Connecting Through Chatting

A friend called me today to talk about an upcoming event. Pretty soon our conversation wandered off to something totally unrelated. We ended up spending some time talking about her husband’s family and siblings.

Being the kind of person who likes to ask questions, I probably asked her more questions than necessary, one just led to another.

Later her husband questioned her about the "unnecessary" conversation. Why did we need to talk about his family?

That’s because women like to chat to feel connected.

I love hearing people talking about their families. That’s how you get to know them and feel connected.

I am just reading a book titled "That’s not what I meant" by Deborah Tannen. Here are a few points I got out of the book.

Some people, mostly men, communicate at the information level. They convey information by the meaning of words. Once their messages are communicated, they are done. They like to “get to the point."

Others communicate at the relational level. They like to small talk, chat, and keep in touch.

The universal human needs that motivate communication are the (conflicting) needs to be connected to others and to be left alone/separated, the needs for social involvement and independence (privacy).

One way of showing interest and appreciation is asking questions, but questions can also seem nosy. Too many questions can feel like interrogation for some people.

America as a nation has glorified individuality. In many parts of the world, people glorify involvement in families and communities.

So from my friend’s husband’s perspective as a man and an American, his questioning was very understandable.

Men in general don’t talk about family and personal matters on a deep level, but women do. Women feel more connected the more they talk about family and personal issues.

That’s why women have more good and deep friends than men, and live longer too. 

In one word, my friend and I just enjoy chatting, talking and keeping in touch.