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Social Conversations - How Women and Men Differ

Aug 17, 2007
It's hard to deny that in social conversations, men and women have different styles. Here are some of the basic differences, albeit generalizations, in how the sexes use the gift of gab:

1. What's Polite?

Her style: at a party or social event, most women will wait for an opportunity to join in a conversation. Women are taught that interrupting a conversation is rude.

His style: interruption is an art to him. He does it well. He'll voice his opinion on the price of gas and makes sure that person over there in the back can hear him.

2. How Many Words?

Her style: whether conversing a social conversations or just chatting with a close friend, women use more words to say whatever it is they want to say. From a young age, women are taught to use more expressive words. Women tend to use language to enhance connections.

His style: exactly how few words can he get away with using? Men are seen as being uncaring because of their aversion to emotional-type talks. In social conversations they use language to promote social dominance.

3. Any Requests?

Her style: women don't usually demand things. They request them. "Would you please open the car door?" If they do say something in a more demanding way, it will often be followed with, "if you don't mind."

His style: "open the car door." Men don't tend to beat around the bush - they prefer the direct approach. They are more likely to command or demand.

4. I can't say that!

Her style: women don't just talk. They want to share the experience of what it is they are talking about. Senses and emotions are brought into the conversation.

This added expressiveness could sometimes be frustrating for men because they wonder when she'll make her point.

His style: you won't catch him saying that your friends' new baby is adorable. Ever.

5. What's the problem?

Her style: you might not see this side of her in social conversations, but when a women has something troubling her, she needs to talk about it. It's not that she hasn't thought about it, it's just nice to have someone lend an ear to the situation, sometimes.

His style: he's thought about the problem. Now he's going to attempt to solve it. He likes to fix things. They respond by dealing with the problem discussed.

Men are not aware that women usually only need a soundboard. They certainly aren't aware of any empathy that might be needed - they think you expect a solution and offer one!

Next time you are in a situation where you can listen to and observe men and women in social conversations, see if you can spot these style differences.
About the Author
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: conversation starters
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