Is conversation different in mixed groups?


The other day I suddenly realized that I live in a very female dominant environment nowadays. I have always been working in very male dominant companies, but now I’m not working and most of my friends whom I spend my days with are women. My husband is almost the only male I talk to! Is it different? Hmm. When I start to think about it I can notice that it’s very comforting talking to women. I don’t really have to think about what we’re talking about. The atmosphere of bonding, relaxing in the friendship is the most important. But if occasionally a man joins the group I get the feeling that the conversation is suddenly more focused. Why is that?

When I started my first job at a small, newly started mill with five men at the office and eleven men in the factory they had already worked together for some months. One day the six of us at the office decided to have an after work; bicycling in the forest, having picnic and drinking Gammeldansk. While we were resting and chatting in a meadow one of my colleagues said “It’s so good that you began at our job – now our conversations at coffee break and lunch are so much more interesting!” I laughed and wondered if they had only been talking about women and fast cars before. “Oh, I wish we had, but we mostly talked about what paint to use when repainting the house or which new tires to buy. Nothing really interesting.”

Is it so, I wonder, that both men and women tend to relax and pay less attention to the dynamic and the actual topics in the conversation when they are in a homogeneous group, but get more alert when the group is mixed? I have no idea at all, these are only my thoughts for the day! Don’t get me wrong – I often have fantastic conversations with my girlfriends, but then we are usually aware of the fact that this was something different from the everyday chitchat. Maybe the awareness that women’s everyday chitchat is different from men’s everyday chitchat makes us meet on common ground, where we both have to listen to the other part and his or her interests, which makes us more focused.

Then of course comes the question if “focused” is actually better than relaxed and comforting? Is it more intellectual or more important or just more of a compromise?

Or maybe it’s just the way I am? I would really like to hear your thought on this subject! Have you had the same experience?

One thought on “Is conversation different in mixed groups?

  1. Helena Carlson 13 October, 2016 / 19:34

    Jag har, precis som du, kommit dithän att jag talar mer med kvinnor. Det är just vad jag behöver. Konstaterades vid terapi årtionden tillbaka att jag hade för lite kvinnor i mitt liv. Det är nog igenkänningsfaktorn som gör att prat kvinnor emellan är lite mer avspänt på nåt sätt. Intressesfären är ju oxå mer lika. Lite mer mjukvara på nåt sätt. Härligt att läsa dina funderingar!
    Kram från Helena


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