Nancy T wrote:
Sean, why are men such bad listeners?
Nancy, to avoid castration threats, I’ll just respond this way: Guys aren’t bad listeners, men and women just communicate differently. Men require the main details. Women are detail oriented and sometimes don’t take into account who their listener is.
WOMAN SAYS: “I was at the store and I ran into my friend Jessica. She’s the one who just got her hair cut and it looks totally awful. Anyway, Jessica and I haven’t seen each other since her husband got out of jail and I forgot what he was in there for, but we decided to go for a drink. While we were having our drinks we won some contest that that KOOL 108 radio station was having there. I guess they’re there every Friday doing some radio thing..but we won this contest and got free food! I am glad it was free though because Jessica had some allergic reaction and ended up in the emergency room with really bad gas.”
GUY HEARS: “I was at the store and saw Jessica who has a criminal for a husband. You two had drinks, won free food and she got so gassy she ended up in the hospital.”
Holy Lord. The same message, but with the detail screened out.
GUY SAYS: “I’m going to go play cards with the boys tonight. I’ll be home around 1.”
WOMAN HEARS: “You are going to play cards with Brian, Steve, Andy, Greg, and that other guy who’s name I can’t remember but he smells like feet. You’ll probably have too much to drink, tell fart jokes, lose $60 dollars, and come home smelling like feet and pizza. When you get home I’ll act mad because you didn’t get the hint that I let out earlier that meant I wanted you to come home early because I bought a new bra at Victoria’s Secret that I wanted to show off because it makes my boobs look great. You’ll be drunk and we’ll argue a bit until you tell me that you love me and then I’ll be happy and we’ll both try to go to sleep, but then you’ll be horny and I may give in and have sex with you even though you smell like feet pizza.”
Again, Holy Lord. Same message, different detail. Negativity comes when one or both sides misunderstand what the other is saying, or worse yet, when one side misses the details and appears to have no interest in what the other person has said.
No one is at fault here, but both sides need to do a better job of realizing who they are speaking to as well as who is speaking to them. If a woman is speaking to a guy, the guy may have to make an effort to catch the details and beautiful nuances in the things the woman is saying in order to catch everything she wants him to hear. If a guy is speaking to a woman and wants her to fully understand what he is saying, he may need to add a few details into his dialogue.
It’s easy to hear. It’s a challenge to listen. If we make an effort to be better listeners on both sides, I think we’ll do just fine.