Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, right? So it only makes sense that we communicate in totally different ways!
If you’re struggling to understand the opposite sex, let’s break it down a little bit for you.
Get your helmets on because we’re off on a crash-course! Here are 8 of the ways in which men and women differ when it comes to communicating…
1. Body Language
Men can be seen to keep themselves very much to themselves! While having a conversation, many men come across as serious and practical.
They will speak and listen, but there isn’t much else going on. Much of men’s communication is verbal, involving vocabulary and intonation.
Women have another layer to their communication: non-verbal. Women tend to use gestures as visual aids while talking and use their facial expressions much more.
Nodding their heads when listening, for example, is something that women typically do more than men.
Using open body language and engaging their audience by ‘talking with their hands’ is another thing that more women than men tend to incorporate into a conversation.
For women, apologizing is a way of forming and maintaining connections with people – it shows respect and humility.
Many women understand that saying “sorry” can solve a lot of issues! Men often find apologizing harder than women, as it feels as though they are giving in.
They worry that they will be seen as weak for accepting blame, and may feel as though their power or authority will be compromised by apologizing.
When women are apologized to, it can almost feel like a bond – there is a level of mutual respect with the person they’re talking to, and they feel as though they have been listened to.
Feeling as though their opinions are valued and taken into account is very important to women, which is why apologies can mean so much to them.
Men, on the other hand, see being apologized to as the other person’s way of accepting the hierarchy, and men can often feel as though this reinforces their position of power.
Men don’t tend to give out compliments as much as women do. If they do, they are normally aimed at a potential partner, rather than a friend or colleague.
Women are much more likely than men to give out compliments. For them, it is way a forming a bond and showing respect.
It is also a way of showing that they are on the same level as the person they are speaking to.
By complimenting someone, women show that they are not a threat and that they can be trusted. This links in with a woman’s need or desire to form connections and find commonalities.
4. Feelings Vs. Factual
Men like to get to the nitty-gritty early on. Conversation tends to serve a purpose – it is simply a way to get the information needed.
The conversations men have are often very fact-based, and may revolve around sports results, work, and finance. Conversations may end rather suddenly, as men often avoid small talk and ‘unnecessary’ questions.
Women prefer to dig deep in conversations, and often try to explore the feelings of the person they’re talking with. This is attributed to the fact that women are believed to be more compassionate and empathetic.
Female friends prefer to talk about emotions and complex situations, as opposed to numerical or factual issues. Women tend to be happier extending conversations than men do.
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5. Quality Or Quantity?
Men often just want to get to the point! In terms of conversation, there should be a goal, and, once this is achieved, the conversation can end.
In the workplace, where men can feel particularly competitive, there is no need for niceties and ‘pointless’ chat. The conversation does not need to be long and flowing, and can end once they are satisfied.
Women, on the other hand, are likely to have longer conversations. These will involve questions about the other’s personal life, such as asking about family members, health, and weekend plans.
Women often feel less competitive, and would rather string out a conversation and maintain a good bond with the person they’re talking to.
6. The Devil’s In The Detail
Again, men like to get to the heart of the issue straight away, and can be satisfied with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
Women, on the other hand, prefer to dive into the details and find out as much as possible.
Women often look for context and background information, rather than simply responding to a situation in isolation.
This lends itself to a woman’s naturally-empathetic side – they would rather see a situation in context and figure out why someone may be behaving the way that they are, rather than making a snap judgement.
When talking, too, women are generally more willing to offer up details. This could be about pretty much any aspect of life!
Women are happier sharing information about themselves, their relationships, and work than men tend to be. This links back to the fact that men want to be efficient in their conversations and get to the point as quickly as possible.
7. Friend Or Foe?
Men can see other people as a threat in ways that women often do not. This tends to lead to a ‘friend or foe’ situation, where men quickly try to assess a person or situation.
This can come across in a negative, slightly aggressive way at times, as men are trying to filter information efficiently in order to understand the situation quickly.
Women are much more likely to go for a friendly approach and build a rapport with whoever they are talking to. This is what ultimately leads to those longer, detail-filled conversations we mentioned earlier.
Rather than seeing someone as a threat to their power or authority, women feel more compelled to find common interests or experiences, and form bonds from them.
For men, negotiating is often not an option. It is a sign of weakness and shows that they are giving in or being submissive to whoever they are talking to.
By going back on what they have said, or agreeing to someone else’s ideas or plans, men often feel as though they are being emasculated. In terms of time, too, men prefer to cut to the chase and get things done quickly.
Women, on the other hand, tend to be happier negotiating. Finding a middle ground doesn’t show weakness on anyone’s behalf, rather, a mutual respect and desire to get the job done.
This links in to the fact that women are more prone to having longer conversations, where there is space for discussion and everyone will be heard. The important thing here for women is that things get done properly, and, often, more fairly.
It’s important to note that these are quite general guidelines for how men and women might communicate differently. They are not rules set in stone.
Every person is different; some men display the more feminine qualities, and some women exhibit masculine traits.
This article merely seeks to highlight the very real differences that sometimes exist in the way men and women choose to communicate.