've been misunderstood.
One thing a lot of women complain about is that when they tell their partners that they're not doing enough chore-wise. The usual come back is "Just tell me what you want done and I'll do it." Frustrating, right? Women don't want to put in the position of being
a nag and don't understand why their partners can't figure it out on their own.
So, in this particular example, and as a general rule, it's more effective to communicate with a man based on what you do want, rather than explaining what is not happening.
For example, "I want more participation from you in the day to day running of our home, specifically with the laundry." That's a direct and clear way of communicating. Generally men want to know where they can be most effective, where their participation is necessary and appreciated. Once they understand where they're necessary, then most men are happy step up to the plate.
If women communicated to their men clearly about what they wanted, i.e., I'll handle everything inside of the home, if you handle everything outside of the home, or, I'll be planning and investing for our retirement, would you be responsible for our budget and paying our bills", then men would have a clear sense of where and how they can
It's really about women believing that they can be a little more direct - men will hear that.
Seek to be understood. Rather than prove that I'm right and you're wrong.
Tips from Dale: