Are Men and Women from Different Planets? (2)

January 25th, 2007

Susan Broadwell

Communication Between Men and Women :: Part 2

If we can understand how each other is different and how each other ticks – it can make male/female relationships run more smoothly and result in less conflict.

This month I am going to address the first of five ways men and women are different.

The first difference is how they think and process life differently. Unless we understand this difference there will be a great deal of conflict between men and women.

We often have unrealistic expectations for our communication – you see MTWTLMT and WTMTLWT

In other words “Men think women think like men think and women think men think like women think.”

One author puts it this way… “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus”. Another author puts it… “Men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti”. I have heard it also said… “Women are like blackboards and men are like filing cabinets”.

So – what do I mean by men are like filing cabinets or like waffles? It does not mean that they “waffle” on decisions. What I mean is that men process life in boxes. If you look down a waffle, you see a collection of boxes separated by walls. The boxes are all separate from each other and make convenient holding places.

That is typically how a man processes life. Men’s thinking is divided up into boxes (files) that have room for only one issue and one issue only. The first issue of life goes in the first box, the second goes into the second box and so on.

The typical man lives in one box at a time and one box only. When a man is at work – he is at work. When he is in the garage tinkering around – he is in the garage tinkering around. When he is watching TV – he is simply watching TV.

That is why he looks as though he is in a trance and can ignore everything else going on around him. Social scientists call this “compartmentalizing” – putting life and different responsibilities into different compartments.

Since men tend to be good with mechanical and spatial activities, they get emotionally attached to building, fixing, and chasing things.

The bottom line is that men think in one box at a time and spend most of their time doing that they are best at… solving problems. As a result men are problem solvers by nature.

In contrast to men’s waffle like approach – women process life more like a plate of pasta or like a blackboard. If you look at the plate of spaghetti you will notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you follow one noodle around – you will see it intersects with a lot of other noodles.

This 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.

She 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 the play, and close the door with her foot without skipping a beat. Because all her thoughts, emotions, and convictions as 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 then men.

Women consistently sense the need to talk things through. In conversation she can link together the logical, emotional, relational, and spiritual aspects of the issue. The links come naturally to her so the conversation is effortless for her. Talking is her way of solving things in her mind.

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 conversations.

So while the women are talking about many different things and jumping from topic to topic – the man is trying to keep up with her. As a result he will either zone out and appear to not be present in the conversation because it is too much information for him to process, or he will think she wants solutions to the problems she is talking about and then tries to offer solutions

However, what normally happens is that when he offers solutions, she gets mad at him and feels like he is not listening. He gets frustrated as he feels like he is listening.

As a result, conflict occurs and both man and woman get hurt and withdraw from each other.

Unless men and women understand how they think and process life differently in this way, they will have conflict and that conflict could cause isolation in the relationship, or even worse, cause the relationship to crumble and disintegrate.

In the next few months I will address how to communicate better knowing this difference and how to relate to each other better in order to bring harmony rather than conflict.

Next month I will address the second difference in the way men and women think and communicate. That difference is what I call “Men tend to be Mr fix it and women tend to be Ms. Home Improvement”. More on that next month.

This article was written by Susan Broadwell. She has been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for 15 years at VA Tech. She has been married to a wonderful husband, Dave, for 14 years and is a mom of 3 children – Two girls 8 and 5 years old and a son who is 3 months old.

Eat Your Heart Out :: Part 1

January 10th, 2007

Ashley Taylor

Is it even possible for a college student to eat healthily?

According to Wikipedia (the college student’s ultimate authority on everything), an “eating disorder is a complex compulsion to eat in a way which disturbs physical, mental, and psychological health.” Understanding what it means to eat in a way that is disturbing to one’s health begs an explanation of healthy eating, which is not an easy undertaking. We’ve all seen the little flyers in the dining halls telling us to get enough vegetables and magazines swearing that any given trend food will guarantee clear skin and immortality. Your track coach tells you to eat pasta the night before the big meet, but Atkins teaches you to fear carbohydrates.

Fresh foods are expensive, time consuming, and really, how many college students get this whole “cooking” bit? In an American culture obsessed with convenience, where fast food is a multi-billion dollar industry and someone in the USDA has just turned the food pyramid sideways (, nutrition confusing!

“It’s basically all about balance,” an anonymous nutritionist was quoted in The Princeton Review. It is incredibly important to balance a diet itself, but just as significant is the mind and body balance and engaging in a healthy relationship with food. It is a phrase that makes every woman cringe and every man scratch his head. To clear things up for the gentlemen who may be confused by the concept of a relationship with food, it has been said that women think about food as much as men think about sex.

So what does healthy eating tangibly consist of? “A healthy diet contains a balance of food groups and all the nutrients necessary to promote good health. Human nutrition is enormously complex and a healthy diet may vary widely according to an individual’s genetic makeup, environment, and health. (Wikipedia)” The USDA outlines a healthy dies as (1) emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and non/low-fat milk products, (2) includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and (3) is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars. Awesome! That’s about as helpful as telling me to study for my psych final by asking my roommate to tell me about her mother.

Nutrition tips from UCLA Greeks who balance healthy eating with their lives:

-Drink 64floz of water every day! Buy a Nalgene and bring it to class.
-Get creative at your dining hall salad bar. Try to get all the food groups in one salad. Start with rice, add lettuce and fresh veggies of choice, a little cheese, some deli turkey or tuna fish, and top with sunflower seeds and raisins.
-In the dining halls, only take one plate at a time. Finish one plate and wait a few minutes before deciding whether or not to get seconds.
-Work out regularly. This will help train your appetite.
-Don’t keep junk food on hand. So often, we eat it just because it’s there, not because we actually want to. Not having it there eliminates that temptation.
-Choose your poison wisely. Go for a special occasion treat like a homemade brownie from your roommate’s mom instead of some dime a dozen candy bar.
-Trader Joe’s sells decently sized bags of whole wheat pasta for $0.99. If you make the whole pack at once, whatever you don’t eat will keep in the fridge for a little while.
-Eat fresh veggies whenever possible (higher nutrient content), but remember that cooking frozen veggies is better than not eating them at all.
-Ask your doctor what kind of foods you should focus on or avoid based on your particular body.
-Take supplements! A one-a-day generally provides a good baseline of vitamins that you may not otherwise get enough of. Also, it is very rare that any given girl won’t benefit from iron supplements.
-Recruit your roommates to make your kitchen a healthier place and uphold nutrition as a team. If you live in dorms, talk to the people you eat with most regularly to hold each other accountable to healthy standards.

SI Story: What is the deal with frats?

December 22nd, 2006

AP Fraternity Photo posted on SI

It’s one of the first really tough decisions that young students must make after they show up on campus — a choice with ramifications that can be felt in all facets of college life, but most specifically in the oh-so-important social sector. It’s a decision that has both made and broken many a man. When it comes to fraternities, the big question is: To join or not to join…

Click here to read the rest of the Sport’s Illustrated story.

Are Men and Women from Different Planets? (1)

December 20th, 2006

Susan Broadwell

Communication Between Men and Women :: Part 1

Are men and women really from different planets? Doesn’t it sometimes feel like we are – especially when we try to communicate with the opposite sex? It doesn’t take too long to realize that men and women are different in the ways we think and communicate, which eventually leads to conflict and misunderstandings.

For example, have you ever a woman say, “Men are so dense and clueless – I don’t understand them?” Or have you ever heard a man say, “Women – can’t live with them, can’t live without them?”

Almost everyone would agree that men and women are different – how different is still undefined for most people. Many books are one-sided and unfortunately reinforce mistrust and resentment toward the opposite sex. One sex is generally viewed as being victimized by the other. That is not my goal or purpose in this blog article or in the next few I will write relating to this topic.

My purpose is to create a better understanding and appreciation of the differences between men and women and how unique and great each gender is.

If you are a woman, you usually think, “What is wrong with men – why don’t they think like me, act like me and understand me? Men are so dense – they need to clue in!” However, if you are a man, you are usually thinking, “What on earth is wrong with women – they are fine one minute and then emotional the next! Women are so confusing!”

Ask any marriage counselor what the main area of problem or struggle in a marriage is, and they will tell you problem is in communication. Differences are not always bad. You can either get frustrated with the differences or find the differences fascinating, humorous and enjoyable.

Men and women and their differences can complement one another so beautifully that, in a healthy relationship, the complementary differences make both individuals more complete and more successful in life.

I have heard it said that men and women seem to be from different planets, speaking different languages and needing different kinds of nourishment.
If we can understand how each other is different and how each other ticks, it can make male/female relationships run more smoothly and result in less conflict.

Throughout the next few months I will address five different ways we are different in our communication. Next month, I will address how men and women think and process through life differently, and how that can create conflict. I will also talk about how to understand each other better and communicate better as a result.

This article was written by Susan Broadwell. She has been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for 15 years. She has been married to a wonderful husband, Dave, for 14 years and is a mom of 3 children – Two girls 8 and 5 years old and a son who is 10 weeks old.

Remember, There Are No Greek Playoffs

December 20th, 2006

Lance Allen

I love this time of year. The weather’s crisp, classes are almost over, hockey season is getting into full swing, and most importantly, the football post-season is upon us. To me, there is no better way than to spend a Saturday afternoon than watching two desperate teams battle for bowl contention. But while entertaining, it’s almost sad how teams will put in that extra effort only when the end is near. But then I got to thinking, how often does this happen in Greek chapters?

How many times have you seen your chapter almost drop the ball due to procrastination and have to kick it into high gear to pull it off? How many times have you put off working on that project you said that you could take care of?

I may be stretching this metaphor too far, but I’m OK with that. I’m pretty sure that anyone in the Greek system has seen at least one, if not many, examples of what I’m talking about. It is so dangerous in today’s society to attempt to “coast” through the first part of a project’s time-frame. With families, school, jobs, and our chapters all calling for our constant attention, letting important due dates casually sneak up on us is not the wisest strategy.

As we enter the last few weeks of this semester, try not to get too sidetracked with distractions like winter break or holiday shopping. Remain dedicated to your classes, but also make sure that your Greek chapter has your attention as well. Make sure that your chapter isn’t letting semester goals set a few months ago slip by unnoticed. Even if you aren’t one of the high-profile leaders in the chapter, I’m sure that you remember at least one thing that was put on the to-do list that hasn’t yet been accomplished.

So where do we go from here? I challenge you to go to your chapter and find one of those unaccomplished goals and complete it by the time that your chapter wanted it done. If your chapter currently has no unfinished goals, then I encourage you to begin work on a new objective that will better your chapter and its members.

Unfortunately, the Greek system has no playoffs to help motivate us to strive for perfection. This is a game that is played year-round, non-stop. We must give our chapters as much effort as we can spare all the time. You already have everything that you need to help your chapter accomplish its goals. Now go do it!