Communication ObservationsSeveral weeks ago I observed a woman at the Franklin Park Mall. She and a young man sitting directly across from each other were engaged in what was apparently a mutual flirting. But the younger man seemed much more confident and cocky than did the woman.
For one thing, he was more relaxed and calm. The woman, however, kept her arms folded over a bag that she was holding on to very tightly. The woman also had a strong tendency to look down more often than the man. Although her admiration for him was obvious, she seemed to be trying hard to conceal it.
Often women seem to be more noticeably shy than men. Non-verbally, their “body language” seems to communicate their feelings of great uncertainty and self-consciousness. Further evidence of communicative differences exist between men and women in various other social settings as well. Consider, for example, those individuals employed in customer service-related Jobs.
While in JC Penny, I noticed that female customer service representatives were more apt to offer immediate friendly assistance than the male reps. Men are not as cocky nor as confident in this sort of situation; their eyes tend to dart around the area of the store while the eyes of a women remain focused upon the eyes of the customer. The men seem to communicate with a lot less smiles. Apparently they have to get past a certain “ice-breaking” point before they will feel comfortable with a genuine look of happiness.
Verbally, the actual process of speech is also quite different between men and women. The former usually tends to have a more base-oriented voice and faster rate of speech while the latter is more calm and soft-spoken. Men seem to speak more nasally and some women seem to have a better control over the English language. Over the course of a few days, I noticed significantly fewer “ums” and “errs” from women than I did from men. This did not necessarily indicate that they presented themselves more confidently, just with greater fluency.Men have a tendency to use their hands more often while speaking than do women.
In one my observed instances, several guys and girls had gathered at my friend’s house to eat dinner, and the amount of hand motions and gestures that the guys were using seemed to be infinite. One guy frank practically drew out an entire picture of his car in the air while describing it to the other guys. Meanwhile, the girls’ hands remained on their food or their drink or on the table. Girls nodded much more than guys—but made no other gesture with as much frequency. Finally, it can be inferred from my observations that certain cultural models cause the witnessed patterns of speaking and communication. Women are “taught” to be shy and infererior—and this is evidenced in their non-verbal coyness while speaking in a one-to-one situation with males. But men are taught that over-happiness is “queer” and so smiles are not nearly as common on the males’ face as they are on the females’ face.
Both sexes certainly seem to enjoy talking—but each is more comfortable in their own different scenario.