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The differences in male and female communication styles can result in misunderstandings, upset and cross-purposes that annoy men and women alike, according to linguistics professor Deborah Tanner in the Washington Post article, “Sex, Lies and Conversation; Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other?” If you and your partner have difficulty communicating, try adapting your style a little to match your partner’s.
Emotions and Information
Women connect through conversation, while men connection through action, according to Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. a psychotherapist, in the “Psychology Today” article, “Men, Women, Emotions and Communication.” When a woman wants to talk, she wants to share emotions and thoughts, while a man generally shares ideas, suggestions and facts and avoids talking about feelings, writes Goldsmith. That doesn’t mean that a man won’t talk about his feelings, but he might be uncomfortable while doing so.
The Body Speaks
Women use an abundance of non-verbal communication such as making eye contact, gesturing and animated facial expressions, according to psychotherapist Susan Sherwood, Ph.D., in the article, “10 Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently” on Discovery.com. A woman often prefers talking while sitting or standing in a cluster of people where everyone is face-to-face. A man prefers talking shoulder-to-shoulder in an angled pattern where he and his friends can take in the room. A woman might gesticulate, raise her eyebrows, incline her head and shrug her shoulders during the conversation. The man often prefers relaxed, sprawled pose and keeps the body language and facial expressions more contained, reveals Sherwood.
Conversations patterns differ between men and women, according to Tanner. A woman may punctuate the conversation with affirmative noises such as “OK” and “Uh huh” to let you know she is listening. The man prefers to sit quietly and focus on what’s being said. He could interpret the woman’s conversations noises as interruptions and become annoyed. A woman will talk faster and interrupt more when she is excited, writes Goldsmith, which can leave a man behind or cause him to tune her out.
When and Where
A man often talks more at work where he shares ideas, problem-solves and communicates with a purpose, according to the YourTango article, “6 Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently.” A woman most often talks on the phone, at home and in social situations where she shares and nurtures through words. Because the man and the woman spend the bulk of their words in different areas with different purposes, they might not communicate as much when they are together as the woman would prefer, writes Tanner. It can help couples to plan time for nurturing conversation if lack of intimate conversation is causing the woman to feel alone or distanced from her partner.
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Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.
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