Why Does She Talk So Much?

Do women talk more than men?

As we grow up from infancy to adulthood, we’re taught how to be a “boy” or a “girl,” or a “man” or a “woman” in a lot of different ways. Each day we are bombarded with messages from society—from parents to teachers to friends to the media—that send very clear-cut gender cues, or the “correct” ways we’re supposed to act and think and feel.

And communication is no exception—boys learn how to communicate one way, girls learn how to communicate another way.

According to one researcher, men and women are taught so differently about how to communicate (and in what they focus on when they talk) that it’s as if they understand communication messages in entirely different ways!

In other words—you may think you are clearly expressing yourself, and you just may be….but that doesn’t mean that she’s hearing the intended content of your messages!

Is it any wonder that these different genderlects lead to so many problems, misunderstandings, tensions—and all out shouting matches—between couples?!?

Don’t give up just yet! Once you know how and why women communicate the way they do, you’ll be better able to adjust your communication styles—and responses!—so that tensions and arguments are minimized and intimacy flourishes.

You see, in any type of communication, there’s the message (the actual words spoken), and the underlying message (there’s a ridiculously long research term for this…we’ll just call it the genderlect).

As girls grow up, they’re taught to be the caretakers and keepers of relationships. If there’s a problem with a friend or a relationship, girls are encouraged to “Talk it out.” “Sit down and just hear each other out.” “Just listen and it will all work out.”

In essence, girls are taught throughout their entire lives to:

·Talk about “it”: Whatever “it” happens to be—like being angry about something that happened at work two months ago, or seeing a new pair of shoes that are super cute, or thinking out loud about what she should do next, or asking how your day went.

·Connect: Women are often referred to as “kin keepers” because they hold relationships and families together. They’re taught from a very young age that keeping each other connected in the relationship is their responsibility. This is why they talk, talk, talk, talk, talk—to ensure that everything’s okay and on track with you as a couple.

·Understand and care: Women’s primary means of communication is showing sympathy, understanding, and care. When someone (you, a friend, a family member) is hurting, this shows that they are being 100% supportive (even in situations where it may not make sense to be that involved or caring).

Talking, connecting, understanding, caring—this is the way women experience their relationships. It’s the way they assess the status of all of their friendships and intimate relationships.

<This is probably why gals can’t go to the restroom without a circle of friends!>

It’s crucial that men understand that women have different genderlects than they do: When your gal is upset or has had a bad day or she just wants to talk about nothing in particular, she expects you to respond to her the same way that she would respond to you.

She expects you to respond in a caring, understanding, and connected way. She expects you to listen to every word she’s saying (as long as it takes), because that’s the response that she would give to you or to anyone else that she cares about.

This isn’t to say that you don’t care—it just means that you express your love and care for her in different ways than she expresses it for you.

And that’s why it’s so important that she understands your genderlect.

Stop by in a couple of days and I’ll talk about men’s genderlects, and how couples can best merge their differing communication cultures.

Your thoughts?  Do you think that gender differences are what make guy/gal communication so difficult? Or do you think that there might be something else at play?

Photo Credit: Feuillu (flickr.com)

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  1. [...] let’s say you come to your guy and describe a problem to him. Because your genderlect is connecting, talking, understanding, and caring, you expect him to respond the same way you [...]

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