Tannen has depicted specific features of female and male styles of interaction. Thus, the researcher claims that females tend to establish rapport while communicating with other people. On the contrary, males tend to report without bothering the atmosphere. This difference between the styles is manifested in one of the episodes of the famous TV series Friends (Episode: “The One with the Thumb”).
Two succeeding scenes portray the way females and males support each other. It is obvious that women are more supportive as they try to create a comfort zone, whereas men simply report on facts without thinking of their interlocutor’s feelings and emotions.
Settings and Interlocutors’ Descriptions
The two succeeding scenes depict the way females and males talk things over. Two female colleagues, having friendly relationships, talk at their working place. Thus, Monica asks Paula what to do about Monica’s new boyfriend. Monica does not want to date Alan, but her friends really like the man, so Monica is afraid to disappoint her friends. Paula says that Monica should listen to herself.
The second scene depicts the way Joey and Ross persuade Chandler to quit smoking. The three men are sitting in their favorite cafe. They speak of health problems associated with smoking, though Chandler seems to ignore such arguments.
Females Establish Rapport
The scene with Monica and Paula is very suggestive. In the first place, it is important to note that they are talking at their work place. Therefore, the atmosphere is not very favorable for intimate conversations. However, the two females still talk about such an intimate thing as dating.
They still manage to create a comfort zone to talk over such an important thing. Paula is very supportive and understanding. Remarkably, Paula knows about Monica’s friends who the latter described as “coyotes”. Thus, when Monica mentions her friends Paula is responsive: “Wait-wait… we talking about the coyotes here?” (Friends). Therefore, Paula encourages Monica to go on talking as she makes it clear that she remembers about Monica’s situation and is always eager to help.
Thus, Paula creates a comfort atmosphere so that Monica can feel free to share her feelings. It is also necessary to point out that Paula pays attention to Monica’s feelings: “Honey… you should always feel the thing. Listen, if that’s how you feel about the guy, Monica, dump him!” (Friends).
Paula advises Monica to listen to her heart. The very intonation and word choice verifies that Paula (as any other female) establishes rapport. For instance, the use of the word ‘honey’ and the interlocutor’s name suggests that the speaker tries to comfort the interlocutor. Paula reaches this aim and comforts Monica.
It is also important to pay attention to the way the two females communicate. Even though they are fulfilling some of their tasks (wiping tables, etc.), they manage to be attentive and supportive. Paula’s gestures and facial expressions suggest that she does want to comfort Monica. The woman does establish rapport.
Males Tend to Report
As far as males are concerned, it is important to claim that they pay more attention to factual information rather than emotional part of communication. Thus, even though Chandler, Ross and Joey are in their favorite cafe and they are relaxed, it can hardly be said that the men are trying to create a favorable emotional setting. Even in such a comfort setting, they focus on dry facts. Of course, it is important to note that the conversation is very informal and the three are best friends. However, there is no such rapport as in case with the females.
Thus, Ross and Joey focus on health issues:
Joey: Do you have any respect for your body?
Ross: Don’t you realize what you’re-you’re doing to yourself? (Friends)
This conversation illustrates the way males tend to interact. They do not bother much about feelings and emotions of their interlocutor but try to use precise facts. Ross and Joey do not create a comfort zone for Chandler. They do not use any encouraging words like “buddy”. At this point it is necessary to note that they may use such words in other conversations and interactions. However, the conversation in question verifies that the use of such words is not that common among the males.
Furthermore, the two friends’ gestures also contribute to the assumption that males are not concerned with establishing rapport. Ross and Joey pinch Chandler illustrating physical sufferings he is going to endure because of smoking. Of course, the men are trying to help their friend. However, their ways differ greatly from the ways of females.
Female’s Rapport and Male’s Reports
On balance, it is possible to note that males and females do tend to use different styles of interaction. Thus, females try to establish rapport, i.e. to create the comfort zone for their interlocutors. However, males are concerned with factual information rather than with emotional constituent. It is important to note that males are still supportive, but this support is manifested in a specific manner which differs greatly from females’ ways to support people.
Friends. Dir. Alan Myerson. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video. 1994. DVD.