How talkers and non-talkers can get along

There are two kinds of people in the world: Talkers and non-talkers. While it might seem like common sense to match the two types together in marriage, that’s not necessarily a recipe for marital bliss. Many non-talkers are also non-listeners. And despite the growing number of ways to communicate, technology is becoming a substitute for engagement rather than a supplement.

Add to the mix the perception that women talk more than men--a stereotype with research support. Men and women process language differently because their brains are built differently. Women find the communication process easier because they possess several advantages: They have more nerve cells in the part of the brain that processes language, they have a greater degree of connectivity between the two halves of the brain, and they have more dopamine in the part of the brain that controls language.

Ideally, we’d find someone who complements us, someone willing to listen as much as we want to talk--and vice versa. Barring discovery of the perfect fit, here are a few tips from the experts:

  • Recognize the different between silence and someone really listening. Active listening means being engaged with nonverbal cues and reflecting back what the speaker has said.
  • Be honest with one another and ask for a break when the non-talker runs low on gas. Be respectful and give it to him.
  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking brief summaries will do the trick. These bursts may not give enough time for an emotional connection.
  • Instead of numbing an emotionally-depleted spouse, find an attentive audience of friends who can provide what a talker needs.

Stephen Goforth