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Sex, Lies and Conversation Summary

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Did you know that the divorce rate nowadays is almost fifty percent? In the article “Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other?”, written by Deborah Tannen, she discusses how men and women contact with each other, and how different the ways of communications for opposite sexes are. She also talks about how the lack of communication is breaking the relationship between men and women. Tannen states that the differences in communication start at an early age: “Little girls create and maintain friendship by exchanging secrets; similarly, women regard conversation as the cornerstone of friendship.” (504). As oppose to girls, boys’ ways of communication are different: “Bonds between boys can be as intense as girls’, but they are based less on talking, more on doing things together.” (504). Deborah Tannan studied videos of children and adults talking to the same-sex best friends, made by psychologist Bruce Dorval . She observed that women, while having a conversation, tend to face each other with direct eye contact.

While men tend to look at each other occasionally, avoiding the eye contact. And here where the problem between men and women during conversation starts. During the conversation with women, men tend to look away and give no eye contact, what gives women the thought that men are not listening to tem. Both men and women feel as if neither one of them is listening to each other: “Women’s conversational habits are as frustrating to men as men’s are to women” (505). “Switching topics is another habit that gives women the impression men aren’t listening, especially if they switch to a topic about themselves.” (505). Women will ask probing questions and express understanding and agreement in the conversation about problems. But, men are not so inquisitive. They will dismiss each others problems with simple statements and switch to a topic about themselves. Women look at these responses as insensitive and belittling . So, all these differences in the essay, “Sex, Lies and Conversation,” start to clarify why the divorce rate is so high these days. The reason why is that men and women have very different expectations of communication in marriage. Tannen states that the improvement in communication will come naturally, when men and women understand the differences between their types of communication.

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