The Meadow Report


A little while ago, my husband and I were talking to one of his friends about relationships and communication, and he said something that really stuck with me. What he shared is what is known as ‘the meadow report’. Of course, this may be stereotypical, generalised and not true for everyone, but it made sense to me.

If you imagine back in the times of cavemen, women were gatherers; they would go out, observe and remember where the ripe berries are, where animals were grazing and what they saw out in the wild that could be relevant to their group, its safety and survival. The women would then come back to the cave and would report back to their people all that they saw, all that was relevant to the safety and survival of their people.

This was their meadow report, the sharing of information.  

Men, so the theory goes, are more single focused. They don’t like too much information and don’t need too much detail. Just like "Bob the Builder," if there is a problem - they will instinctively want to fix or do something about it.

Even today, women intuitively notice and take note of the details and what may be valuable information for the group, their whānau.

What happened in our day, who we spoke to, what they said, how that impacted or affected us. I come home from work, and I want to deliver this report to my husband.

When I get together with girlfriends over coffee or a glass of wine the meadow report flows. Women, (or at least my girlfriends) seem to understand that it is a vent or offloading of information. They listen and respond with acknowledgement and understanding of what I have said and then share with me their own meadow report.

Often the response I get from my husband is less than satisfying, and many times frustrating.

What I find to be true in my case is that my husband, and maybe men in general, get impatient with listening to the meadow report. They often tune out and don’t appear to be listening to it at all - there's too much irrelevant detail. My husband wants to cut in, get to the point and provide me with action, next steps or advice on how to fix it. Starting sentences with ‘you need to’, or sometimes thinking I want him to do something to fix it.

Really, I just want him to listen, acknowledge and receive the meadow report. I don’t want advice or what I should do about it, and I certainly don’t want him to fix anything.

The friend that introduced me to the idea of the meadow report had some good advice for couples who want to communicate with satisfaction.

Women may want to shorten the meadow report to keep their men tuned in, and men need to listen without offering to fix it or tell their women what to do about it.  We might be just venting. In my case, another good thing to do is have regular coffee or wine catch ups with my girlfriends who appreciate an excellent meadow report.