By: Tamara Ince
Not everyone has read Men Are from Mars and Women are from Venus, but everyone, who has talked to someone of the opposite gender, easily understands what the title means. A typical example can be seen at a dinner table. A wife or girlfriend starts talking about a problem she is having. The husband, or boyfriend tries to give helpful advice and aid her in solving it. Suddenly arguments arise with screaming, “you just don’t understand” and “I was trying to help; I won’t do that again.” The rift in this case, and perhaps in your relationship, is caused by differences in gender communication.
Harvard psychologist Carol Gilligan noted that men and women may speak different languages that they assume are the same . . . creating misunderstandings which impede communication and limit the potential for cooperation.” Other research has noted that hormones can cause lateralization in the brain, which can lead to differences in communication among people of different genders. Furthermore, research shows that the traditional ways of raising boys and girls lead to differences in communication styles and usage of brain hemispheres for communication. In general the male brain hemispheres work more independently and the female brain hemispheres tend to work more cooperatively. Thus, as expected, men tend to be more traditionally strong and aggressive in their speech. Women tend to be more compassionate. Yes, the feminists who said we are all equal in all ways weren’t exactly right- we are socialized differently. We may all be able to accomplish the same things, but we tend to do it differently based on gender. Research in psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, and biology all agree. Gender differences in communication are real and people experience them daily.
However, we can bridge the gender gap and improve communication in our daily lives by:
Gender issues in communication start at birth and remain along on your life path and informed in all relationships- romantic, social, work, and family related. The process begins even before you draw your first breath, there are nursery planning discussions revolving around gender. So you need to understand them. It’s not hopeless, you can improve your communication and thus success with members of the opposite sex- in fact it’s a necessary skill set if you plan to maintain and sustain any long term relationship. If you are currently having challenges with your partner, a licensed therapist may be able to help you better understand gender communication and improve your relationship.
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