If you are often puzzled by your partner’s behavior, you are not alone. Men and women grow up in different social worlds and different expectations. Boys are taught to compete and to be self-sufficient. They may play team sports and keep their emotions under wraps. Girls are often taught to cooperate and to put the needs of others first (although girls are increasingly encouraged to participate in team sports in today’s world). As a result, men and women develop different thinking styles as explained below.

1.  Men do not ask questions, whereas women freely do so. Men are raised to project a “can-do” attitude at all costs. When they are given a task, they will refrain from asking questions even if uncertain. In contrast, women tend to ask questions freely, even when the answer may be easy to find. They may do so to get the facts straight or to seem polite and/or interested. To men, however, asking questions makes women look like they are trying to appear incompetent.

2.  Men use language only to communicate, whereas women use it to bond. When a man and woman are enjoying breakfast, he might open the newspaper and begin reading. To him, there is nothing wrong with this. To the woman, this is an affront. Women use language to bond and forge relationships, as well as to communicate.

3.  Men are self-aggrandizing, and women are self-effacing. In the workplace, men will brag about their accomplishments. They will take credit for positive outcomes, and blame others for negative outcomes. This boastful conduct actually helps one get ahead. However, many women are taught to be self-effacing, and are less likely to trumpet their accomplishments.

4.  Men will not ask for help, whereas women will. To men, it is a sign of weakness to ask for help. They struggle mightily to accomplish tasks on their own (even tasks for which they are ill-suited). Ask a man if he needs help with something, and he may bristle. In contrast, women liberally ask for help. It is considered feminine to ask for male assistance, and may actually gratify a male ego.

5.  Men are individualistic, and women are cooperative. Many men prefer to work on their own rather than in a group. If they are working in a group, they may attempt to take a leadership role. In contrast, women function well in groups and excel at collaborative efforts.

6.  Men do not show emotion, and women are more likely to do so. Men are taught from childhood not to show emotion. Showing emotion is a sign of weakness in their view. Some men sublimate their emotions such that they are barely aware of them. In contrast, women are permitted to display their emotions more freely. This tendency may be discouraging to a woman who craves affection from her mate.

7.  Men want to feel needed, whereas many women seek a protector. Even in today’s day and age, many men feel like they should be the “provider.” Some of them gravitate toward women who seem vulnerable and frail. They may feel emasculated by women who are driven and self-sufficient. By the same token, even powerful women may be drawn to men who are more successful than they are.

8.  Men are singular in focus, whereas women can multitask. Men tend to focus on one task at a time. They are thrown off-track if you give them multiple tasks at the same time. In contrast, women can multitask. If they need to, they can care for children, work and shop all at once. This difference actually has a biological basis. The part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres, known as the corpus callosum, is significantly better developed in women.

9.  Men are more aggressive, whereas women tend to be less so. As statistics show, men are much more likely to get into fights and to commit violent crimes than women. This is largely due to their differing hormones. Testosterone, which is linked to aggression, is present in higher quantities in men. Studies show that when women’s progesterone level is higher (progesterone mimics testosterone), women become more aggressive.

10.  Men are less likely to be afflicted with depression than women. Studies show that testosterone may decrease the likelihood of developing depression. Therefore, the incidence of depression is lower among men than women. Administering testosterone to women can help combat depression.

11.  Men tend to have better spatial skills, and women have better verbal skills. Men tend to exhibit a better sense of direction and spatial reasoning abilities than women. Some of this may be due to their hormones. There is evidence that masculine hormones may be linked to increased spatial reasoning abilities. However, women tend to have better verbal skills in than men. You may notice that women from foreign countries tend to pick up the language more quickly than men.

Whether due to social programming or biological factors (or both), men and women think differently. If you understand the different thought processes, it can help you achieve more harmony in the workplace and at home.

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