Yesterday I mentioned that men & women have different levels of need when it comes to information. I also provided an example of how a woman might provide an overflow of information.
Well, today, I’d like to share an example of how a man might provide insufficient information. Because as you probably know… this issue swings both ways! And, somewhere in the middle lies the ever so elusive balance.
Detail gathering tasks almost always fall to the woman in a relationship… and, here’s why.
Hubby: “I spoke to Chris today… they [Chris & his wife] want to hang out next weekend”
Me: “Ok, which day?”
Hubby: “I’m not sure”
Me: “Did he mention where they want to go or what they want to do?”
Me: “Do they want to come down here by us, or would we drive up to see them?
Hubby: “I have no idea”
Me: “Did he give you any idea of timing? We have some stuff to do in the afternoons”
Hubby: “Nope, I didn’t ask him”
Me: “So the 2 of you had a conversation about hanging out, but you didn’t actually discuss anything?”
Hubby: “I guess”
Me: “I just don’t get you”
Hubby: “Can’t you just call his wife?”
A conversation with my father-in-law:
FIL: “I called to see if you guys want to meet us out for dinner”
Me: “Ok, where?”
FIL: “Asia Star”
Me: “What time?”
FIL: “I don’t know”
Me: “You called to invite us out, but you don’t know what time?”
FIL: “No, let me check with the boss”
Me: “Is this a family trait.. or a male trait?”
Me: “Well, you & hubby seem to have the same inability to gather sufficient information to complete a task?”
FIL: “I have no idea.. Here, I’ll put Mom on”
Me: speaking to MIL “What’s wrong with them?”
MIL: “Where do you want me to start?”
And… I’ve found that this phenomenon is not just isolated to planning… it’s extends to virtually every conversation that hubby has with someone.
Hubby: “I spoke to Jim today.. he just got a new job”
Me: “I didn’t realize he was in the market for a new job”
Hubby: “Neither did I”
Me: “Well, that’s awesome anyway! What will he be doing?”
Hubby: “No idea”
Me: “You didn’t ask him about it?”
Hubby: “No, not really”
Me: “So, he mentions he has a new job and you say what, ‘oh great, so did you see that game last night’ ?”
Hubby: “Well, sort of”
Me: “You weren’t interested in any more details?”
Hubby: “That’s not it…. If he wanted to share more info he would have… Honey, we’re, guys.”
So, I’ve realized a couple of things over the years:
- If two men are sharing info… there’s just no hope of getting a full picture or a full story
- If a man & a woman are sharing info.. AND (and, this is an important AND) the woman has mastered the art of extracting information, you may have decent idea of what’s going on
- If two women are sharing info.. you’ll likely get not only a full story, but a full back-story, a dissection of the story, an analysis of the story, and a recommendation for next steps.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m sure there’s a spot right in the middle that makes the most sense, but from what I’ve seen, it’s a difficult place to stay. It’s sort of like being on a see-saw and keeping it perfectly balanced at all times. It’s just not that easy to do. Too LITTLE info and one side lowers… too MUCH info and the other side lowers (and, quite possibly, somebody’s head explodes).
The best way for me to try to maintain the “balance” in my own home is this:
Me: “Honey, do you think you can do me a huge favor”
Me: “Next time you are having a conversation with someone, about almost anything that you think you might mention to me later, can you pause for a moment and ask yourself… What other info might she ask me about? And, if anything pops into your head, can you please try to gather that info before you tell me the story? It will make it so much easier on both of us!”
Hubby: “Yes, dear”
And there they are…..those magical words that every woman wants to hear… “yes, dear”. Even though, I know that next time he shares information with me… we’ll be right back to where we are today.
Because, after all, he said it himself….. “Honey, we’re guys”
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