Differences in Men and Women Communication Styles

It’s no secret that men and women communicate differently.  But have you ever done research on the difference between the two?  Most people have not, they just make generalizations about ALL women or about ALL men (we all are guilty of this at one time or another).  But with the number of women in the workplace growing significantly, more and more people are studying communication techniques used by each gender.   I had not done any actual research until recently and I found some interesting discoveries.

For women, talk is the essence of intimacy.  Women define friends as someone you can sit down and share problems with, get advice, give support and connect with.  While men define friends as someone you can do activities with.  Going golfing, working on a truck, hunting, talking about sports or business is how a man communicates or connects with someone.  Women create the feeling of closeness by talking, hence the reason the woman is always trying to talk to her man.  The men do not connect like this and therefore, are left confused of why she is always talking!  This is also the culprit for a common misunderstanding about women:  women go to their man about their problem, whether it is work, girlfriend, money, or family problems, they want to discuss the situation.  Well, when a woman goes to a man with a problem, the man automatically thinks she is looking for advice or a solution to her problem.  Consequently, the man gives a solution and wants the conversation to end.  However, that was not what they lady was looking for.  She probably will not act on his solution and try to talk to him again. This leads to the common generalization that “all women do is complain and they do not want to take action or do anything about it,” when the whole time she was just trying to connect with her man by sharing her problems.

One of my more interesting discoveries was the idea of the pecking order in nature.  A male’s (animal or human) ultimate goal is to be able to mate with the chosen one.  To be able to do this, they must make their way to the top of the pecking order.  Once they are at the top they need to stay up there and keep their social status high.  I went on to discover this reason plays a part in the male denying the woman simple help.  To get to the top of the pecking order he must give orders to men lower than him and when a woman asks a man to do a simple task he feels as though he has lost his status in their relationship.  This leads me to the point that men communicate more in public whereas women communicate more at home in a private area.  This makes sense because it is important for the male to make his presence known in public but not so important to do so in the privacy of his home.

Personally I believe some of the research but at the same time I believe the way people communicate strongly depends on how they were raised.  Did the person have any siblings? Were they brothers or sisters?  Where did this person fall in the order of children, were they the oldest, middle or the youngest?  Were both parents around while the child was growing up?  Did the parents encourage the kids to express their feelings and thoughts?  With that said I believe everyone is different and going to communicate differently.  Some simple advice for men and women trying to understand or figure out the opposite sex and their way of communicating:  do not try it!  Men and women are wired differently and therefore, will communicate differently.  Women communicate to connect, while men communicate to compete.  The world of communication would be boring if we all communicated the same, embrace the difference.  Do not try to change the style of communication the other gender uses, but instead learn how to adapt to that style.

By Katelin Hehe, Business Major -IUPUC

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