Jul
19
2007

Teenage girls talk too much

All you do to me is talk talk: A new study finds that too much sharing can actually be a bad thing. Photo by Steffe from flickr.com
All you do to me is talk talk: A new study finds that too much sharing can actually be a bad thing. Photo by Steffe from flickr.com

No surprise there. Every parent of a teen could tell you that. But now, thanks to a study at the University of Missouri-Columbia, science has confirmed what we already knew.

The study found that girls who talk to their friends extensively about their problems are unlikely to resolve those problems, but instead are more likely to become anxious and depressed.

This reminds me of a study I read about years ago (sorry, no link) about the different communication styles used by men and women. That long-ago study found that when a man asks a question, he is generally seeking information. But often when a woman asks a question, she is seeking validation. (These are just broad trends – obviously, this does not hold true for all people or for all questions.) Women are more likely to use questions as a form of social bonding, and making sure everyone is in agreement.

Connecting these two studies, I would postulate that when the girls talk about their problems with friends, the friends confirm and validate each other's feelings, making the problems seem more real and more important.

Keeping your feelings bottled up inside is the route to mental health. Stoicism rules!

(I also have a theory as to why men never ask for directions, if anyone is interested.)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

mdr's picture
mdr says:

Amen brother!

posted on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:36pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I don't know how I feel about the last comment that is on the bottling up of emotion. While women DO want validation, overanalyzing is never good for ones health if they can't take the time to work through their own problems alone (logically). OVEREXPRESSION is not healthy, but I think asking for an opinion so they can clarify the thoughts is alright.

posted on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 6:34pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Irony is a subtle art. ;-)

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 9:23am
Becca's picture
Becca says:

You know, "talking too much" isn't more of MY problem, personally...
What gets me going is online blogging. For some reason, all of my problems blow up 10 times more than they originally are, and it seems all I want is advice and attention.

I never talk about my problems in person, only online. It's my way of saying to the world "Hey! I have problems that I never talk about, help me now!!"

Myspace is a biggie. *rolls eyes*

posted on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 6:38pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Hello girls dont talk more than guys....guys can also talk a lot too!!!!

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 10:14am
Amy in MN's picture
Amy in MN says:

Men and women both use about 16,000 words a day, according to the study by Matthias Mehl of the University of Arizona.

Over eight years, Mr. Mehl's team recorded the conversations of almost 400 American and Mexican male and female students. They developed an electronically activated recorder that logged their conversations.

The results: Women in the study spoke an average of 16,215 words each day against an average of 15,669 words for men. The difference is not statistically significant said researches.

What I found interesting is that the study also shows that women's conversations are more about people, relationships, and networking, whereas men's tend to be more about showing off, tools, or cars.

posted on Sun, 07/22/2007 - 9:59am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

"Men's [conversations] tend to be more about showing off, tools, or cars."

Sounds about right. My friends and I generally speak only about 15,217 words a day, but, yes, they are mostly about tools and cars. Because these are things men care about. Everyone knows that.

When you place them next to "people, relationships, and networking," "showing off, tools, and cars" seem a little shallow, but I'd ask you not to sell the generalities of male communication short - having a conversation about showing off is very difficult. A person who networks about networking all the time probably wouldn't know where to begin networking about showing off (a little hint - start with muscles).

posted on Sun, 07/22/2007 - 1:41pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Just turn it around -- men talk about real, concrete things; women talk about abstract, ephemeral things. ;-)

posted on Sun, 07/22/2007 - 8:33pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

One glaring flaw in this methodology is that it only tracked college students. That's a very small, rather homogenous slice of the population. Any two college students, regardless of sex, are likely to have more in common (age, income, education, interests, experience, etc.) than two randomly-selected members of the general public. I'm not sure you can safely extrapolate these results to the population as a whole.

It is possible that language differences arise later in life. This study would not catch them.

Simply because of the way the language is structured, it takes about 20% or 25% more words to express a thought in Spanish than it does in English. Mixing the languages also makes me question the validity of these results.

Years ago, one of the Apollo astronauts quipped, "Men speak about 15,000 words a day; women, about 20,000. Not a big difference. The thing is, when I get home from work, I'm about done with my 15 thousand, while my wife is only getting started on her 20!" ;-)

posted on Wed, 07/25/2007 - 10:43pm
LOVE-BUG's picture
LOVE-BUG says:

i agree my brother is in 8th grade and he talks on the cell phone ALL THE TIME and it drives me crazy!!!!!!!!

posted on Fri, 10/17/2008 - 9:10pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

thats life.

posted on Sat, 10/18/2008 - 10:57am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

ttly but girls usually chooose to talk more

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 11:13am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

grils have a mouth just like guys

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 11:44am
pprincess2210's picture
pprincess2210 says:

guys only talk alot when they flirt or show off

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 11:44am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

girls donn't talk more than boys they just have to repete themselves more.

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 12:21pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I'm sorry - what did you say?

Concerned Male

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 12:35pm
Wonder Woman's picture
Wonder Woman says:

I find for me talking is a way to get to know someone. Almost all my friends rely on me to talk when there is an awkward silence. And to those men who think silence isnt awkward well...good luck in life!!!:) All i am saying is that i think talking is good and no one talks to much.

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 8:41pm
Reptile's picture
Reptile says:

"Yeah,I gotta agree with the last comment.Talking is a normal,healthy way to express yourself,and there is No such thing as too much talking.

posted on Sat, 07/21/2007 - 9:10am
Ray's picture
Ray says:

Talking is unnecessary!
I'm a guy, and guys get to know each other not by talking, but by wrestling, gentle grabbing, and eye contact.
It drives me craaaazy when a lady can't shut her gab-hole for more than a couple seconds

posted on Sat, 07/21/2007 - 4:26pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

"...talking is good and no one talks to much."

There are two ways to refute that: in the abstract, and in the concrete.

In concrete terms, it depends on what you're saying. If a person is lying, insulting, spreading rumors, stirring up hate and fear -- then, yeah, I'd say they were talking too much.

In the abstract, if talking is preventing you from doing something else that's more important, then that would be talking too much also. That's the point of the study cited. Talking about your problems is good -- up to a point. But beyond that point, talking doesn't help to solve the problem. It just reinforces the problem and makes it seem worse. Talking is having a negative effect, so in such a case that would be talking too much.

One could also take a purely mathematical position and argue that if you say one word more than is absolutely necessary to serve your purpose, then that, too, is talking too much. For examples, read any random blog, including this one. ;-)

posted on Sat, 07/21/2007 - 7:29pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

I can recall more than once being told by women in my life that I was "all talk and no action."

posted on Thu, 07/26/2007 - 9:44am
Matt's picture
Matt says:

yes,
there is too such a thing as too much talking, especially if its on the phone

posted on Sat, 07/21/2007 - 11:33am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i don't think we talk to much we just want to get are vocies heard

posted on Sun, 07/22/2007 - 12:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

my friends and i talk all the time... i mean isn't that what teenage girls are supposed to do? talk . talk. talk.

posted on Sun, 07/22/2007 - 5:43pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Not only do they talk too much, they can't handle being told anything. They think they are perfect and no one has the right to call to their attention any shortcomings!

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 6:10pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Did someone get turned down for the homecoming dance?

posted on Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

So what if girls talk to much. we need a place to let go a place that we can just talk it out so we feel better. I feel like people do get anxious when they talk about some thing.

:) ][

posted on Sat, 10/18/2008 - 12:23pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

teenage girls are learning the art of communicating. It takes many years and lots of seemless talk to create a masterpiece.

posted on Sat, 10/18/2008 - 12:29pm
EWatson02's picture
EWatson02 says:

The study doesn't really surprise me, per se...but what I want to know is how the findings of this study compare across cultures. Do women universally "talk too much?" Are there cultures where the men are more talkative than the women? What is the role of the male and the female in such a society? How much economic or societal power do these women have? But most of all, I'm interested in why. Why DO women supposedly talk more than men? What cultural background is there to explain this? The idea that women talk more about people and relationships and that men talk more about tools and toys doesn't adequately explain the actual amount of verbiage (after all, I know men who could talk for AGES about tools). I just feel like there's more to this subject than what this study is adequately covering.

posted on Sat, 10/18/2008 - 10:50pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Girls do like to talk, but so do guys. They like to talk about sports just as much as girls talk about gossip and shopping.

posted on Sat, 02/07/2009 - 8:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I've observed my parents speaking frequency and have determined that they speak often when in a good mood or they are trying to manipulate the feelings of those around them. My father only talks often when he is excited or opinionated about something. Talking seems to be a nervous tick for my mother who is constantly afraid of conflict. I find as a woman that I probably speak less than the average woman. Mostly because I think I'm listening more to my inner voice. I believe that teenage girls speak "too much," because they are less succinct and will ramble on when they can't get to their point. I think this is also true of teenage boys. However, I think societally boys grown up learning to quiet their lack of communication, where as girls are encouraged to hone theirs. I believe it's about age not gender so much.

posted on Thu, 03/25/2010 - 9:42am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I believe the source you were looking for came from the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Grey

posted on Mon, 06/06/2011 - 2:05am

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