In 1990, Deborah Tannen wrote the book, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, to explain the gender differences in communication styles between men and women. In her observation of young boys, Tannen noticed that they create relationships with each other by doing things together; activities are central to their friendship. Girls, on the other hand, create close relationships with each other by simply talking. For girls, talk is the essence of intimacy.
By nature, I am quite verbal – a “think out loud” type of person. I organize my thoughts, and problem solve by talking things through. Quite often I better understand what I am thinking when I hear myself say it!
When my younger brother died 5 years ago at the age of 51, nothing made much sense. Talking about it was excruciatingly painful. Words were not adequate to communicate my vast and intense feelings.
I gained a first hand understanding of the gift of compassionate silence. I think...