by Cucan Pemo
Most men wouldn't ever admit that, even just a little, they sometimes wish they were more like women. But women have a lot of qualities that men secretly envy. Their buddies might laugh if they ever admitted it ... but really, women have a lot going on that men wish they could have, too.
1) That "multi-tasking" thing
Maybe it's because men were once mighty hunters intensely focused on tracking prey, while women had to manage the food, the fire, the cave and the kids all at once, but women are far better at multi-tasking than men. A research study at Duke University found that female rats learn multiple cues to navigate a maze, remembering both visual landmarks and the maze's geometry, but male rats only learn the geometry. The conclusion was that female brains are better able to comprehend multiple concepts at one time than male brains.
Other researchers argue that, in humans, it's not hard-wired into the brain at all, it's simply that women get more practice multi-tasking than men do, so they're better at it. Whatever the reason, men often get confused or overwhelmed when asked to manage too many tasks at once – and they admire the fact that a woman can toss in a load of laundry while updating her resume, then answer the phone and pay for the pizza ... all at the same time.
2) Expressing emotion
When little girls cry, their parents cuddle them and kiss away their tears. When little boys cry, they're told to get over it and stop being a cry-baby. And, for the rest of their lives, men are pressured by society to be strong, unafraid and unemotional. Until, that it, they get in a relationship and suddenly they're supposed to talk about their feelings! It's really not fair when you think about it.
Men feel all the same things that women do – they're just not supposed to express it. Fear, sadness, giddy joy, frustration, all of these emotions are supposed to be played out in a "manly" fashion, with quiet dignity. The only emotion, in fact, that men are encouraged to express is anger – so is it any wonder that domestic violence is such a problem?
Women, however, are allowed to cry when we're sad or frustrated, jump around squealing with glee, and talk about how scared they are. Because of this, women are better at identifying their emotions, and are more open to experiences that will inspire them to emotional extremes. It's as if women have a crayon box with a hundred different colors, but men only get one brown crayon – and if they were really honest, most men would admit that they're jealous.
3) Women are strong
The stereotype of woman as "the weaker sex" is dead wrong, and men know it. Women give birth, hold down jobs while raising children, put their own needs on hold to care for others, do most of the housework and manage the emotional issues in their relationships. Women play sports, wage war and lead nations, and they don't fall apart when they have a head cold. In the 18th century, author Samuel Johnson wrote, "Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little." Men envy – and even fear – women's strength, and they secretly admire that they are capable of doing so much, often for very little visible reward.
The ability to remember absolutely everything
Women have terrific memories, perhaps because of that multi-tasking skill. They remember names, dates, birthdays, anniversaries, who gave them a certain gift on Christmas five years ago, and the color of the blouse they were wearing the day they met her third boyfriend. Men, on the other hand, remember only what they have to, or things they find especially interesting. Sports scores? Check. The specifications for the computer he's thinking about buying? Check. That it's his turn to pick up the dry cleaning? Well ... not so much.
In her book "The Female Brain," neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine wrote that women, in addition to differing from men in levels of estrogen, cortisol, and dopamine, have 11 percent more neurons devoted to emotions and memory.
Researchers studying the brain continue to find differences in memory function between men and women – studies have found that women recall more emotional autobiographical events than men, produce memories more quickly and with greater emotional intensity, and report more vivid memories than their spouses for events related to their first date, last vacation, and recent arguments. So it's not that men don't want to remember all those seemingly insignificant things – they just don't have the right kind of brain!
4) The depth of feminine friendships
Men have buddies ... women have friends. It's not unusual for women to keep close friends for 20 or 30 years, while men often have superficial relationships based on common activities like sports, hobbies or drinking. It's not that men don't want intimacy in their friendships as much as women – they do.
But women's friendships tend to be based more on emotional connection and conversation, characterized by a lot of self-disclosure and mutual assistance. Men's friendships, being primarily activity-oriented and based on shared experiences, aren't perceived as having the same emotional richness as women's. It's one reason why so many men call their wives their best friend – relationships with women allow them to have the sort of conversation-heavy, emotionally satisfying friendships that women come by so naturally.
Gender differences aren't as great as we often tell ourselves that they are. People, whatever their gender, generally want the same things – honesty, kindness, love. If the emotional/psychological balance sometimes seems tilted too far in one direction or another, it all evens out in the end. Revel in your strengths, knowing that women are as strong a force of nature as men, and that you have gifts that they secretly envy.
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