Do Women Over-Generalize? Always & Never!

By Karen Card

Men and women sometimes use the same words but with different meanings.

Women have a tendency to over-generalize statements, using words like ALWAYS and NEVER. Women sometimes say to men, “You ALWAYS do this,” or “You NEVER do that.” The use of these words is not meant to be taken literally, but used for emphasis and to express negative feelings. However, when men hear these statements they will most likely hear it literally and will think, “That is just not true.”

When a woman says, “You never take me out dancing,” what she really means is, “It has been a long time since we went dancing and I would like to go this weekend.”

The problem with using “always” and “never” is that men do take them literally and then feel inclined to defend themselves, which usually causes arguments or fights. When he argues the point and explains to her that they just went dancing six months ago, she feels that he is ignoring what she said. She thinks she told him she wants to go dancing, while all he hears is that he “never” did something. This is another mis-communication that can be avoided with awareness of our differences.

Advice to Men:  Before you jump on the defense and disagree with her “always and never” statements, try to read between the lines. What is she really asking for? She says: never go dancing. She means: wants to go dancing. Once you realize this is a form of communication, you can respond in a positive way which will make her happy, rather than getting defensive and making her more unhappy.

Advice Women: Try to avoid using “always and never” statements. If you accidentally use one and he gets defensive, realize he is likely using a literal translation and trying to defend himself. Reword your statement as a direct request such as, “I would like to go this weekend.” Remember, men respond better to direct requests than they do to indirect statements.

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