How Men and Women Communicate
Universally, most people would agree among the issues surrounding the coexistence between men and women revolves around their communication differences. It is prudent to understand that men and women communicate in different languages; so much that, at times, individuals feel misunderstood whenever they converse with members of the opposite sex (Anderson, 2). Indeed, this is a proven fact with sufficient proof supporting it. In any relationship, the ability to communicate effectively is considered the greatest commodity; regardless whether that relationship is formal or informal.
For men and women who possess excellent communication skills, they are seen to lead better marriages, better relationships, and manage to raise their children to become functional individuals, in addition to becoming more successful in their respective professions. With regard to a popular saying, great communicators are people considered to have an ability of their approach and personality in tune with that other person with which they are interacting (Bendar, 24). If men and women became more conscious of the language barriers that exist among themselves, then their communication will largely improve both in formal and informal relationships.
The root of the difference between man and women communication can be based with how the two sexes think. It is obvious that women think completely different from men. In this case, women are said to think on a global scale compared to their male counterparts who think on a compartmental scale. For men and women, the storage of information in their cognitive memory banks is established to occur differently. Men are said to separate details of information and store them separately in their memory, such as wife, hobbies, work, etc (Hubert, 4). From a cognitive point of view, men have a tendency of closing or accessing their memory banks to suit the immediate moment. This implies that their thinking exclusively revolves around only that one moment and, therefore, nothing else hits their mind at that particular time.
On the other hand, women are the complete opposite and have a tendency of connecting things, they view life from a global point of view rather than a one sided view. Women tend to see how data, details have interrelated and underlying connections. For example, many women can attest to have called their husbands at work asking them to pick something up on their way home, only for the men to come home empty handed (Bendar, 39). This is because while the man was busy at work, sure enough, he understood the message, but his mind was exclusively focused on getting the job done. In this case, nothing else mattered to him other than his work.
In support of he above fact, there are those situations where women try to engage men in a conversation only to feel compromised because men are poor at paying attention. In this kind of situation, the man may have his mind exclusively focused on a football match. On the other hand, men sometimes find themselves in confusing situations when an argument has ensued with a woman. In the heat of the moment, women tend to bring up issues that happened a long time ago. Like stated above, women think globally. She is able to connect the current cause of argument with an issue that happened long ago. She is able to relate and connect data and details relating to one another.
Nevertheless, both ways of thinking, global or compartmental, are great ways of thinking. Their bear their own distinct weaknesses and strengths. When these two schools of thought are brought together, say in a marriage or relationship, to say the least, the relationship only becomes interesting. The whole idea behind this “interesting” relationship is the different way through which men and women think and store cognitive facts as well as how they communicate these facts to each other. For the man, his mind closes the “wife compartment” when he leaves for work and opens the “work compartment”. He no longer thinks about any good or bad issues he is having with his wife (Holt, 261). On the other hand, women find it hard to let go of these issues. Consequently, they are known to get in the way of her daily routine thus affecting her normal output.
Other than the way they think, men and women also speak differently when they interact with each other. In this case, men have a tendency of communicating through short phrases characterized with little or no hidden meanings. On the other hand, women are known to communicate detailed phrases in a story like format. Men need and want the bottom line of the matter regardless of the associated details (Miller, 2). Women, on the other hand, are more concerned with the details involved with the matter rather than its outcome. This, however, should not be taken to imply that men are not interested with details when they communicate with women. Indeed, they are interested but are more concerned with the outcome of the matter.
When they communicate, women are more fascinated with the suspense of reaching the bottom line of the matter, just for the fun of telling the story to their friends may be. However, men find this experience as an agitation are occasionally become frustrated at having to wait for the punch line at the conclusion of the issue in question. Therefore, to communicate effectively among themselves, there is a need for men and women to change how they approach these issues.
According to Comb (32), men are on average estimated to speak 12,500 words when they go through their daily routines. Women, on the other hand, are estimated to speak 25,500 words in a day. It is with these estimations that bring the joke about a man going to work and exhausts 12,495 words. He only reserves the remaining five when he goes home from work. He proceeds to ask his wife in three words, “What’s for supper?” and the remaining two to say, “Good night” to her. For men, their communication is normally with the sole purpose of reporting facts, in comparison to women who communicate with a view of building rapport.
The above mismatch of report communication versus rapport communication plays a major role at increasing the tension and friction within interactional relationships between men and women in their formal or informal lives. For example, it is common for women to ask their husbands how their day at work was. Men, through report communication, answer with little or no details in a simple phrase such as “Fine”. Indeed, this response is straightforward and answers the question asked. However, the wife does not see it this way. She feels that her husband should fill her in the main details of his day at work. She may feel that she is being left out of her husband’s life (Comb, 41).
Moreover, the communication differences between men and women stretch far beyond the ones discussed above. For example, with regard to eye contact, women are known to maintain eye contact with their communication partner for twelve seconds. Men on the other hand can only do so for only three seconds. When a woman engages a man in a conversation, he will utmost maintain direct eye contact for fives seconds before looking elsewhere (Schmit, 52). Men often feel uneasy whenever a woman maintains direct eye contact with them for an unusually long time. They normally feel like they are under investigation or something of the sought.
Putting this in consideration, men will usually look away to the television or the back to the newspaper when communicating with the woman. The fact above justifies why men do this but women take it differently. A woman will feel like she is not being taken seriously or listened to because of the difference in the way of communication. For the above factor, men are seemingly the ones at fault. With regard to changing one’s approach to communication, men should in this case at least try to maintain direct eye contact for longer periods. If not, this can also involve using verbal signal to signify that the man is listening. Women will then feel more appreciated rather than ignored.
Communication in men and women also manifests itself through verbal and non-verbal signals. For example, when communicating with each other, women pass verbal signals to often referred to as listening noises, these may include “Really?” or “Uh huh”. Women have that tendency of leaning towards the other or even reaching out to touch the other woman they are communicating with (Jorge, 9). Women are also known to carry out their social activities while in groups such as going to the restaurant or rest room together and will do so even if only of them suggested it. On the other hand, men communicate in non-verbal signals when they communicate with other men, for example, smiling or nodding to signify they are listening. It is less common to find men physically leaning to each other when conversing or heading off to the rest room together (Jorge, 15).
In addition, the men and women have different ways of communicating decisions they have made. For example, women have a knack of speaking in “hint language” when communicating. For example, a woman might ask her husband, “Dear, don’t you think it would be nice if we went to the movies?” In reality, she means that she wants to go out and see a movie (Brown, 33). Unfortunately, men are never in a position to understand this language since it is not how they communicate. Men are more direct and straight to the point in their communication. In this case, women are advised to change their approach and be straightforward with their communication with men.
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