Roy Gilbert

3 Common Phrases That Mean Completely Different Things to Men and Women

Say the phrase “with all due respect” to a male colleague, and he may hear a completely different meaning than if you said it to a female one. This perplexing fact is just one finding from a fascinating survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by telecommunications provider, which set out to learn how communication differences can cause misunderstandings between co-workers. (It also looked at differences between U.S. and U.K. colleagues.)

Surprisingly, the survey found several phrases that often mean something different to men and women, even though they have nothing to do with sex or gender. 1. “With all due respect.”

Fifty-one percent of women hear this as a negative comment, while 68 percent of men hear it as a positive one. And 26 percent of men think it’s a very positive comment, while only 13 percent of women do. So if one of your employees or colleagues says this to you, you may have no sure way of knowing how they mean it, although if the person who says it is female, there’s a greater chance it’s meant as a criticism.

Perhaps because I’m a woman, that’s certainly how I mean that phrase on the very rare occasions when I use it. In my case, it’s code for: “Your position or experience suggests that you know better than I do about this but I believe you are dead wrong and possibly an idiot.” 2. “A few amends”

What do women mean when they say a document or other work item […]

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