Thursday, September 28, 2006

Men vs. Women

I'm sure Geoff will be thrilled that I am using him as an example for the whole world to read about, but I am only doing that becuase he is a very typical guy.

Why can't men and women communicate effectively?

Yesterday I found out that when I get upset or feel hurt by Geoff about something, he feels like he's "in trouble". He always kinda shuts down when I get angry, and I have always taken that as him not caring about what I'm upset about. Instead, it is really just because he feels like he's "in trouble", so he just becomes kind of sheepish and silent. I told him that the difference between me just being upset vs. him being in trouble is he will occasionally do things that make me angry or disappoint me, but I know he doesn't mean to and he doesn't do them because he just doesn't care. For example - a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday, he was supposed to do a double shift, but he ended up getting his schedule changed. He thought he told me and he made plans to hang out with Eric for a couple of hours. I called him to make plans for after work... and he was already with Eric. I was upset because he had just made plans with Eric without even mentioning to me that he was done with work early... but I knew it wasn't to make me mad or because he didn't care what I thought. It was a honest mistake, and I knew that from the beginning. I was still hurt by it, but he wasn't "in trouble" because of it. I'm not sure if this is making any sense because I don't think I'm explaining it well, but it was a very good revelation that we had. Now I have to work on findnig a way to express to Geoff when he does something to disappoint or anger me without making him feel punished. But at least I know not to take his lack of response to my being upset as not caring... he's just feeling punished. Interesting

Then, both a friend and I had similar experiences with our respective boyfriends last night. I don't think guys understand our need to plan. Actually I think Geoff does... but it's kinda stupid because he thinks I need to plan every little second of every day. Not true, but just be considerate! If a plan has changed, let me know so I can make my own decision on what to do. Last night, Geoff said he was going to call me when he had a movie picked out, then didn't call for over an hour... I finally called him and was like "uh, hello?" He said that they decided not to go see a movie so he just didn't call.. it seemed totally normal to him. I was like "what if I wanted to be doing something else, I've just been sorta waiting for you to call..." and he got all defensive like I was demanding to know what he was doing or something. I just didn't want to be sitting around waiting for him when I could have been doing something else. A friend of mine asked her boyfriend what time he was going to be coming home from work, and he took it as "why do you always twist my arm to come home so early?" Really, she wanted to run a couple of errands and wanted to see if she had time to do so before he got home!

I am writing all of this not to say guys suck in any way, or to say girls suck. I just think it's SUPER interesting the differences in communication! I think within each relationship you learn the specific little things that can become issues, and it only gets better with time... but the gender differences will just always be there. I guess understanding the other point of view is a big piece of it, and I'm trying to get better about that. That's why I was SO excited to understand that Geoff has this feeling of being "in trouble". No wonder he reacts the way he does. Yay for understanding. :)

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