Differences in How Men and Women Make Decisions

Differences in how men and women communicate and make decisions can drive you crazy unless you learn to integrate or reconcile these communication styles. Have you ever wondered why the symbol for “Justice” is a woman and she’s blind to boot? Or another curiosity is that the statue in New York harbor, representing the United States of America is Lady Liberty. What is it that these female spirits represent? Why are women the symbol of our judicial system and the country as a whole?

One of the most interesting areas of the dynamics between men and women is how they make decisions. One way I sum it up is that men make the first best decision, but women seek out the best-best decision. In the fashion of Lady Justice (where the blindfold represents impartiality), women look at all sides of an issue before deciding anything. They value everyone’s opinion in the process of moving toward a decision. They may have a strong opinion themselves, but like the blind Lady, they’re willing to stay impartial until they’ve gathered enough information from others.

Men on the other hand seek to move the situation along as swiftly as possible. Regardless of everyone’s view, men tend to value the efficiency of getting to the answer quickly. If a man has an opinion, dialogue with others is not always to merely gather information, but to persuade others toward his point of view.

How does this dynamic work when a husband/wife team needs to make decisions together? If they understand each other well, then the decision-making dynamic is powerful. If they don’t, then each party can feel very misunderstood.

For example, if the wife is gathering information from her husband then she may initiate a discussion with her husband. He often doesn’t hear that she wants to discuss the subject. Rather he hears that she wants him to make a decision. Therefore he tells her his decision and considers the discussion completed. She leaves unfulfilled because she wants to toss ideas around before a decision is made. Later when the husband’s decision is not carried out, the husband may feel frustrated because he thought a decision had been made.

Sound familiar? It’s because women tend to have discussions and men tend to go strait to decisions. When a wife recognizes that her husband has a need to get things done as efficiently as possible, she can refocus her energy onto solutions, even if she would like just a little more discussion.

The different decision-making styles can be an asset, if there is an integration of the male perspective and the female perspective. However, often a husband and wife get stuck because they do not recognize the dynamic that is going on. They often find it beneficial to consult with a professional who can facilitate this discussion. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, feel free to contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Read more on my website: Conflict & Communication.

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