I’ve written about the problem of men learning to listen to women for years now, and it seems like one of those things that we ought to be taught as a general man-rule.
The trick to listening to women is listening 10% and thinking about something else 90% rather than asking a woman to distill her thoughts down to the 10% of facts that matter.
Worse, we don’t get all the signaling involved between women – it doesn’t exist – so the entire point of communication may in fact be nothing other than the transfer of signals.
Unfortunately there is no course in ‘woman speak’ for men to take. Even if it’s the most valuable course we could take.
I just listen. And ask questions. The hard part is learning NOT TO TRY TO SOLVE A PROBLEM. Just listen.
I think the problem occurs when women ask men to experience their emotions the way another woman does, when they share experiences. This forces men to lie – to pretend either that they understand them, or that they feel them, or that they even can feel them.
What I’ve found is that if a woman explains how she felt I can undrestand it. But describing the circumstance itself does not help me understand it. Finally, to just show that I understand, and usually that her feelings were justified.
The hard part is not trying to inquire or solve the problem but just show you understand, accept, and let her express (exit, expend, exhaust) her emotions.
It’s different with staff. Some women need to be taught that when talking to men, it’s JUST THE FACTS, and WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?. Otherwise the woman is using my much shallower emotional reservoir and clouding my judgement.
Most people by a large margin prefer male bosses for the simple reason that we don’t get involved in the emotional stuff. But it’s actually because we don’t even see it, hear it, or understand it. And if we do, we consider it childish and it makes us angry.
The trick for men with women is always patience. 😉
Which is in fact, the trick with all human beings.
Patience is the under appreciated and misunderstood.
Why? ‘Cause it’s costly