Chromosomes Can't Explain This
It's no secret that men and women often have difficulty communicating with one another. How many times, for example, have small disagreements combusted into gigantic tragedies with the exchange of only a few words and frustrated expressions? Despite the fact that male and female bodies were obviously made for clear interaction, our respective linguistic capabilities appear to have been scrambled. Some people may wonder how in the hell the human race continues to propagate given the disparaging gap separating the sexes.
In an effort to peel away the layers of confusion forged between men and women, authors such as Deborah Tannen, John Gray, and Susan Page have worked to help couples deal with the strain of miscommunication. These authors present their viewpoints and offer their advice in their written work, offering reeling couples a chance to piece together the fragments of their relationship. While certainly not without their critics, these authors have taken steps to show both men and women how they can work towards better understanding what his or her mate is saying, and how to properly respond.
"He doesn't understand!"
Men have been traditionally chastised by their female companions for lacking the ability to communicate on an emotional, empathetic level. Oftentimes women do not understand why men can't relate to them as well as they'd like. Tannen, Gray, and Page cite different explanations for this phenomenon, and each suggest ways for men to overcome their natural disposition in effectively connecting with their special ladies.
Tannen, first of all, proposes the notion that men communicate on a different basis than women. According to Tannen's book, You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, men naturally use "report-talk" and women use "rapport-talk." Men will speak strictly as a way of giving and receiving information, whereas women will talk just to relate to one another. In essence, Tannen suggests that a man will talk more in a public setting, where it is necessary for him to demonstrate his knowledge and establish his status. By contrast, a woman will speak more in a private atmosphere, where she can share her thoughts and feelings.
Men may not be innately aware of this somewhat subtle yet distinctive difference in communication style. Tannen notes that men should make the effort to understand women's need to talk. Tannen also suggests that men have to be aware that women like private settings in which to do that talking.
Like Tannen, Gray also states that men and women communicate in different ways. Gray's book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, pushes the concept a step further, however. Gray points out that what a man or woman says will be misinterpreted as if his or her partner is speaking a completely different language. To counteract this potentially disastrous disadvantage, Gray provides a number of examples of things that men and women say. Gray...