The last while or so I’ve been amused to observe some fundamental differences in communication between the sexes. This won’t come as any surprise to those of you who make a habit of studying body language.
Many years ago when I was a 20 something there was a big furore over a self-help book that had just come out. You’ve probably realised the book I’m referring to is “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray.
In all honesty I’ve not read the entire book, only excerpts. It really wasn’t my kind of thing but it was hugely popular at the time. It claimed to give the sexes keys to each other by speaking about the different ways men and women operate in life. Basically implying we’re so far removed we might as well be on different planets!
I don’t subscribe 100% to that view because we are all made in God’s image but I believe He has male and female attributes.
Anyway, slightly digressing. I’ve been watching the way my husband interacts with his male friends(sorry guys). I thought it was only a cliché but no. When they say hello or greet each other they do it physically not just verbally. For example, one of them might greet the other with a gentle(hopefully) punch in the stomach or a slap around the head! I hasten to add, this is not with all contemporaries, only those they feel particularly comfortable with. Or if they want to tease each other or make a point during conversation they might poke each other in the ribs. I find this fascinating. It’s so different to how women behave. While I might touch someone on the arm it’s usually just meant as comfort.
This behavior follows through in their speech also. Whilst they are capable of having very serious and meaningful discussions they spend a vast amount of time joking around and winding each other up! At times like this I almost see them as boys in the playground again, not in a patronising way. I actually think it’s very sweet and a good way to let off steam providing it doesn’t go too far. I’m glad my husband who usually hates to have people in his space, other than me, permits it.
If I were to greet one of my friends with a slap rather than the usual hug they would either think I’d gone completely mad or was upset with them. It’s not how we normally relate to each other. We are good at deep talking and comforting and setting the world to rights. We do enjoy our times of laughing and teasing but it’s not the norm.
I relate to my male contemporaries differently too. As a married woman and mother of 4 it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to go around hugging other men, unless they were related to me. It varies depending on what they are like and what situation we are in. Some I have deep talks with and still have fun also. Others are huggers and greet me with a hug sometimes depending on how they are feeling, always in the sight of my husband and we all know nothing further is meant by it. As In all my relationships I try to watch for the cues and act accordingly and appropriately.
I appreciate and value all my friendships whatever form they take. One last thought. My Father in law was in a meeting the other day and seeing me, got up from the table and gave me a kiss on the cheek. He is not usually a demonstrative person so I was taken aback by it. He explained it later by telling me that is how his colleagues and he usually greet each other and he was still in that mode. I didn’t mind, it was just a bit awkward.
Anyhow I’m glad God made us different and let’s celebrate that because we complement and need each other.
Till next time.