Hey men! Are you really from Mars?
Women, are we really from Venus?
Sometimes it really does feel like we’re from different planets. Maybe it’s time we started pulling each other back down to Earth.
I believe the best way to start is through dialogue, taking the time to communicate our thoughts openly and honestly. Although sometimes I think we actually do hear the same conversation differently.
Like the humor columnist, Dave Berry, once wrote:
A couple is driving down the street when the woman decides it’s time to talk about their relationship.
“Jim. These last few weeks have been… Well, I’m sure you know how I really feel. . . ”
During that pregnant pause, he’s thinking, “I just missed my stop, now I have to turn around and go back.”
She’s tells herself, “I just have to be persistent and say what I’m feeling.”
He’s thinking, “Damn, now there’s an accident, I’m going to have to go blocks out of my way.”
She starts again. . .
“Jim, I really have enjoyed these last few weeks….”
He starts scowling, frustrated with the traffic and worried they’ll be late, “Does any body know how to drive in this city?”
She sees his body language and shuts down.
“I must have hit a sore spot, clearly he doesn’t want to talk.”
“Great! An opening, that should make up some time.”
Later that night, Carol joins her friends.
“I tried to bring up our relationship a few times but when I did, he seemed upset. I hope we’re ok.”
He meets his buddies and casually mentions, clearly oblivious to Carol’s attempt, “I was out with Carol last night, did you see that accident on Stone and 5th?”
Sound familiar? How often have we been speaking at, or around each other, but never on the same page? If we don’t speak out, making it clear when there’s something we need to discuss, how can we expect anyone to know what we’re feeling?
We can only hope to have others understand us when we put a voice to our needs and thoughts. Yes, it’s difficult to feel vulnerable, unsure of the response. But, it’s the only way anyone will know what you’re thinking. No one can read our minds. Communication is the key. Only then can we make intelligent, informed decisions.
Have you ever asked a friend of the opposite sex, “What were you thinking when this happened?”
This may be our best opportunity to get a new perspective from somebody we are not emotionally tied to, and has no effect on our lives. But words alone can’t bridge the gender gap. How often have you started a conversation just to see the eyes glaze over and know all that’s heard is “blah, blah blah blah blah,” as they shake their head at appropriate intervals?
We’re all guilty of this. But it just postpones the inevitable. So bite the bullet, look them in the eye and speak your piece. Gently make sure you’re heard.
If you really don’t want to sit through another football game with the guys, be honest. Then you can honor each other’s needs and get around the ultimate anger and guilt that going may create on both sides. Guys, if you really don’t want to shop, say it. But if you go, be honest in your opinion. We may not always want to hear the truth, but anything less may come back to haunt you. No one wants to hear platitudes that are obviously false or patronizing.
Being able to share openly and honestly in a supportive, nurturing environment better enriches and solidifies all our relationships. They may not like what we have to say. They may not understand it. But, by opening a dialogue, maybe we can begin to hear each other. This may ultimately lead to compromises that help us to feel better about where we are at, and where we are heading.