Wednesday’s Words: He Said, She Said

This post is not so much about words themselves, but how we communicate with — and without — words.

Writers often make men and women characters interchangeable, using only physical attributes to tell them apart, forgetting that there are differences between the two species. (I know, men and women aren’t two different species, but you have to admit it feels that way sometimes.)

Brain scans show that women have between fourteen and sixteen areas that evaluate others’ behavior, while men have only four to six. Because of this, women are better at juggling several unrelated topics in a single conversation. They also use five vocal tones to make their points. Since men can only identify three of those tones, they often miss what women are trying to say. So men accuse women of not being direct and women accuse men of not listening.

It’s amazing we manage to communicate as well as we do, considering that men and women have different reasons for conversing. Women ask questions to show interest in the person; men ask questions to gain information. Women find that talking about a problem provides relief; men feel that talking about a problem is dwelling on the negative. Women think that continuing to discuss the problem demonstrates support; men want to make a decision and forget it. Women provide peripheral details because they want to be understood; men just want them to make their point. Women think that talking about a relationship brings people closer; men generally think it’s useless.

Women are better at interpreting body language than men. Because of men’s inability to read body language, a crying baby often confuses them, though women know exactly what the infant wants. Women’s subconscious ability to interpret body language makes them seem more intuitive than men, but men (and women) can consciously learn to interpret body language, which evens things out.

Both men and women swallow more when they lie, but it’s mostly apparent in men because of that bobbing Adams apple.

Despite these differences, the two species do manage to come together and procreate. Otherwise none of us would be here.


About the author

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I, all available from Amazon and Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Watch for Light Bringer coming in March, 2011.

»» 2 Responses to “Wednesday’s Words: He Said, She Said” »»
  1. Beth says:

    I am ever fascinated by the differences between men and women and the ways we work with those differences.

  2. Pat, your examples are interesting data points on the spectrum of differences between men and women; some of these are obvious and others less so. With practice, men can learn skills like reading body language. One of my friends noted a marked change in my skills after I worked a couple of years with colleagues from Japan due to a corporate merger. Since command of the English language was often an issue, we learned other ways to pick up on the messages being delivered.