Books, Self-Help

Dr. Deborah Tannen – You Just Don’t Understand

This is a book about how men and women communicate differently. While we can’t say “all men” or “all women” fit this mold, there’s a lot of good information in this book. I will be speaking generally here and do not believe that all men or all women fit a particular mold. There are plenty of people who are able to speak across those gaps.

Her main idea is that conversations are cross-cultural because of the way we have been raised. There are lots of misunderstandings in conversations because of these different styles of communication.

Women tend to look for the gift of understanding – where the person they are speaking to is confirming their feelings. Men tend to look for the gift of advice – where they are being a problem solver. When you put these styles together it can be uncomfortable for both people. A woman is looking for the man to empathize with her and just know he hears her. He offers advice on what to do instead, and this upsets her and makes her feel like her problem is not a big deal. Dr. Tallen calls this asymmetrical communication. She sights many real life examples and conversations where her discoveries are proven.

In the end, it is best to not try and change the other person’s communication style. Learn their unique style and learn to understand what they need and are trying to say. Help open up the lines of communication without blame.