It’s pretty obvious that men and women communicate differently — that simple fact has been the basis for many a tired sitcom or rom-com plot. But the gender divide in communication is an interesting one to explore, especially in terms of relationships.
We investigated these differences and found some surprising results that are worth paying attention to if you’d like to keep your relationship (and your sex life) intact. Yeah, we thought that might grab your attention.
As it turns out, there is one particular phrase that men seem to feel the most hatred for when spoken in a relationship. It’s using the phrase, “We need to talk.” We call that the “phrase that launched a thousand breakups.”
It’s pretty easy to dread the conversation that follows once someone speaks those four words.
The results showed that a whopping 89 percent of men assume the worst when their partner says, “Let’s talk,” while, in comparison, only 61 percent of women do the same.
Those four little words can imply a whole lot more than they seem to. In Steve Harvey’s 2009 book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, he goes into an explanation on why men seem to detest these words so much.
He writes, “For a man, few words are as menacing as those four — especially when a woman is the one saying them and he’s on the receiving end. Those four words can mean only two things to men: either we did something wrong or, worse, you really literally just want to talk.”
Harvey basically points out that men prefer to “fix” rather than “talk”.
He goes on to write, “This is not to say you’ll never have a conversation with your man that lasts longer than two minutes. We understand that sometimes we’re going to have to give a little more in terms of communicating with you — that every now and then we’re going to have to spill our guts and reveal what’s going on in our heads.”
Harvey concludes his points by writing, adding, “Of course, it would go a long way if women stopped opening the conversation with ‘we need to talk.’ The moment you say that, our defenses go up, the repair tools come out, the sweat starts rolling, and we’re sprinting through the events of the past weeks, trying to figure out what we did wrong, when we did it, and how we’re going to fix it so that we’re not in trouble anymore.”
He offers a solution for using a different phrase to start off the conversation, such as, “Honey, look, nothing is really wrong — I just want to tell somebody something.”
So, what’s the takeaway from all of this? Try to find a new way to initiate difficult conversations.
Now, when we say aggressive we don’t mean “Call the police!” aggression. Rather, we’re talking having a face-the-conflict-head-on type of attitude.
Interestingly, women are more aggressive when it comes to solving relationship woes; more than half of them (54 percent) want to face the issue head on and discuss it immediately. Meanwhile, 44 percent of men want to avoid it.
Before we condemn men for not wanting to deal with problems, however, it’s worth mentioning that 40 percent of men admit to losing control of emotions during an intense conversation, so perhaps the guys are just sparing us the struggle of a heated conversation.
To be blunt, maintaining good communication with your partner is crucial if you’d like to maintain a good sex life, too. Thirty-two percent of women and 28 percent of men are less likely to be interested in intercourse when they’re not communicating well with one another.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted in January 2012 and was updated with the latest information.
Featured image via YourTango