Relationships / Us Girls

It’s Not Personal: How Men Think Differently From Women

English: Crispy Waffle.

English: Crispy Waffle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

(featured image credit)

23 thoughts on “It’s Not Personal: How Men Think Differently From Women

  1. Hmmm…this may explain why I have always preferred being “One of the guys.” I compartmentalize. I actually get very irritated if I’m concentrating on something and get interrupted. I’m not totally un-female. I get very emotional about stuff like meals that come out wrong, and I take some things personally, but not others. I take critique badly, but I debate like a man. Worth chewing over.

    • I’ve been working on debating like a man, woman debate tactics are pretty worthless. I get very focused sometimes when I’m blogging, especially if the kids are asleep. But I have a very difficult time not integrating my personal life into my blog posts, even though I see how it can be damaging at times.

  2. I’m very factual…sometimes too factual when I get in a debate with my girlfriends because they only respond with “But I feel…and so, you know, it just doesn’t feel right”. It is like I what I said just didn’t click. Debating with a man using a factual tactic will work, but it will be useless with most women. My best bet is using emotional appeals and blending in a bit of facts for when debating with women.

      • That is true. I debate every now and then, it just gets annoying when you have that one person who wants to debate all the time. Sometimes it is good just to stay quiet, even if you are right. That being said, I’m able to be emotionally detached from debates, especially political ones, I think this is because I don’t have a strong preference for either side.

    • Ah, the “I Feel” and “it just doesn’t feel right” tactics of women… how I love them so. (sarcasm) You are right Lovely, factual arguments don’t fly too well with most women. Like you, I often have to resort to emotional appeals.

      • LOL. I seem to remember from some of the debates I was in in high school (informal and classroom, not debate club) that emotional arguments worked better with both sexes. The phrase “low information voter” exists for a reason. That is rather the point of sophistry. Only a study of philosophy and rhetoric can overcome it, just as studying statistics will overcome any credulity in newspaper reports about scientific studies.

      • One of my best friends just straight up told me she doesn’t like logic or sense. I had to look at her dumbfounded, but I realized most women are like this. Actually, she gets quiet fiery with me sometimes saying, “(Lovely) you can’t put everything into a statistic”. Sometimes I think that I am too factual to the point where it may take away from my femininity, but I can’t seem to grapple the way some women think sometimes so, I can’t even try if I wanted to.

  3. Regarding debate tactics: for better and worse, women generally respond to power and authority rather than reason.

    It’s for worse because, well, look at our society.

    It’s for better, though, because power likes to be catered to. Women make better college students, corporate workers, and certainly better wives. In a crisis, if you yell at a woman to do x, she will either shut and do it, or break down in hysterics. That doesn’t sound like a compliment, but it’s better than the male version —shut and do it, or go for your throat.

    The spaghetti/waffle analogy is apt and easy to remember. Thank you.

  4. And thinking it over, generally is about all you can ever say. Charles Dickens argued with emotional portraits of characters, and to an England where women did not yet have the vote. For that matter, most oration is emotional appeal. On the other hand, writer Florence King is a stunning example of a woman who writes with an acid tongue and plenty of facts to back it up. But she is an outlier with regard to her sex and knows it.

    I realized in further thought that I feel insulted if I’m argued at with emotional appeals. Typical female response. But my preferred modes of communication are more typically male. My brother, on the other hand, doesn’t take arguments personally but it’s extremely susceptible to vague heart-string jerking lines of reasoning. Can you guess which one of us is the liberal at the voting booths?

    The take home is always the same; some sex differences are hard and fast rules, others descriptions of typical distributions. I am clearly a more logical debater than my brother, but certainly not than the most logical and cool headed of men. And while my brother is a bleeding heart, his wife is easily more so. Use the guidelines as a tool for insight, then get to know people.

    On a side note, I’ve noticed a lot of women in the red pill world seem to be outliers in this respect. Maybe that’s why this is all so refreshing. It’s a way to discover how to be feminine without imitating the faults of our sex we didn’t get naturally. Why start being irrational if you aren’t to begin with.

  5. I see a theme emerging; women who feel compelled to be more like men because men are better. Frankly, I agree that the ability to focus, be factual, and analytical is better in most cases than be all “feely” and stuff.

    But there is absolutely nothing wrong with being feminine, quirks and all. I tend to bounce back and forth, really. Sometimes I compartmentalize quite easily. In fact, I am not a mult-tasker. Whatever I am doing, that’s what I am doing- usually. So yes, this post is very well expressed.

    However ladies, remember this. If the Creator wanted women to be men with boobs and different plumbing, He would have made us that way. Our “spaghetti brains” serve a purpose. What we need is not to become more male, or bask in our self-perceived lack of feminine weakness. But to cultivate righteousness in character so that our feminine ways are an occasion virtue rather than vice.

    • Oh, believe me, Elspeth, my tendecy to lack “spaghetti brain” is most definitely a weakness as a mother. I have a very hard time keeping my temper when I’m interrupted, and stuff burns if I’m forced off a task. I’ll just plum forget I was cooking if suddenly I have diaper changes and school work to help with. I can’t hold that many things in my head. The fact that I frequently “think like a man” is an advantage to my husband, who gets irritated by irrational and emotional thinking. But it also makes life lonely since I don’t get along with women and its inappropriate (and awkward) to hang out with men.

      The challenge for me is to figure out how to be more vulnerable without trying to be someone I’m not. I ended up with a Vulcan brain. That’s not particularly feminine. But I was blessed to be matched with a man who is thankfully commentary to me (he’s incredibly intuitive) without being an effeminate wuss. I’m trying to overcome my tendency to hyper focus on things and be a wee bit more attentive to people rather than ideas.

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  8. What I read in the essay was an unknowing reference to personality types (see: Jung, Myers-Briggs), and the salient difference there is not whether you’re a female-bodied person or a male-bodied person. It’s how you take in information and how you make decisions. The familiar typology to describe these conjoined processes is introvert, extravert, sensor, feeler, perceiver, judger. And the distribution of these tendencies is widespread—maybe even equal—across both sexes. This rubbishes that “male brain”/”female brain” stuff. And I wouldn’t be too confident in my resort to neurological studies based on patterns of electrical conductance registered in people lying flat on their backs doing simple mental tasks inside an electromagnetic scanner. That hardly captures the complexity and dynamism of our real-life environmental stimuli and mental response to it, does it?(In fact, it’s only a measure of different responses to an experiment and should only be described as such.)

    The point here, I think, is not to fall into fashionable junk thinking. If you want a good foundation for talking about differences in mental process, skip this and go to the higher minds: Aristotle, to start, then Jung.

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