Communication is a funny thing, and I do mean “funny strange vs. funny haha”.
The Wikipedia definition says “communication is the activity of conveying
information (emphasis is theirs) through the exchange (emphasis mine)of
ideas,feelings, intentions, attitudes, expectations, perceptions or commands, as by
speech, non-verbal gestures, behavior and possibly other means such as
electromagnetic (Voila!!…and the comment is also mine) chemical or physical
phenomena. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more
participants (machines, organisms or their parts.”
As far as male/female communication goes, exchanging information, ideas &
commands….okay……that works. However, as soon as we get to exchanging feelings,
intentions, attitudes, expectations and perceptions….THEN we run into problems.
So, let’s consider the primary reason for communication; establishing, furthering, damaging
and disintegrating Relationships!
Our friends at Wikipedia consider different types of relationships; from sociology to math to
database and more. If we look at sociology, they further distinguish relationships into
Interpersonal, Intimate (yes, that), Social (focused more on groups than individuals), and
Ethical (trust, honesty). For our purposes let’s focus on interpersonal, with occasional forays
into the other categories, as the spirit (and ADD) moves me!
Wikipedia says, “An interpersonal relationship is a strong, deep, or close association
or acquaintance between two or more people that may range in duration from brief to
enduring. This association may be based on inference, love, solidarity, regular business
interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are
formed in the context of social, cultural and other influences. The context can vary
from family or kinship relations, friendship, marriage, relations with associates, work,
clubs, neighborhoods, and places of worship. They may be regulated by law, custom,
or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and society as a whole.”
Clearly the nature of the relationship, particularly between a man and a woman, provides the
context or framework for their communication; friend, associate, family member, person who
cuts you off in traffic (the rules in NJ are slightly different from other states….usually there is
less flipping off and gunfire.)
However, let us also consider the wisdom of the great philosopher, Harry Burns. All wisdom
that does not come from “The Godfather” comes from Harry Burns, particularly about men &
woman, except for all the wisdom that comes from the great Dave Barry……and NY Times
columnist Gail Collins.
Harry said, “What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that
men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way….Because no
man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with
To which the lovely Sally Albright (high maintenance who THINKS she’s low maintenance)
replies, “So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?”
And Harry answers, “No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.”