Divided By A Common Language? Men’s Brains, Women’s Brains
Every year when we get to the holidays, a time that should be pleasant and warm, many cultures see a spike in stress related issues.
Miscommunication and un-met expectations top the list of causes.
I used to use an example in my communication classes in Baku, asking my students , “If I asked you to bring me an apple, what color would it be?”
For my daughter, I told them, it would always be a green Granny Smith variety apple, because that’s her favorite, what she relates to when she thinks of apples.
But for me, I particularly like the sweet/tart mix of a juicy McIntosh. I’d be expecting something red for my apple.
Right there… Miscommunication based on common preconceptions. Unmet expectations follow right along.
I’d like to offer a couple of “tongue-in-cheek” illustrations to help reduce the stress levels.
For some of you, this will help just by the use of humor. For others you will recognize yourselves or friends you know in these two videos.
And for the rest of you, you will quietly realize the profound wisdom of these two resources and want to share them with everyone you know. And for you I say, by all means, have at it… (wink!)
First, some quick background notes.
In many parts of the world this season is a time for family gatherings, extra baking, and the extra shopping at the market(s) that comes along with that. When baking something traditional, or for a special occasion, this isn’t a time to “just wing it”- we want everything to be just right. That’s the first stressor for men. You know it has to be right but it may not be clear just how. So you get “lists”- after all, what could be clearer than that, right? Watch and see…
Two tips that I picked up from this. Jeanne Robertson is one of my favorite speakers, a gracious former “Miss North Carolina” (in case you were trying to place the southern accent) she nails the problem right away, but uses the opportunity to diffuse the situation by not taking advantage of a simple (but very funny) mistake. Let her husband preserve some pride and keep things peaceful.
Rule #1: Know when to pause, push or pull back in a disagreement.
Rule #2: Understand the culture, mindset, or customs of the other person. Act accordingly.
Now some of you may be watching this and wondering how a man could have missed what seemed obvious, or how a woman could make a list and not be any more clear about what she wants. Again we are divided by a common language… and by unique physiology. Take a look…
Ok… now you’re hopefully smiling, maybe laughing a time or two as well. These two clips serve to remind us that no matter how “clear” we think our message may be, there is always room for misinterpretation. You just never know.
So before you get stressed about the situation, remember there may actually be a scientific (more or less) reason for the mess you’re in. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt, assume the intentions were good and reduce the stress levels of everyone by remembering these two clips- have a laugh instead
Above all remember: Winston Churchill was right. We are divided by a common language… it just isn’t limited to English or countries.