The main difference between men and women is how they handle problems. Men look for logical answers to their dilemmas. Women prefer to talk about the dilemma. They do not want an answer. They just want to talk.
My wife comes home from work and says, “One of the employees I manage is just terrible. She has a negative attitude and she doesn’t do anything right.” Being a logical, problem-solving man I reply, “…you should fire her,” and my wife gets mad at me. That doesn’t add up. I am simply trying to help, but that’s what’s wrong. She doesn’t want help. She wants me to listen while she describes her situation.
When I have a problem… I want a solution. What is the best (or easiest) way to get my desired result? What can I change about my situation to make things better?
Here’s a man’s basic equation:
My Problem + X = Desired Outcome
There is 1 variable… X. All I need to do is subtract my problem from my desired outcome to define X. It’s very simple. How do I go from where I am to where I’d like to be? Add X. If my problem is “I’m thirsty,” and my desired outcome is “no longer thirsty,” then X is equal to “a drink.” Whew. I’m gonna go have a drink.
Sometimes it’s subtraction instead of addition. I become frustrated by a barista at Starbucks… Current Situation – X = No Frustration. I leave and get coffee somewhere else.
Women are what mathematicians call a conundrum, or an illogical equation. There need to be clearly defined variables to find a solution. That’s where men go wrong. One cannot give a logical answer to an illogical question. The female you are dealing with is not looking to define X. She is not looking to balance the equation. She is trying to discuss the variables. Women will make a simple equation as complicated as possible and then wonder why they feel frustrated.
Here’s an example of the equation I discussed earlier about my wife’s problem coworker…
((Coworker + trouble / (rudeness + disrespect + negative attitude)) + unrelated issues) x (drama + distress + mistrust) – Feeling Content at Work x 5 Days / Week = X
X is meaningless in this situation because the variables are obscure, misleading, and impossible to define. Hours can be spent (trust me) trying to isolate the value of each variable in the equation… but don’t bother. She doesn’t want your help. She doesn’t want a solution. She just wants to talk.
It’s hard for men to listen. We want to help. We want to solve the problem. It takes a great amount of restraint to resist the urge to solve the problem and listen long enough for your woman to feel satisfied, but that’s what needs to be done. Smile compassionately with the corners of your mouth. Furrow your brows and squint inquisitively. Think about how nice her eyes are. Nod occasionally. You are not helping to find a solution. You are helping to make her feel better.
…the only downside is the same problem will still be there tomorrow.