Who talks more – men or women and does it matter?

Who talks more – men or women and does it matter?
I found a bunch of studies stating we all talk at least 7000 words per day and on average we talk about 16 000 words per day. That’s men and women.

So where did the whole “women are incessant jibber jabberers and men are silent fence posts” thing come from? Can we pin it on 1950s archetypes like the suggestively named Chatty Cathy and the strong, silent John Wayne? Or is it more complicated than that?

A review of 56 studies conducted by linguistics researcher Deborah James and social psychologist Janice Drakich found only two studies showing that women talked more than men, while 34 studies found men talked more than women.[6]  Sixteen of the studies found they talked the same and four showed no clear pattern.
~ Catherine Aponte Psy. D

Interesting anecdotal read, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray Ph.D. (1992) corroborated Cathy and John’s story about who talks more – men or women. This book about communication between the sexes suggests common relationship issues between men and women boil down to a metaphoric, interplanetary gulf between our fundamental psychological differences. How much one particular sex talks and how much the other sex listens featured rather heavily in John Gray’s reasoning for communication issues between women and men.

And then there was the oft referenced and since factually debunked linguistic statistic in The Female Brain:

In the first print of The Female Brain (in 2006), Louann Brizendine M.D. claimed that women use 20,000 words per day while men use 7,000.
However, there were no studies in existence that validated that claim or showed that women actually spoke more than men!
~Julie Huynh Posted in Gazette.

Something I tend to naturally rely on is our lived experience. In our own lives, do we feel women talk more and men less so? But is this perception the direct result of Chatty Kathy and John Wayne-like conditioning? Hmmmm…

Positively anything can be so if we believe it to be!

So who does talk more, men or women and does it matter?

John Gray and unsubstantiated yet famously, Louann Brizendine, will tell you that women talk more. And so will Chatty Cathy and John Wayne. But the more recent Psychological studies say not usually. But my lived experience says yes! How about yours?

Every walk I take confirms my experience (or my conditioning? Hmmmm….), with visions of women talking the ear off silent male companions – or female companions for that matter. Sometimes in the female-to-female chat-fest there is clearly a very hard fought tie from where I am standing. But that’s just a spectator’s view. And who knows who wins the chatty Olympics in more fluid gender match ups in conversation?! Who knows!

This does bring me to my point though.
While I do believe, based on my life experience, women talk more and men less so, I also have life experience to suggest otherwise. This is the thing with generalising isn’t it? And my own generalisation debunking moment occurred this week. I finally reached a point where I could not possibly take in any more words from Superman. By far and away, it is the other way around usually!

You see, he’s working from home now and has been since March. So that’s just shy of six months of my life experience of Supa doing what he does at work. And from what I have seen, he mostly talks. He is in a constant stream of meetings. I mean it. His day is a string of pearls, with each pearl a meeting or conversation with someone.

man standing in front of computer Generative Change

And apart from marvelling at his amazing ability to connect with all and sundry and pay attention throughout this oxygen depleting exercise, I simply do not know how he does it! I would have tapped out after two weeks! Probably one of the reasons I was drawn to Massage as a profession – little talk, just action…and relaxation music!

So sorry Messrs. Gray and Wayne and Doc Brizendine – this lady ain’t the talker in this family. And neither is one of my sister in laws! My brother does heaps more gasbagging than her. And despite what my Dad tells himself, same goes for him and Mum too.

Who talks more – men or women and does it matter?

Well, the stats show that men actually talk more. But importantly, it is contextual and status related, so they tend to talk more in work, sporting and assertive arenas.
Some women talk heaps! I wish they’d stop and give themselves some peace personally – you know – spend more time listening, both to what others are really saying to them AND to their inner God.

Does it matter?

Not if we don’t blindly buy into the stereotype it doesn’t. If we take each person for the person standing before us and do our best to leave our filters and conditioning out of it. There’s no way it matters who’s doing the talking. It’s about what they say they’re going to do and whether they actually do it that matters. That’s it.

The thing is, when you get to the point, as I did last week, when you’ve enjoyed your quota of words for the day or half year (!), you just know you need to close that door. Tell him (for me it is a him) “I LOVE you” and just shut that door and all those words out. And then just lay back and luxuriate in the clear, tropical pool of peace and quiet. Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh…………

Rachel x
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