The differences in gender is the most significant biological difference within the human species. Yet, most of us know very little about how these differences affect work, intimacy and conflict. Starting at a very young age, these differences begin to shape our play, concepts of relationships, productivity, and in general the way we communicate with one another.
I have noticed the differences between men and women in some of my relationships. For example, I may say to my husband, “I feel that it is unfair that you get to set back and watch TV. while I clean house.” “When you get a chance I think you need to help me.” Using words like think and feel do not register as well with the male gender as with females. Men need facts, and direct orders to clearly understand what is really being asked of them. When I asked my husband to help me with the house, in his eyes he never had a chance because the game on TV lasted several hours. When I spoke more directly, with a commanding voice rather than a polite request, and gave a set time and he understood me and we did not have any misunderstandings.
The difference in the way the genders interact arises from the fact that men and women view the world differently. The sexes have distinct viewpoints and attitudes towards life, they think differently and therefore do not have the same ideas of what is essential. A woman’s personality, which includes our views and our thinking, is reflected in our conversations. The genders have different opinions about the purpose that a conversation should fulfill, and they can be perceived differently by the two sexes.
The male conversational style is above all interpreted as aggressive and dominant from a female point of view. From a male viewpoint – challenging each other makes conversation interesting and even enjoyable for them.
Women approach the world as individuals in a network of interpersonal connections, where everyone seeks to establish community, to avoid giving the impression of superiority and to support each other. The aim of communication is to create and maintain relationships and to avoid isolation. Women want to reach consensus, and get as well as give support and confirmation in a conversation. During a conversation a women concentrates on whether their receiver remains distant or tries to get closer. Men, on the other hand, look upon the world as a place where it counts to achieve and maintain a high status, to stand up against other people and to preserve independence.
Both styles of communication have positive and negative aspects. It only gets problematic if men decode a woman’s conversational style according to their rules and if women looks at a man’s way of communication from their point of view. This leads to a great deal of misunderstandings between the sexes and wrong interpretations of what has been said.
I conclude my paper by stating that a man’s conversational style is due to their competitive outlook on life, while women, due to their world view, prefer a co-operative conversational style. The distinct conversational styles reflect the different needs the sexes have and show that women have other focal points in their lives than men. One should look upon this as natural and realize that both styles have advantages and disadvantages. The two sexes should be regarded as equal and learn from each others styles. It would be unrealistic and wrong to try and adjust them to each other.