Men and Women in Conversation
In “Sex, Lies, and Conversation; Why is it So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other,” Deborah Tannen posits that most problems in marriages arise because couples misunderstand their partners when they try to communicate. Tannen argues that according to her study, the most frequent complaint women had in their marriages was that their husbands did not dedicate time to listen to them. However, when Tannen evaluated specific conversations, she uncovered that the problem did not relate to the fact that men failed to listen to their wives, but because men and women listen differently. As such, Tannen has written an interesting article by using research to prove that women and men misunderstand each other, causing problems in their relationship.The primary purpose of the article is to inform married couples about the importance of understanding one another when communicating. Tannen presents the idea that women and men tend to communicate in different ways depending on how they were brought up, using her study and research from other sociologists and psychologists. Young girls tend to comfort one another by sharing their experiences, looking at each other on the face and gaining intimacy through vulnerability. Conversely, men tend to appreciate a hierarchical setting in which they are required to struggle to realize their place. The essay depicts that even men also bond, but, by involving in negotiations an environment that is more competitive, whereby listening for long may make them feel as if they are undermined. Also, men are used to living in environments where they share problems to get relevant solutions or an assurance that their problem is not that critical.
Tannen concludes that the differences in expectations regarding close relationships cause women and men to get frustrated in marriage relationships. However, the author reassures her audience that learning about communication differences between the two genders can enable couples to express what they mean and listen to what the other person is trying to put across. Tannen asks couples to repulse from psychological relationship models which attach blame on one gender or the other and move toward a sociolinguistic model to enable them to understand the differences in communication between sexes. Honestly, couples can understand and appreciate their partner’s styles and evaluate when it is effective to get some communication needs to be satisfied by their friends. Ultimately, the author seeks to ease the pressure on communication between married couples by providing them with more reasonable expectations.Tannen begins her article with an anecdote. An anecdote may be defined as a short narration of an amusing event (Song et al. 2592). Tannen narrates an event in which she was addressing a women’s group meeting at a living room in Virginia. That day, the women had invited some men to join them, and there was a specific man who was very talkative while his wife sat quietly on the coach. Tannen later realized that the man was more comfortable, talking in public, while the woman was comfortable talking in her house but not in public. The anecdote provides a precise idea regarding Tannen’s topic of discussion. After completing the anecdote, Tannen was able to provide detailed explanations about how it is difficult for women and men to talk to one another.
The article has been written in a formal tone, with simple words, which make it easily understandable. Generally, a linguist may not speak to a large audience, and so Tannen’s efforts to apply the discourse studies to a real-life situation is quite audacious. However, her use of real-life examples like the talkative husband at a dinner party who does not speak at his home makes Tannen’s work more relevant to her audience. Besides, Tannen has presented her arguments in a common language that is easily understandable. In most parts, she has avoided using sophisticated academic terms, save for making a jab at the mechanical engineering of psychologists which she said tends to turn into blame games.
Although Tannen does not explain in her article how a couple may attain effective cross-cultural communication, she does highlight a few essential tips. For instance, couples should avoid assuming that their husbands or wives are not listening just because they are not given the verbal cues they expect. Primarily, Tannen’s article prompts the audience to consider re-evaluating their actions and attitudes toward interacting with the opposite sex. Also, in the last paragraph, Tannen has employed an analogy to show that there are other things in the world that women and men misunderstood. Specifically, Tannen has stressed that wives who feel deprived may be happy when they realize that their husbands are trying to adapt. However, for women whose husbands are unable to adapt, they should still understand that it does not depict intimacy failure. In another stance, Tannen’s advice that a cross-cultural understanding is essential in this world full of ethnic conflicts. As such, intercultural communication should start at home, just like charity.The information provided by Tannen in her article cannot be limited to couples alone. Other audiences can also benefit from reading the easy. Specifically, the essay has stressed the benefits of cross-cultural communication, which can also help college students to interact positively with their colleagues of opposite sexes or different cultures. Therefore, the article is a recommended reading for college students who need to understand and handle common cross-cultural differences in communication which may cause misunderstandings between them and their colleagues, or partners.