Monday, April 22, 2013

Love and Marriage and Gender Work Relationships

Call me paranoid, but everytime I log on to the Internet, there is either an advertisement or article discussing relationships. Only the topics are more catered to women interested in luring a male suitor.

Now, I'm no relationship expert as anyone close to me can testify to, but I have learned a few lessons along life's unpredictable path. And having worked in the professional field in two different careers, I've discovered that gender work relationships are very similar to intimate ones. There's the occasional bickering, the unavoidable power struggle, the miscommunications. You name it.

Take my friend, for instance. Over the weekend, she was sharing an interaction gone sour with a fellow supervisor. By the end of the story, it turns out she was no longer speaking to the poor lad. He was upset over -what else - a misunderstanding and started pushing buttons in the typical male fashion. She responded by ignoring him. And then nothing. There is now that debilitating, uncomfortable air of silence that has replaced their once close relationship. Sound familiar? I told you.

Back to my Internet experience. It troubles me that women are still expected to be the complacent relationship fixer uppers. I'm sorry, but I refuse to buy into the antiquated stereotype that men are clueless when it comes to matters of the opposite sex. But just in case there is some validity to this preposterous claim, let me provide these lost souls some guidance. While they will pertain to the workplace, they can be applied to personal lives as well. Here we go:

1- Stop debating every issue. Women inherently like a good discussion because we love to talk. Expressing our feelings is only natural, right? Maybe, but not when it turns into a game of wits and control. Relax, gentlemen. Learn to take suggestions for what they are: opinions.

2-Help with the cooking. Food Day comes along and guess what? Not one male coworker contributes a food item. Want to keep us happy? Feed us, man. Show some initiative and bring something, anything so for once we don't have to.

3-Consideration does not make you a wuss. An issue comes up, kindly set up a meeting and let's discuss it privately. And please don't bellow your disappointment in us across the department hall. And remember to say please and thank you after every interaction, especially when it's followed by a demand for action.

4-Yes, we do have to consider every alternative before we make a decision. Hello, it's called building a strategy. Not every decision must be made in careless haste.

5-Own up to your mistakes. Cryptic apologies became extinct around the same time cavemen did. We're not interested in little symbols, sorrowful looks, or even a 'back to normal' discussion. Try mouthing the words, 'Im sorry' or at the very least admitting you were wrong. Even an 'I misunderstood' would work.

So there you have it. Five steps to wooing the women in your personal and professional lives. I'll add more to the list as I learn more. Now back to work I go.

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