Essay # 1

According to YourTango.com, the survey of mental health professionals claims about 65% of divorces starts because of communication problems and 43% of relationships fail because of the lack of solving conflict. Communication between couples has been deemed as the single most effective attribute of a successful relationship. Yet, why is it that couples end up breaking up or having failed marriages because of these circumstances? Many women and men feel dissatisfied with their close relationships and become even more frustrated when they try to talk things out. (Tannen, 1992). By pretending that women and men are the same is biased towards the norms for men and are nonplussed without seeing it as a threat to intimacy. Many men should learn from women to be more interdependent without having to feel that it is a threat to their freedom. This essay will evaluate communication between genders, in ways of speaking, and a need to identify and understand them.

Without a common understanding, men and women fail to realize that sometimes a message can be interpreted differently depending on the situation. Studies show that those differences are not only because of the genders, but the environment into which the conversation is set. One of the examples Tannen explains, is a couple riding in a car together and the wife asks the husband if he wanted to stop by to get some coffee. From a situation like this, it is one of the reasons why couples fall victims to misunderstanding, as she states that men always fail to read in between the lines. The male is not able to understand that the question the female asked, “was not to get an instant decision, but to begin a negotiation.” And vice versa, the female misunderstands that when the male said no, he was expressing his opinion, “not making a ruling.” This shows the different reaction that men and women have when they communicate with one each other. An example from Tannen’s work, “Gender-specific language rituals” Tannen discusses about how young boys and girls communicate with each other. She says often times young boys like to see who can top one another and young girls like to get along by self-disclosure and equal footing with one another. Tannen mentions that men and women have these different rituals and that we tend to take conversation very literally, meaning that we think we mean what we say literally. That is based on the different expectations about the place of language and the way we use conversational rituals to get done what we want done. And often, women and men have different interpretations and it is because the women are focusing on the questions of connections as their way of speaking that brings them closer or putting them farther apart and very often men are coming to the same conversation with a different aspect, is this conversation putting one of them at a one up or one down position. Another example, of miscommunication, is men and women in a work setting. Often, men are spitting out ideas in room, while women are silent and men think that women do not have anything to say and so they will continue their discussion. However, women think that when men are throwing out their ideas they do not care for the women’s opinion. Women like to have each person have a turn at talking and if someone is silent they are likely to ask what they are thinking. “Men mistakenly expect women to think, communicate, and react the way men do; women mistakenly expect men to feel, communicate, and respond the way women do.” (Gray 10).

Since birth, women have been taught not to show themselves off, to be bossy or pushy. However, men on the other hand, are put on a pedestal, to take the center of attention and brag about what they are good at. As said, women have the tendency to talk with equal with others and give a support to those they interact with. For men, communication is the way to challenge each other and is therefore comparable to a battle, which will only end when one of the interlocutors is defeated. (Tannen, 1992). Each having different conversational styles, but there is no right or wrong, but being made aware of the different styles is something that can be beneficial. Having knowledge about the differences in gender communication can not only lead to a satisfactory conversation, but it helps avoid complications. By recognizing and understanding the differences, we can take them into account and learn from each other’s styles.

References

Evans, L. (2014). Are We Speaking A Different Language? Men And Women’s Communication Blind Spots. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3031631/are-we-speaking-a-different-language-men-and-womens-communication-blind-s

Tannen, Deborah. (1990). Sex, Lies, and Conversation: Why Is It so Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other. Washington Post. pp. 245–248. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1990/06/24/sex-lies-and-conversation/01cb17ba-1af7-4bf4-8a02-3d1b6c11648f/

Tannen, D. (2013). “He said she said”. Film. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucQ_bmbcK2U

Tannen, D. (2013). “Deborah Tannen: Gender-specific rituals. Film. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUxnBZxsfoU

Tannen, D. (1992). You Just Don’t Understand. Men and Women in Conversation. London: Press.