Ever asked a man what he was thinking about? What was his answer? ‘Nothing’? Did he just say he was thinking about nothing? Did that answer drive you crazy? Did you stare at him in disbelief? Did you find yourself questioning your own wisdom, knowledge and understanding? Trust me, you are not alone. You are actually in good company.
There is nothing as frustrating, as infuriating for a woman, as to hear a man say that he is thinking about nothing. What does that mean? Shouldn’t the brain be at work? I mean, c’mon! All those billions of neurons in that brain and there is nothing tangible to think about? Is that even possible?
And yet, men have given women this answer many times without a number.
It is hard to believe that a man thinks of nothing at any one point. Like seriously, it is perplexing. And as a result, a woman will ask herself, is he lying to me? Is he avoiding to say what he really thinks? Is he hiding something from me? Conflicts can easily ensue in the aftermath of a man being confronted with that simple question; What are you thinking?
It is said that men zone off to what is called the nothing box from time to time. I first heard of this nothing box from a video I watched by Mark Gungor that explained why women and men think differently. He went to great lengths to explain how men’s brains and women’s brains operated differently.
In the video, Gungor indicates that everything for a woman is interconnected and that her brain is always at work. Men, on the other hand, have compartments for everything. If a man wants to broach a certain topic, he goes to the appropriate box and only provides information relevant to that topic. But his treasured box is… the nothing box.
“Men have a box in their brain that women are not aware of. This particular box has NOTHING in it. It’s true. In fact, we call it the “Nothing” box. And of all the boxes a man has in his brain, the nothing box is his favorite box. If a man has a chance, he’ll go to his nothing box every time,” Gungor says.
Apparently men can actually think about nothing. Think nothing – go figure! I came to this conclusion based on my interactions with a number of them; there are genuine moments when a man is thinking of nothing. And it can be a positive aspect. You see, men are good at making snap or short term decisions faster than women. At that moment when he is in the nothing box, the brain is not overloaded with thoughts or information. It therefore makes it easier to filter through different options available or reactions needed.
Or he could be watching or doing something boring and perhaps the thoughts in his brain would be of absolute no value whatsoever to anyone, including himself. Hence, the appropriate answer to that question would be, of course, ‘nothing’.
There are, however, moments when a man chooses to avoid sharing his thoughts with the woman. Why? It could be to guard those thoughts from being judged, preferring not to say anything, or it could be to avoid being asked many questions, for women have been accused of asking leading questions. One question leads to another and another…and another and, ‘Oh my God, that effort of explaining each answer…’ You get the drift.
It is also obvious that when a man is frustrated, he opts to retreat to himself and process his issues or thoughts. Women are different, they more often find an outlet to air their struggles and do so by talking. A man may opt to say nothing so that another problem does not emerge in view of the stresses in his life at that point.
It could be evident that there are challenges that the man could be facing, but the menfolk say that it is best they be allowed some space to resolve their own issues in their own way. Persistence or badgering to find out those issues may only add you to that very list of issues, if not at the top of it.
Isn’t it interesting that the word ‘nothing’ is used by both men and women differently? When you ask a woman ‘what’s wrong?’ and she answers ‘nothing’, there could be something wrong. Perhaps she is not in the mood to discuss it or she hasn’t resolved it and doesn’t have the energy or time to deal with it.
Perhaps she harbors hopes that the man will prod further so that she can finally say what is disturbing her, you know ‘let me see if he still cares or is concerned’. She could still think the man will not understand or maybe she’s told the man numerous times and the same thing crops up yet again, or he just never listens at all. The list can go on…
So why do women keep asking men what they are thinking about? She actually longs to hear the man’s thoughts, trying to decipher how she can come in handy. She wants to know the man, she wants to be there for the man. Believe it or not dear men, there are many women who ask you from a point of genuine concern and care.
I hope men can see why it is still hard to believe that they could be thinking of nothing in as much as they would wish to convince women otherwise. As for the women, it’s a catch 22. What shall we say? We still don’t get it. Nothing? Yet we may never understand the ‘nothing box’. Maybe we don’t have to understand everything. Perhaps wait for him to leave that box?
Or perhaps, we should simply accept the answer to our question. ‘What are you thinking?’