Towards the end of last week, I was contemplating a decision. I had been thinking about it off and on, but for some reason, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it for two solid days. So I followed in my typical trajectory and shared my options with others. I try to get feedback and perspective from a variety of opinions (on certain things mind you) before I make a decision on things that I may not know a lot about.
I was amazed at the results. I had a lot people who wanted to help. I had many who offered their opinions. But I began to notice a very clear concept that has been researched and found to be true over and over again:
Men handled the decision, the solution, and the process of making a decision
VERY differently than women did.
My female friends reached out to me once they knew I had something on my mind. They gave invitations for me to share what was keeping me from concentrating. They nodded their heads in just the right places. They asked questions to learn more about the options. They heard what my heart wanted to do and they tried to brainstorm to find ways to support me in the way that I was leaning. They didn’t come right out and say, “You should do THIS.” But they also gave an invitation to continue to share with them. They also gave me encouragement by sharing things would be ok to do instead. Their answers gave me support in pursuing what was important to me.
My male friends-well, it was not quite the same response. While many did offer to help, and while some may have nodded their heads (some read my thoughts through emails), they came right out with a solid opinion. They came out with a definitive course of action to take to make my worries clear up. They asked questions, but they weren’t geared towards why I “felt” a certain way about my decision. They seemed to not understand why I would really stress over how my decision would impact others. To them, the decision was simple, and it should only involve me without thinking about how others would then be impacted.
When I became distressed during my conversations with my male friends over how others would “feel” about it, I think it went right over their heads. Men and women handle decisions very differently. Men are cut and dry, to the point. Women are very worried about how others will view it, how it will affect others, and if we’ll be happy and at peace about our decision. Women also worry about their personal set of morals and convictions are incorporated into their decisions.
Men see, process, decide, and go. Women stress, fret, overanalyze, worry, discuss, consult, worry some more, and then reluctantly decide when pushed or at a deadline. Now yes, I do realize that I’m speaking in generalities here. But, this was still my experience last week.
There is beauty in both gender’s very different ways of processing and making a decision. We need the decision making strengths of both genders. Women can deliberate for an hour on where to eat dinner with their girlfriends (i.e. this restaurant is too cold, this one has poor service, this one has a low sanitation rating, this one has great food but high prices, this one is often frequented by my best friend’s former husband and his new girlfriend, this one’s soup has a funny taste). Men say, “I’d like a taco” and whip into the nearest Mexican food establishment. Sometimes we would starve if it weren’t for the males in our lives.
Now, this isn’t to say that women don’t make fast decisions. When a child is in trouble, we know exactly what to do. When a woman walks in a room who is a hussy, we know it down to our toes. However, on the things that won’t really matter on our deathbed, women can have a tendency to worry and fret and stress more than men.
So keep this in mind the next time you are deliberating over a choice in your life. When in the deliberation stage, share it with your female friends. And when it comes down to the wire and you need a decision, ask a male. Their answer may be just the thing to spur you in the opposite direction!