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Talking to Men

Men love to be respected, and they hate to be disrespected, especially by a woman. Though women in the church already know this, they don't always realize what showing respect to men entails. From a woman's perspective, it isn't necessarily disrespectful, for instance, to interrupt a man mid-sentence. Though to him it may appear that she simply cut him off - which is obviously disrespectful - to her she just got excited and overlapped his speech - which is perfectly acceptable, even affirming.

According to Deborah Tannen in You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, women typically talk simultaneously to each other. To them, doing so is natural, not rude. Women, therefore, may be less sensitive than men to how offensive interrupting can be.

I start with this example, not for the purpose of justifying women who interrupt, but simply to make the point that both men and women can be disrespectful to each other unintentionally.

Not all women approve of overlapping speech. But even those who do probably don't interrupt as an intentional act of disrespect. The offense, more likely, goes unnoticed. But that's exactly the point - disrespect is characterized by inattention to others.

October22, 2007 at 10:27 AM

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