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This paper presents my observation in the way men and women talk at a bus station. In Deborah Tannen`s article titled Sex, Lies and Conversation Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other, the differences in the way men and women communicate were highlighted. Tannen began by saying that men tend to talk more in public than women and women tend to talk more compared to men at home.
At a bus station, different faces of people passed by. There were male-male, female-female, and a combination of both genders interacting with each other. The males were most likely colleagues at work. Observing them from afar, males usually create space in between them and they avoid physical touches such as a shoulder tap. They also moved around during conversation with the person they were talking to. Men have the tendency of putting their hands in their pocket. On the contrary, women at the other side of the bus station tend to use lots of physical gestures such as hair fixing, hand gestures, standing or sitting still, and tend to look at the person they are talking through the eyes. While their friends talk, women listen. Women usually finished off their friends` sentences. They also asked several questions. A couple at the other side appeared to be quietly waiting for the bus while they held each other`s hands. Most of the time, the woman initiated the conversation and the man would be doing majority of the talking afterwards. The woman also tended to start public display of affection while the man just stood and looked uneasy.
According to Tannen, the differences in the way men and women talk can be perceived through observation of their speech, body language, and facial expression. Men seldom look at the person they are talking to. They also tend to do lots of head movement while controlling their facial expression. Women smile more and make use of lots of eye contact. They seldom use head movements because they are listening intently to the person talking. Men also sound authoritative when they speak.
Men and women have different point of views concerning communication. Even in the subject of conversation, men and women have different choices. Women tend to deal with the emotion while men are often misunderstood for not listening when in actuality, they were. In a marriage, the lack of communication has often been pointed out as the cause of majority of the cases of divorce. When a woman is questioned about something, a lengthy answer will be given. When a man is asked about a certain thing, the response would normally consist of a word or two. Men are direct to the point while women are very detailed in their discussion.
Since men sound authoritative, women thought about being controlled. This often leads to misunderstandings. Women can talk about a single topic for a long time while men constantly shift from one topic to another. Tannen also stated that when men attempt to exert effort to adapt into the women`s way of communicating, women feel a lot loved and understood.
Simmalieberman.com (2013). Gender Communication Differences and Strategies. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.simmalieberman.com/articles/genderstrategies.html [Accessed: 29 Sep 2013].
Tannen, D. (1990). Sex, Lies and Conversation Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other. [online] Retrieved from: http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/tannend/sexlies.htm [Accessed: 29 Sep 2013].
Torppa, C. (2010). Gender Issues: Communication Differences in Interpersonal Relationships. Ohio State University.