A little relationship advice for men

Published 4:47 pm Friday, August 27, 2010

I’m not going to pretend for even a second that I am qualified to be any sort of expert on relationships. Trust me…I am not.

While not an expert on women, I have always been observant and found myself amazed at the differences between men and women.

While these observations have helped me in numerous ways over the years, they have honestly done very little to help me in the area which needed the help most…communication.  That changed recently.

When I reflect on the arguments I have had with the opposite sex over the years I can almost always point to some sort of communication issue as the starting or focal point of the disagreement.

I noticed quite some time ago that sometimes what I said to women wasn’t what they would hear. This was not just happening with my wife, but also women I worked with and female friends of mine.

Apparently when I asked questions, made statements or just spoke in general they instantly and reflexly began to try and decipher what I “really” meant.

Women communicate in very different ways than men and I think all would agree we guys often just don’t understand. This can and often is seen by women as the guy either not paying attention or us just not “getting” you.

At the same time we men become discouraged because we don’t understand how something we thought was so clear when we said it could somehow become misconstrued to mean something else.

Not long after I realized all of this I sat down with my lovely wife and carefully explained to her that I, along with most men, are simple and stupid.

When we communicate we haven’t thought much about what we are going to say. We pretty much thought something and, for whatever reason, decided to say it out loud. There is no hidden meaning and we didn’t say one thing because we really feel something else.

We aren’t smart enough for that. Plus to be honest with you, we often times just don’t care enough about whatever it is to put that much thought into it. What we say is what we mean, nothing else.

I had to realize, however, that women ARE that smart and they DO care. Sometimes what she says means something totally different and I might have to remind her that as a guy I am emotionally handicapped and if she doesn’t break it down for me and keep it simple she may not get the effect she desired.

These realizations have done wonders for my marriage. I don’t get in nearly as much trouble for stupid things I said because my wife realizes that I didn’t think before I spoke and what she interpreted to mean one thing was quite simply the vocalization of one of my many idiotic thoughts.

At the same time my realization that I sometimes need to ask for a translation into “guy speak” has reduced miscommunication and decreased the opportunity for me to get in trouble for it.

No stereotype fits all people and the same is true for this one. Not all women are complex and not all men are simple however more often than not the above accurately describes you and those around you. If you already knew this, shame on you for not letting the rest of us know. If you didn’t, share it with the men and women in your life and help us all out!

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at dave@gate811.net.