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Doing Life Together

talkingJack and Kirsten are out to dinner. Kirsten begins the conversation.

“How was your day?”

“Fine.”

That was it. Jack stopped talking. Kirsten was frustrated. Kirsten is thinking that a little more detail would be nice.

Let’s say Kirsten began the conversation, it might go more like this.

“I had a crazy day at the office. Joyce got mad at our boss and lost it. Everyone was upset, but afraid to say anything. It was a nightmare. What was your day like?” 

“Actually good.”

The men reading this are thinking, good grief, too much information!

But are Jack and Kirsten’s answers a function of the different social behaviors between men and women?

Studies have shown the differences in men and women’s brains to be more of a matter of degree, not of kind, meaning the two genders are more alike than different.

But a study at the University of Pennsylvania says that the different brain wiring in men and women may account for this difference. According to the researchers, gender differences in brain wiring begin to be seen in adolescence. Images of male brains show more connections WITHIN hemispheres. Women’s brains show more BETWEEN hemispheres. This means that women are more suited to multitasking and analytical thought; they express themselves using emotional states  and are more socialized towards emotions from an early age. Yes men, this might be why you find us overwhelming at times.

Men are better at linear tasks that require attending to one thing at a time. They too feel things deeply, but  don’t process things as quickly as women or put those feeling into words.

Furthermore, when an argument happens, women may stay upset longer. This is possibly due to the enhancing effects of estrogen that can prolong the secretion of the stress hormone. So when a man says, “Let it go, get over it. He already has!”

We know that sharing emotions does help relationships. So men, take a deep breath and think about what you might be feeling.

Ladies, don’t ask men “to talk” when they are watching football or fixing the sink. When you do “talk,” edit your speech and tell him what you need.

Men, pay attention to your physical body and verbalize what you are feeling. Share a few more thoughts than a one word answer.

In other words, let’s become more fluent in each other’s language.

 

Reference: Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, Co-authors  Madhura Ingalhalikar, Alex Smith, Drew Parker, Theodore D. Satterthwaite, Mark A. Elliott, Kosha Ruparel, and Hakon Hakonarson of the Section of Biomedical Image Analysis and the Center for Biomedical Image Computing and Analytics.

 

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