Thursday, May 24, 2012

Women, Men and communication

I found this cool article about how men and women communicate and it ties in to a conversation I had with my hubby today about his, ahem, lack of communication, :)

 You can go read the whole thing here.

Girls' friendships focus on making connections -- talk is essential to this process. Sharing secrets, relating experiences, revealing problems and discussing options are essential during girls' development.

Boys generally take another approach to friendship. Their camaraderie is not less profound; it's just different. Buddy groups tend to be larger, focusing on activities rather than conversation.

Top 10 Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently 

10. Nonverbal Communication

 Women's actions {direct eye contact, sympathetic looks, hugs etc} all focus on maintaining the relationship. Women give attention and encourage participation from other women.

Men are goal orientated. Their actions depend on what needs to be done.  Does he want to appear to be in charge? Then he uses his body movements to control the discussion.  If he wants to seem empathetic he will keep a calm face. [source: McManus].

9. Body Orientation

Picture this: It's happy hour after work. On one side of the room, there's a group of women, deep in conversation. Their chairs are all turned toward each other, and they continually make eye contact. On the other side of the room, there's a group of four men. They sit at angles to each other. During much of their discussion, their eyes roam around the room, glancing at each other infrequently. Each cluster is engaged in its preferred style of talk. It's great for tonight, but when group members are engaged with the opposite gender these preferences may cause problems.

One specific aspect of nonverbal communication is body orientation. If a man won't make eye contact or face his female conversational partner, she (perceiving conversation as integral to relationships) may interpret this as a lack of interest. He may become annoyed that she is rejecting his efforts; to him, his relaxed body position is actually helping him concentrate. The differences in physical alignment can make it difficult for talkers to reconcile the two styles [source: Tannen].


Women often try to get their point across by asking many types of questions: defiant, informational and rhetorical. The questions are designed to present an opposition or gather data. Men's contributions to arguments are often simple and direct. They're so straightforward, in contrast to women's questions, that men might not even realize that a conflict is occurring.
When, finally, both parties realize they are disagreeing, their communication styles have great impact. Men are concerned with being right and less concerned about anyone else's feelings. This perceived lack of compassion upsets women. Men dislike questions, interpreting them as censure, and they react by closing down emotionally. This pattern leads women to become increasingly suspicious and wary. Time to go to separate corners [source: Booher, Whitworth].

7. Apologizing
  Women use apologies to try to create or maintain connections. Men, on the other hand, are concerned with what an apology might do: It might lower them to a subordinate position, a place where they've never wanted to be since boyhood. [source: Tannen].
6. Giving Compliments
  From a young age, females learn to give compliments; it's almost reflexive. Compliments are a way of reaching out to one another, an offer of affirmation and inclusion. Men are more likely to volunteer evaluations instead of hand out compliments. Similarly, they will not seek out compliments because they want to avoid being critiqued themselves.
Naturally, these differing approaches complicate communication. If a woman asks a question with the hope of being praised or flattered, a man may well see it as a way to offer advice. This affects their relative power: The advice-giver is automatically shifted to a higher position, with the woman having lower status [source: Tannen].

5. Problem Solving
  Men and women approach an analytical discussion differently. As just illustrated, men tend to focus on facts and seek immediate resolutions; action is the conversational goal. Women desire more extensive talk about problems, sharing feelings and finding common experiences.

Even if there's a mutual dilemma to resolve, such diverse communication goals can lead to frustration. Men don't understand why women don't want to solve problems, why they seem ungrateful for direct help. Women are hurt by the perceived disregard for emotions and frustrated when they believe they are being pushed to decide too quickly [source: Torppa].

4. Getting Your Way

  Men and women have very different ways of trying to get what they want, which can make it difficult to come to an agreement.

 Women are typically in conversation mode; they are more likely to ask questions. Their goal is to get others to decide through agreement.

 Men often interpret this approach as manipulation. They will make statements rather than suggestions. Their objective is to get their way directly and quickly. If that doesn't work, they'll exit the discussion; they may either be angry or simply less passionate about the subject.

These discussions, then, often do not go smoothly. Men are resentful, believing women are trying to trick them. If men won't participate in back and forth negotiations, women feel slighted. This could easily turn into an argument-something that no one intended [source: Tannen].

3. Chatterbox

Who talks more, men or women? Take into consideration all interactions during the day, with family, work, friends and businesses. Would you guess women are more loquacious? A lot of people would. And a lot of people would be wrong.

Research indicates that there is no significant difference between women and men in the amount of words spoken, although, when they do talk, men tend to use more words at a time. The major difference appears to be when men and women do their talking. Women spend more talking time with family and close friends, expressing support and discussing experiences. Men tend to talk more at work and in formal and social settings, and their goal is the exchange of information, even when conversing with a buddy.

At home, women do talk more and become perturbed with less responsive partners. Women try to work on their relationships, while men see little need to speak unless there is a specific purpose -- a problem to solve, a decision to make [source: Tannen].


"Where are the bandages? I cut my-"
"I was working on the-"
"Ooh, it's bleeding a lot."
"I know, that's why-"
"Here are the bandages. Do you want-"
"I'll do it."
"I could-"
"What are we doing for dinner?"

Most people dislike being interrupted, but most people do it at one time or another. Women interrupt to show concern, but they think men disrupt the discussion by shifting the subject. Men do try to control the conversation by disrupting it. They also believe a woman's supportive interjections (for example, "go on") are interruptions.

Frequent interruptions, no matter the cause, no matter the target, can lead to frustration. This can build to anger and, unless the guilty party gets things under control, the discussion will come to a screeching halt. Or perhaps just screeching [source: Cowie].

1. Email

E-mail. So helpful, convenient and quick. E-mail. So overused, annoying and redundant. It's also pervasive. A 2009 study found 1.4 billion people worldwide use e-mail, sending 247 billion messages daily [source: Radicati]. Due to the enormous number of e-mails sent, it's perhaps not surprising that the tone of most messages is conversational, with little attempt to revise that pattern.

Mistakes occur in spoken language, and they also turn up in e-mail.
Most of the e-mail women send revolves around relationships: being supportive, making suggestions, apologizing, asking questions and offering thanks.

Men's e-mail messages are very different. Not only do men more often portray themselves as subject experts, but they have a more contentious interaction style, employing sarcasm, profanity and insults. Men may be looking for information from others through e-mail, but they are also seeking influence and respect.

Communication, whether non-verbal, verbal or typed into a computer, is open to interpretation. That is especially true when men and women are evaluating each other. Awareness of variability in communication styles can be the difference between an effective, fulfilling conversation and a distressing upsetting, prolonged argument [source: Rosetti].

   So what did you learn? Nothing? Hahahahaaa. Me either. It's completely true. All of it. But I think we knew that!  Anyone want to share how they get their hubbies to communicate better? It doesn't have to be important issues, it could just be regular stuff.

I'm sure my love and I are just in the " I haven't seen you in a while and its so hard to be apart that it hurts to talk about it" stage.......

But I'm taking advice anyways :)

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