How and Why Women and Men Communicate Differently
It seems that one of the biggest challenges of being in a relationship — whether you are dating, living together or married — is simply being able to communicate. And one of the biggest challenges in that appears to be the fact that women and men simply tend to have different communication styles. This difference can make it hard to interpret what someone’s partner is really saying — and easy to misunderstand or take offense!
A Difference of Quantity
You hear guys joking a lot about not being able to get a word in edgewise compared to the women in their lives. And that’s actually not a joke. Dr. Barton Goldwatch, writing in
Psychology Today, notes that while women speak around 250 words a minute on average, men clock in around half of that, at 125. During the course of a day, women might speak up to 25,000 words while men speak around 12,000. Also, when women get excited, they tend to talk even faster and will often interrupt or talk over their men.
Sometimes just the sheer differences in numbers and speed can put a strain on a relationship. Women can often feel like their men are just not interested in talking to them, while men feel can feel cut off or drowned out by the sheer amount of words their women inundate them with.
The Whys and Wherefores
It’s not just the amount or speed of language that make women and men so different. The reasons that men and women have to communicate — and what they get out of communication — can be radically different as well.
Dr. Drobnick, a noted psychologist, notes that men tend to communicate with a clear purpose in mind or a concrete reason: to solve a problem or give information that is necessary to get things done. Even the way men listen is with the intent to get the information that they need to get a job done.
He notes that with women, the why’s and wherefores of communicating are entirely different. Women don’t necessarily have a clear purpose in mind when they begin talking — it is more of a way to get things off their chest and to process or explain what they are feeling. They don’t tend to be as concerned with efficiency of language as their male counterparts — and this can be frustrating for the men in their lives!
Body Language, Male- and Female-Style
It should hardly be surprising that with all the verbal differences between male and female communication, that the physical differences should be different as well.
Men prefer to stand shoulder-to-shoulder at an angle, so that they can check out not only each other but the room in general and tend to be more guarded with their facial expressions and other nonverbal forms of communication.
Women rely heavily on various forms of nonverbal communication, such as nodding, eye contact and facial expressions and prefer to communicate sitting down or standing around with others, in positions where they are able to talk face-to-face.
Why it’s All Important
So why is it so important to be aware of these gender benders? Dr. Goldwatch probably puts its best when he notes that, “Understanding how men and women differ when it comes to talking will give everyone a little more empathy when it comes to discussing other issues. And understanding one another is a big step when it comes to building and maintaining a fit and loving relationship.” In short, when men and women both appreciate the innate differences in the way they communicate, they can look for ways to help balance their issues out and find a sort of common ground that will allow them to take into consideration — and possibly discover a way around them.
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