Many days end with a long commute home after a study intensive day of school or a hard day of work. Pulling into the driveway of a quiet neighborhood my mind is scattered and ready for relaxation. Walking through the garage I crack the fridge to grab a cold beer. Mr. Samuel Adams is the only supplement that will get me through the bombarding of conversation that is about to ensue. Just as I walk through the door a deep breath is taken. Finally I am ready for the various conversations my family will attempt to extract out of me, just as a dentist pulls teeth.
Every day I experience difference’s in language between men and women. Conversations between each parental figure differ and provide concrete evidence about gender communication. As John Piece once stated “Communication is not only the essence of being human, but also a vital property of life. ” As vital as water is to life, language flows in all different direction depending on its source. Humans use language to create a flow of conversation between each other in order to sustain relationships.
Deborah Tannen writes there is a noteworthy variance between how men and women communicate. Rapport-talk is using language as a way of establishing connections and relationships with others (62). Since women are trying to establish relationships, they tend to speak more privately. Interacting with my mother at home provides an exact replica of how women chat at home. Walking through the door I am instantly greeted with a “how was your day? ” Who will drop the whole kit and caboodle she’s doing at the moment. Evolving a football linebacker’s stance I prepare for a flurry of questions.
One question after the other beating me senseless until I have nothing left to say, my mom continues to pursue a connection of interaction through conversation. Bless her soul, my mother is articulate and has a large vocabulary. Since becoming an adult and the only child in the household her only way to connect is through dialogue. Being annoyed with all the words, I learned to realize the style of communication she taught me about being sincere in conversation giving people your full attention. There is always constant talk of how much she loves me and is proud no matter what road I am on in my life.
Women feel a desire to share and articulate their thoughts, as a way to grow closer and experience a greater connection with the listener. Men are considered just the opposite, because of their need for independence and recognition they speak more publicly. Men’s style of conversations is similar to public speaking such as: using story telling to make an example, joking in conversations to lighten mood, and being short and concise to make a bottom line point. Researchers continue by stating that men use report-talk to communicate. Attempting to preserve independence and maintain status in their communication.
Walking through the door at the end of the day is a different scenario with my dad, who spends all day crunching numbers. Positioned on the couch with his feet up, we cheer our beer, uttering a simple hello. An action that says to each other we both are having a good day full of productivity with many lessons learned. All of our conversations will be to the background noise of the San Francisco Giants baseball game. Topics will only consist of sports, finances, the homework that needs to be done, and future outdoor trips. We simply do not need many words with each other to understand how the other is feeling.
The same is said for how we express our love for each other. It is rare when my father will use such emotion as in saying “I love you”. This no way correlates with how much he cares for my well-being. His love is provided by helping solve problems in my daily life by providing advice as a solution. Explained by Tannan, a man’s communication goal is about task solving done, whereas women’s tend to be about making connections to other people (62). As living with my parents was not enough of a social killer, I also have to listen to their communication with each other.
Decisions are made everyday and my mom expects those decisions to be discussed first and made by the consensus of our family. She appreciates the discussion itself as evidence we are all involved and communicating. Which leads to the men often feeling oppressed by lengthy discussion. As a result the card of “listening” is always played causing the house to crumble. Both will complain while saying, “you’re not listening! ” attempting to imply, “You don’t understand what I said in the way that I meant it. ” As we exist the house a shift in conversations roles occur.
In a mixed gathering my dad will speak more often and for longer periods of time. Just as Tannan states, that public speaking more equals report talk, whereas private speaking is more rapport talk (64). His humor and story telling personality is brought out by a large group atmosphere, which are listing and laughing at his every punch line. My mom does not feel the need to interact with the entire group at once rather more one on one where the spot light is directed elsewhere. This allows conversations to be used as negotiations for closeness in which people try to seek support and give confirmation and to reach consensus.
A perfect example is the car ride home, where my mom cannot stop talking about the event we just came from, and recapping all that took place. Unlike my dad taking on the chauffer role and has nothing to say while driving. The style of conversation people use can vary depending on the environment. The assertion that men and women communicate in different ways, about different things, and for different reasons seems to go un-argued and is accepted as true by a vast majority of Americans. Drinking water is essential to the body, just as communication is to the heart.
During a day off together, my parents and I are boiling water to make homemade beer, that same beer that will help stimulate conversations in the future. As my mom continues to badger with questions, I respond with answers out of love and respect. Knowing it is the simple act of conversation that allows her to feel connected to the child she once carried. The passion for homebrew came from my dad who is not saying much except for reading off ingredients and instructions. A smile and look on his face says what words simply cannot, he is proud of the man raised.