Monday, October 26, 2009

Understanding men and women

Specially dedicated to my babe!

We have been together since Jan 24th 2004 and going strong!

To all the guys out there, this is to you all! (Starts a speech: I have a dream.....)

Ladies, have you ever stared at your guy in disbelief at the remark he made? You love him so much but sometimes he just doesn’t make sense. Or have you ever wanted to kill him for not understanding why he is such an insensitive pain in the neck? There have been TOOOO many articles relating to pleasing her but little accurate or informative articles relating to understanding him, save the market hungry top 10 lists that aim to do no more than sell women's magazines. Hopefully this will give a break to the guys and girls out there! Note: this article focuses more on the male of the species, so please don’t get offended if you feel that your gender is under represented here!

Why men and women behave the way they do
Pyramid vs Peer Group
Winner vs Warmer
Me vs We
Focus vs Multitask
Headlines vs Details
Bringing upvs bringing down
Flexibility vs Independence
Literal vs Implied meaning

Hope you enjoyed this article! Special thanks to my one and only Babe for being the best girlfriend a guy can ever have. I'll see you in 30 more days so just hold on dear!

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Last updated 29th October 2009

Literal meaning vs Implied meaning

When women say something, it's the tip of the iceberg.

When was the last time your girl said, "You don’t understand me"? and goes off feeling sad? Men and women communicate differently as men tend to me more direct and specific while women tend to hide their true message under a blanket of words and emotion. Women tend to imply and draw conclusions. Here's an example:

Husband: I am going to the corner store to get a tool box.
Wife: Oh could, you drop by the grocery shop next door and get me some onions.
Husband: But, I am going to the corner store to get a tool box.
Wife: I have so many things to do, why can't you just be useful and help me do just that.
Husband: But, I am going to the corner store to get a tool box!!
and an argument starts......

Okay, here's the underlying meaning,
Husband: He really wants to go to the corner store to get a tool box!! That is all that is in his mind and he is too focused on it to do anything else. In his head, are the simplified headlines: TOOLBOX at CORNER SHOP.

and here is what the woman is actually saying

Wife: Oh could, you drop by the grocery shop next door and get me some onions.
What she mean: the grocery shop is on the way, you could save me some time so that after that we could have more you and me time. While you are at the shop, please get me that box of chocolates and flowers cause it has been sometime since you got me a present. I would love you so much more for that and I will give you your reward for that!

Wife: I have so many things to do, why can't you just be useful and help me do just that.
What she means: I am feeling really exhausted with all this tasks. I have been doing the dishes, ironing, cleaning cooking, making sure the kids are all ready for school. I need attention from you right now.A hug would be good and I want you to make me feel better. You could make me feel better by lessening my burden so that we can enjoy our time later. (And the implied meaning can go on and on. It's scary when i think of it)

The morals, need I say more??? Think this one for yourself and good luck!!

But just in case, here is something to take home:
Guys: Look for the hidden meaning behind her worlds. Its not easy at all but it’s a skill that should be learnt. The best way is to be nice! Do something that will make a whole room of girls go,”Awwww” and she will be yours for life.

Girls: Please be patient with guys. When a guys say something, that’s all he means. Nothing else. There is no implication to that. I don’t think men are that complicated to imply things yet.

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Flexibility vs Independence

Men strive for freedom in many aspects of their lives. They aspire to be the boss, to have that new gadget that no one else has and to define himself in his own Add Imageunique way. It is obvious how this behavior benefits the society. Just browse through the history books and realise that independence of many countries were led by men. Yet in this modern world when there is little war or violence, the need for independence is is hard to be satisfied, so men seize any opportunity that they can to be exactly that.

Women on the other hand prefer flexibility. Oh, an eyeliner that has a built in brush and curler, or a store that has so much variety of shops, shopping time! Well, since ancient times, women have been tasked with gathering for the community, in markets and on the plains, flexibility has been built into them to function well as home maker and this skill has seen them rise up the corporate ladder faster that mushrooms in the rain. The outcome of this is, women nowadays demand more than their ancestors.

Ladies: This means that sometimes, the only opportunity to gain independence is in the relationship. Let him do what he has to and appreciate him for it. Show him that you are thankful for what he has done for you.

And to all the men out there: Yeah, it kinda sux having this need for independence. I guess the only way to be independent is to literarily be independent. I could use some tips on this myself, but one thing is for sure: She has the potential to do great things, just give her the motivation and create the mood. You will thank her and love her more if you when you see her true potential.

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Bringing up vs bringing down

When a girl is sad, her girl friends will try to cheer her up by saying this such as, "It's okay, everything will be just fine" etc. The female of the species has a supportive community where everyone tries to bring each other up. On the other hand, guys will taunt and attempt to bring each other down. How many times have you heard name calling like, "Smelly boy" or you "Nerdy boy" amongst boys? The sort of communication aims at improving the other person. The reward for improving is respect. More often than not, these boys grow up to be friends. However, when men and women exchange support and try to bring each other up in their different ways, suddenly the intended meaning is lost in the translation. This goes hand in hand with apologizing. Men come equipped with a really big ego, so saying sorry really takes more effort than you think.

As for women, the way that one woman knows another woman is down is if she is sad. She will know how to comfort her and say nothing. Whereas, a man might offer solutions to a girls problems, when all she needs is for him to shut up and accept it just the way it is. Men usually get wrong signals when women are upset. He will think that there are some things that need to be fixed. He does not know what his girl truly needs. So sulking every other time and expecting the man to bow his head down and give you the red carpet treatment to your heart is like playing with a dragon, dangerous business. There are other ways to seek attention than trying to humble him.

Lesson for guys: Keep your tongue in check when you talk to your girl. There are some things that you should not say to her that you say to your guy friends. Remember, she is sensitive and may misunderstand your joke or humour as insensitivity. Trying to be funny will usually work with friends but make sure you think before you talk. She craves attention and the brining up, so be generous with your efforts in giving attention. When she is down, stop offering solutions as there is usually no problem to fix. She just need your shoulders and comforting. After that, she will be back to her usual lovely self.

Girls: If he slips, understand why he behaves that way and its natural. He might say things that maybe hurtful, but he might just be joking or trying to be funny. Take his remarks with a pinch of salt and tell him if he is it is starting to get annoying. Trying to get his attention by expecting him to be humble is not something you should do often. It takes a toll on his ego and he feels subordinated and will seek to take you down with him. You need attention, but what you might get is detention. When you are down, tell him that you are feeling down without blaming too much on him (unless he is to blame).

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Headlines vs Details

Ever wondered why he doesn’t even realise how much effort you put into fitting into that dress and making up to look good? And all he says is, “You look beautiful tonight". And guys look in disbelief when their girl instead of smiling, responds with a frown, "Is that all?". Don’t you just hate to be in that position guys? When looking for information, men usually take one look and absorb all he needs to, via a picture, a headline or a symbol, where as women when seeking information, require the details on who, when, how, what etc. Simplifying the complicated is a vital tool for men to function. Without making things simple, understanding is made complex and the most intricate things in the world would not be understood. ALL scientific theories have SIMPLE underlying assumptions and principles and the most beautiful manmade creations, are usually the simplest. For instance, the current theory of everything: String theory which assume that everything is made of very small vibrating strings in 13 dimensions, sublimely simple escape!!. This probably has to do with the fact that nature has been casting out genes in the Y chormosome =(.

Women however are more a complex creation. They can spend hours upon hours doing their hair, makeup, foundation, mascara, trimming, and the list goes on. Their keen eye for detail is thought to be important for early gatherers. It would have been advantageous for these women to notice the subtle differences between this fruit and that root. So much so that women have a 6th sense that would scarealmost every other guy. Notice how women, when they meet they go "I love those earrings and that heels match your bracelet, I got it at... with my friend and my mum and we were out doing this and ......".(Guys, I caught you looking at the time) She sees things that he does not notice. (Actually is more about men being ignorant and seeing less, I have to admit). Her eye for detail makes it important for everything to be in order, hence now, almost 40% of world managers are women!!! In fact 100% of women who become mothers are managers!! They manage the home, the kids and the husband.

In light of this, men: take notice of all, even the smallest detail and every effort she has put in for you, tangible or intangible, for she will be grateful. Thank the stars for you woman (and you mum while you are at it) for it is no menial task juggling all the emotion and the responsibilities. ALWAYS, ALWAYS appreciate her because she is important (or will be important in your life.. Thank you Babe!).

Women: I guess men are disadvantaged at this, so bear with us. We need practice to notice the important details! We still love you none the less.

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Focus vs Multitask

Shh!! Do not disturb!

Have you always wanted to get his attention, only to find that he is not attentive at all? The majority of men, when performing a task, tend to be more focused at the task at hand. Think of it, when the prehistoric men were out hunting in a group, the men would require great concentration while aiming their spears in the eyes of the sabretooth cat! Meow! Just look at all the professions we have today, brain surgeons, electronic engineers, accountants… all these roles are really specific and they require the person to focus. Imagine tasking a brain surgeon with plumbing. Not a good idea. Similarly, expecting a guy to email you, write letters, give you a present, pick you up for dinner etc all together coupled with his already hectic life and you will only get heart ache.

Surprisingly, women have adapted to multitasking, performing various tasks together and they have the mental capacity to actually do it. Research shows that women of all ancient civilizations hold the responsibility of home maker, nurse, teacher, grocer, cook and many more. (I guess = MUM) Give a woman a list of five things to do, and you can expect the bottom four things to be completed if they can be multitasked. She will say, “Oh, I could iron while I am waiting for the soup to cook”. A man on the other hand will probably start from the top. If the task requires focus, it won’t be surprising if he returns with only the first task crossed off. He will put all his effort into getting the most important thing done and may even get engrossed in it.

So guys: When your girl needs your attention (and she will need it a lot), give her some quality time where you can focus on her needs and only her. Turn off the games or your favorite channel if you owe her a dose of attention. Attention to her is like a leaky bucket and must be filled consistently!

Ladies: If you desperately want a guy’s undivided attention, make sure that there are no distractions which might make his mind wander off. Also, understand the need for him to focus and do not over load his system. If there are many things you want, split them into manageable portions. When he is engrossed in something, do not spoil his focus as it will ruin his concentration and he will most likely blame it on you, whether he says it out loud or not. Instead, ask him first if he has time for you, or ask him for some of his time by telling him you really need it.

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Me vs We

Men generally are soloists where as women see themselves as ensemble players. A man usually want to do things alone and gain satisfaction from accomplishing something on his own. He wants to stand out from the rest and feel special. He will attempt with all this might and power to perform a task and will only ask another man for help when he is unable to. Seeking another man’s help is patronising him and the person who asks feels delighted to receive his knowledge while the other man feels important as he can convey value to his friend. They both become closer!

However, if a girl offers him help, he will feel incompetent. Women however, live on the basis of "we". They tend not to leave people out and think about what is important for the group or the couple. They want what is best to maintain the relationship where possible. Indeed, women are better at organising people, for example a class and HR, a skill that has been handed down to them from generations of practice.

So guys: Remember to thank and recognise how your girl has thought about you both. Make the fact that “We” is more important than “Me” and you will find that you she will love you more for it!

Girls: Accept that a guy wants to do his best especially when he loves you. Sometimes there are things a guy has to do that a guy has to do. Support him by acknowledging that him and offer help but not to push help to him.

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Winner vs warmer

Simultaneously the source of mankind's greatest strength and his greatest weakness (Have a think about it). Men prove their worth through competition and obstacles and this have brought us to the world we now live. It is in our genes to challenge each other. Careful not to let your challenges go out of control or you might be proven wrong. Not uncommon to hear a conversation between guys:

Guy A: I was thinking of getting this phone, it does this and that... (and a second guy tries to outdo the first by showing off what he knows)
Guy B: Yeah, I have read the review on this website, say that this phone is not user friendly ....... (and a third outdos all)
Guy C: I was testing out this phone because my greatgranduncle knows the manager at this company and it was not up to my expectation because of…

Which leaves A and B to patronize C. This would seem like mumbo jumbo to women, but this is exactly how men communicate and form bonds! This is how we exchange information and learn new things, whereas women usually aim to do their best at their game and make sure each other player has got their fair turn. For men to win, you must lose and it is evident in places like the share market or the football match! Even at home, how many times have mothers screamed, "You have to share, boy!" to that little boy. He is just acting on the most primitive instinct. Ever wonder why guys spend hours upon hours and tons of cash playing games which shows a big WINNER sign when it is done? Now you know .

In contrast, women are warmers, as in they want everyone to be in the game and they would sacrifice their effort and time to bring other up to have their fair chance. This way, everyone would not be left out. When your group has only two people, It is important to keep your girl company or she will be left out. Long distance relationship really removes the we out of we. She wants a piece of the game, a slice of your life. Deny her that and bad things will follow.

The moral for women: Please don’t get offended when we can’t control out instinct in an argument. Remind him, and keep reminding him (Yeah, men are forgetful) that “me” has become “we”.

The moral for men: Give as much attention as you can to your girl. She would give the world to be by your side and even more for you. Take good care of her heart and the rewards are boundless!

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Pyramid vs Peer group

The social structure of men is a pyramid, where the leader occupies the top niche and the less dominant males occupy the bottom. The benefit of such a social structure is realized in how humanity has managed to build civilizations from the ground up. Leadership and rank has always been and is a norm in armies and the world's leading corporations. When the stature of men is established, it is easy to control the activities of a group and thus achieve a desired outcome. By forming a pyramid, all members benefit by associating with the group. How familiar is this? One boy could threaten another, "I have a big brother and he will get angry if you don't do what I say..." This leads most men to desire power and control. Especially, when the pyramid has only two people, it becomes quite hard for the man when his authority is challenged.

However, women prefer to form peer groups which each member is nearly the stature as each of her sisters. Take a herd of elephants for example. They are all female! The head of the group is the oldest female, which lead the close knit community and decide where to go. The males live solitary lives and only meet the females to mate. Sad no? Anyway, the whole idea of flat social structure is that everyone helps each other. The most famous matriarch is no doubt Oprah. She created a worldwide peer group for women and this reflects the one of the differences between men and women.

Moral for men: Keep you desire for control in check, sometimes is okay to say sorry to your girl. Remember, she wants to do what is best for the “group”.
Moral for women: Learn to recognise this urge to control, then decide whether to give or to take away the power.

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Why men and women behave the way they do?

The moment men and women found their roles of survival in cavemen times, it was the moment they began to diverge in the way they behave. There was a need for the hunt and the need to nurse the young. The most effective way was required to ensure the survival of early nomadic tribes. Decisions have to be made on which mammoth to bring down and how the daily game was to be split amongst the children and women. Early must have women found that it would be beneficial to maintain social integrity by helping out the clan but sharing food and helping other raise their young. Survival of the fittest also mattered, and men achieve it through competition and this hierarchy maintains order in a community. The following contains excerpts from the work of author Martha Barletta (2003) and John Gray plus a dash of my own experience.

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