Friday, April 12, 2024

Come and Listen WITH Me.

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( Ah…melodious voices of Jodeci…wrapped in baggy jeans, black vests, black boots, and no shirts to show off their incredible abs.  The lyrics of the song “Come and Talk to Me” expresses a man’s dire request to know more about a very attractive woman.  Her smile. Her dress. Her walk.  All of these attributes are sensual bait to the men of Jodeci.

But what happens when she opens her mouth to speak?  Will they actually listen?

If we are basing the answers to these questions off of stats,  they would inform us that listening will probably not happen. Catherine Griffin’s article, “Why Women Talk More Than Men: Language Protein Uncovered”, reveals that women “talk almost three times as much as men. In fact, an average woman notches up to 20000 words in a day, which is 13000 more than the average man.”  I hope Jodeci’s beautiful woman is not a motormouth.

There can be a resourceful amount of reasons why more words come out of the mouths of women than men.  But it is difficult to know if hearing is happening or listening is happening. There is a difference beyond what Webster might say in their dictionary. So is it possible to hear someone and not listen? Absolutely. It is part of a sick problem that is cursing men and women of color.  How do we cure this disease of talking at each other so we can build a strong foundation for future relationships?

I listened to an interview with Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019, where she discussed her platform of Gender-based violence. When asked what is the best way to combat this issue,  she suggested that it starts with a conversation between men and women.  Wow. Shocking. It is shocking for a woman to suggest conversations that involve men and women. It is shocking, and yet it is a great starting point for communication. The first step to mending the listening bridge between men and women starts with letting go of historical stereotypes and communicating openly about difficult topics.   Society since birth has been pushing us to “stick with our own”:  girls play with girls. Boys play with boys. IF you are a girl with boys, you are presumed to be a tomboy.  If you a boy who plays with girls, you are presumed to be gay.  These completely wrong and archaic ways of thinking make it so difficult for men and women to build a strong platonic relationship. This means it is even harder to build conversations that are real and genuine and not just about sex.  Once we make an effort to discuss sensitive topics with both males and females in attendance,  we move to the most difficult part of the process: listening.

Living Single was an awesome TV show from the 1990s with six different characters: 4 women and 2 men.  These characters lived in a brownstone in the Brooklyn-area of New York as they attempted to work careers,  create romantic relationships, and not kill their roommates.  I was watching this show, and I noticed that the women and men on this show were willing to talk about almost anything in front of the opposite sex openly.  They also could express their opinion openly.  Yes, someone may not like what they said, but they still respected and trusted them as a person.  They allow the person to talk, and everyone else listened.  They did not just hear. They listened. The next step to fixing a lot of what is wrong with communication between men and women is listening.  It is not just being in the room and hearing what the person has said. It is hearing, understanding, processing, interpreting, and then responding.  This multi-step process appears to be very difficult, and it really is not. It is not if everyone learns to do it effectively.  Will it take time? Yes.  Will you sometimes not like what you are listening to?  Probably.  But it is dangerous to only hear what you want. It is dangerous to be one-sided in thought and action because it makes you naive. It makes you emotionally distraught when things do not go your way. It makes you close-minded, and if you do not think close-mindedness is dangerous, take a look at social media AND the US government. Allow yourselves to listen and not just hear. It can assist you with the next part of the bridge: empathy.

Hallmark and other card companies make Sympathy cards for when something catastrophic happens in the lives of others.  They never make Empathy cards. Why?  Empathy will never cost as much as sympathy because sympathy is emotion-driven. Empathy is not.  The last part of building effective communication between men and women is the ability to understand a person’s point of view, but not feel sorry for them. This is also known as empathy.  Listening effectively can not happen when you are super happy or extremely angry because your mind is more focused on emotion than understanding.  You are super happy about winning a new truck that you do not hear that your lady friend just got fired for her hairstyle.  You are so upset that the Cowboys lost that you did not hear that your friend was wrongfully pulled over by the police.  Emotions have to take a backseat when you are attempting to listen with the intention to build to something better.

Jodeci started with the best intentions in their song asking for a gorgeous woman to simply having a conversation to build to something greater.  I wonder what happens, however, after she comes and talks to him. Will he hear or will he listen?  Will he accept what she says even if he does not agree? Will he practice empathy?  Who knows.  If he does, he is one step closer to closing the gap between men and women that has plagued us for too long.

Staff Writer; J. W. Bella

May also follow this talented sister online over at; JWB Writes.

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