“The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT.” – Alfred Brendel
We don’t need to regurgitate scientific studies to demonstrate that most men are poor listeners… just ask the nearest woman to you.
On the otherhand, some men consider themselves to be an excellent listeners. Research can suggest it depends on their personality or cogntive recognition.
Many men are subpar listeners in relationships. Science has confirmed it multiple times.
So, why is this exactly? While we discuss why most (not all!) men are poor listeners from a relationship and gender angle, some of the reasons discussed transcend that relationship.
In so doing, perhaps we may be able to help two groups of people: (1) the potentially-troubled male listener, and (2) women in a relationship with #1!
Let’s get after it.
Here are 10 reasons why most men don’t “hear” women:
1. Expecting mutual agreement
See, women are often right…but not always. Sometimes in a committed relationship, it is common for a woman to “expect” a sort-of mutual understanding on a variety of things.
This is kind of a touchy topic since, in the beginning, the man seemed to agree to the majority of what the woman was saying. Once a relationship develops, however, a man has less “incentive” to concede and feels more comfortable speaking his own mind.
It’s healthy for two people to not always share the same opinion on matters. No need to argue, just accept the other’s point of view.
2. Not “getting to the point”
Women are fond of iterating details that seems, to them, a way of heightening intimacy. In a very real way, this perspective carries merit. Details in and of themselves are intimate in nature. However, men are not particularly adept at staying “tuned in.” Men are more comfortable with the point of a dialogue as opposed to the finer details.
Perhaps the best way to go about this is to pose a question first, and THEN fill in the finer details. This allows the man to “connect the dots” and should give ample enough time to form an opinion.
3. Trying too hard to impress
A man is already impressed with you, as he is already WITH you. As such, it is not necessary to continually “prove your worth” by rehashing things that seem impressive. By natural design, men feel an obligation to provide for themselves and their loved ones.
Part of this means accepting the fact that men are more comfortable with achievement and status amongst peers, rather than with their partner.
4. He’s busy doing something
Not all men are very good multitaskers. If a man happens to be preoccupied with something, it is best to be patient and allow him to complete the task first. It doesn’t matter if it’s a football game, a nap, or something else.
Be patient and make sure your man is ready to listen.
5. Insistence on venting
Venting is something that men can be tremendously uncomfortable with. The reason is that, while we want to support you, we’re a bit taken aback by the slew of information that is being directed towards us. Again, men are not as comfortable with engaging in emotional dialogue as women are.
Chalk another one up to evolutionary design.
6. Expecting mutual interest
This one is somewhat similar to the problems with assuming mutual agreement. Many (many) couples already have a solid understanding as to what makes the other person “tick.” However, when a novel situation arises, it may be tempting to revert back to that honeymoon phase where we both anticipate a consensus to just about anything.
7. He’s confused
Men are very linear thinkers, in general. Women have a talent for constructing abstract thoughts and subsequently verbalizing them. When men are caught up with a whirlwind of competing thought processes, they are easily confused; finding it difficult to both sustain attention and deliver appropriate feedback.
Give some time and space, let him compose his bearings, and then explain what’s going on.
8. Real or perceived “nagging”
Here’s another touchy topic. What women perceive as appropriate dialogue; a man can construe as pointless. Due to the fact that men are not as good of listeners, we’re more apt to simply label such a one-way conversation as “nagging.”
Many reasons can be attributed to this perception; mainly that men are sometimes unequipped to engage in conversation that is anything beyond the typical. Regardless, it benefits both persons to “check in” with each other to ensure mutual understanding. It helps to cut off any potential distractions as well.
9. Expecting “friend-like” communication
For the most part, two people in a relationship communicate very differently with each other than with other people. Women seek to be understood more than men do, in general. As such, female conversations with female friends and associates is bound to be more laden with empathetic emotion and mutual understanding.
Carrying this anticipatory expectation into a dialogue with a man, however, rarely results in something constructive. As mentioned, men just view the overall point of communication differently than most women.
10…And then there’s texting….
Not much elaboration needed here. Texting about anything else than trivial matters is not a good form of communication between two people involved in a relationship.
Hopefully, with the differences cited here, we can all understand why.
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