Bethany was fed up. Her boyfriend Dan didn’t talk to her anymore.
Well, it wasn’t that he didn’t talk to her. But they didn’t talk like they used to when they first got together.
He didn’t seem interested in her anymore. They’d go out for a meal together, and instead of looking her in the eyes and asking her about her day, he’d lean back, fiddle with his phone, and concentrate on wolfing down his meal.
They sat in silence so much of the time that she felt lonely even when they were together. How were they going to last if they couldn’t even carry on a conversation?
Even worse, he made hurtful comments. He’d toss off a sarcastic joke about her lateness or her driving or her cooking. He didn’t seem to understand why she felt offended.
She felt more and more upset. They were so disconnected.
Was this the beginning of the end?
Do Men and Women Speak Different Languages?
If you gaze around at a popular sports bar or brewpub on a Saturday night, you’ll see groups of men and groups of women having a good time.
Compare the men to the women, and you’ll notice some interesting differences in how they’re communicating.
The men swap jokes, stare at the game instead of at each other, and comfortably eat their nachos in silence.
The women sit close together, leaning forward and holding each other’s gaze. The conversation never runs dry as they share intimate details of their lives.
Ask those women whether communication is a problem in their relationships with men, and many of them will say yes.
Ask the men whether communication is a problem in their relationships with women, and man will shrug. They’ve never really thought about it.
Communication is the glue that holds couples together, but men and women have very different views of what communication is for.
Linguist Deborah Tannen believes that a lot of conflict between couples could be avoided if we only understood genderspeak, the way our speech is affected by our gender.
Here are 3 communication differences that can help you understand your guy better—and why his silences don’t mean he doesn’t want to be with you.
Male Communication Secret #1:
“Report Talk” vs. “Rapport Talk”
When women get together with the people they love, they talk.
They want to find out how everyone is doing. They want to know what’s going on. Even if they’re totally caught up on each other’s lives, they’ll still find something to talk about.
This is what Tannen calls “rapport talk.”
It’s talking for the sole purpose of connection.
Men don’t engage in rapport talk as much as women.
They’re more likely to engage in “report talk.”
Report talk is exactly what it sounds like: delivering information.
For a man, if there’s nothing to report, there’s nothing to say.
When a man has nothing to say, woman can feel as if he’s shutting her out. Why isn’t he talking? Doesn’t he want to connect?
Instead of assuming he’s shutting you out, try asking him, “Hey, could we talk for 15 minutes? Talking with you makes me feel good.”
Male Communication Secret #2:
Eye Contact Not Necessary
For girls, there’s nothing better than gazing intently into each other’s eyes.
Eye gazing makes you feel seen and known. It’s a deep form of intimacy.
Boys will sit side by side if they have to, but they’d rather be roughhousing and moving. They’ll look forward, they’ll look down, but they won’t spend much time looking at each other.
Men enjoy eye-gazing as much as women while dating, but few men keep up the practice after they’ve settled into the relationship. They revert back to their natural habit of communicating.
A man will sit beside you, looking outwards, and he won’t have a clue that you don’t feel connected because he’s not looking at you.
If you want that eye contact, give him a gentle nudge. Tell him that you want to enjoy his handsome face for a few minutes and feel more connected by turning away from the TV (or other background distraction) and speaking face-to-face. He does love looking at you. He just needs a reminder sometimes.
Male Communication Secret #3:
He’s Joking Because He Loves You
Men grow up trading insults with each other. They compete to outdo each other, making bigger and more ridiculous boasts.
The friendly joke is a foundation of many male relationships. It shows deep caring and affection.
But when a man playfully insults the woman in his life, or makes a sarcastic comment instead of a supportive one, it can come across as incredibly offensive. That’s not something you should say to the person you love.
This is yet another gender difference in communication.
Women grow up finding common ground with their playmates. When two girls discover something they have in common, it’s proof they’re meant to be friends. They wouldn’t threaten that bond by saying something “mean.”
This is one difference you should talk to your partner about. If his teasing makes you feel bad, he needs to know. You’re not “one of the guys.” You’re a woman, and women communicate differently.
How many of these differences do you think your guy is aware of?