It’s Monday once again, and that means it’s Q and A Day! This week’s question came from a dignity dater in Los Angeles who wanted to follow up on something she learned during the incredible tele-class we had last week regarding the art of conversation. During this class Briddick Webb, from Attractology.com, and I discussed how to flirt using verbal and non-verbal techniques, how to be confident when you approach someone, and guidelines to make sure you are attracting members of the opposite sex with in a dignified manner. The recap of that class will come in tomorrow’s blog, but in the meantime, there was one question we didn’t answer, so here we go…
What type of conversation topics are men inclined to engage in vs. women?
Typically, when men are with men, they will discuss what they are making, fixing or achieving. Remember, while men are clearly no longer living in caves bringing back the kill, they are still stimulated by discussing topics related to competition, adventure, and achievement. As a result, men typically enjoy discussing sports, video games, fast cars, and those things that have an element of danger. It is in talking about these things that they are able to raise levels of a chemical in their brain called dopamine. When men experience appropriate dopamine levels they are fulfilled, have energy, and need to spend less time in the “man cave.” In addition, men are traditionally more focused on the bottom line, in that they want to know how to resolve a situation. As a result, they are less interested in the complexity of a situation, and only want to know the essential information. Thus, men would most likely synthesize the incident, break it into small pieces, and then focus on a possible resolution.
Conversely, in a similar situation, a group of women might spend hours discussing the details and complexity of a scenario. Women will breakdown how it happened, crave elaborate details about who was involved and what each person was possibly thinking, and then begin to discuss a myriad of possible solutions, elaborating on the pros and cons of each possibility. According to Georgetown University Professor of Linguistics, Deborah Tannen, men and women’s differing approaches to conversation begin in childhood. Tannen states that as children, girls on the playground will choose to sit in small groups and talk whereas boys choose to play in larger activity-based groups. In addition, Tannen points out that men typically use conversation to show or maintain status. Women, however, want to remain the same during conversation and use words such as “maybe we could,” or “is there any way we could,” as to not appear to aggressive.
That said, how does this effect conversation on a date? Here are a few guidelines:
1. Engage men by asking them about things that get them excited. Does he like motorcycles? Drive one? Hope to race one someday? What cool adventures has he had? Get him to tell you about the trip he took with his buddies to Pakistan. Or how he went fishing in the snake river. Did he risk life and limb hiking in the Grand Canyon during an unexpected snowstorm. Watch as his eyes light up, recounting the details of his adventure. What’s more, you get to see what things get him excited. Don’t dive into the details though, pressing him for specifics. Ask how it turned out, allowing him to get to the exciting finale without too much delay.
2. As a women, make an effort to bring your feminine energy to the date. Stay away from a typically male conversation style in which you appear to “one-up” your date. He went to Pakistan? Don’t then, tell the story of how you went to Morocco and suffered far more than he did, enduring sweltering heat and far more horrid conditions. Instead, tell the story, focus on why it was memorable. Let him know that you enjoy adventure. Share details, but don’t linger too long. Remember, men can get lost in detail. Keep him interested. Move to the resolution of the story efficiently.
3. Mix up the type of dates you plan. While sitting in a restaurant conversing is quite comfortable and best matches the conversational style of a woman, remember that men like activity. Go bowling. Take a hike. Drive the bumper cars. Provide opportunities for the man to engage in conversation while he is active. It will raise his dopamine levels, thus keeping him interested and focused on you.
4. Ask questions. Women love to be with men who are interested in details, active listeners and don’t always try to “fix” a problem or situation she is describing. Because men are solution-oriented, however, they often want to cut to the chase, provide the solution and be heroic (Heroics raise men’s dopamine levels, making them feel good, but it mostly just makes a woman feel like you want her to stop talking if she hasn’t asked you for your opinion yet.) Part of listening is merely being a receptive container for the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Believing that is your job to provide a “fix” can often a disservice to the person who is talking. Just listen. Be present and ask questions when appropriate. Be compassionate and empathetic. If she asks for advice, lend your opinion. If she doesn’t ask, then ask her directly if she wants your take on the situation. If not, be supportive. Give a hug if appropriate, and let her know you care.
It is imperative to remember that men and women’s conversational styles are different. Be confident, and most importantly, don’t personalize each thing that your date says. Instead, a date is the perfect opportunity to practice engaging in “curious conversation,” an interaction in which listening is often more important than talking.
Have more dating questions for next week? Send them now to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to check out the Dating With Dignity events coming to Los Angeles next week. If you want to increase your confidence, and learn how to take control of your dating life to get the results YOU want in 2010, make sure you register now for the workshop November 17, “5 Tools to TOTALLY Transform Your Love Life in 2010.” Event details and registration here: http://datingwithdignity.com/events/