Much has been said about the differences in the way that males and females communicate. The issue remains topical because miscommunication is cited as one of the reasons for conflict in relationships. It should be noted, however, that differences in brain structure, brain chemistry and hormones might also be influential. A greater understanding develops when we learn about communication differences between the sexes.
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
According to John Gray, a marriage therapist and author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, the two sexes have their own styles of communicating. He notes that women are more discursive, while men typically use fewer words in conversation; consequently, women tend to express more feelings than men. Gray also writes that women use conversation to evaluate and solve a problem, while men think privately and later express a solution. Moreover, he thinks that males speak with bluntness, without thinking that it may be taken personally, while women are more likely to speak with tact out of a sensitivity to others’ feelings. He adds that men finish a topic before moving onto another one, while women can change a topic in the middle of a conversation and return to it later.
He Says, She Says
If Gray’s findings are accurate, then it would appear that there is no right or wrong, just differences. Regardless, an understanding of such matters can facilitate greater understanding between individuals. Another theory has been published by speech pathologist Dr. Lillian Glass in the book He Says, She Says. Dr. Glass’ view on communication and the sexes proposes that females love to talk about relationships, while males are more concerned with what they did or the places they went to.
Dr. Glass and Gray also share similar observations. According to both, women tend to be more personal about verbal rejection than men, and they are more likely to seek out help instead of doing things on their own. On the other hand, they both observe that males are less intuitive, are less aware of details, use fewer vocal tones and expressions, and make direct statements (women are prone to “beating around the bush”).
You Just Don’t Understand
Linguistics professor Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don’t Understand, asserts that males and females differ in focus and driving force, both of which affect communication in her view. In Professor Tannen’s book, women tend to focus more on personal connections and avoiding social isolation, while men tend to focus on avoiding failure and achieving personal status. Males deliver reports, whereas women like rapport. Professor Tannen explains that men still care about involvement and women still desire social status, but these life goals are just not as important as independence, in the case of the former, or intimacy, a quality valued by the latter sex.
These professional authors each have their own account of the differences between how men and women tend to communicate. However, regardless of gender, people want to be understood; but, for this to occur, we must first acknowledge the differences that exist among us. This recognition leads to an awareness, whereby we are not judgmental of each other and can solve problems together—especially as growing partners.