According to the author Deborah Tannen the article, Sex, Lies, and conversation" is about how differently men and women percieve conversation in their relationship. She states that lack of conversation is wreaking havoc within marriages. this is due to the fact that men and women have very different expectations of communication.
Tannen describes how differences in communication start in the childhood socialization. For young girls, conversation is the cornerstone of friendship. By sharing secrets, thoughtsm feelings, and impressions, girls and women build intimacy in their relationships. Where as young boys build relationsips by doing things together. Young boys are more inclusive with each other, creating larger groups of friends. Within these large groups, boys compete with each other to avoid the subordinate position. Intimate conversation is a form of weakness for boys and men, leaving one to feel as the subordinate just like a child listening to an adult.
One impression of not listening results from differences i the mechanics of conversation.
Deborah tannen studies videotapes, made by psychologist Bruce Dorval, of young children and adults talking to their same sex best friends. Within all ages, the girld and women face each other in conversation with direct eye contact. Unlike the boys and the men who would not face one another and periodically glanced around the room. By facing away and little eye contact gives women the impession that the men are not listening.
Another habit described in the essay is the switching of topics. Women in conversation about problems will ask probing questions, and express agreement and understanding. But, men are not inquisitive. They will dismiss each others problems with simple statements and switch to a topic about themselves. Women percieve these responses as insensitive and belittling. Deborah tannen also describes how a woan's conversational habits are just frustrating to men. in close, comfortable surroundings, women overlap each other, finish each other's sentences, and anticipate what the other is going to say. men fell this behavior is an intrerruption, intrusion, and lack of attention. women also love to talk to one another, expressing agreement and support. But, men see their conversational role as pointing out the other side of the argument. Women don't mind another point of view, as long as it is in the form of a suggestion or inquiry.
So, all these differences in this essay, "Sex, Lies, and Conversation," begin to clarify why men and women have such different expectations of communication in marriage. Deborah Tannen suggests, once men and women understand these differences, improvement in communication will come naturally.