How Men Communicate When Dating

Gender differences in communication may be exaggerated.
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Although it’s tempting to think that men and women speak completely different languages while dating, the reality is that there are more similarities than differences. The differences that do exist may be difficult to detect. Try to move beyond stereotypes and use the subtle differences that exist to connect more authentically with a man while dating.

1 Direct vs. Indirect Communication

A common stereotype is that men are more direct and forceful speakers than women. But, researchers reported in a 2009 study in “Communication Research” that men are only this way when they are discussing stereotypically masculine topics, such as cars and sports. When they are discussing stereotypically feminine topics, such as fashion and shopping, they tend to speak with less confidence and directness.

When you’re dating, you can use this information to have more empathy with a man. You may begin to notice that the confidence that he normally has seems to vanish when he’s discussing certain topics, like conversations about your relationship. Instead of assuming that his sudden communication difficulties are related to your relationship, use this information to put yourself in his shoes. He may be feeling a bit less confident expressing himself about this subject, but this has no bearing on how he feels about you.

2 Personal vs Impersonal Topics

Another stereotype is that men tend to discuss impersonal subjects, like the latest funny video online. Although men discuss these kinds of topics with other men, these subjects rarely dominate conversations with women.

3 Volume Myths

Contrary to popular belief, men don’t tend to talk less than women. Instead, men tend to have fewer mini-conversations but frequent long monologues. In a dating relationship, this can lead to some misunderstandings. Women may think that they are constantly tasked with starting conversations. But in reality, the short conversations that women tend to start help to open up the opportunity for men to engage in longer, uninterrupted expressions.

4 Differences in Self-Disclosure

The one stereotype that is based in reality is related to self-disclosure. Men are less likely to reveal personal and intimate information to other people than women, researchers reported in a 1992 study published in “Psychological Bulletin.” That means that the man in your life may be depending on you to initiate and maintain warm and intimate conversations while dating.

Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.