This video could save you thousands of dollars in marriage counseling bills. With nearly 8.5 million views on YouTube it’s a must-watch and very entertaining. It’s a playful way of reminding us that women typically feel better when their feelings are heard versus when they’re presented with a list of solutions by men trying to fix things.
It was John Gray’s “Men are From Mars and Women Are From Venus” book that enshrined this concept into popular culture. I do think that certain stereotypes hold true. When struggling, men do have a tendency to “go to their cave” and women do have a tendency to “seek connection and talk”.
However, when faced with difficult problems, my experience has been that both men and women want to be listened to. By the time we’re bothering to discuss a problem with someone else we’ve usually already thought about the quick fixes and we’re talking about it because it feels more complex or complicated to us. In that scenario having a listener bark out problem solving solutions is rarely helpful and can often be experienced as an attempt to shut down the conversation. And often those kind of responses are just that.
Why would anybody want to shut down the conversation? Because listening, and especially listening with empathy and connection, is an active process and requires “work”. We can only do it when we’ve got enough space internally and have enough energy. The reason your partner is not always capable of doing it lies in this incredible 3 minute cartoon narrated by Dr Brené Brown (with over 2.5 million views on Youtube)
Look out for my favorite parts:
@ 1:24 minutes: “Empathy is a choice and it’s a vulnerable choice because in order to connect with you I have to connect with something inside of myself that knows that feeling.”
Note: This is impossible when you’re overwhelmed or hate the feeling that the other person is having. You just won’t want to join them in that space and therefore won’t really be able to do be empathic.
@ 2:30 minutes “Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.”