My wife turned on Christian radio this morning while we were driving my younger sisters-in-law to school. I cringed, expecting “Come To The Lord, Hallelujah, Amen!”–but we got something totally different.
As a sales trainer, I’m always on the lookout for new-to-me perspectives on communication, relationships and understanding others. This morning we were lucky enough to hear the authors of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, discussing how the hard-wiring of the male and female brains can make communication so difficult. In short, men compartmentalize different things (like squares in the waffle), and women consider them all to be connected (like noodles touching and winding over one another). This comes up in how conversations go (men: to the point, solve the problem / women: move quickly from subject to connected subject, don’t need to resolve anything necessarily), and the contrast can drive the other sex nuts.
Thinking what they had to say over as I drove, I discovered a common source of annoyance: I’ll be bustling in my “work box”, and my wife will bounce over and start “downloading” about a whole bunch of things, jumping from one topic to the next because in her mind they’re all connected. Because there’s no introduction so I can shift gears and move to the “listening box”, I’m neither prepared for this or considering the topics she’s talking about as a whole. Result: frustration on both sides. Now that we know what’s going on, we can do something about it.