The Gratifying and Complicated Language of Friendship

April 30, 2019  • Aspen Ideas to Go

The way friends talk to one another can either bring them closer or create distance. When it comes to women’s friendships, author Deborah Tannen says women talk more often (than men), at greater length, and about more personal topics. Men’s friendships tend to be more focused around activity. Either way, friendships between women, men, and women and men can be gratifying…and complicated. Tannen talks about the patterns of communication and miscommunication that affect friendships at different stages of our lives. She’s the author of You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendships, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, and many other books. Tannen is also a linguistics professor at Georgetown University.

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