Golden Hearts II
Marcee and I are blessed to have a good friend who is also a talented author, editor, and statewide conference co-ordinator and advocate for the disabled. Christiana Goebel has been our wrting mentor for several years, and we have learned so much from her experience and expertise in writing. Therefore, we were so excited (and humbled) to be asked to be contributors to her second book in her Golden Hearts series - Golden Hearts II: We Are Your Family.
Golden Hearts II - We are Your Family was released in 2020 and was written for "orphans, foster children, foundlings, people missing families, or lonely or discouraged people of any age. Golden Heart II: We Are Your Family was created to discuss topics that families share over their lifetimes with one another to learn, grow, and belong." (Goebel)
The following article is my attempt at trying to explain the best way to communicate with men. It started off as an attempt to aid in manuevering the minefield of inter-gender communication, but at somepoint along the line, it became more of a discussion on what true communication is. Christiana was kind enough to allow me to re-print my contribution in this blog.
Compared to many of the subjects addressed in this book, this topic is really quite simple. To communicate with men, you must first start with the things that interest them. And once again, this is quite simple. In order of importance, men are interested in:
2. Food 3. Sports
Now occasionally, based on the time of day and maybe the season, some of these items can and will change position. In the fall for example, football can move to the # 1 position with food and women falling completely off their radar.
Sometimes, with no warning at all, food can move to the top of the list and stay there for as long as it takes to make a quick trip to the refrigerator or McDonalds.
In any case, it is important to realize that men are relatively simple to understand once you know how they are motivated. Communicating with this sex becomes very simple as long as you begin any conversation with one of the three subjects.
For example girls, if you would like to talk to a boy about your feelings, you might start off with something like this, “Boy, how about those Cowboys this weekend? It was quite a game, huh?”
Now, it is important to realize that initially, you might only receive a grunt in response, but you have at least gotten his attention. At this point, you can try mentioning another one of the three subjects with something like, “and did you see that last play?” If you still don’t have his attention, you can pull out all of the stops and say, “Hey, I am going to make a sandwich. Would you like one?” You are almost certainly guaranteed, that he will make eye contact with you at this point, and respond with, “Huh?’
Now, you are in a position to ask him the question that you have on your mind.
To go a little deeper into the subject of how to communicate with men, you must also understand their thought “process”. It is an understatement to say that girls and boys and men and women approach thinking differently . . . and that is part of the fun and part of the attraction to the opposite sex. Besides all of the obvious differences between males and females, guys go about making decisions, communicating, and listening in an approach foreign to girls and women.
Guys think more linearly, or in a line. Whether we like it or not, we think more by going down a “check list” and we answer our check list questions in terms of yes or no. It is a simple process, but it has worked well for thousands of years.
Our female counterpoints have a much more complicated thought process. They look at things from a variety of viewpoints than we do (and feelings come into play in a big way).
It is no surprise that guys have no trouble talking with other guys, and girls can talk for hours to other girls effortlessly. It gets a little more complicated when the two sexes try communicating with each other.
The art of conversation between men and women and boys and girls has been a source of joy, confusion, and frustration since the beginning of time. I feel quite sure that Adam and Eve struggled to understand each other. The first time Eve asked, “Does this leaf make me look fat?” I’ll bet Adam responded, “You look fine,” without looking up from his dinner.* And from that point on, there has been trouble in paradise. (Of course all that business with the apple did not help things either.)
Thousands of years later, males and females still struggle to be understood. Both sexes desperately want the same thing . . . to be able to share their likes, dreams and passions with others. We want others to know how we feel, and to share experiences . . . and in a nutshell just to be heard!
Problems arise when one or both of the individuals try so hard to be heard that they forget to listen. You may have heard the saying that communication is a two way street. It is so true, but it is also so very hard to do. Many of us spend so much time in conversation thinking about what we are going to say next, that we completely ignore what the other one is saying. If the other person is doing the same thing, then there is no communication.
My father, who was a very wise man, would always tell me, “If you will just listen, you can learn something from everyone you speak to.” He had rich friends and poor friends. Some of his friends had never been to school and others were highly educated. He knew doctors and lawyers and had many friends who were unemployed, but he listened to them all. More importantly, he listened to them with respect. He gave them his full attention, asked questions, and complimented them on their insights.
We would go into town on Saturday mornings, and I would listen to him speak to people that we passed. As we would walk away from the different conversations, he would always ask, “What did you learn?” My father was not the only wise man who had opinions on listening. Here are just a couple of examples:
When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something. Jared Sparks
Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking. Bernard Baruch
The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. Ralph Nichols
Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable. David Augsburger
Communicating with others is one of the keys to being successful, whether it be in school, with your career, or in relationships. You want to be able to engage others, receive or pass along information, and when you do it well, you will hopefully leave the other person feeling good about spending time with you.
Communicating between the sexes is certainly more difficult, but it is also a lot of fun. If you are trying to understand men . . . or women, it is important to understand that both sexes really want the same thing, even though they would express it differently. We all want to be respected and understood. Any relationship can grow and improve if you will spend the time getting to know the other person better. The best way to do that is by really listening to them. Hear what they have to say. Ask them questions about what is important to them. Spend time listening to their story. You like to be heard, right? So do they.
We were created to be with others. We were created for community. You can spend a lifetime learning how to communicate with others; it will take a lifetime to do it well.