I chose these articles and chose to use it in an example of culture and socialization between males and females (gender) and discuss more in the following paragraph. The research I used, strongly suggests that there are still and will always be gender-specific communication traits. In my experience, a major requisite for effective intercommunication is making sure the receiver understands the message sent. Effective communication is not so much that I send a message -verbal or nonverbal -but that the person I am communicating with gets the message and responds.
If not, miscommunication and misunderstandings may result. An example is when my husband and I have a disagreement over something. It surprises me how this can come from out of nowhere. Another prime example of an underlying cause of miscommunication is obviously due to the many different communication styles, content and method of interpretation of males and females. The interest in and importance of this topic solely, can be found not only in scholarly journals and books, but also in bestsellers.
I have the book by Deborah Tannen, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, which is one of the main reasons I chose the two articles, especially the self- maintenance in conversation (including not just the control category, but achievement, opposition, attribution, anger, denial, withdrawal, and prevarication). I do believe I have experienced all of these topics in my marriage, let alone other interpersonal communications.
For example, if my husband and I are in an argument, I know I’m right, no, really, because I’ve done the research; yet he still insists on telling me I’m wrong. My blood boils, maybe he knows this. Regardless, I need to work on my fight vs. flight methodology. He is not right, period. I belittle him in my mind for not knowing what I believe everyone would know. My behavior is almost incomprehensible at times concerning my desire to control, my level of anger in a belligerent way, and my actual denial in questioning myself about marrying an idiot.
I don’t know how many times I have said something to the tune of, look, this is just not going to work out, blah, blah, blah, you should think about looking for somewhere else to live (knowing this will never happen in my level of commitment). Relationship therapist John Gray’s 1992 bestselling book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus explains the difference in communication styles of men and women by humorously suggesting that they are from different planets, and that these differences contribute to communication conflicts.
Gray puts forward that men and women often appear to be speaking entirely different languages, even when the vocabulary, syntax, and grammar they use are the same. Deborah Tannen, whose book, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, was on the New York Times Best Seller list for nearly four years and brought gender differences in communication style to the general public. Tannen contends that differences between the communication styles of women and men are the result of more than culture and socialization, but are inherent in the basic make up of each gender. Tannen, 1990) Taking a more scholarly perspective, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz contends that among other things, the field of communication includes “the study of meaning, the study of how people convey ideas for themselves and to one another” (Leeds-Hurwitz, p. xv). Saying the same thing may have different meanings for men and for women. (Tannen, 1990) argues that men and women have different styles of conversing, of listening, of talking, and even have different purposes at stake in most conversations.
She concludes that these different styles produce different meanings of the same words, and lead to miscommunication. In the three preceding paragraphs, I learned something I never knew. Wood stated “Researching communications between men and women reveals that the rules taught through childhood play are evident in adult interaction” (Wood, J. , 2004, p. 117). She makes the point, however, that “not all women follow rules of feminine communication communities and not all men follow rules of masculine ones” (Wood, J. 2004).
Tannen contends, differences between the communication styles of women and men are the result of more than culture and socialization, but are inherent in the basic make up of each gender (Tannen, 1990). I never knew that, but I personally don’t think there is enough evidence, nor do I agree. I think just because a child might see his parents arguing the majority of the time and eventually divorcing after staying together for the sake of the children; it’s not always true about rules being taught in childhood play being evident in adult interaction.
I think this statement might just need more research on the age of the child, if by rules she is referring to interpersonal communication, etc. I know many now adults who have been through a lot of negative interactions between their parents (arguing, fighting, and yelling at each other) while growing up to include general observation of adult conversation(s). These individuals have become excellent communicators, and have even mastered an ability to successfully teach interpersonal communications. The majority have also been in long-term what appears to be a successful marriage or relationship.
I researched further in my book (next paragraph) to find out Tannen has some of the same thoughts as Wood on children being socially molded and trained to speak separate languages based on their gender. Because I used a published book and a scholarly article, and because of the information I learned, I have gained a motive to dig deeper into researching their theories and/or ideologies. Both Wood and Tannen agree “socialization in different gender communities’ accounts for some common misunderstandings between women and men” (Wood, 2004, p. 118).
Tannen contends that men and women speak differently in face-to-face conversation because children are socially molded and trained to speak separate languages based on their gender. They both offer examples regarding how males and females discuss problems. When a woman tells a man about something that is troubling her, he responds by offering advice or a solution. On the other hand, women view communication as a way to build connections and are looking for empathy and discussion of feelings prior to advice. According to Wood “the most common complication in gender communication occurs when a woman says “Let’s talk about us.
To many men this often means trouble because they interpret the request as implying there is a problem in a relationship” (Wood, 2004, p. 118) and men are socialized to regard talking about a relationship useful only if there is a problem to be solved. Wood contends, however, that women feel problems are not the only reason to talk about a relationship. Women use talking to build intimacy. Tannen (1990, 1993) points out that both men and women need to understand the basic differences in their communication styles to find common ground and understanding.
In spite of any genetic, biological or socialization factors that lead to ineffective communication between men and women (specifically my husband and I), effective interpersonal communication can be learned. I think once an understanding is reached, through patience and time, we (my husband and I) tend to accept; and as inept as it sounds, positively tolerate the opposite genders communications, and have more meaningful exchange of information, ideas and feelings in our personal communication. I’ve found different meanings in his actions whether verbal or non-verbal.
We now agree to disagree and long ago came to understand what we once misunderstood in our interpersonal communication. At one point, when Tannen concluded that the different styles (genetic, biological or socialization factors) produce different meanings of the same words, and lead to miscommunication; I immediately thought of how these different meanings of the same words, etc. , in an interpersonal conversation could lead to a conversation of misunderstanding without the participants even knowing. As stated in Bridges not Walls, Editor John Stewart, the statement “I want to be me, but I need you” (confirmed by Stewart J. 2009, p. 95), made me seriously think about my true need to be both intrapersonal and interpersonal. So, from here, I feel I need to maintain a sort of parallel twist in working on culture and socialization, but not only verbally. I think when people think of interpersonal communication, they don’t consider nonverbal communication; which can also lead to misunderstandings, or different interpretations of the same set of facts, causing breakdowns in communication. Television and magazine advertisements, as well as media portrayals of men and women, often perpetuate stereotypes.
Men are macho and women are happy housewives or submissive playthings. It is important for effective communication not to make assumptions. On culture and socialization; I cringe at the fact that physical appearance is the most obvious nonverbal cue we present; it prompts others to perceive us with certain expected personality traits. It is a huge part of culture and socialization. In previous sociology experiments I’ve done, i. e. , I went into a grocery store and purchased a few items. I had just gotten out of bed a couple of hours earlier; no matter whom I had said anything to; one out of five people would respond.
Even the cashier and bagboy were kind of stand offish. One day later, I returned, dressed in my work apparel which consisted of a suit, short heels, minimal make-up and hair fixed. It was like a one-hundred eighty degree flip. Random people were friendly, a smile here and there, and even a conversation with the same cashier. They might not have even recognized me from the day before, but I learned a lot about nonverbal communication and how it too, plays a tremendous role in culture and any type of socialization.
In an experiment conducted by Schellenberg (1993) reports that good looking subjects were rated more highly than less attractive ones on non-physical traits as well. More attractive persons were also perceived as being more socially sensitive, sexually warm, kind, poised, and interesting than less attractive persons. In sum, they were perceived as having all the more desirable traits. Not only were they rated higher on the personality dimensions, but they were seen as happier and more successful in their lives (p. 129). Old School-Research on nonverbal communication must be approached cautiously.
Some studies mark masculinity and femininity as stable, individual traits, when current research has placed us in a better position from which to view masculine and feminine display “as operating in the service of impression management and social maintenance” (Epstein, 1988, p. 220). I say “old school” for the research conducted by Epstein in 1988, yet it amazingly still applies research done today on nonverbal communication and gender. Generally, the sexes are attracted to one another on the basis of what Walster and her colleagues called the “matching hypothesis” ( Knapp, 1989, p. 59). The matching hypothesis argues that we may be attracted to only the best looking partners, but we will accept someone at least as good looking as we are. In other words, we are realistic in our approach to matching ourselves with prospective partners. I know it is true, but it still makes me cringe. It is judgment and judgment is up to God, not us. Conclusion On Culture and Socialization and Self-Maintenance in Communication; bettering verbal and nonverbal performance may not change any societal hierarchies, social orders, interpersonal communications, but it may be a first step.
Studies have shown that the ability to correctly interpret verbal and nonverbal communications leads to more successful personal relationships. Greater awareness of verbal and nonverbal communication skills may lead to enhanced assertiveness. Being aware of the relationships between power and verbal/nonverbal communications changes the way people view seemingly neutral interactions. The relationship among power, sex, and verbal/nonverbal communications is one that has not been studied sufficiently. Further study of this controversial subject can only help to improve interpersonal communications.
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