Tannen on Conflict, Gossiping & Gendered Communication in WHMS

Topics: Gossip

After having viewed When Harry Met Sally its apparent that multiple communication concepts are being conveyed. Throughout this paper, I will be analyzing Tannen’s concepts of conflict, gossiping, and the communication style differences between men and women. Within the movie, there is a depiction of conflict when Harry and Sally are talking about the night they spent together. A scene that portrayed gossiping trends among men and women is when the three ladies attend lunch, and when Harry and Joe go to the game.

The third example capitalizes on report and rapport talk. This is portrayed when Harry and Sally first meet and are talking in the car on the way to New York.

Tannen explains that conflict occurs when two people’s ideas or beliefs do not align. (Tannen, Chapter 6, page 2251) To exemplify, two people cannot occupy the same area without annoying the other. A scene from the movie that highlights this is when Harry and Sally are talking outside Joe and Marie’s new home, The «two of them are out there confronting one another on why they do not share feelings mutually.

For example, Harry puts Sally on the spot saying “why do you not talk about Joe, you aren’t over him because you aren’t seeing anyone.” Sally then responds by stating that she does not believe sleeping with someone else defines whether you have moved on from your ex. The argument begins to escalate, and Sally calls Harry a slut, However, in the end, the two of them laugh and hug knowing that they both needed to let out their anger and neither of them meant what they said.

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Another prime depiction of conflict is when Harry and Sally are at Joe and Marie’s wedding. Sally confronts Harry about leaving her, making her feel as useless as the next woman. She states, “sprinted is moe like it” when referring to his exit the next morning, (When Harry met Sally. Dir. Rob Reiner) This was a conflict for the two considering he explained early on to Sally that he tends to leave the woman he sleeps with the next morning, The argument became heated and Sally yelled, “you took pity on time, fuck you!” (When Harry met Sally. Dir. Rob Reiner) This portrays Tannen’s concept of
conflict styles because Harry and Sally decided to talk about the problem head-on. Although it took some time for Hary to get Sally to agree to talk to him, he wanted to address the issue straight on, Thus, Harry and Sally had expressed their feelings, and could mourn the situation, According to Tannen, women fear that conflict will create a ridge in the connection. However, as the movie goes on it is apparent that their dispute at the wedding allowed them to move on and forgive one another. Often, conflict arises from gossip or vice versa.

All through the movie there are multiple forms of gossip, being portrayed by men and women, The scene where the three ladies are meeting for lunch to discuss relationships capitalizes on the different styles of gossip. Per our readings, Tannen explains that there are two different forms of gossip. Typically, a woman is more inclined to gossip about personal things and secrets, This often creates intimacy and a bond among women since it requires them to share sensitive details about themselves. (Tannen, Chapter 4, pg. 1370) When the ladies are at lunch “Marie says that she found a receipt in her lover’s pockets that proves he has no intention of leaving his wife. This is considered gossip because she is sharing details about her sleeping with a married man. Tannen would recognize this as gossip considering it made Marie vulnerable and could either accept her for it or criticize her. Sally then says “he is never going to (When Harry met Salty. Dit. Rob Reiner) Marie agrees and continues to naively date him. This is the form of gossip where the women were talking about something, instead of talking agains¢ it, On the contrary, Harry and Joe are spectating a football game when they decide to talk about Harry’s failed marriage. The men gossip in a somewhat similar style but stick mostly to the details of it all. Unlike the women, the men briefly touched on how the breakup made them feel and more about the way it occurred, This kind of gossip was more along the lines of Tannen’s description about how men gossip. To exemplify, she mentions that men are more inclined to discuss politics, current affairs, and business. When watching the movie, it was clear to tell the difference between the men’s and women’s gossiping styles. Not to say that the men strictly stuck to polities, but they did not dwell on the feelings. Another key example of gossiping is when Harry and Sally are talking about Helen together. Harry was talking against Helen, which is normally something that can break a relationship. However, this brought Sally and Harry closer because she could efficiently listen and then reciprocate good advice. The two go back and forth switching their style of communication from report to rapport talk

In the movie When Harry Met Sally, Harry fluctuates between report and rapport talk. One depiction of this is when he I talking to his friend, Joe, he keeps the details short and explains that he cannot share the same details like he can with Sally. This conveys report talk because he does not express feelings or go into depth with Joc. Another great example of this is when Harry and Sally attend dinner after their sleepaver. Harty looks at Sally and says “wow, mo glad we can sit herein silence and not lec it be weird.” (When Harry met Sally. Dis. Rob Reiner) This depicts report talk because he notes that he would prefer not ta talk. Tannen also portrays men not being natural talkers. (Lannen, Chapter 3, pg. 1026) However, Harry does not stick to one style of communication, Harry portrays rapport talk when he calls Sally and says he’s “coming dawn with something.” (When Farry met Sally, Dir. Rob Reiner) He continues to
ramble on saying he is depressed and has not been able to sleep. This is an example of rapport talk because it includes Harry’s feelings, what he has gone through, what he and what he is currently thinking. Throughout the whole movie, Sally is often filmed while out to eat. During each scene, Sally is perceived as being a high maintenance woman out to eat because she isso specific about how she would like her food prepared, Therefore, this form of rapport talk coincides with Tannen’s findings about women being patronized for talking too much. (annen, Chapter 3, pg. 1034) Nonetheless, Harry capitalizes on both styles of communication based on who he is with. He would have a more rappart styled dialect when with Sally, and when he was threatened by Joe (Sally’s boyfriend) he had a report style talk.

Overall, the movie When Farry Met Sally features multiple communication concepts that Tannen has discussed. Three apparent concepts include conflict styles, gossiping and listening, as. well as report and rapport talk. The movie depicts a least two examples for each of Tannen’s concepts. Harry and Sally share two different styles of conflict, Harry gossips to Joe while Sally ossips tothe girls, and Harry portrays that men can use both report and rapport talk.

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Tannen on Conflict, Gossiping & Gendered Communication in WHMS. (2022, Jun 12). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/the-concepts-of-conflict-gossiping-and-the-differences-between-the-communication-style-of-men-and-women-by-tannen-in-the-movie-when-harry-met-sally/

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