Communication between genders has been a subject of significance to researchers and the general population for quite a while. Linguists claim that men and women are different as a consequence of being brought up in different sociolinguistic subcultures, and therefore they speak differently. This paper will look at the different communication styles between men and women and how they play a major role in our day to day life.
Since birth, boys and girls were talked to in a different way and treated differently thus they talk differently (Tannen 125). They were taught appropriate behavior for their gender. Their socialization process including games, school, family, and friends contributes to their gender. Girls games are usually not aggressive or competitive and their goal is to create a bond, for example, jumping rope; where everyone gets a turn. Girls are centered on having a best friend and they spend time talking to each other. Boys, on the other hand, have competitive games that aim to show who is best. Boys games have winners and losers and their social circles are structured hierarchically where ranking is attained by issuing orders. This shows that boys and girls have different expectations when conversing and misunderstandings are bound to occur.
Language plays a significant role in defining sex by vocabulary, non-verbal vocabulary, and phraseology. Each one of these styles of communication is different in both sexes. Phraseology refers to a choice of words. Research has been carried out on the dissimilarity between different genders phraseology. In a study carried out by Lynette Hirshman in 1974, it was observed that men have a tendency to talk much more than women. Men took thirteen minutes to describe a painting as opposed to women who took an average of three minutes to describe the same painting (Glass 33) In addition, it was observed that women tend to talk faster than men as women are used to being interrupted a lot more than men and they also have the skill to talk more precisely and clearly. Women also tend to be more detailed when describing things as compared to men as they are more perceptive and notice things like facial expression, the tone of voice and body language (Glass 31).
It has also been observed that men have a tendency to be louder and more aggressive when speaking. They use loudness to emphasize their point instead of Inflection. Inflection is an alteration in the tone of voice or the modification in the structure of a word in order to convey a grammatical function or feature. Women, on the other hand, tend to use inflection to emphasize a point (Glass 51).
Men talk in a low tone and hardly ever change from that one tone whereas women talk in five different tones which make them appear more expressive (Glass 50). In addition, women conversations tend to flow, which makes them effortless to pay attention to, unlike men who use short fragmented sentences.
Women speak softer than men which give men the advantage to control most of the discussion. Men are more direct in getting their point across and less talkative, unlike women who tend to be equivocal when getting their point across causing men to get impatient during the conversation. Men also tend to make direct accusations and statements and they answer questions with declarations. Women on the other hand answer questions with a question (Glass 51)
Women request for things in a more courteous manner, unlike men who are more commanding in their speech. It is common for women to use words such as please, could you and if you do not mind. Women have a tendency to compose more cautious statements, for instance, a woman would say would you like to go the movies, but we do not have to. On the contrary, men make more declarative statements, for example, a man would say we are going to the movies tomorrow. This also proves that men have poor sentence structure compared to women (Glass 53).
Men usually have short answers and hardly ever use conjunctions or adjectives of admiration, while women tend to have lengthy answers, with long sentence structure connected with words like but, though, moreover and they also use adjectives of admiration like sweet and cute. Men also tend to make use of more foul language, unlike women who are perceived to be better behaved.
Men and women also have different perceptions regarding conversation. Men look at conversation as competitive. They try to prevent others from dominating the conversation and seek to get the upper hand. This is due to the fact that from an early age they are trained to be more domineering and hence they always trying to gain status and keep it. On the contrary, women view conversation as a way of getting support and confirmation. They use conversation to establish intimacy. As a result, women talk more in private while men talk more in public.
Women also have a consensus-building type of communication meaning that they tend to be in agreement and think alike. When one woman in a group challenges their point of view it normally spells trouble. The independent-minded woman tends to be criticized and usually ostracized.
Men believe that all conversations have a clear purpose. According to them, every discussion either has an issue that needs to be fixed or a point that requires being put across. They engage the woman as they actively listen sifting through the every detail in their head as they try to find a solution. Their concern is to get to the root cause of the problem. Women, on the other hand, use communication to discover their feelings. They view communication as a productive end in itself. By sharing, they release negative feelings and at most times they just require sympathy. When they feel sufficiently heard they may not take further action. When men hear women complaining they assume that they need to fix their problems and therefore, offer advice. This creates a conflict in relationships as women tend to feel rejected by the mans refusal to convey sympathy while the man gets more confused by the womans response. Thats why women protest when men offer advice while men criticize women for not taking action (John 15).
A woman is characterized by her emotions and relationships hence communication is very important to her as it solidifies her relationships. A man is defined by his status, problem-solving capability and ability to achieve results hence when a man is offered unsolicited advice he assumes he is being viewed as incompetent. That is why men rarely ask for directions as they feel it is a sign of being inferior. The one giving the direction would be seen as more competent than they are.
It is a common perception that women speak a lot without uttering anything of significance. Women concentrate on minor and insignificant issues and share a lot of information about themselves while conversing with their fellow women. They view conversations as therapeutic. Men skip from one topic to another without divulging much information about themselves. According to men withholding of personal information enables them to maintain power and hence gives them a superior status. Men view disclosure of personal information as a way of no longer being in control and hence making them vulnerable.
Men and women not only chat about different topics but they also approach these topics in different ways. Men are always in competition trying to prove who is more up-to-date with the current affairs hence their topics include business, politics and sports. They talk while interrupting each other as they compete for dominance. Womens topics can range from fashion to finances. They wait patiently for someone to get her point across before contributing to the conversation.
Questions are perceived differently in male-female conversations which may easily lead to an argument. For women, questions are used to keep the conversation rolling. Questions are interactional and therefore should be followed with a reply. For men, questions represent a threat to their independence. It is more common for women to ask more questions in a more intimate setting, unlike men who will ask more questions in a public or formal setting. Women tend to ask supportive questions that initiate the spokesperson to expound on his/her subject whereas men tend to ask antagonistic and critical questions to fight for their status by showing their expertise in the subject.
A woman communicates more indirectly as she values involvement; therefore, it pays off to have a person do something without really telling them directly. That is why women concentrate a lot on metamessages. This can be seen from the way they retell stories using gestures and take notice of the reactions and emotions of the people concerned. Men, on the other hand, focus on the message. Men give a brief description of the incident, concentrating on the facts, not emotions and reactions of people involved.
Men give priority to efficiency and productivity in their daily life hence, when they narrate a story it has already been filtered in their heads and only share those facts that seem important. In contrast, women make use of communication to organize and discover thoughts. They may not know what exactly they want to communicate until after the words have left their mouth hence they tend to give excessive information which at times makes the man wonder why women talk too much. Often times, men will interrupt women or switch off their attention once they have heard enough to offer a solution.
Non-verbal communication is different for both men and women. Men tend to be more reserved when talking. They rarely maintain eye contact and keep their distance from women when chatting. Men usually keep away from other peoples body space and they tend to lie back while chatting. They also appear more squirmy while paying attention to the conversation which may give off the impression that they are disinterested or bored. Women, on the contrary, give others the impression that they are interested in the conversation. They rarely interrupt someone while speaking, unlike men. Women nod and smile when listening to what is being said men on the other hand even while paying attention, they tend to frown and squint giving off a feeling of indifference (Glass 49).
Men tend to show resistance when asked to do something by women. To men, a woman asking them to do something means losing their status in that relationship. What a woman might view as a simple request might be viewed by a man as an attempt to manipulate him.
Women communicate differently from men when they are stressed or feeling down. When a woman is feeling down she will want to talk it out. She finds relief by talking about her problems. When men are stressed or feeling down they tend to withdraw into the caves of their mind and focus on finding a solution to their problem. They start by picking out the most urgent problem and become so focused on solving it that they tend to lose awareness of everything around them. When they cannot find a solution to their problem they tend to engage in other activities to distract them from their problems such as reading the news or playing games. This normally causes conflict in relationships as the women try to make the men open up about their problems by asking questions while men tend to withdraw even further fearing that their partners do not trust them to take care of their problems.
In conclusion, the difference between men and womens communication is not only influenced by gender but also cultural a...
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