Some of the gnawing aggravations and frustrating conflicts occur between men and women because each gender really views the world from a totally different perspective. This is true both in the home and at work.
The most significant difference is:
●a man will explode but then it’s over;
●a woman will seethe for a long, long time.
Here is an example. A man will become furious over a situation and blast forth, sometimes using very unkind words. Once he’s unloaded, usually on his long suffering spouse, as far as he is concerned, that’s the end of it. She got the message that she was spending too much money on things other than food. She, however, will brood for days. It’s not about the message. She gets that he’s upset at her spending. She is enraged that he would talk to her in such a disrespectful manner.
Later that evening, he indicates he’s ready for a little loving.
She: I’m too tired.
He: What’s the matter?”
He: I can tell you’re angry. What are you angry about?
She: If you can’t figure it out, I’m not going to explain it to you.
He has already forgotten about his hissy fit over her spending but she will hold on to her anger over his disrespect for a very long time doing things to purposefully annoy him (passive aggressive behavior).
Men and women communicate differently:
●men make statements;
●women ask questions.
Although conventional wisdom tells us that women talk more than men, recent studies have shown that:
●men do much more talking than women;
●men are more likely to dominate conversations;
●in adult conversations, 96% of the interruptions happen with men interrupting women.
Guess how much anger this generates in the woman being interrupted? When this happens in personal relationships, the woman is left feeling very angry because she doesn’t have the chance to voice her opinions fully. She wants to talk about the problem a little, perhaps to look at it from several points of view; perhaps to uncover a solution that is comfortable for her. He wants to get to the solution immediately and move on. Here is an example.
She: I think it would be nice to take the kids on a vacation to…….
He: We are not going to take an expensive trip to Disneyland or some other theme park this year.
He: The kids can use the local pool and I’ll take them camping in the back yard.
She: My parents invited us to join them in Florida….
He: Florida? That’s great! The kids will love that.
She: during the kids winter break.
When faced with problems, women generally come up with far more innovative solutions than do men. One study attributes this to the fact that women have little investment in the traditional approaches to problem-solving and have less of a psychological investment in doing things the usual way. A man will become angry because he cannot make sense of how the woman thinks. Here is an example.
One young woman was the facilities coordinator for a large company whose offices were housed in a 30 story high rise. There had been a number of complaints regarding the slowness of the elevators and she had been ordered to “take care of the situation.” She did not ask for a special budget allocation to study the problem. She did not call in an architectural consultant to explore solution possibilities. She did not even contact the elevator company to research the situation. She had a glass manufacturer install full length mirrors in the front entry hall by the elevators. Since people now spent the time checking out their appearance, they never noticed how fast or slow the elevators were. As you can imagine, she and her boss almost came to blows over her request to purchase those hall mirrors.
Boss: I don’t think you understand the problem. We need faster elevators.
She: I understand. Repairing them will be expensive. The mirrors will work and they are a cheaper fix.
Boss: I don’t understand how you think.
She: If the mirrors don’t solve the problem, you can take the cost out of my salary.
Boss: This is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard
Here is another example. Joanne’s husband Bill had a brother Frank who would invariably drop in for a visit at dinner time on Sunday when Joanne would put out a magnificent spread for her family. Joanne and Bill’s family consisted of four twenty year olds – some were married, some were not. All the kids were off working and building their own lives. Sunday dinner was very important to Joanne and Bill because they were able to reconnect with their kids and find out what everyone was doing.
Frank would bring his six young kids and his wife, Mona. In ten years of marriage, never once did Frank and Mona invite Bill and Joanne to their home. Bill complained to Joanne that they were being used and that he wanted Frank’s visits to stop. Moreover, their sacred Sunday dinners had become about Frank and his kids. Bill was furious but since Frank was family, he didn’t want to tell Frank he was not welcome.
The following Sunday, Joanne served her family a hearty lunch. Later in the day, Joanne put hotdogs – one dog per person – on the table for dinner. When Frank and his brood arrived, Joanne explained that with food prices so high, she had decided to cut back a little. The following week, she did the exact same thing. That was the last time Frank brought his family for Sunday dinner.
One issue men and women never understand about one another is the importance with which each regards status, hierarchy and power. Men have a lot of personal investment in that system; it takes years of “paying one’s dues” before one moves up. Protection of one’s gains becomes critical; respect for those above on the hierarchical ladder is mandatory if one expects to climb higher. Women often regard this sort of reverence as a bit overdone. This can make a man angry because the woman does not regard this important and precious. Here is an example.
One woman learns from a friend about a shake up in another department of the company. Apparently, the Credit Manager and the Director of Purchasing were brothers in law. Because of the difference in last names, no one knew they were related. The two men were able to set up a very slick, bogus voucher system whereby the company may have lost a good deal of money. All excited about this bit of hot news, she starts to tell her manager the story. He interrupts her immediately and asks:
He: Who did they put in charge of the office now that those two are gone?
She: I don’t know. The story was so interesting, I forgot to ask.
Marjorie and Andrew Pinker go shopping for a new car. Marjorie says she will be happy with a small hybrid. Andrew wants to purchase a Lexus sedan. Marjorie insists they do not need such a big, expensive car. Andrew insists that a Lexus purchase will confirm to all their friends, neighbors and relatives that financially he has arrived and is very successful. In anger, Marjorie retorts, “What a waste of money! Who cares what people think, especially those who judge a person by the car they drive.” Andrew answers, “You just don’t understand.”
Here is another example from the work environment. Both Angie and Kent have turned in spectacular performances this year but are both told there will be no raises because “Times are tough.” However, their boss has come up with an innovative idea. He will give them each a new, grander title. Kent is pleased and orders a new sign for his desk. Angie says, “Boss, how much food with my new title purchase at the grocery store?” Now the boss is angry at Angie’s lack of gratitude.
By far, the most infuriating difference between men and women is how each view “rules”. Women play by the rules; men play with the rules.
In the home, the rule is if you use out the toilet paper, you replace it with a new roll. A man will leave one square on the roll and, if asked about it, will say, “I didn’t use it out.” This starts early in life. If the mother tells her three year old son to wash his hands before dinner, he will wash one side only. She actually has to tell him to do both sides.
If you are a sports fan, you see this difference in an even more dramatic way. Women’s teams will rarely commit purposeful fouls. A men’s team player will happily commit a foul against an opposing team player if he thinks the referee isn’t looking. Then, when called for the foul, you see the “Who me???” face on the player.
Understanding the differences between the sexes and how each views the world can go a long way in reducing the stress and anger. Just remember the other side doesn’t see things the same way you do.
DeAnne Needs Your Help
If you would, the next time you go into your local book store, please ask them to purchase a copy or two and place it in their window where people might be enticed to look at it and purchase it.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and that you are learning good things from it. The purpose of the blog is to create interest in my book, From Rage to Resolution and to get book stores to place it on their shelves where people can purchase it and use it. Book stores today are having a tough time financially and are unwilling to purchase a publication unless they are assured of brisk sales. This book, From Rage to Resolution will give its readers three things:
●a life free of disrespect from others;
●a longer, healthier life (because the stress, anger and hostility of daily living will be considerably reduced);
●more energy (because the baggage of old hostilities will be gone).
Getting this book into the hands of people who can use its easy-to-learn skills is my goal but I need your help to do that. Will you help me?
Last Week’s Scenarios
A boss who tells you at 4:00 pm on Friday, “I don’t care what you have to do to get this done…….”
Unless you have a contract (in writing) that states otherwise, overtime is at your discretion. Even when an organization sugar-coats it with promises of time and one-half overtime, it is still at your discretion. (9:00am to 5:pm is theirs; 5:00pm to 9:00am is your time. In this case, since it is the boss and in today’s market, jobs are precious, you must say “No” carefully.
You: Boss I really would love to stay and finish this for you tonight but I have made a previous commitment which prevents me from doing so. How else do you think we can solve this problem.
Boss: Bla bla bla
You: Believe me, I understand the importance but unfortunately I have made a previous commitment which prevents me from doing so. How else do you think we can solve this problem?
Boss: Bla bla bla
You: Perhaps you can get an extension on the due date. However, I have made a previous commitment which prevents me from remaining here past 5:00pm. How else do you think we can solve this problem?
Boss: Bla bla bla
You: That’s a great idea! I’m sure Mary will do a fine job for you.
Your best friend, Betty Whitmore, agrees to get together with you for dinner and a movie but she has a hidden agenda.
The next time Betty and you decide to go anywhere together, ask her up front if she has any other plans in mind. She will probably say, “No.” The day before you get together, ask her that same question again. About one hour before you meet, tell her what you expect (which is the plan you decided upon and nothing extra). Ask her for confirmation of that. She will get the message.
You have made an appointment to see the doctor for 10:00 AM. You are still waiting at 12:30 PM.
Here is how I solved this problem. While waiting I figured out how much my waiting time was worth on a per hour basis based upon my salary. After my appointment, I sent the doctor a bill for my waiting time. I never received a bill for the visit and I was never again left to cool my heels in his office for longer than fifteen minutes.
All these examples represent other people misusing your time. This is very disrespectful. You may believe that the most precious item in your life is money but it is not. The most precious item you have is time. Never allow other people to waste it.
This Week’s Scenarios
You work hard at your job and whatever you do is done with accuracy, and professionalism. You have a co-worker, Sugar Lee Jones who spends her day tweeting friends, doing her nails, shopping on line and spending extended break times in the engineering department which is mostly peopled with men.
Unfortunately your boss, Reggie Gill, is not much of a manager. Instead of making sure Sugar Lee does her work, when she falls behind – which is often – your boss asks you to pick up her slack. To make matters worse, when raise time came around, both you and Sugar Lee received the same amount. Reggie told you that he thought it was important to treat everyone equally when it came to money.
To say you are feeling hostile and angry doesn’t fully describe your feelings. If jobs weren’t so hard to find, you would have left this one long ago. What do you think you can do to change this situation?
Apparently everyone in your section of the company realizes that Reggie Gill is a problem. For one thing, Reggie has difficulty making decisions. In addition, he really doesn’t understand the business. So, whenever critical things need a decision or must get handled quickly, other supervisors and managers work around Reggie. Sometimes, they just hold meetings and “forget” to invite him.
Reggie’s boss, Bret Baylor, the director of the marketing division, dropped by your desk yesterday and asked you to give him some feedback on Reggie’s performance as a manager. “Oh boy!” You thought. “This is dangerous. If I tell Bret what I really think, it could come back to bite me in the rear. If I don’t say anything, Bret will think I am being uncooperative. If I lie and say Reggie is a good boss, Bret will know I’m lying. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”
In order to buy some time, you asked Bret to give you a day or two to think about it. He agreed and you two will meet day after tomorrow at 3:00pm. What do you think you should say?
Reggie Gill is generally well liked by those in the company with whom he does not work. He is very sociable and friendly. Reggie is the guy who always organizes the Christmas party, the football pool and the July family picnic. If an employee is hospitalized, or there is a death in an employee’s family, you can bet that Reggie will pass the hat for flowers.
Today, while eating in the cafeteria, you overheard two staff members from human resources discussing Reggie Gill.
Fran: How in heavens name did Reggie Gill ever get to be a manager?
Gert: Didn’t you know? He’s the son-in-law of the company’s CFO.
How will this knowledge affect what you say to Bret Baylor?