Metamessages Essay

1918 Words8 Pages
Metamessages Men and women often receive messages in an erroneous way due to misunderstandings caused by metamessages. A metamessage is a message concealed in a message that a woman usually has a better understanding of. In Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers, by Deborah Tannen, demonstrates how women and men have different communication skills than one another. Women are seen to “have a relatively greater need for involvement, and men a greater need for independence,” causing the opposite sex to retrieve a message incorrectly from what was meant to be said (200). The article clarifies how genders react to metamessages as well as how they can retrieve them and apply them to their daily conversations. Tannen explains how women retrieve metamessages into negative ways while men are more literal in their words. Her article states that metamessages can be found through silence, body language, listening signals, the misuse of pronouns, even regular conversations. Tannen explains the essential role metamessages play in relationships by exploring genders from their childhood friendships to their “cultural differences” and how they affect the communication in their intimate relationships (200). Tannen’s article is based on her theory of relations between men and women which states that men tend to be more literal about words while women, listen for metamessages in conversations. A metamessage is a “form of indirectness,” and women are more than likely to use it more often than men throughout conversations (200). Tannen implies that because women are more attentive to speech they become “ more focused on involvement, that is, on relationships among people and it is through metamessages that relationships among people are established and maintained” (202). Since their early childhood years, “their social life usually centers around a best friend,
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