Male & Female Styles
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Differences in Male and Female Communication Styles
Dr. John Grey in his Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus books talks about the different communication styles between men and women. He states that women have a higher need to use words and share feelings than men; he also talks about how men have used up most of their daily word limit during the workday that there are few left over to share with one’s partner. However, in today’s world where women are also in the workforce, they too tend to use up a good portion of their daily word limit. Dr. Grey also discusses that men generally are more likely to demonstrate their feelings through their actions, such as when a man comes home from work and mows the lawn or does the barbecuing for the evening meal. Dr. Grey does caution that these are just generalities and that not all people will fit these gender-specific communication styles—and sometimes they will rotate between them.
Even with these generalities, Simma Lieberman says that up to 50% of people don’t fit their gender roles in communication styles—sometimes due to their cultural training, sometimes due to their career choices that make using their ‘normal’ gender communication style ineffective. Although these are just generalizations, it is important to recognize that there really are differences between men and women—in many ways—and communication style is another one of those ways.
Women tend to process things out loud, sharing with their friends, trying to problem solve, sometimes to figure out what they are really feeling. Dr. Grey likened this to a woman ‘shopping for the right feeling.’ Women generally tend to be much more relationship-oriented and building connections and rapport is usually a major goal in their communications.
Men prefer to problem solve by themselves; they tend to go into their cave and work things out by themselves, and emerge from their caves once they’ve solved their problems. Men tend to be much more competitive oriented and in their communication styles, they tend to share based on one-upmanship. You can see how if a man were to communicate in his normal competitive style with his partner that her feelings could be hurt; she’s looking for connection and rapport and he’s looking to win.
The differences in male and female styles are one area where there is probably the most confusion and competition where what is really needed is an understanding that the differences in communication styles are complementary to one another. While men tend to be more logical and forthright in their directness in communication, they could use a little sensitivity in their communication style. Women, who tend to be more emotional in their communications, could learn to be a little more logical. Therefore, each gender can teach and learn from the other.
While it’s good to be aware of these communication differences, you must go beyond assumptions and generalities and decide how to best respond and interact based on actual behaviour.
Do you find communication with your partner easy or difficult? Have you overcome communication differences within your relationship? Feel free to share in the comment box below.
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