One of the biggest differences between men and women is in the way they think. We are all probably familiar with the phrase “men have brains like a waffle and women have brains like spaghetti”. A woman’s thoughts run together like spaghetti; we can be doing dishes, planning a blog post, and listening to the kids play all at the same time. A man’s brain tends to compartmentalize like a waffle; they are able to deeply focus on one area at a time without any distractions. This helped protect them during hunting or battles. Their ability to intensely focus feels good to them, it can replicate the same sort of high that they would get from a post-exercise endorphin rush. When they are in “the zone”, interruptions are highly annoying.
The phrase “it’s not personal, it’s business” doesn’t make sense to most women. We don’t understand how men can separate business from personal. But this is how most men view the business world, they believe people should leave their feelings and their personal life at home and make decisions based on the best business decisions possible. If they are busy thinking about their wives and kids while at work, they are not able to produce at 100% capability. They are better able to separate themselves from their position, for example, during a work review, a man can listen to criticism and understand that he didn’t fulfill the obligations of a role (like manager) but that doesn’t make him a bad person and it doesn’t mean his boss doesn’t like him. A man is better able to de-personalize work whereas a woman takes work assessments personally and thinks her boss doesn’t like her. She is more likely to personalize things. Women are also more likely to talk about their personal life at work or mix it into their work relationships. Men view people who are unable to separate their personal from their work as unprofessional, weak, having low self-esteem, not being a team player, naive, not sophisticated, emotional, or not business savvy. They tend to judge men more harshly than women for these behaviors and leave some allowance for women to be women. There was a time in the 50’s-60’s when men did not expect women to behave like men, when they expected a certain emotionalism from women and treated them accordingly, but today when women do not act like men in the workplace they are looked down upon for not behaving equally. Women who adapt to men’s business rules survive better and move into higher positions in the workplace.
I see examples of this business/personal separation in blogging. When men blog, it tends to focus on one thing…politics, religion, a cause. When women blog, we tend to have 5-6 different topics we discuss. Women bloggers who de-personalize their writings tend to be more respected in male blogging circles and seen as more professional, less weak, and more intelligent. Men bloggers who add a little about their personal life to their blogging attract more women readers. Neither choice is wrong, but it is good to be aware of the effect you are having on your readers and to choose your audience carefully.
Another example of waffle brain in men is their empty space. Men actually have an empty room in their brain they can escape to where they think of nothing. This is unimaginable to women, we have no idea what it’s like to think of nothing, our minds are always skipping from one place to another. This empty space makes it easier for men to fall asleep at night…..so jealous.
Men also get frustrated with women who interrupt them often during tv shows or movies because of their ability to intensely focus and compartmentalize. Sometimes, women see movies as 2-hour foreplay events, but this doesn’t work for men. It’s either sex or movies, it’s difficult for them to do both at the same time. I also see how this compartmentalization makes it easier for men to achieve orgasm than women.
When a man has an affair, sometimes he’ll justify himself by saying “this had nothing to do with us/you”. This doesn’t make it right, but his ability to completely not think about his home life while he is with another woman does explain some of his actions. I’ve even heard of men having two wives and two completely separate lives with each woman. This would be very difficult for a woman to do without always thinking of her other life.
Have you noticed differences in the way men and women act because of their different thinking patterns?
The Male Factor (The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace) by Shaunti Feldhahn