Terri: Hi, I’m Terri Suresh. Welcome back to the Wellness Curve. I’m here with my guest, Andrea Jones. She is The Relationship Coach and she has coined this amazing term called “menglish.” How do you understand it? What does that mean? We’ll get to that a little bit later.
When I left you before we were talking about what it means to stay a woman and stay feminine and be feminine in a man’s world. How can you keep your happily ever after, find your happily ever after? That’s what we’re going to cover in this segment. What makes you and your approach to happily ever after so unique?
Andrea: The biggest difference to me and other women in these areas, first of all I lived the life that I want to have others to get. I am married and I raise kids and you have to be in that situation to be able to do that. It’s great if you get out of college and you’re young and you want to teach that. However, life is different when you have kids. I have twins, too, so I talk a lot to mothers of twins. I’ve been there, done that. That’s one difference.
The other difference I think is because I grew up in a different culture and I look at things a different way. For example, here in the States, when I moved here, Europeans always think Americans are far ahead in everything whether it’s fashion, movies – in everything – and I was kind of shocked when I came here that when it comes to relationships, we’re totally backwards. In relationships, intimacy and being close with each other, that is something that is not talked about and kids in school don’t have any education early on, where I remember when I went to school in Europe we started education in elementary school.
Terri: Of relationship, communicating, and those kinds of things?
Andrea: Yeah. Sex education also early on. We have that in elementary school. Elementary school is of course age appropriate, but it’s not a topic that is totally taboo.
Andrea: You talk about it. It’s normal to see and hear things, and then when you grow up you have a more clear expectation, what’s going on. That’s not the case here in the States I found. It’s very different.
Terri: So part of your unique style of teaching it is, number one, you’ve lived it. You understand it. It’s like you said – you can’t you know come out of college and decide you want to teach gender communication and relationship. You’ve got a lot of background, obviously – life experience.
The second thing is your cultural differences. I’ve heard you speak. You do corporate keynote speeches and all kinds of speaking and it’s awesome. I’ve heard you speak to cultural differences – I don’t know, maybe you’re going to get into that a little bit later – but I’ve heard you speak that there are cultural differences between men and women too. Does that play some sort of role in this whole happily ever after?
Andrea: Yes. When you look at me being from Europe and you being from the States, you do things that are totally normal to you that are not normal to me. For example, Americans ask “How are you?” but you don’t really care how I am.
Terri: This is so funny because ever since you told me that, I really pay attention when I ask someone “How are you?” I want to really say it with sincerity. This is funny. I’m sorry to interrupt, keep saying. You really don’t care.
Andrea: No, you really don’t care. The first time I ever came to the States, I was in a shoe store and the lady said, “How are you?” I was like, “She’s so nice.” When I tried to answer she was already gone, so she really didn’t care. That’s a common thing to do in the States.
However, for me as a European, if you ask me and then you do not care, that’s worse than not asking. So you do some that’s very typical for you in your culture and everybody in your culture accepts them and doesn’t expect an answer or doesn’t expect to stand there for 20 minutes. In my culture, that’s not normal.
When it comes to men and women it’s the same thing. In our gender, we grow up and expectations are set early on. Look at a nursery. When you’re expecting a baby you’re already planning what kind of colors you put in nursery and what kind of clothes you’re going to buy. So early on there are expectations linked to a gender and then you behave not to fall out of line. Then later on when you have a man in your life, you still expect to behave that certain way because you’re taught that way – and then the cultures clash.
Terri: And then what happens?
Andrea: You grow up with male or female expectations and then the hormones kick in – you’re the expert on the hormones – and you start chasing each other, and you have no idea what you signed up for. Then they don’t act the way you want.
Terri: It’s kind of like the dog that catches the bus and doesn’t know then what to do with it. What do I do with this bus now?
What’s your opinion on the biggest mistake in relationships between men and women? With these cultural differences, we’re clearly sometimes not communicating very well, so what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see women make? Let’s talk about women. We’re talking about stain in our femininity.
Andrea: One of the biggest mistakes is that we expect the man to be a woman. There was this term called [12:00 inaudible] women. We expect men to be [12:02 inaudible] women which means we want them to act and think and behave like a woman would and they’re not going to behave like that. Then we treat them like misbehaving kids. He’s not acting the way a woman would or my child would when I tell my child to do something, so I treat them as if they’re misbehaving and then we get frustrated, irritated and that leads to then a gap in your relationship.
Terri: And then they get frustrated and irritated and there’s communication gap.
Terri: Do you see that started young? Do we tend to do that to our young boys, our sons?
Andrea: Yes. I wish I could talk to the entire youth in the nation and teach them. My oldest is in high school and I was sitting at lunch the other day and there was a boy sitting at our table and he said, “Girls are so stupid.”
I said, “No. They’re not so stupid. They’re just so different than what you do with your guys. That’s the problem. You don’t understand them, and because you don’t understand them, that’s why you think they’re stupid. They’re not stupid; just different.”
Terri: Just different. It’s the same thing as a mother raising a son, not treating them like a little girl is obviously very important. You see that often – boys being demasculinized.
Andrea: I had girls first and then I had the boys. There’s a big difference in what you tell them, how to raise them, and if you make the mistake in trying to push them in that direction then you’re going to get frustrated with the boys faster than with the girls.
Terri: And it causes problems from the start. When we get back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about miscommunication and misunderstanding between men and women. Stay with us.