“To be womanly is one thing, and one only – it is to be sensitive to man…; to be manly is to be sensitive to woman.”
Women often believe that they are more emotionally sensitive than men. Is that really so?
Celia Lashlie provides an intersting example of woman’s and man’s emotional sensitivity in her book “He’ll be OK: Growing gorgeous boys into good men”:
Monday 17 November 2003
“Saw John in the evening and he was acting really strangely. I went shopping in the afternoon with the girls and I did turn up a bit late so I thought it might be that.
The bar was really crowded and loud so I suggested we go somewhere quieter to talk. He was still very subdued and distracted so I suggested we go somewhere nice to eat. All through the dinner he just didn’t seem himself; he hardly laughed and didn’t seem to be paying attention to me or to what I was saying.
I just knew that something was wrong.
He dropped me back home. I wondered if he was going to come in; he hesitated, but followed. I asked him again if there was something the matter but he just half shook his head and turned the television on.
After about 10 minutes of silence, I said I was going to bed. I put my arms around him and told him that I loved him deeply. He just gave a sigh, and a sad sort of smile…
I started to think that he was going to leave me, and that he had found someone else. I cried myself to sleep…””
Monday 17 November 2003
“New Zealand lost to Wallabies [in rugby]…”
Is the girl in this example emotionally sensitive to the boy? Not 100% as she can’t make any sense out of all the non-verbal clues he is giving her. However she is trying very hard to understand him in her terms and she is trying very hard to communicate with him in her way, using words.
Is the boy in this example emotionally sensitive to the girl? Not 100% as he can’t make any sense of what is going in her mind and fully understand her, but he is trying very hard to please her: he follows all her suggestions, goes out to dinner with her etc. Is he emotionally available? Yes, he is. He keeps communicating with her, but in his own way, using non-verbal communication: sighs, smiles etc.
As Celia Lashlie points out, “Men are highly intuitive, and they appear to use their intuition as a communication tool… The challenge for women is to recognise the communication that is occuring in the silence and trust it, let it be, rather than insisting that everything be openly discussed…”
So, may be, instead of labelling each other non-sensitive, ’emotionally unavailable’ or ’emotionally demanding’, we just need to learn to look at things from different perspectives, respect each others feelings, views and communication styles without losing sense of humour?