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"Men & Emotional Minefields article "
Article by
Jody Hayes
Managing Director
Gear4Guys
01/25/11

I wish I possessed my husband's relaxed attitude to offending people. It's not that he's outright rude, but he doesn't get his gonch in a knot about situations that would cause ulcers for most women. If he offends someone, he feels sorry, and moves on with his life as though nothing major happened.

Most men seem to have this skill. Offenses can roll off their shoulders much easier than they can for women. I'm not saying that men don't get hurt or offend others, because I know for a fact that they do, but men don't brood on these things. Someone pisses them off, they get mad, and then they kick it off their radar and move on.

Women nurse grievances like they are babies. When something bad happens to us or we act like a jerk to someone else, we agonize over it, obsessing over every little detail like we're going to be tested on it. We drive ourselves (and everyone around us) insane as we examine the problem from every conceivable angle. We process, where men deflect.

There are many times I've wished for a man's approach to emotional minefields. I'd give anything to turn down my radar for feelings, because it picks up every last nuance and intimation in a conversation. Women have their ears pricked up, all the damn time, listening for all subtext and then translating it into something we can understand. Usually it's so complicated and multi-layered that we spend days dissecting every word, tone, facial expression or side glance until we are satisfied with our version of what actually happened. Then we have to formulate a plan of action to respond to the situation, and this can take just as long, requiring many patient hours of listening from our men and our friends.

Women become frustrated when it seems like men don't care, because they don't have the same passionate reaction to being slighted. I think it goes back to the basic differences between the sexes: men see the world as a straight, linear, simple line and women experience squiggly lines running all over each other in a chaotic, zigzag way, and we spend a lot of time and energy trying to organize those crazy lines into something we can actually work with.

The next time I'm gearing up into a good old-fashioned righteous fury over somethig that happened to me, or a conversation that went badly, I'm going to think about how a man would react and try to learn what I can from his example. And similarly, when a man is hearing the Meow Mix jingle in his mind and mentally correcting his golf swing while his woman is explaining a problem, please give her a few moments of your time and understand that she is not trying to frustrate you. She just sees the world radically differently, and she is as baffled by your linear way of communicating as you are by her indepth and thorough analysis of any given situation.

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