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Bridging The Communication Gap

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  • 1. Bridging The Communication Gap Understanding the differences between how men and women think, speak and communicate, will effectively improve your personal relationships with those you love. Have you ever felt as though men and women must come from completely different planets? Have you struggled with bridging the communication gap between you and your partner/boyfriend/girlfriend, or spouse? If so, you are not alone, as communication differences between men and women often create stress and anxiety within relationships, often leading to misunderstandings and arguments. Or perhaps you were on the other end of the conversation, not understanding why you and your relationship partner were having communication problems. Men and women usually communicate and respond very differently during conversations with each other. Because men and women interact and interpret differently, conflicts or misunderstandings can, and often do, arise. A man and woman can walk away from a conversation having gotten two totally different perspectives on how the talk went and its resolution. These different perspectives can cause dissatisfaction in one or both partners and can lead to misinterpretation, anger, or resentfulness if not properly understood and recognized. Understanding the differences between how men and women think, speak and communicate, will effectively improve your personal relationships with those you love, as well as relationships within the work place. Because men and women interact and interpret things very differently, learning how to change your approach when conversing with the opposite sex, is of utmost importance for the stability and longevity of relationships. • Men and women THINK differently • Men and women SPEAK differently • Men and women DECIDE differently How do men and women think differently? Men think compartmentally and women think globally. Men tend to mentally separate and store information in very organized yet completely separate compartments, like in a file-cabinet-drawer system. Things such as Work, Hobbies, friends etc. are kept in distinctly different compartments or files, staying exclusively within that compartment until it’s time to “close the drawer” and open the next one. Women tend to do the complete opposite, cognitively connecting things up, seeing life’s events more globally. Women see how details and information relate to each other, with their inherent underlying and interrelated connections. Men, have you ever gotten into a disagreement with your women where she brings things up that happened many months ago? That’s because she thinks globally, and sees the
  • 2. connection between the current topic in the argument with the previous one. Both ways of thinking are great ways of thinking, compartmental and global, but put them together in the same relationship and things start getting very interesting. How do men and women speak differently? Men speak to report facts in short phrases with little or no details, whereas women speak in paragraphs to build rapport with lots of details. Men want and need the “bottom line” first and foremost, followed up with more details now that their need for the bottom line has been met. Women want and need to build up to the bottom line, as their enjoyment comes from telling the story. The enjoyment women find in the telling of the story leading up the bottom line often becomes very frustrating for men, which often leads to disagreements. To communicate effectively with those of the opposite sex, it is necessary to change your approach, by women fulfilling the mans need for the bottom line first and men fulfilling the woman’s need by giving more details. Bridging the communication gap between men and women goes far beyond the obvious. On average, women use 25,500 words in a day while men use about 12,500 in a day. A man using 12,495 words during an average work day comes home with only five words left, “What’s for dinner?” (that’s three!) and “Good Night” (that‘s five!). On average, women maintain eye contact while speaking for twelve seconds vs. a man maintaining eye contact for three seconds. Change your approach by balancing the needed eye contact and number of words spoken, you will find disagreements and hurt feelings will be exponentially minimized. How do men and women decide differently? Man tends to be different in approach while making a decision. When most of their decisions are guided by heads and intellect. Their head rules their hearts while taking a decision. Man tends to ignore their feelings or intuition guided by heart. Women are generally more comfortable talking about their feelings. Men prefer to dwell on the facts and skip the feelings. The result: Communications trouble. Every communication has both an intellectual and an emotional component, says Kenneth Sole, a social psychologist based in Lee, N.H. Women have been taught since childhood to use “hint language” when asking for something she wants or needs. Unfortunately, men do not often get the hint, due to the fact that men tend to take language very literally, focusing attention on the context of the message rather than hidden meanings. Remember to speak THEIR language not your own, being direct in an assertive and respectful manner, understanding that when it comes to communication differences between men and women and bridging the communication gap, delivery is everything. The differences in men's and women's styles create a persistent "credibility gap," where women are credited with less authority and power than men.The biggest complaint from all levels, all professions of women, is, 'How can I get men to take me seriously? The requirement is to bridge this credibility gap.
  • 3. While every couple and situation is different, learning the standard differences between the genders can help you to come up with solutions to communication problems between genders. Embrace Communication Differences Just because men and women generally communicate differently, doesn’t mean that they can’t make and maintain powerful connections with one another. In fact, many times your spouse or sweetheart may be able to make you think about situations and events in a different light because of these communication differences. Rather than get frustrated with each other’s differences, try to embrace each other’s different opinions, conversation styles and approaches. Through education, understanding, and practice you will improve your communication skills, which will allow your relationship to evolve to a higher level and that will bring you closer to being one entity. From Shalu Dhamaniya shalu.dhamaniya@gmail.com