Realistic Expectations

Talking about gender differences these days can be a touchy subject, so I will preface this post with a disclaimer, that this is about my experiences and those close to me and not a general assumption or judgement about all.

While playing cards with my significant other and some of his cousins (males) a couple of weeks ago, we started talking about some blog topics that I could write about. They pitched out several ideas that I quickly scoffed at but one that for sure resonated instantly with me... men and women and their differences, again. This topic always intrigues me because even at 41, having a sociology & psychology degree and lots of experience... I still am baffled about how different we are especially in our communication.

We talked about how they think men are hunters and women are gatherers. Women are always seeking out and gathering information. Men are hunters who have one thing at a time on their mind, they sit back from afar watching, assessing. No multi-tasking involved. :) We discussed a great example of this... when my boyfriend goes out with his friends and returns, the conversation goes somewhat like this...

Me: Where did you guys go? Did you have fun? Who all went? Was the food good? Did you see anyone you knew?

Him: To get a drink, the usual crew and is this an interrogation?

Me: No this isn't an interrogation I am just asking questions. What did you guys talk about?

Him: Nothing.

Me: You all hung out for three hours and talked about nothing?

Him: Yep

After each time we had this same conversation, I would think "he must not want me to know what they talked about" or "he wasn't listening and couldn't remember". Then when I hung out with "just the guys" I started to see that they talked about the new Tesla coming out, some guy falling off of a horse video on Reddit or how many hot dogs they could eat... all of which equates to talking about nothing. They really didn't talk about anything of substance or what us women would consider substance. So I guess he was being honest. :)

When I go out with my friends the conversation goes like so...

Him: How was your night?

Me: It was fun. It was Summer, Angie and I. We ate at Twiggs... I had the chicken pasta and a lemon martini. We sat in Tandi's section. It was super crowded but I ran into Nikki there and they want to know if we want to go camping in two weeks. Then OMG, Summer told me about blah blah blah (10 minute story) and Angie and I told her blah blah blah (another 10 minute story)...

Him: That's cool.

Me: What did you do?

Him: Nothing much.

LOL! Seriously our conversations are entirely different. He didn't "interrogate" me nor ask for any details yet I offered up more than he bargained for. I am not saying that men can't be emotionally intelligent when needed to be (see previous post on Hot & Emotionally Unavailable :)) but this is yet another great reminder of setting realistic expectations of our partners (unless of course you have a unicorn). I strongly believe this is why we have mothers, sisters and friends... so we have someone to unload on.

This isn't me giving men a free pass to get out of talking about anything important or to walk thru life as zombies but I do think there are things we can talk to them about and other things we aren't going to get the feedback we want back so... set real expectations. No one person can be everything we need them to be.

I got some great advice from my best friend, who is a therapist, to use words like "can we connect for a bit", "I miss you, let's chat". Sounds ideal. Now I haven't mastered these phrases quite yet because they still seem to come out like "do you even like me" or "do you hate talking to me"? What I am trying to do, when I am irritated, is picture a sort of Tarzan slash Fred Flintstone building a house out of twigs or stone and the concentration level that must take for one man :) vs. him sitting there on his phone, and have some compassion because he must be mapping out his next hunt (hunt = Reddit or Clash of Clans)!!!