Saturday, March 17, 2012

Men Are From Mars and Martians Don't Listen

As the only female living in a house full of Y chromosome individuals, it's becoming more apparent to me that I need to understand (appreciate, maybe?) the differences in how men and women communicate. 

Men do not have as many verbal centers in the brain designated for language.  It's true.  According to Dr. Oz, "Women's language centers are bigger and they perceive and use language using both left and right sides of the brain. Women have higher level of activity all around, particularly in the frontal cortex, the executive center of the brain that anticipates consequences. Women also have larger hippocampus, the area of the brain that is the center of memory and emotion.Women's language centers of the brain are bigger."

Men have low attention spans and don't remember details.  "They rely more on spatial and mechanical things (hence the garage) and less in things that require words."

Okay, okay, I get it.  Women like to talk.  Men (and boys) don't. We are able to multitask and remember details, both good and bad.  Men don't remember stuff like we do.

When I ask the boys about their day I get shrugged shoulders.  I've tried asking open-ended questions so as not to get one word "yes" or "no" or "dunno" answers.  Instead of "how was school today?" which usually results in a one-word answer (fine) I try to ask questions like, "what was the funniest thing that happened at school today?"  Sometimes I get a funny story, but mostly it's "dunno."

When the boys have assemblies at school I usually don't hear about it from them.  When it's Red Wings day or Crazy Hat day we are searching frantically for a t-shirt or hat about 10 minutes before we have to leave for the bus stop because they just remembered.  Or they finally remember when we are at the bus stop surrounded by kids in hats.  They have lower attention spans, remember?

When I talk, the guys in my house don't always listen. They hear me but don't necessarily listen or absorb what I'm saying.  They hear the whaa-whaa-whaa like Charlie Brown's teacher. 

When I'm on the verge of losing my marbles because one of the testosterone-laden members of my family says, "you never told me that" I scream.  I scream because I did tell him that.  Of course I told him that.  I would remember telling someone that because I have a bigger memory center, remember? I'm all about the details. I would definitely, positively remember telling him that.

Sometimes I talk to myself.  At least I know someone is listening.

This is why I love going out with my girlfriends.  We have the best conversations.  We talk details down to the color of the third stripe on someone's blouse.  We go off on tangents, come back, circle around other topics, and are never met with confused looks or dazed eyes.  I never hear, "you didn't tell me that."

So, before I lose more marbles I will have to understand that the men in my house will not remember what I told them.  They will not offer up details.  I will have to ask more than once.

I won't ask "why isn't anyone listening to me?" anymore because chances are pretty good they didn't hear what I said.  They weren't listening. 

I might as well get used to it.



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