If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you know that I enjoy reading/chatting/writing about psychology and sociology issues. I was not trained in either discipline, but I don’t claim to be an expert either. I just like to offer my $0.02 whenever I see a need to write about it.
My most recent fascination on the subject of psychology centers around men and women. In particular, I am slowly reading (slowly because I only read it during my commute) a book by Barbara Annis titled Same Words, Different Language. The gist of the book is about how women and men misunderstand each other and how to deal with these misunderstanding. One particular chapter really resonates with me, and it’s about how men and women interpret the same words differently. For example, when men say “Yes” to an idea, they mean, “I agree. That’s final. Let’s move on.” But the same word uttered by women would mean, “I am listening. I am following. I am open to discussing this.”
It was an eye-opening read for me, but not for the reasons you think. I was a bit shocked to learn how much I already understand the male language. In general, men’s perspective on words tend to mean action and signal finality. For example, men tend to think of “discussion” as debates confined to one single issue at hand. Their end goal is to derive at the solution. Similarly, men tend to think of “teamwork” as a mean to an end, something temporary and finite. But women’s perspective, more often than not, centers around relationship. For example, women tend to encompass personal characters in addition to the issues at hand when engaging in “discussions”. Similarly, women often view “teamwork” as an opportunity to build relationships and long term support bases for projects in the future. In other words, working in teams is definitely not a mean to an end to women.
Personally, I’ve found having this kind of understanding of the difference between men and women extremely helpful. It has helped me worked a lot more effectively with men — by thinking and communicating to them the way they understand, and by clarifying my intent when I actually want to use my feminine communication style.
As for the book, I’ll be the first to admit it’s a bit on the cheesy side, but it is also choke full of very practical advice. I recommend it for your weekend leisurely reading.