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Can you show me how you feel now?



As a bloke that works in a predominantly female profession you get used to certain things.  There is little that I don’t know about hair curlers for example (ironic if you’ve ever seen me) and I am pretty comfortable discussing anything relating to menstrual cycles, child-birth or general gynecological issues.  Not that I seek out the conversations you understand……

And being an associate member of the female gender is that I am also often party to their (your) gripes and groans about their (your) male counterparts.  One of the things I hear on a regular basis is “men cannot talk bout their feelings”.  Well actually, more likely, “Gah!  What is it with men… they not know I’m not fucking Mystic Meg!” or words to that effect.

Now you won’t be surprised to hear that I have a theory on this.  Nor will you be surprised to know that I’m going to share it with you.  Blokes can talk.  They just can’t listen.  Ok, so there are some gender stereotypes going on here and before people start telling me about their Uncle Bob who was the National Listening Champion of Uzbekistan , yes I am generalizing.  I know that. But back to my point.

If you are a girl think about this.  When you chat with your friends are you doing so because you want a solution?  My guess is probably not in most cases.  You just want them to listen.  If you are a boy and someone talks to you, your first thought is “Why are you telling me this?  What do you want me to do?”  And that is the dynamic that is at play here.  Blokes cannot listen properly for the sake of listening, they assume there needs to be an action.

This is why those rare blokes that do talk about their feelings tend to do so with a female friend.  Not because they are incapable of talking but because they have probably learnt over time that men suck at listening.  And if you flip this around, if you believe that talking requires an action, then why would you bother talking about feelings when only you can really do anything about them?

I’m not saying either way is right or better.  Just different.  And if we want to get along, whether it is at work or at play, then we need to understand and embrace our differences.  So if you like talking, keep on talking.  If you like keeping your counsel then do so.  Just understand that either way, you may be frustrating the living hell out of someone else.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/25/2010 11:20

    can’t disagree with that 🙂

    Good to have you back (sans mojo or otherwise 😉

  2. BJH permalink
    05/25/2010 12:22

    As I only joined your fan base relatively recently – I’ve been wondering for a while whether you were male or female, so thanks for the clarification. Not that it makes the slightest difference to anything, I was just curious. (In case you’re equally curious, I’m female.)

  3. 05/25/2010 13:26

    Totally agree with you. I’ve realised that I need to pick particular friends for particular gripes, issues or problems; my friend Pete is fabulous for shedding light in a crisis!

  4. 05/25/2010 14:21

    I’ll step as the odd woman out and admit that I dont like to talk about my feelings. I’ll listen all day long to people talk their own and even offer to help them but when it comes to talking about mine, nope, not gonna happen. My husband hates that aspect of me. I’d rather go for a drive on some twisty road with the car in sport mode than talk something out.

  5. 05/25/2010 16:58

    Yep. My husband does not want to hear the story about how I went to get a pedicure at the beauty school and put only $3 in the parking meter and I was at the school for two hours, which is the max time you can put on the meter, and I had to cut the pedicure short and run back to the meter in my flip flops so I could feed the meter before the meter maid got there.

    He just wants to know if I got a ticket or not.

    He is not a fan of literature.

    That’s why I have a blog.

  6. 05/25/2010 20:45

    I think I fall more into the man-thinking category when it comes to listening. Tell me the pertinent facts so I can help coach you to find your solution. Spare me all the gory details, except of course when we do HR investigations. However, I am very much a girl when it comes to wanting people to tell me how they feel about me. It’s just nice knowing. Often, women know if people like us or respect us, it’s just nice hearing once in awhile.

  7. Corporate Daycare permalink
    05/26/2010 01:47

    First – Welcome back!

    Second – Absolutely bang on. I have learned to preface many of my conversations with my husabnd with, “I am not looking for a solution, I just want to tell you what happened.”

    Third – Frustrating the living hell out of people is my raison d’être – I’m good with that

  8. g-dog permalink
    05/26/2010 02:57

    I have heard/read about this difference before. FYI – I don’t need a man to fix things for me, FYI#2 – I don’t like talking about my feelings, so mostly don’t want to hear about yours (there are some exceptions, but not many), FYI#3 – when I want your advice, I’ll ask for it, you will know, it will be clear, FYI#4 – I do try very hard to listen to people, it is kind & respectful, I also try not to advise unless asked …

  9. Abi permalink
    05/26/2010 07:20

    During your week off, did you read Men are from Mars, women are from Venus?

  10. 05/26/2010 07:31

    @Alex Hens – Thanks. I’m sure the mojo is just temporarily displaced!

    @BJH – Fan base? I have a fan base? Woohoo!!

    @farscapedev – Thanks for commenting. That assumes you have more than one friend (which you clearly do!) 🙂

    @adowling – Thanks for the coment. You want to drive….I want to punch people. Not so different!

    @The gold digger – And your blog is incredibly enjoyable….bet he reads it!

    @Trish McFarlane – I really don’t want to know what people feel about me……… 🙂

    @Corporate Daycare – I like your third point. It resonates…..

    @g-dog – That sounds like an incredibly balanced way of behaving. I could do with a bit of that.

    @Abi – God no. I read E2. Ranting and moaning all the way! (Although I have read it some years ago)

  11. 05/26/2010 18:40

    I gotta say, I’m also in the listening-like-a-boy camp. Unless the convo is literally prefaced with an “I just want to vent, no advice/action required” disclaimer, I assume you’re telling me something b/c you want advice/action. I have sometimes misunderstood people’s motivations in the past due to this.

    If no action is required, I appreciate a status update, but only in summary version; I have no interest in hearing extended version of how you feel, b/c that just leads to me becoming irritated & wondering why you aren’t taking action/applying advice about issue X since its bothering you so much, possibly categorizing you as idiot/whiner.

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