Don’t You Get Me?

You’ve been there. Trying to get some sympathy or at least an “I see why you feel that way” out of your man—your best friend and sounding board—but what you get is a single acknowledgement that you’re talking and a virtually monosyllabic answer to the majorly complicated problem you’re telling him about.

How rude.

But not to him. As far as he’s concerned, he just helped you. He gave you a solution. Isn’t that why you came to him in the first place? So why didn’t this work for you? Why do you feel like he left you hanging and that he doesn’t care?

The same reason he got confused when you mentioned that you hadn’t been to your favorite restaurant in a while and then got upset that he didn’t take you out. After all, you practically asked him.

It’s as simple as man language and woman language. Men are hard-wired to be direct. They speak to communicate. Women are more indirect. They communicate to validate and be validated.

With men, communication is like a straight line. It’s all business. They get to the point, and they’re done. For example, if a man thinks it’s hot in the house, he’s likely to say, “Hey, it’s hot in here. Let’s turn on the air.” Simple.

For women, communication is about being understood. This takes more time, and sometimes you have to hit each point from more than one angle. This is not a line segment. It is a spiral of support, and the listener is welcome to jump in at any point and take a few revolutions with the speaker. If a woman thinks it’s hot in the house, she might say, “Whew! It’s a little stuffy,” and consider that sufficient for the air to be turned on.

Both are legitimate ways to communicate as long as all parties involved are keen to what the speaker sees as the point and what point the listener is likely to hear.

So ladies, the next time you drop a hint and get what you think is an inadequate response, remember that you have to talk man language if there’s something specific you want. You have to say, “I sure would like you to make me a birthday cake this year,” because “I like when you bake,” isn’t going to get you that cake.

And men, the next time you get talked at and it sounds like she’s going in circles, it’s because she is. If you don’t hear her say, “What do you think I should do?” don’t offer a suggestion. Just get on the merry-go-round, pull her close, and tell her you understand how she feels.

- Sara

Sara Wigington, Author