Today I will give you some information about gender differences in communication styles.
Gender-specific communication differences are often a rich source of conflict in romantic relationships.
Women communicate to maintain relationships while men communicate primarily to transmit information or in order to obtain information and then use it to display intellectual prowess.
A woman, who talks to a man about everyday occurrences that he deems trivial, is less interested in the actual exchange of information and more interested in how this exchange of information can help intensify the relationship. When the man misunderstands the woman’s intentions and consequently will not participate in a conversation that he find useless, he hurts her feelings and damages the relationship.
Women often ask men questions in order to express their interest in the man and simultaneously keep the conversation going.
Women have a stronger relationship orientation and this is evidenced by their willingness to ask more personal questions than men.
Men, however, perceive these personal questions as intrusive—an intrusion into their private space. When women are engaged in conversation they like to communicate to their partner that they are listening. Women often nod their heads and use expressions like, “how interesting” and “good” or “right” to demonstrate their engagement.
Men, however, tend to wait until their partner is done talking before expressing their thoughts on a given topic. This often gives women the impression that men are not listening; but this is not always the case.
Men generally do not interrupt their partner when she is speaking and this, paradoxically, irritates many women.
Additionally, when men communicate they have a tendency to challenge what their conversation partner says. Women often interpret this habit as a sign of belligerence.
The ways in which men and women differ when discussing problems are also different. Women often talk about problems to soothe themselves and establish a relationship. Finding a solution to the problem is often of secondary importance for women. Men, however, enter a conversation about a problem looking for a very clear solution. This sets up some areas of tension when men and women get together to discuss problems.
For example, a woman goes to a man to discuss a problem; her first interest is to elicit sympathy and understanding from him and her second interest is to have him help her find a solution.
However the man’s first response is to immediately concentrate on thinking of strategies that could solve the problem.
The woman becomes upset because she doesn’t get the sympathy and understanding that she is looking for.
Neither gender is aware of the communication mechanism controlling each response and consequently both interpret the behavior of the other as an expression of overall personality traits.
For example, women believe that when men show little reaction to what they are saying this is an overall sign that men have indifferent personalities. On the male side of things, the female tendency to ask so many personal questions causes men to think that women are controlling and want to invade their personal space.