Ok, so we all know that boys and girls are totally different, not only physically speaking, but how we feel, how we think, and what we think about those feelings. When it comes to understanding, this seems to be a huge chasm that we will never be able to cross.
What is the difference between the male brain and the female brain? Well according to psychologytoday.com, “researchers have discovered almost 100 major differences,” between the two! The four primary areas where the differences occur include processing, chemistry, brain structure, and blood flow and brain activity. Basically, the article I read said that boys use more gray matter, while women use more white matter. In a nut shell, boys are task-oriented, tend to shy away from examining emotions, and can be capable of tunnel-vision. Women are more apt to multi-task, so they can work on one thing while keeping track of what is going on around them, and be consciously examining their feelings and other’s feelings at the same time. (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hope-relationships/201402/brain-differences-between-genders)
Being a girl, I can really only vouch for the female brain. However, I have been told that I am “a bro too,” so I have had a little bit of practice trying to dissect the male brain as well. I have one little brother, and I am seven years his senior, so I’ve had a little hand in his raising. My brother is also pretty popular, so I had quite a slew of frequently visiting boys that I either had to adopt or go crazy! I adopted them, but they still drove me crazy, hahaha! It also helps that it is easier to go to the older sister than it is to the parents, at least when it’s about something you don’t want the ‘rents to know, hahaha! So, now that I am up to about seven little brothers, I feel as if I have a little bit more knowledge in the male brain department…
It has not always been easy. In fact, I distinctly remember a few occasions where I have slung the words, “Stop hating on me for being a girl!” Or, “Don’t forget that I am a girl!” on more than one occasion. Apparently, I am a rather chill girl though, if I have to keep reminding them that I am, indeed, a female! Why do I have to remind them? Usually after I do something “incredibly girly” like stand up for their girlfriend instead of them, or get all weepy and lonely and cry to them about being single, or be suddenly overwhelmed with such emotion that I just cannot keep it in. When this happens, and they go “incredibly guy” on me, and start complaining or talking trash, OMG it drives me bonkers!
Why is that? Why must I, at times, feel ashamed for being a girl? Please don’t get me wrong, my brothers are not all jerks and a-holes, but once upon a time they all were young and dumb (let’s be honest, there are really only two of the seven “brothers” that annoy me the most, and they happen to be real brothers themselves). And they are not the only ones that have made me feel this way. At work, in the store, just sitting some place quiet and enjoying some quality people watching, I see this look cross a man’s face when he thinks the woman he is with is acting “incredibly girly.” Is it really that they cannot even fathom why we would react the way that we do? That they are so busy shying away from anything that may cause them to emote, that they just think we are plain silly for giving into ours so frivolously? Do we? Are women slaves to their emotions?
I guess I would have to admit that a gaggle of women can be a very dangerous thing, hahaha! Even just two women. Women need other women so as to have their emotions validated. (Which can be problematic in the complaints department, because suddenly you are hating the one that you are complaining about because your friend has supported your reactions to such a high degree!) Men, especially in my experience, just want you to hurry up and admit your fault so that you can carry on. Women do not want to believe that they are at fault, because of a whole list of reasons, that made them react in the situation the way that they did. This word that you said, this face that you made, this movement, and that thing you did two weeks ago that has been festering in the back of my mind ever since–all of this led up to the reaction that you got at that very moment. Most guys do not want to hear that, because that would be bringing up the past. But the past includes everything that that one individual guy has already deemed forgotten. However, the woman feels like that issue never was resolved, because you never accepted or validated her feelings!
It seems like such a vicious cycle. I know of exactly one couple who have seemingly found a way to circumvent this particular head to head. And do you know what it is? Communication. They blow, they have an argument, and then they sit down and talk. He is willing to hear how she feels, why she feels that, and what she wants to be done about it. She is willing to admit where she may have been irrational or illogical, then accept and listen to how she had made him feel. Then they make a plan to try to ensure that this argument never happens again. Their relationship isn’t perfect, but they try, and that is the important thing.
Communication…that is the key word here. Actually listening and hearing what the other person is trying to say.
As far as the man is concerned, when a woman tells you how they feel, do NOT reply with, “Well that’s stupid!” I got that one, except I think there was an f-word in there. Granted the statement I made was rather bold–it was said not too long after my mother passed–but what I wanted from him, what I needed, was, “Why?” I had a sound reasoning behind it. Instead, I was never allowed to talk about my feelings about my mother’s death with that person ever again. Which sucked. And, five years later, I do unfortunately harbor some resentment because of that. Enough so that I remember the conversation, hahaha! But, in that article I mentioned above, it did say that women utilize more of the memory component than men. I feel that is true, because I remember everything, it seems like.
So what is the message for today? LISTEN!!! Do not be so stuck on the idea that you are absolutely right in your beliefs. Give that other person a chance to talk! I do feel as if I am directly speaking to the males of the world with that one. Or maybe just one particular male in my own world. As for the women, make sure that you can logically back up the feelings, because, again in my experience, some men will tear you down for irrationality and illogical emotional outbursts. At the same time, remember that a lot of women feel as if they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, and sometimes men just don’t see all that you do. If they don’t see it, they don’t know it, and it seems very difficult for them to emote about something they just don’t know. So you better be able to explain it. So, go practice actively listening this weekend. Maybe someone will hear you, then….