Men are from Mars, women are from Venus – what makes genders so different
Posted On June 17, 2021
What makes genres so different?
Studies have shown that men and women process thought and communicate differently, supporting the old saying “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” Unlike their male counterparts, women are professionals at multitasking. They can take notes on what food to buy for dinner, plan the evening meal, remember to pick up the kids after school and take them to their sport, pay their bills due, manage to do a lot of washing and laundry while checking in. . your friends or talking to your mother on the phone. In comparison, men think unilaterally, meaning they move from one thought process to another, usually moving from topics related to sex or sports, and then again to sex. As such, it may come as a little surprise to learn that heterosexual couples often have heated debates that turn into arguments when women try to settle matters by speaking through them. They often discuss multiple areas of dispute at once and men respond by closing in because they are overwhelmed by the discussion at hand and the amount of dialect involved.
Communication can be improved
Communication can improve and relationships can be more fluid if both men and women understand and appreciate the differences in the ways both sexes complete their thought processes and communicate.
A series of experiments carried out by Stoet, O’Connor, Conner, Laws, (2013) confirms the widespread belief that women outperform men when it comes to multitasking. Is this gender difference in communication part of the debate between nature and nurture, or is it attributable to the social roles attributed to men and women, even in today’s society?
A report published by Szameitat, Hamaida, TulleySaylik, Otermans, (2015) suggests that the tendency to gender difference is a consequence of habit. Women tend to juggle household chores, their careers, and raising children because they have historically taken on those jobs and honed them over time. Many responsibilities are imposed on women and they have no viable option but to try to accomplish each task, two or three at a time. Women perform these additional jobs and they do it efficiently by cementing their skills not only on themselves but also on their male partners.
As such, it is easy to understand why men and women have a hard time solving problems. They often sit around the table hoping to achieve some sort of resolution to a disagreement, only to leave you frustrated because neither side has acknowledged the problem, discussed the issue as each need to argue, or reached a firm solution.
Why do men and women have so much trouble communicating with each other?
The question is deceptively simple. According to Karina Merchant (2012), women are more emotional, shy and polite in conversation, while men are more assertive and autocratic.
Sociolinguist Deborah Tannen (1990), an expert in male-female forms of communication, believes that our biological makeup is responsible for the way we communicate, or stop communicating. Unlike men, women love to talk; it is their openness to frank discussions that allows them to develop a bond of intimacy. In comparison, men are overwhelmed by the issues that arise and eventually disconnect from the conversation. Both men and women would benefit from understanding these different approaches.
Clearly, men and women think differently
Simply, men can think or discuss only two or three things at a time; they generally process slower than their female counterpart. Women can process faster and often seven to nine things at a time. While women often complain that their male partner cannot communicate, men can communicate very well. Men need the security and time to discuss a topic. Once they are overwhelmed by numerous problems, they turn off due to their processing limit, not their lack of communication skills.
Communication is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship. Both sexes perform communication tasks very differently. As such, heated discussions ensue. Couples would benefit from understanding these differences, appreciating them, and moving on with their better-prepared lives.
Couples should discuss one point of contention at a time. Focus on the solution you want to achieve before speaking and less on the actual problem at hand. Once a solution can be prioritized, both partners can move toward solving the problem. Brief, succinct, and direct communication is best if you want to find a solution. Providing a safe environment to discuss any matter is equally necessary. A safe environment of calm, repressing derogatory comments or telling someone that their feelings or perceptions are wrong provides this reassurance and allows each person to reveal their thoughts and feelings to each other.
Once these differences are understood, communication can be opened and resolutions can be achieved.
Merchant, K. (2012). How men and women differ: gender differences in communication styles, influence tactics, and leadership styles. CMC Senior Thesis, Paper 513.
Stoet, G., O’Connor, B., Conner, M., Leyes, K., (2013). Are women better than men at multitasking? BMC Psychology 1 (18).
Szameitat, A., Hamaida, Y., Tulley, R., Saylik, R., Otermans, P., (2015). “Women are better than men”: Public beliefs about gender differences and other aspects of multitasking. Plus one. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140371
Tannen, D. (1990). You just don’t understand: women and men in conversation. New York, NY: William Morrow & Company.