Summary of Sex, Lies and Conversation

Topics: Conversation, Interpersonal relationship, Gender Pages: 2 (423 words) Published: May 22, 2013
Did you know that the current divorce rate is nearly fifty percent? In the article “Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other?”, by Deborah Tannen, she describes the reasons why men and women have different ways of communicating with each other. Tannen also argues that the lack of communication is breaking marriages.

Tannen describes that the differences in communication start at an early age. For young boys, doing things together builds friendship. By having a large group of friends, boys avoid having intimate conversations. On the other hand, conversation is the base of their friendship for young girls. Girls build a close relationship by sharing their feelings, secrets and thoughts. Deborah Tannen studied videotapes made by psychologist Bruce Dorval of children and adults talking to their same-sex best friends. Tannen noticed that while having a conversation, women tend to face each other with direct eye contact. The men avoided eye contact but looked at each other occasionally. By looking away and giving no eye contact gives women the thought that men are not listening to them. Both men and women feel as if neither one of them is listening to each other: “Women’s conversational habits are as frustrating to men as men’s are to women” (467).

During conversations, women tend to ask questions, express their feelings, and share their understanding. As for the men, they disregard each other’s problems by giving direct statements and switching to another topic. Women recognize these responses as being uncaring and unsupportive. Tannen also describes how conversational habits effect both men and women. In a comfortable setting, women tend to overlap each other and finish each other’s sentences. Men feel this behavior is interruption and lack of attention. Women also make listener-noises to show that they are actually listening, while men don’t. Men think that making noises is an overreaction or sign of impatience....
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