Communication In Deborah Tannen's But What Do You Mean

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Essay 3 In Deborah Tannen’s “But What Do You Mean,” she delves into the complications men and women may have when it comes to expressing their ideas and opinions to one another. In this essay, Tannen explores common situations in communication including apologies, criticism, thank-yous, fighting, praise, complaints, and jokes. In each section, she expresses the idea that the lack of communication between men and women is because of differentiations in the thought process. She continues to say that when it comes to voicing opinions males and females are wired differently. While Tannen’s theory may apply to a large spectrum, it is too generalized to base it on individual people. When we begin to generalize each other we never truly take the time to…show more content…
Tannen claims that “research has shown the most common humor among men is razzing, teasing, and mock-hostile attacks” (384). She also explains that women take men’s humor out context and believe the attacks they make to be the truth (385). Gavin’s sense of humor followed the guidelines of Tannen; he tended to be sarcastic and had a dry sense of humor. Julia had a wonderful sense of humor as well; she was very quick witted and could at times be sarcastic as well. It would be untruthful to say that no one ever saw Julia and Gavin laughing together. However, on most occasions, Julia took offense to the well-intended jokes that Gavin made at her expense. Gavin could not understand why Julia’s feelings were hurt so easily over jokes. Instead of communicating to find out the reason, Gavin assumed it was because she was sensitive and took his jokes the wrong way. In Julia’s case, it might have been that she was textbook thinking like a woman, but to her, it was because she had endured bullying throughout middle school and high school. Julia had become extremely self-conscious, so when Gavin joked at her expense, it brought back the painful memories of
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