Deborah Tannen Analysis

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Task of Understanding One Another
“Why aren’t you listening to me?” that is what I would ask my dad when I would not see him engaged in what I had to say. However he never failed to repeat exactly what I told him. Most women need eye contact to show that the listener is absorbed in the conversation. That is just one of the many examples that are presented as what we naturally expect a certain way to act or listen when one is present. The reason why we do not realize this natural presumption is proven by the individual research Daniel Goleman and Deborah Tannen logically shared. These authors present multiple misunderstandings of the opposite sex and how reasons such as socialization and communication lead to these misinterpretations.
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It is very difficult however for one to present that emotion as well as understand what one is trying to establish. Deborah Tannen presents her factual clarifications in her article But What Do You Mean, where she lists the common areas of miscommunication. One area she mentioned was the moment of “praise”. When a girlfriend asks another friend her opinion on an outfit one does not expect a negative comment, she expects a nice comment and maybe a suggestion if the outfit does not wear the outfit well. Women try to avoid being blunt. If a girl asked a guy about an outfit she would expect a nice critique, but men are more than likely to respond with a straight honest answer. For example, Tannen shared a story about a named Deidre who asked her co-worker about a presentation she performed. After the Deidre gave him her complimentary feedback he gave her a little too much of an honest feedback that later led her to become uncomfortable (“But What…”4). “It would be easy to assume that Deidre was insecure, whether she was fishing for a compliment or soliciting a critique. But she was simply talking automatically” (4). She was what Tannen states, “performing one of the many conversational rituals that allow us to get through the day.” The reason for the automatic conversation traces back to socialization of adolescent children. We do not realize what we do or say simply because we …show more content…
Women complain that men do not listen or are unsupportive because of their lack of body language that shows they listen. Women are used to talking to their friends using eye contact or supportive gestures showing the person sharing that they are listening. Men on the other hand also get frustrated from women. “Men expect silent attention interpret a stream of listener noise as overreaction or impatience,” and that is what women do the majority of the time because of the way her social surroundings structured her views of emotional communication. Daniel Goleman explains in His Marriage and Hers: Childhood Roots men and women want very different things from a woman in a conversation; men are content to talk about topics while women seek emotional connections (400). It is amazing how accurate Tannen’s and Goleman’s observations are because socialization do shape our views and expectations, if it were different then there would not be a majority of people having the same common misunderstandings. Men feel the way they do because as Tannen mentions “they are on guard to protect themselves from being put down and pushed around” (444). The reason why it culminates into a common misunderstanding is because women want the opposite of “being on guard.” Women want men to express their emotions

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