Men are not tuned to listen and have small attention spans. Learn why.
So why do men find it so difficult to be good listeners? The reasons may range from genetic factors to social conditioning. Let’s look at a few of them.
From an early age, most men are conditioned to distance themselves from their emotions, so much so that they start perceiving emotional expression as an effeminate trait. Statements like “boys don’t cry” and “don’t cry like a girl” only reinforce this further. Therefore, when women talk about their innermost feelings, men find it difficult to connect and may even feel overwhelmed. The natural reaction, therefore, is to tune out.
For men, it’s all about logic and reasoning. They find it difficult to deal with anything that may not culminate in a logical solution – such as emotional rants. Men are sometimes unable to acknowledge that a woman is just talking about her problems to get them out of her system, and that she is not necessarily asking for his help in solving them. All women need, at times like these, is for men to give them a patient hearing. Make it clear at the outset that you just want to vent your feelings and he is under no obligation to come up with a solution. Yes, you have to spell it out.
Men are competitive by nature, and their natural instinct is to dominate. Listening to women, therefore, undermines that instinct and makes some men feel as if the woman is trying to steer the relationship. At times, men purposefully discourage women from talking because they find such discussions make them feel uncomfortable and inadequate. Some men do this by turning sarcastic.
Sometimes, men may feel that their partner is trying to prove them wrong, and this can be a huge blow to their egos. Their natural reaction in such scenarios, therefore, is to tune out and stop listening. If you really want to get your point across, bring up every matter in a healthy, compassionate way. Don’t blame or accuse, because that will only make him retreat further.
Men are, by nature, not as attentive as women. They are easily overwhelmed by details and find it difficult to focus on anything that is not based on fact or logic (such as abstract emotions). While this is an inherent trait that you can’t do much about, you can change your communication strategies to get your message across more effectively. For example, keep your conversations with your spouse short and to the point, with clear instructions on what you want him to do. Reserve the lengthy emotional rants for your girlfriends who are more likely to be patient listeners.
Please note that these are not to be taken as blanket statements – each individual is different and responds to stimuli is his or her own unique manner. With time, you will learn what works best for your relationship.