When it is about the differences between male and female characteristics, we usually come across typical clichés. But this is not what my article is about. I should rather make us women aware that there are sociological differences between the sexes which we should know about. This might help us understand men (even) better.
The sociologist Leonard Benson says that girls are more related to individuals, and boys more to objects. And this is how it continues during adulthood: many men like to talk about the job, finances, cars, sport or politics. We women, however, generally like to talk about things related to other people. As already mentioned, I do not want to reinforce clichés, but we women must not be surprised if we do not always immediately find ourselves in a common basis for conversation with men.
WOMEN COMMUNICATE DIFFERENTLY AND ABOUT DIFFERENT TOPICS THAN MEN
The linguist Robin Lakoff (1) discovered the following typical differences:
_ women tend to ask more questions to keep conversation flowing; men understand questions more as a direct request for further information
_ women show more interest in their conversation partner than men who aim to prevail more in communication
_ women use more affirming words than men, such as “great!”, “beautiful!”, “wonderful!”, or “amazing!”
_ articles (in women magazines) are somehow always related to psychology in almost every area, from sex to money and nutrition
_ in men’s conversations numbers occur more often than in women’s. Men – even those whose Maths qualification tests are worse than the ones of Rwandan silverback gorillas – appreciate the security of numbers, says Colin McEnroe in the magazine ‘Mirabella’
“AND THE MORAL OF THE STORY …”
If men and women want to develop better communication with the other sex, men should talk more about people, and women more about facts. Maybe men do not find personal topics particularly interesting, and women find facts austere. But as soon as you are aware of the difference, you could at least understand better different needs for communication, accept it more easily, and react to it more ideally.
A series of blogs that can help us to see men with new eyes, understand them (even better). If you want to get more information on this topic, I recommend the book ‘You don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation’ by Deborah Tannen
(1) Lakoff, Robin Tolmach: Talking Power, 1990