Differences in Men’s and Women’s Talk

Differences in Men’s and Women’s Talk


According to Tannen, metamessages are a form of indirect communication. This is where people say one thing, yet they mean something quite different. This is to say that one cannot decode the meaning of the message by simply listening to the words. Tannen’s article talks about how different men and women are in matters concerning communication. Women are more inclined to the usage of metamessages while men are quite conversant with direct communication. Her article does not show aspects of being bias towards any gender. From personal experience, I think Tannen’s views about women’s and men’s talk is quite true.

Part 1


Tannen views metamessages as a form of indirect communication; where people want to be understood without saying what they mean explicitly (Tannen 126). The meaning is normally conveyed in other ways like how the words are spoken or the tone used. Women are more likely to use this form of communication in an attempt of reaching an agreement by way of negotiation. It also helps them in displaying an aspect of solidarity (Tannen 127).


Metamessages are underlying messages that could be implied or inferred from messages. This is what most individuals refer to as “reading between the lines” (Tsuda 671). People do not need to spell out exactly what they mean, but it can be generated based on how they communicate. Something can become obvious based on how it was said, than what was actually said. A good example is when people use a patronizing tone. No matter the good things that they say about other individuals, it always appears as though they are looking down on them.

Part 2

In the article titled “Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers” by Deborah Tannen she explains how different men and women are when it comes to communication. Most of these differences are shaped through culture. The first difference is that men and women tend to perceive things differently despite the situation at hand being similar. Tannen believes that these differences come as a result of past experiences. This is because, since birth, they tend to receive different treatment and communication from the people around them. “Boys and girls grow up in different worlds, even if they grow in the same house” (Tannen 125). This makes them move in different worlds once they become adults since they try to reinforce the childhood patterns.

The second difference comes as a result of the expectations that they have with regards to the role of communication in relationships. Tannen asserts that the differences in conversational style normally results to misunderstandings that tend to become major problems with time. Men and women have different expectations on how they anticipate their relationships to turn out with time. Tannen postulates that “Many women feel, after all this time, you should know what I want without my telling you. Many men feel, after all this time, we should be able to tell each other what we want” (Tannen 125). This variation is as a result of the cultural differences they have had in the past.

Another difference is the development of conflict that revolves around balancing the need for independence and involvement. “Though everyone has both needs, women often have a relatively greater need for invo

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