speaker4thedead had a very incisive reply to a private post that I thought was worth sharing with a larger audience:

When a woman bitches about a problem, she wants someone to verify that she’s justified in feeling what she feels. She’s not neccesarily asking to be told that she’s right.

When a man bitches about a problem, he either wants a solution to it or wants to be told that he’s a complete fucking idiot. (though someone would be expected to back up the latter)

So… It can become a real problem when someone interprets an online bitch-session according to the rules of the wrong gender.

Obviously, there are some generalizations here; but in my experience this rule is widely applicable.

On rare occasions I have bitched for the sake of seeking validation (and I usually indicate as much, when I am). At all other times I want to know if, as speaker4thedead put it, I’m a “complete fucking idiot”. Any other interpretation is likely to lead to misunderstandings.

Do with this knowledge what you will.

View All


  1. that woman is right… according to a woman named Tannen (a women who studies and lectures on gender differences), there is something where a woman just wants to bitch about her day, or vent, and doesn’t want advice from other people, even her SO.
    When a man talks about a problem, he’s usually talking because he doesn’t know how to solve it… men don’t like to ask for help all the time (i.e. – not stopping for directions).
    That is right out of my Genders Studies course…

    you should read my final paper to get a full grasp on that… and alot more.

    1. Yeah… the basic rule is one I’ve seen lots of places, but I had’t seen it so well applied to the online journaling context until now.

      I’d love to see your paper on the subject 🙂

      1. http://groups.msn.com/exys/page.msnw?fc_a=0&fc_p=

        If you go there, and click on researchdoc EN102.wps, it’s all there.
        I think that subject is in there… otherwise, all this has been learned in psychology of women and my Sociology of Men and Women and America classes… so i’m not making this up… lol.
        Have fun!

    2. btw…

      is a dude, as far as I know…

      1. Re: btw…

        WOW! That’s even cooler…

        1. Re: btw…

          *grabs crotch to check equipment*


          I’m a dude.

  2. Sometimes all we want is a “poor baby” and a hug. I’ve had to “train” this into the men in my life. It always seems to me that men are more likely to start trying to tell you how to “fix” things… and sometimes I don’t want to hear about “what I could do to fix things…” sometimes I just want my “poor baby”. 🙂

    1. One way I’ve sometimes advised me to deal with that difference is to realize that the problem is that she needs to know she’s loved and that the solution is to say “wow, I really wish you didn’t have to go through that.” (A version of “poor baby” that still appeals to a man’s sense of fixing it.)

    2. oops…

      The first “me” in that post should read “men.”

  3. hrmmm

    Ratspy and I spoke at TG sunday. I found his incisiveness and ability to examine things from another direction to be precisely what I wanted and needed from that conversation (and one in which most people assuredly would have spent their time saying “poor you” or trying to help ‘validate’ my feelings).

    then again, i am admittedly far from the norm where it regards ways of thinking and communicating, and am often accused of being too much like a male in some of those regards (usually when i make these same mistakes, woman comes to me with problem, my responses are in the “have you tried this/thought of it from this direction” vein, which apparently isn’t very comforting to most women).

  4. Another way in which I am not like the typical women I guess. There are times when I just want to be listened to, but I almost always would want suggestions of solutions. Ir, if I’m just feeling crappy, I definetly don’t want to be validated, I want to be gently and logically told that it’s not really that bad, or maybe it is but worrying won’t help.

Comments are closed.