Communication Styles: Male vs Female

As you interact with different people throughout life it becomes evident that gender impacts many areas of these interactions, including communication styles. After reading Chapter 11 in your textbook “Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century” discuss the following points:

Concerning the differences in typical male and female communication styles, have you seen real-life examples that fit the patterns described in the textbook?

Have you seen any exceptions to these patterns?

What types of problems occur when there is a mismatch in communication styles?

How can understanding the “other” style help relationships between men and women?


According to the textbook, men tend to use an instrumental style of communication, meaning he focuses on reaching practical goals and finding solutions to problems; whereas women tend to use an expressive style, which is characterized by being able to express tender emotions easily and being sensitive to the feelings of others. Regarding real life examples, I see this in the way my husband and I communicate.  He is very instrumental in his style of communication, always analyzing and doing, and is very concrete, direct and certain, most times.  With me, I tend to speak more from an emotional style, where most times you can clearly see my heart is in my words, because I tend to be more animated and energetic, and use “first person” much more often than my husband does.

I have certainly seen exceptions to these patterns, and I’ve seen it through my children.  My 2 oldest are teenagers, female and male.  We are a very close family and share our thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. often.  Sometimes I sit by and listen to the two of them communicating with one another, and I’ll listen to my son opening up about something personal and sharing his perspective and how he feels about it, especially when it comes to spiritual things.  I’ve also listened to my daughter when she engaging in daily conversation, and I can hear her speaking without using many personal sentiments – many times she is more methodical and logical, rather than emotional.

The types of issues that can occur when there is a mismatch is communication style is miscommunication.  Sometimes one party may interpret something that is very different from what the other person is attempting to express, referring back to the “clash of two cultures.  This can unintentionally cause strife and lead to unnecessary arguments when the male may be communicating from “status and independence” whereas they be communicating from “connection and intimacy”  She may think he is not emotionally engaging and so doesn’t care, and he may be wondering why she is over-thinking things.

Understanding the other’s style of communication can help relationships between men and women because it’s becomes much easier to see from the other person’s perspective, understanding clearly what message they are relaying, significantly limiting assumptions.  This would also help us to understand the other party’s non-verbal cues, and clearly see their genuineness (or lack of); we can much better understand the other person’s perspective without jumping to conclusions based upon our own ways of thinking and expressing ourselves.





Weiten, W., & Lloyd, M. A. 1. (2004). Psychology applied to modern life: Adjustment in the

21st century (7th Ed.). Australia; Bangalore: Thomson/Wadsworth.