The biggest mistake men make when dealing with women is this. Men want someone to help them solve their problems, women want someone to listen to their problems. When my psychologist friend told me this, I was perplexed, why would you tell someone your problems if you didn’t want help solving them ? To answer that question, we will have to take a few detours before we can get to the answer. This will then lead us to several conclusions.

My friend, who had over 40+ years of practical experience in the field, said next time when you are observing two women or more talking with each other, stop talking, shut down your brain and listen to what they are actually saying. As in, instead of thinking of how you will counter their arguments, pay attention and listen.Most people, instead of changing their belief system to fit the facts, change the facts to fit their belief system. Taleb in his book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder compares this to Procrustes a mythical Greek innkeeper who would stretch or cut off the legs of his guests so they would fit into his beds perfectly. He gives example of how highly intelligent people including scientists are subconsciously do this.

Belief systems are not universal

Most People make the erroneous assumption that there are universal belief systems which all humans follow. Most men make the erroneous assumption that when women are talking about a problem, they want to have it solved. They are blind to the fact that in most cases women do not want the problem fixed. The name for this blindness is hypocognition, it was first recognized by anthropologist Bob Levy.

In cognitive science there is a name for this phenomenon. Its called hypocognition-the lack of the ideas you need, the lack of a relatively simple fixed frame that can be evoked by a word or two. The idea of hypocognition comes from a study in Tahiti in the 1950s by the late anthropologist Bob Levy, who was also a thera­pist. Levy addressed the question of why there were so many sui­cides in Tahiti, and discovered that Tahitians did not have a concept of grief. Source: The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate

Men are unable to understand how women want to deal with problems, because they lack the concepts needed to understand them. This results in both sides getting frustrated and upset. Following the advice of my psychologist friend,lets examine what men and women say to each other when dealing with problems. So lets setup a simple scenario, a person is driving their car in the desert by themselves and the car breaks down because the radiator overheats. We will make the assumption regardless of gender, the driver knows the radiator has to be filled up again with water to fix the car. Afterwards when they arrive home safely they will tell their best friend what happened.

Joe the driver explaining to his friend Fred what happened

Joe tells his story about how he was driving across the desert, the radiator overheats. Fred then interrupts, with did you check your radiator before you started on your drive ? Did you check how much antifreeze was in the coolant ? Joe tells Fred he was negligent, he didn’t realize how hot the desert was. But next time before he goes on a similar trip, he will ensure his car is serviced. Joe then continues on with his tale, the car comes to a stop. He then sees the radiator has boiled over and needs to be refilled. Unfortunately Joe doesn’t have any water in his car, but he is lucky that there is a water hole just where his car has stopped. Fred again interrupts, he tells Joe that he always keeps a large container full of water in the trunk of his car. Joe agrees, yes he was rather foolish, next time he will do that. But fortunately he had an empty water bottle in his car, he then made several trips to the waterhole and refilled his radiator. Fred tells Joe he is lucky, maybe he should be more careful next time. Joe says he is right, next time he will take some of Fred’s pointers.

Jane the driver explaining to her friend Sue what happened

Jane starts her story with how she was driving across the desert and then the radiator overheats. Sue then interjects with Oh Jane you are so brave, I am not sure what I would have done. Jane then explains how when she spotted a nearby waterhole. Suzy then jumps in again with, Jane that is good thinking, I would have been so scared. Oh I know what you must have been feeling. Suzy then resumed her tale. Jane reaffirms her friend with how brave she was, then says she knows what she must have been feeling. And its a good thing she kept her head.

What is going on here ?

Women want to be assured they have made the right decision and affirmed. Versus men want to actually solve the problem. If Jane told her story to Fred, and then he did the same thing to her as what he did to Joe. Jane would most likely get angry, she would then say thinks like. Doing you understand what I was going through ? How come you are so judgmental ? Then Jane finishes with Fred you are so insensitive.

Poor Fred is confused and hurt. Why does Jane call me insensitive, I was trying to help her prevent future problems. To shed light on this, we should look at a possible social evolutionary explanation.

Men can move, women are forced to stay in one place

With most primates, the male is physically larger then the female, this does not hold true with all species. There are some species where the female is larger then the male, in this case the male will have what are considered female traits. With seahorses the male carries the eggs of the female, he essentially becomes pregnant. The male seahorse prefers larger females. As a result female seahorses are larger then male ones. The also appears to be less violence between male seahorses compared to other species.

With humans, in a small tribal group, if a male gets into a conflict with another male and it can not be resolved. He has the option to leave the group and either attempt to form his own group or find another group. This is because of he chooses to leave the group, because of his larger size he has a greater chance of survival.

The female on the other hand does not have these options, for all intents and purposes she is stuck in her present group. Also since multiple females can share one male, it is in her best advantage to cooperate. So in the case of Jane she want to be reaffirmed she has made the right decision, because traditionally she can not leave the tribe. On the other hand, Suzy doesn’t want to tell Jane where she made mistakes because it increases the chances of conflict between the two. In the event of a conflict, both Jane and Suzi will have a lot more to lose then what they can gain. The best choice is to reaffirm each other.

Men, she doesn’t want you to fix your problem

Fred who is a nice guy, a white night, is baffled why Suzie decides to date Chad who is a narcissistic asshole and from Fred’s perspective is insensitive. What becomes even more baffling from Fred’s frame or perspective is when he asks Suzie why she is dating Chad she says things like Chad is so sensitive, he understands me. Fred then gets even more confused, is Jane insane ? The problem is Fred is thinking Jane’s frame is the same as his own. This is the number one mistake most men make, myself included. As Taleb would say in his book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, he is sticking Jane in a Promocites bed but he can’t figure out why Jane is upset.

Chad when he hears of Jane’s tale of woe, right away reaffirms her with something like, you are smart I am sure you will find a solution. If the source of Jane’s woe is a person, how Chad deals with this depends on is the person inside the group or outside. If the person is inside the group, Chad will attack the circumstances that made there person act like that instead of the person. That way group hegemony is kept. Versus if the person is outside the group Chad will put all of the blame onto that person. That way, Jane will not be at fault nor the group. Chad is a narcissistic asshole, now that he has resolved the issue as quickly as possible with the least amount of conflict. Being a narcissist he can redirect her attention to his favorite topic which is himself.

A critical reader will say, well men have those traits also. Every group has a spectrum of traits. But as Satoshi Kanazawa notes in his book Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire women always have been more religious then men. From the above explanation we can see the reason why. This then explains the most radical form of feminism where it will attack people who ask what could then victim have done to prevent the rape. Right away you see the feminist wants to transfer responsibility from the victim to someone else. Obviously the rapist is in the wrong but this is not enough, they then have to attack everyone outside their group. If you examine other religions, cults or groups you will see similar behavior.

The object of this post is to see what the belief systems or values of other groups are so one can construct models. A fish can not see water, by them same token people can not see air. The models themselves do not have to be perfect, they just have to be good enough to get the job done. To the best of my knowledge, the concept of these sorts of models was first brought to the attention of the general public by Richard Bandler. It was his books Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming and Using Your Brain–For a Change: Neuro-Linguistic Programming which made me realize we can change our perspectives and outlooks on things when we choose to. He is a charlatan, but he has some interesting ideas.

His critics will make the allegations that he is a fat charlatan who is a fraud. To paraphrase him, he said the difference between himself and other experts in the field of psychology is he will tell you right up front that I am a fraud. Neuroscience to a large degree now agrees with that statement, our perceptions of reality are largely and illusion.

Hopefully you will have learned why men and women see the world differently, and instead of just righting each other off as irrational or insane. You will attempt to reframe your point so the other person can understand it. Remember a fish can not see water and a person can not see air.

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