A long long time ago, when I started dating, a book was released called Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. I thought it a funny title and bought it. I wanted to know what the book was all about and then test out the theories in my own dating journey. Well, I didn’t have any really significant relationships when I was younger so I wasn’t able to use it much but when things started getting serious with Mr McClymont, I turned to this book and boy did it help me!
Apart from getting caught up in the whirlwind and excitement of being with someone, I had lost my way of communicating effectively and understanding him. He was also a bit crap in understanding me but I only learned how to get through difficult times by learning to communicate better with him and this book was a major help.
I urge you to buy it if you find difficulty in communicating your thoughts and also for those times when you wonder “what did I do?” – I’m sorry to say this, but you may well have just communicated it in a way they didn’t understand you. Other times, people are just plain idiots.
Here’s a slightly modified (I’ve removed Martian and Venutian) excerpt from the book that has been key to our success at communicating (and by the way, our communication is not always great but when we’re in the same argument cycle, I will look to the book to help us.)
Usually when Women and Men speak, their languages have the same words, but the way they are used give different meanings. Their expressions are similar, but they have different connotations or emotional emphasis. Misinterpreting each other is very easy. So when communication problems emerge, it is just one of those misunderstandings.
Women and Men seldom mean the same things even when they use the same words. For example, when a woman says “I feel like you never listen,” she does not expect the word never to be taken literally. Using the word never is just a way of expressing the frustration she is feeling at the moment. It is not to be taken as if it were factual information.
To fully express their feelings, women assume poetic license and use various superlatives, metaphors, and generalisations. Men mistakenly take these expressions literally. Because they misunderstand the intended meaning, they commonly react in an unsupportive manner.
When Women and Men are on the verge of arguing, they are generally misunderstanding each other. At such times, it is important to rethink or translate what they have heard. Because many men don’t understand that women express feelings differently, they inappropriately judge or invalidate their partner’s feelings. This leads to arguments. Many arguments can be avoided through correct understanding.
When a Woman is upset she not only uses generalities, and so forth, but also is asking for a particular kind of support. She doesn’t directly ask for that support because she assumes a man should know that dramatic language implied a particular request.
Here are a couple of translations this hidden request for support is revealed. If a man listening to a woman can recognise the implied request and respond accordingly, she will feel truly heard and loved.
“We never go out” translated for Men means “I feel like going out and doing something together. We always have such a fun time, and I love being with you. What do you think? Would you take me out to dinner? It has been a few days since we went out.” Without this translation, when a woman says “We never go out” a man may hear “You are not doing your job. What a disappointment you have turned out to be. We never do anything together anymore because you are lazy, unromantic, and just boring.”
“I want more romance” translated for Men means “Sweetheart, you have been working so hard lately. Let’s take some time out for ourselves. I love it when we can relax and be alone without the kids around and no work pressures. You are so romantic. Would you surprise me with flowers sometime soon and take me out on a date? I love being romanced.” Without this translation, when a woman says “I want more romance” a man may hear “You don’t satisfy me anymore. I am not turned on by you. Your romantic skills are definitely inadequate. You have never really fulfilled me. I wish you were more like other men I have been with.”
After using this dictionary for a few years, a man doesn’t need to pick it up each time he feels blamed or criticised. He begins to understand the way women think and feel. He learns that these kinds of dramatic phrases are not to be taken literally. They are just the way women express feeling more fully.
Communicating well is essential from the very first date. If you’re able to listen, understand each other’s point of view and respect each other’s opinions, it will be much easier to not take things so personally, move on quickly if things don’t work out and generally feel a lot better about yourself for being considerate. When either Women or Men expect so much of the other, both are doomed to fail in the exchange. Be kinder to yourself and others. Listen and communicate more clearly – and if anyone’s persistent and you’re not interested – block them (I couldn’t do that in my 20’s, it didn’t exist, so I’d have to avoid calls and places in order to get the message across). Use technology to your advantage in this case. And most importantly, seek help. Whether it be this book or someone, there is no harm in asking for help especially if you’re not getting the result you really want.
Reference: Gray, John. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships
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