In contrast to men’s waffle-like approach, women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle. That is how women face life. Every thought and issue is connected to every other thought and issue in some way. Life is much more of a process for women than it is for men.
Multitasking and connections
This is why women are typically better at multitasking than men. A woman can talk on the phone, prepare a meal, make a shopping list, work on the agenda for tomorrow’s business meeting, give instructions to her children as they are going out to play and close the door with her foot — without skipping a beat. Because all her thoughts, emotions and convictions are connected, she is able to process more information and keep track of more activities.
As a result, most women are in pursuit of connecting life together. They solve problems but from a much different perspective than men. Women consistently sense the need to talk things through. In conversation a woman can link together the logical, emotional, relational and spiritual aspects of the issue. The links come to her naturally, so the conversation is effortless. If she is able to connect all the issues together, the answer to the question at hand bubbles to the surface and is readily accepted.
This often creates significant stress for couples because while she is making all the connections, he is frantically jumping boxes trying to keep up with the conversation. The man’s eyes are rolling back in his head while a tidal wave of information is swallowing him up. When she is done, she feels better and he is overwhelmed. The conversation might look something like this:
Joan gets home and says, “Honey, how was your day? I had a good day today. We just committed to a new educational wing at the university, and I have been asked to oversee the budget. I am so excited that they didn’t rule me out because I am a woman. You know women have been fighting for a place in society for decades, and it is good to see so much progress being made. I think it is neat that you treat the women who work for you with so much respect. Our daughter is so lucky to have you for a dad. Did you remember that Susie has a soccer game tonight? I think it is important we are there because the Johnsons are going to be there, and I really want you to meet them. Susie and Bethany are getting to be good friends, and I think we should get to know her parents as well.”
As Joan is exploring this conversation, Dan is getting lost. He has no idea what the budget at the university has to do with their daughter’s soccer game and their need to have a friendship with the Johnsons. He admires her ability to connect seemingly unrelated thoughts, but he just can’t seem to understand how she does it.
This article is adapted from Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. Pam Farrel is the author of 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman. Bill Farrel is the author of <7 Simple Skills for Every Man. Together, they’ve written several other books.