Tannen’s Genderlect Styles Applied to Communication Problems in Intimate Relationship

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  • Topic: Communication, Interpersonal relationship, Nonverbal communication
  • Pages : 11 (3645 words )
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  • Published : May 3, 2012
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Tannen’s Genderlect Styles Applied to Communication Problems in Intimate Relationship

It is been said many times that men will never understand women and vice versa. This stems from the continuing problem known as miscommunication. It is safe to assume that we have all, at one time or another, have found ourselves frustrated and unsatisfied with the opposite sex. When it comes to intimate relationships, this concept seems to rise at a greater level of agitation and tension than other relations with people. Deborah Tannen’s Genderlect Theory gives insight to where these communication complications come from between opposite sexes. She highlights the matters of communication differences such as: (1) women’s rapport versus men’s report, (2) the idea of public versus private speaking which include matters of conversation, storytelling, listening skills, asking questions, and conflict, as well as (3) metamessages. I will use Tannen’s theory as a frame to understand the communication problems within my own relationship. I will apply each key point of the theory to the problems that are present in my relationship. I propose that by in doing so, I will be able to understand and begin to pursue a better channel of communication with my boyfriend.

I grew up as an only child and I allegedly have been known to have the sham disorder of “only child syndrome.” So with this said, I have to confess that I am used to getting my way in anything and everything. I was raised by a very unhappy, strict father who chose to show his love for me by spoiling me with money. My mother was a stay at home mom who had little say in my upbringing. Obviously, I and still am very stubborn; and when I do not agree with an issue, I tend to have a “know it all” attitude. In turn, when an argument arises with my boyfriend, I am overly emotional and stubborn (as stated before).On the other hand, my boyfriend grew up in a household of five children with two working parents. He learned at a young age that grudges were not productive when it came to relationships with his siblings. Now, as an adult, he is much more clear and concise when it comes to arguing. He wants to get to the core of the problem, fix it, and move on. I want to have attributes similar to his when it comes to us arguing but because I am so emotional, it seems that it will be difficult to accomplish. I am expecting to find insight to the reasons behind why our communication styles are so different by applying Tannen’s Genderlect theory to my relationship; as well as how to develop a better communication channel.

Review of Literature
Parental Influence on Conflict Management
Gender roles and conflict management are often connected. For example, egalitarian husbands and wives communicate more openly about work and family, try to compromise in decision making, and tend to engage in open conflict comparative to traditional couples (Amato & Booth, 1997). On the other hand, according to Kaufman (2000) traditional husbands and wives may not view conflict as something to engage in outwardly, and highly traditional attitudes that embrace strict devotion to traditional masculinity and femininity could be associated with less compromising seeking and possibly more acts of control in relationships. Koerner and Fitzpatrick (1997, 2002) stated that how a person’s family deals with conflict is often predictive of how they will deal with conflict in their own relationships. Couples Conflict

Conflict is natural and inevitable in all relationships. A person’s experience of interpersonal conflict is often highest with one's significant other (Argyle and Furnham, 1983). Marital relationships are particularly prone to conflict because spouses develop a great deal of shared intimacy and interdependence. These qualities make the partners more vulnerable to one another. In addition, research has shown that the mere existence of...
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