|Posted on October 28, 2008 at 3:46 PM|
Well, anyone who's ever spoken to someone of the opposite sex knows that this is the case. I'm not here to try to explain why (people have been trying to figure that out for eons), but one of my friends recently shared his theory regarding how we think differently. While he was sharing this with me, I was thinking about the various people I know of both sexes, and what he said seems to be pretty accurate. So what's this free bit of wisdom?
He said that men think in file cabinets and only one file can be open at a time. Typically, the reason that file is open should be resolved before closing that one and opening another one. They don't like to leave things unfinished. Women think in roadmaps; we think of all possibilities and outcomes and plan/worry accordingly. Things are often unresolved because we don't mind coming back to it later. He said that's also why women carry things like stain remover, baby wipes, lip balm, etc. They are prepared for almost anything that might appear on their roadmap.
He gave a pretty good example of how this works. He and his group of friends are getting ready to go out for dinner and maybe a movie. The guys have now opened the file drawer for food. That's the only thing they're thinking about. The women, however, are thinking about where to eat, what they're in the mood for, which restaurant has the best of what they're in the mood for, which movie, which theater, which restaurant is fairly close to that theater, who'll drive, how many cars they should take, and the list goes on (no, it really does). Of course, the women will ask the men for their input (sometimes), but the men haven't closed the food drawer yet, so they have no interest (Jason says no ability, but I don't want to assume) in even thinking about all the other questions. So, the women get frustrated that the men aren't helping with decisions, and the men get frustrated that the women haven't resolved the food issue yet.
What can help this situation? Jason suggests that first; they need to choose a restaurant. Once that's done, the food drawer is resolved and can be closed; and another drawer can be opened. That seems pretty simple, and everyone is happy.
Of course, there's variation among individuals and I think of it as a continuum; some men multi-task better than others and some women don't multi-task as well as the rest of us. Either way, this seems like a good way to approach communication between the sexes. I told him he should write a book, but he said it's too simple to fill a book. He doesn't blog, but I thought people should hear this, so I did. I hope it can help you.