Believe it or not, the whole men vs. women debate won’t be ending anytime soon.
Not because we haven’t suffered enough mental and physical setbacks in both camps to make us surrender, or because we haven’t accumulated sufficient information to help us understand each other better.
The gender war is, at its nature, a human problem. And humans, though similar in nature, are complex beings with significant differences—something which ought to unite and strengthen us, but has instead become a weapon to oppress and deny ourselves personal and collective growth.
Our biological and psychological frameworks account majorly for this dynamic gender disparity, but it is our individual perceptions of the opposite gender that ultimately influence our interactions, expectations, and overall dynamics between them.
The ocean of relationship resources available to us won’t have the desired impact on our dilapidating sociocultural structures and passive-aggressive communication habits if we don’t perceive our differences through the lens of humility and empathy, and make a decision to give change a chance.
In other words, we are totally screwed if we think salvation will come from consuming volumes of content and attempting to sound smart without taking action—accepting and appreciating our differences and imperfections as human beings.
From a male perspective, boys are fed information about women even before we can walk. We feel our way into this world of “man” and “woman,” creating simple theories about the energies we encounter (soothing energy vs. non-soothing energy), which are expressed through a palette of emotions.
These ideologies, delivered through sociocultural or religious exposure, seep into our mind, forging elements of our future core beliefs.
As boys race through their developmental cycle into manhood, with increased female presence and exposure to more variants of feminine energy, from sisters and mothers to school friends and girlfriends, society distorts what we see and believe about women, what is real about women, and what is true about women.
We are left wondering: What is real? What is true? And what do women want?
It can be confusing, and this confusion isn’t helped by the comfort of simply walking the path already carved by society, where men lead and women follow.
Deconstructing such conditioning—including our biased ideologies about women—begins with realigning skewed perceptions about the female and the significant differentials with the male, through education, healthy dialogue, and an action-based healing plan.
Let’s start the education now. Here are four things every man should know about women:
1. Women want you to listen to what they are saying and what they aren’t saying.
Quite a few things make women lose patience with a man, and not being heard seems to be at the top of that black list. So when they end a relationship, citing a lack of communication as the reason, men are often outraged by the verdict.
“But I always listen to you,” he says.
Communication is a big deal for women. It is not just about what they say, which is super important, but also about what they are not saying.
Women not only talk with their mouths, but with their eyes and hands. It takes practice, but it is possible to listen beyond the words.
2. Most women hate small talk.
Before you open your mouth, women already know what you want. And she has already decided whether or not she wants to give it to you.
In essence, what you say and how you say it only affects how soon she takes her leave—I learned this the hard way.
Men believe the myth that women are gullible, so they think the best way to navigate their intelligence is by buttering them up. It’s insulting, to be honest. Such grand misjudgment of character repulses women.
Be confident. Get straight to the point. She may still walk away, but there’s a good chance you’ll earn her respect by not wasting her time.
3. If you say the right things, you’ll get the right response.
When talking to a woman, you are free to express yourself as eloquently as you can. But remember that whatever you say can and will be used against you in the course of that conversation—and beyond. So choose your words carefully.
What you say also determines the response you get. And since there is no guarantee of what to expect, the only rule is to speak your truth.
What women want to hear and what women need to hear are not mutually exclusive. In the end, the right thing to say is always what’s true.
4. Her rejection of you is not a personal attack.
Women reject men for so many reasons. It took me a while to understand and change my reaction to rejection—not that it makes it any easier to digest.
The important thing here is that women have the right to say no to your advances. So when you mentally acknowledge this fact, removing yourself from a place of privilege to a place of objectivity, the pain of rejection becomes less personal—less about you, your feelings, and your ego.
Another woman may accept you for the same reasons you were previously rejected, which means it’s nothing personal—it’s just a matter of preference.
Overall, the quality of our interactions with others is dependent on the quality of the relationship we have with ourselves. Through the lens of doubt, insecurity, and unworthiness, interpersonal relationships can be cantankerous, widening the gender divide and feeding the gender war narrative—men vs. women, us against them.
However, when we interact from a place of abundance, we see ourselves, the world, and the people in it graciously—with kindness and a sense of community replacing the need to conform and begrudge.
Women are a lot of things, but inferior is not one of them.
The most important thing men should know about women is that they are also human—just like us—and they are not going anywhere, anytime soon. And we shouldn’t want them to.