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There is no real difference between talking to men and talking to women

I’m going to say something very controverse here, but I think the debate is going to be fun. I know we don’t agree on everything (but I do know we agree on many things), and I’d love to hear your the community’s opinion on this.

The differences are in the goals you are pursuing

I don’t really think there are differences between talking to guys and talking to women. We often think like this because when we start looking for social skills advice, we have a specific goal in mind. So we want to know “what to do to get that girl/guy interested in me” or “make friends with men to build a social circle”. But the answers are biased by the way you framed your question in the first place.

What will differentiate the “language” you are going to use is not so much the gender, but the goals you wish to accomplish. Is it to build or nurture a friendship? Is it seduction? Is it getting things done?

Friendship usually works the same way whether you are trying to make friends with women or men.

Seduction usually works the same way whether you are trying to attract women or attracting men.

In both cases, it doesn’t really matter your gender either.

Of course, if you start talking about “passions” and “dreams” and “feelings” with males early on, they are going to get the wrong (or right, depending on your sexual orientation) impression of you. You are using intimate language. Some will be wary of you, others will be very attracted. The same thing applies if you are a man talking to a lesbian – she’ll pick up the vibe that you want to pick her up, and if this is not what she’s interested in, you’ll fail to make a connection.

If you are talking to women and you are talking about “hobbies”, “goals” and “facts”, you may still get a connection there. But you are using a “friendly” language that is appropriate to talk to your neighbours, to your colleagues, at work. If you are going for seduction, it’s not optimal, because you want a conversation that will take you both to share deep feelings. If you are going for friendship strictly, then you are setting the right tone. If not, then you might want to start friendly and then transition to a more “intimate”.

Marketing your value: it's the same

When you are trying to establish yourself as a “high value” person, the same principles apply whether you are talking to men or to women, whether you are trying to seduce or make friends. You do want to show you are capable of leadership. You do want to show that you are able to give whatever the other person needs – whether it’s social, economic, cultural capital (Bourdieu), or whatever type of capital we might come up with.

In any case, you generally don’t want to go full dominance; that may work in a limited dosis and in some situations, but lasting power (hegemony), as per Antonio Gramsci, requires not only coercion, but also consent – I know, Machiavelli said this too in a different wording, but I’d like to quote a different Italian this time :). And power can be shared. As a general rule, I think it’s better when it’s shared, so you don’t want to think of yourself as the “boss of your group”, or the “boss of your relationship”.

Leadership in friendship and seduction

The amount of leadership you want to provide doesn’t really depend on the gender of the individual you are dealing with. It depends on reading the needs of that individual – sometimes you want to make friends of a man, but that person who may be valuable to your budding social group wants more guidance. Then guide him. Some women looks for more guidance. Then provide her with what she seeks. Whether they are men or women, friends or lovers, some individuals are more independent and want to be treat as equals and share leadership. Then share it with then.

The only thing you don’t want to give up is your independence. Your ability to lead and to provide. But I’m convinced that you’ll be more happy if you choose for yourselves friends and partners that are also capable leaders and willing to share power. To be “the boss” is lonely and leads to burnout. So, if you find individuals in your jouney that need guidance, do provide that, but do try to elevate them to your level so that they can find their inner strengths and become leaders too.

Think individuals, not gender

In conclusion, to succeed socially, we’re better served by thinking in terms of dealing with individuals, not groups of people (genders included).

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Yeah, it was a thought-provoking post indeed (by the way, potentially better stuied to to "social life" if you're cool with that?).

I largely agree with you in the sense that the overlap is bigger than the differences, but maybe I'd give I stop a bi shorter towards the middle on the imaginary continuum of "it's totally different <-> it's totally the same".

But it also largely depends on whether we're talking about "any random individual" or "a generic (wo)man who's more like the average (wo)man".

Because if we're talking "on average" instead, then I'd draw some important differences.
But if you tell me "look at the individual", then you're absolutely right and it's (almost) like owning a trump card and we agree.

 

Kavalier has reacted to this post.
Kavalier
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Also, I think one important difference is in the hgiehr levels of rapport/connection or what one may refer to as "(social) seduction".

That would change quite a bit with the average man or woman.
But there too the individual trumps everything: because a lesbian woman would be closer to the average man (in some important traits), while the gay man may be closer to the average woman (in some important traits).

Kavalier has reacted to this post.
Kavalier
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Hello, Lucio, thanks for your point of view!

I had previously wrote a longer reply, but  I decided to delete it because it was too long and would not be practical anymore.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on August 9, 2022, 11:13 pm

That would change quite a bit with the average man or woman.
But there too the individual trumps everything: because a lesbian woman would be closer to the average man (in some important traits), while the gay man may be closer to the average woman (in some important traits).

I agree with this. The nuance I'd add here is that we normally think of dominance and activeness and as masculine traits, and submissiveness and passiveness as feminine traits. But as both men and women can be dominant or submissive, perhaps we don't need to genderize them.

Up until the 21th century, there has certainly been a de facto correlation between gender and certain traits (either because it was the most effective strategy from a social point of view, or because people were shoehorned into them – or most probably a combination of both) – at least for the average individuals –, but this is changing and changing more and more as the biological constraints are negated by changes in culture, acceptance of same gender relationships, technological advancement, wealth distribution, legal systems, etc. This is not bad, and, if I'm not mistaken, TPM even recommends women to tone up their dominance and assertiveness when going for leadership roles at work, for example. So we usually recomend the same traits regardless of the gender.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Oh, I forgot to say. Yeah, it's more suited to social life. How can I make this change?

Quote from Kavalier on August 10, 2022, 5:52 am

Up until the 21th century, there has certainly been a de facto correlation between gender and certain traits (either because it was the most effective strategy from a social point of view, or because people were shoehorned into them – or most probably a combination of both) – at least for the average individuals –, but this is changing and changing more and more as the biological constraints are negated by changes in culture, acceptance of same gender relationships, technological advancement, wealth distribution, legal systems, etc. This is not bad, and, if I'm not mistaken, TPM even recommends women to tone up their dominance and assertiveness when going for leadership roles at work, for example. So we usually recomend the same traits regardless of the gender.

Yes, great point, and I agree even more wholeheartedly with what you're saying here, and that would be the other side of the coin:

Make no real difference within yourself, when it comes to behaving with what best serves your goal.

So a woman going for male leadership roles may in a male-dominated field may want to "behave more like the typical man" -coincidence, there's just one such thread now-.
While a man bonding with a woman may want to move slightly more on what's often considered the "feminine side".

And one may as well do without the labels of "masculine" and "feminine" and simply refer to "what's most effective".
Fluidity always beats regiment and dogmatic, silo-thinking.

Kavalier has reacted to this post.
Kavalier
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

100% agreed. So our opinions are closer then they seemed to be at first sight, although we express them with different words.

Fluidity always beats regiment and dogmatic, silo-thinking.

This is gold. "Be like water, my friend", said once a fine philosopher 🙂

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
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