Is it a Female Thing? Really?

Men and women are from the same planet.

About 20 years ago, it was widely publicized that men and women came from “different planets,” and therefore did not speak the same language.And seemingly in the past 20 years, they haven’t changed that notion either.

I not only disagree with this notion, I take offense to it.

In the same way that there are different versions of English (American, Canadian, British, Australian), there are different styles of communication and they are not exclusive to gender.

Some communicators are more direct than others. Some prefer to hint at what they want; some hope that others can read their mind. This has nothing to do with being male or female. Sex does not dictate communication style.

I was reading a communications book by a well-known writer who would disagree with me. She told a story about a man and a woman out for a Sunday drive. The woman in the story said to the man, “Would you like to stop for a coffee?” He said, “No.” and continued to drive on. The woman in the story was very upset by his lack of consideration. Apparently by not returning the question, he was being rude. The man in the story didn’t see it that way at all. Therefore, the author concludes, men and women come from different planets and don’t speak the same language.

I would never do what the woman in the story did (and clearly, I am female). If I wanted to stop for a coffee, I would say, “I would love a coffee. Let’s stop at the next Tim Hortons we see.” Before buying my coffee, I would ask the person I was with if he wanted one as well. My mind says that if I want something, I should be direct and ask for it. It also teaches me to be polite and ask the other person as well. My way of expressing my wishes allows my needs to be met (coffee) without issuing an order to the other person. If there was a reason why we could not stop for coffee, the driver had an opportunity to say so. I wasn’t ordering him to stop, I was stating my needs, and he could choose to stop or not. There would be no misunderstandings in my statement.

This has nothing to do with being female, and everything to do with being a direct communicator.

You are either a direct or an indirect communicator. If you make your point clearly without hinting or beating around the bush, you are likely a direct communicator. If you ask the other person an indirect question, or make an indirect statement, such as, “would you like to stop for a coffee?” when what you are really saying is, “I would like to stop for a coffee, would you like one too?” then you are an indirect communicator. You aren’t from another planet, you are indirect.

I can choose to be indirect. I can say things like, “perhaps there is another way to view this situation” or I can be direct and say, “let’s look at another point of view.” I can hint that for Christmas I want diamond earrings, or I can find them in the catalogue and tape a picture of them to the refrigerator with the label “My Christmas List.” It is my choice, and my communication is not dictated by an x or a y chromosome.

In my opinion, allowing excuses such as, “women communicate indirectly and men communicate directly,” excuses the way women communicate. If women communicate indirectly, they are choosing to be misunderstood. Why would you ever knowingly choose that?

It is your choice. There are no excuses. Do you want to hint at what you want and need in this life and maybe get it, or do you want to increase the odds and be direct?

I know what works best for me.

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One thought on “Is it a Female Thing? Really?”

  1. I totally agree with you. I am a direct communicator; sometimes too direct and I’m working on that. But there is no doubt about what I’m saying because I say what I mean. I think people who are indirect communicators misunderstand and take direct communication for something bad. Can we help indirect commmunicators to understand that if they don’t say what they mean it will be difficult to understand what they’re trying to say? Thank you!

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