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Gender differences

Men and women are different!

Some of these characteristics come more easily to men than women, and vice versa. It is fascinating and helpful to take a look at the differences between the sexes. In studying the way a group of men and women relate to one another these become apparent, and we can perhaps begin to understand why communication between us is sometimes fraught with misunderstanding!

Body language

  • A man will occupy more space and gesture away from his body; he tends to lean back when listening, and provides less feedback through body language; his gestures are more forceful, e.g. backslapping, strong handshakes; he tends to fidget!

  • A woman takes up less physical space; her movements are easy and light and she gestures towards the body; she leans forward when listening and provides feedback through her body language; women invade other people's space less often than men do and they are more gentle when touching others.

Facial expression

  • Men open their jaw less when speaking. They often avoid eye contact, which can give the impression they're not interested in the other person; they show less warmth in their facial expression and may frown in concentration.

  • Women maintain better eye contact and tend to look directly at the other person; they smile and nod, giving more feedback in their facial expression. This can be misleading, as it gives the impression they are in full agreement with the other person - not necessarily so! Women open their jaw more when speaking; they tend to lower their eyes in a negative interaction and may appear weak.

Speech patterns

  • Men are more likely to interrupt, to mumble and use less speech tones (approx. 3); their voices are lower and usually louder than women's; they tend to sound more abrupt; men can easily monopolize a conversation; they talk less personally about themselves and make more direct statements, seldom beating about the bush; they raise fewer topics and ask less questions to stimulate conversation; they are less likely to use "I feel" statements, and use fewer adjectives and descriptive statements; they use less terms of endearment than women; they make more simple requests and have a tendency to 'lecture'.

  • Women interrupt less; they articulate more clearly and use approx. 5 speech tones (they 'sound emotional'); their voice is higher pitched and softer, and in business (and politics!) have been encouraged to lower their pitch of voice to convey more authority; they often talk about relationships and feelings and disclose more personal information about themselves; they make more indirect statements and tend to beat about the bush, not getting to the point; they raise more topics of conversation and ask questions; women use more terms of endearment; they tend to use tentative statements, eg "kind of""isn't it?"; they make compound requests, eg "would you be very kind and help me?"; they do not usually lecture but favor a give-and-take dialogue.

Behavioral differences

  • Men are inclined to be analytical; they give fewer compliments and often use teasing and sarcasm to show affection; they will tend to be more task-oriented ("What are we going to do?"; they appear to be less intuitive ("How am I expected to read your mind?"); they tend to be more assertive and are likely to force their opinions on others; men cry less and are more argumentative; they find it difficult to express intimate feelings; they hold fewer grudges and generally gossip less; they will usually try to figure out things on their own, rather than ask for help; they find it more difficult to apologize; they tend to take verbal rejection less personally.

  • Women are inclined to have a more emotional approach to problems; they give more compliments and are more maintenance-oriented ("Is everyone alright?"); they are more openly direct in showing affection; they appear more intuitive and aware of details; they can express intimate feelings and cry more easily; on the whole they are less assertive and less likely to impose their opinions on others; they have a greater tendency to hold grudges and often bring up things from the past; they are inclined to gossip more and try to match troubles by relating similar experiences of their own; they are more likely to ask for and accept help; they frequently apologize and tend to take verbal rejection personally.