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Communication in the millennium: it can be done

The idea that men and women are from different planets is not a new one. That they speak dissimilar tongues and communicate using different mediums has also be explored and presented ad nauseum. Yet after all this theory, the question that still lingers is where to from here?

Are we, as members of the fairer, more intelligent and more efficient sex, suppose to bumble through the millennium grossly dissatisfied just because we communicate our needs in a different language to our male counterparts? Come on - this is the New South Africa - we have eleven official languages (22 if we follow Mars/Venus theory). Surely there must be some common ground amongst all those syllables.

Bridging the gap
In actual fact, bridging this so-called cavern is not that difficult but it does require a shift in attitude and one that is particularly dear to the `New South African`. It`s all about understanding, acceptance and respect for our differences.

Men and women are different yet how many of us spend hours trying to mould our partners into a more accurate reflection of ourselves. Before you laugh that off think about it for a moment. The quest for the `nineties man` - soft, sensitive, not afraid to show his emotions? And now the millennium man - equal on every level and as diverse in the home as he is in the work place. Is that not a reflection of the feminine through and through?

Making men into women?
The problem is how many of our partners actually measure up to either of these images. And, for those that do - how many skip and shout at their achievements? The way we drool over the likes of Hugh Grant suggest that reality is not offering too many of the `I`m thrilled to be soft and sensitive` types. This suggests to me that maybe its time to change tactics. Instead of trying to insist that communication take place on one only level or through one medium perhaps we could look at a multilingual approach.

Women language
I realise this is a sweeping generalisation but for the most part women communicate using emotion-based language. Their experience of the communication process is multifaceted and often sensitive. What`s more a number of covert messages are often relayed via each message.

Men language
Men on the other hand rely more heavily on fact and action. Their experience of this process is often single faceted and for the purposes of relaying a solitary message. Though I may hear shouts to the contrary, I believe that neither approach is necessarily better than the next. They are just different.

Learn each other`s language
What we face is not contest where we pit each side against the other but rather challenge. One that involves learning how to communicate on varying levels. Instead of nagging our men to tell us how they feel, we need to look at what they are saying through their actions.

Similarly when addressing a problem, give the fact first then the emotion. When we do it the other way around, the emotion if often the only point that is communicated. Chances are that learning to communicate using unfamiliar mechanisms will broaden our skills and our understanding of our partners. It may also give us the tools and the patience necessary to help our partners learn to communicate on our levels

Article source: LifeWorld



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