Feminine Communication Styles In The Break-Up

900 Words4 Pages
Often times, men and women have very different communication styles. Most couples who are in intimate relationships agree on this fact, but many are oblivious on how to handle these differences. Deborah Tannen has a strong belief that even though men and women speak the same structural language, their use of speech and conversational patterns can be very different.
An example of how different masculine and feminine communication styles can be is observed in the 2006 romantic comedy film, The Break-Up. The film focuses on the relationship between the main characters Gary Grobowski, played by Vince Vaughn, and Brooke Meyers, played by Jennifer Aniston. One scene entails the two arguing over what counts as showing affection and the importance of cleaning up after a hosting a large dinner party.
The scene shows the couple in their home after hosting a large dinner for friends. After all their friends had left from the dinner party, Brooke comes into the living room only to find Gary lounging on the couch, playing video
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giving flowers, go on a date, or offering to wash the dishes. Women would like to know that they are worth the effort to perform these acts of kindness without being asked to do so. As Tannen stated, “It’s no good at all telling people what you want if what you want is for them to know without your telling them. That’s the rapport benefit of indirectness” ( Tannen, pp. 67,1986).
Gary’s response of, “why would I want to do the dishes?” is where miscommunication and disconnect occurs, with Brooke. Brooke did not expect Gary to be excited about washing the dishes. What Brooke really wanted was for Gary to show her that she is appreciated in the relationship. Brooke wanting Gary to do the dishes was a test of love. By performing acts that may not be enjoyable for him, is a sign of love and respect for the
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