Interview with a psychologist and linguist Debra Tannen – the author of many books about the mistakes and difficulties in communication.

In your famous book You Just Do not Understand (You just do not understand), you claim that men and women speak different languages. Mother and daughter – being a woman – speak the same language, why is it still so difficult to understand each other?

Women talking, above all, talking about personal matters – the coupling element, which holds the relationship. Mother and daughter talk to each other often, so they are more likely to say something extra. In addition, in a conversation on personal topics hurt companion easier than, say, in the discussion of sports news. For example, if a woman is not dedicated another in their mystery, she finds that they are not as close as it seemed. Stay uninitiated – a direct threat to friendly relations.

When a daughter becomes an adult, she has a life of its own, the details of which she always devotes her mother, and the latter begins to feel excluded from the life of his daughter. But those moments when her daughter shares her experiences – they make wonderful relationship. Who else you can always count on? Someone will always be on your side?

Than you so interested in the conversation is between mother and daughter? What is special about them?

For many women this is the most intimate and important relationships throughout life. But the irony of the situation is that any mother considers it his duty to help and protect the daughter, to do everything so that she looked and lived as best as possible. And tips, how to act, inevitably imply criticism. It turns out that it is the one in whose eyes the woman most want to look perfect, are more likely to notice its shortcomings – and talks about them.

Therefore, many women feel that their mother condemned?

Exactly. Daughter may overreact to criticism of the mother, because still considers its omnipotent. Growing up the daughter does not understand that the mother continues to give her advice and try to help (which is perceived as a criticism), because he feels helpless: it is no longer needed. Daughter often do not realize how much power she has over her mother: it was the daughter determines how often they communicate and regulate access to beloved grandchildren.

Why do we often think that the mother interferes in our lives?

So far, little daughter, the mother is involved in all aspects of her life. And when the daughter grows up, the mother tries to keep the old engagement. But this closeness means a loss of independence. Here is a live example: One mother once told me, “Before, the daughter called me every day, now ceased. I understand that it is no longer so attached to me, but I still miss her calls. ” Think of the word “tied”. When you have a close relationship with someone you know, you are not free: you have to take into account their opinion, to think how they will affect your actions. Since the opinion of the mother is very powerful, the daughter might prefer not to know it, to make their own decisions.

As a mother learns to advise rather than criticize?

The best way – to bite his tongue. Quite often, the daughter did not need advice and blessing. One woman asked me, “How do I tell my daughter that she needs to lose 5 kilos,” I replied, “Nothing. But if you think that she needs to lose weight by 5 kg, it is likely to think that she needs to lose weight by ten. And most of all she needs your support. ” When the daughter asks your opinion, instead of tips, praise her, reassure and say that it will succeed.

And as the daughter learns to take advice from his mother?

Do not consider them as critics. When the daughter blames her mother that she criticizes her, genuinely surprised mother, because she just wants to help. And when the mother said she did not think to criticize the daughter she does not believe, because he feels condemned by his mother. Of course, any remark, advice or proposal there is some criticism. But they also show that people care about you, she does not care about the little things, which usually pay attention only to yourself.

Here’s an example. The woman showed two pair of socks mother that she bought: black and dark blue. The next day the mother asked: “Are you sure you are not wearing different socks?” The woman said: “Before such questions, I instantly start. I thought, “You think I do anything not capable of ?!” But, remembering my advice, she said to herself: “Who else cares about are the same whether my socks” And then her irritation vanished.

Often the mother and daughter are talking on the thumb negative rut. How can I change the conversation model, which was fixed for many years?

Start react differently. Instead of being angry, take a joke. Or try to reach the level of “metacommunication”: talk about what you say. I have heard from many women that are here really helps my book, because it starts a conversation about conversations and shows how you can talk about all recognizable patterns. Just to understand why your mother or daughter reacts, but not otherwise – may already be a breakthrough.

Translated from English by Olga Antonova