What Women Can Learn From Men
By Debbie Mandel
We stand in the doorway ready to pounce the minute he arrives home stressed and tired. The pitch rises in our voice as we mutter, “Men are such simpletons,” “Men are so inconsiderate and superficial,” and “Men don’t listen.” Well, what about us goddesses? Do we women think that we know all the answers, believe that we have martyred ourselves by living with the male gender and that we are consummate communicators? Throughout the years I have come to appreciate and treasure the men in my life: I trained my husband to be a great partner with compliments and good humor, observed the emotional/intellectual differences between my two sons and my daughter and respect the interactions in my workshops between male and female participants. Therefore I realized there is a lot we can learn from men:
- To be natural, straight forward and wear less makeup. Men believe they are good enough and so should we! They don’t wear masks and they don’t wear crippling high heels! They speak their minds with an easy fit.
- Not to tell your girlfriends everything about your personal relationship with a man – Men don’t talk behind our backs. However, we of the female gender travel with a pack of girlfriends to whom we divulge intimate details of our relationship with a man. Do you know that men shudder at the thought of having no privacy? Girlfriends do not have to know everything! True they are good therapists, but not every situation requires a therapist. Let him know that you and he are a tight unit and work it out together.
- To do our own thing and not be so involved in everyone’s business. Men put their feet up on the coffee table, watch the game, do less housework and play more than we do. They don’t worry about everyone and everything. We have to be a little more cut and dry and let it go.
- To accept a compliment. Men love compliments and even direct the conversation to get a few. We have so much difficulty accepting a compliment without giving a qualification. It’s time we owned it!
- To be patient with a relationship and to back off from a waffling man. We tend to be impatient, embrace change more eagerly than men and when that doesn’t happen, we push men harder who already feel cornered. The best strategy is to back off, lower the intensity in our voice and give up our need to control.
- To communicate briefly and not to digress. We get caught up in the words and the emotional impact of what we are saying. We relate the story in a wordy symbolic style a Victorian novelist would envy. On the other hand, men know how to say it in 25 words or less. After two minutes, a male listener knits his brow in a quizzical expression and hears only, “Blah, blah, blah."
- To clearly ask for what you need. We expect men and our girlfriends to be mind readers. So we hint, use metaphors, tell parables and conclude with everything is fine – only this is farthest from the truth. Then we feel hurt when they don’t figure it out. However, men are literal creatures who ask for things directly and specifically. While we don’t have to do a presentation with charts and statistics, we can speak in more businesslike terms of problem and solution.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com