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Are Women Really Chatterboxes or is that Another Female Stereotype?

Updated on December 14, 2014

Battle of the Genders

There's always a battle of the genders--sometimes the battle is subtle and other times not so subtle.

One thing that both genders do is stereotype each other. Women say men are always like this or that and men say women are such and such. Stereotypes are nothing more than judgements against people. It is portraying people in a negative light so the judger feels good about himself or, in this case, his gender.

It all seems like such a giant waste of time. The problem with stereotypes is that you start to believe them. Even though you are well-educated and intelligent, you still might believe that men are a bunch of big babies who marry their mothers. Or you might start to believe that women are a bunch of chatterboxes--all they do is yap all day long. Put two or three women together and they will have a yapping fest that could last into the wee hours of morning.

If you're a man, you just might tend to believe it. You might look around and see women talking to each other. You might be at the gym or in the doctor's office and you might start to believe that women do a lot more talking than men. But is it true?

Some Interesting Research

  • Researchers from Northeastern University and the Harvard School of Public Health found that women talk more than men in small groups, while in larger groups--more than five people--men are more talkative.
  • Women tend to talk more in small collaborative groups where a lot of problem solving occurs. In this context, men tend to be less vocal.
  • “The talkative woman stereotype has been around a while, but we were able to quantify it, and basically show that a setting matters, and collaboration seems to matter to women,” says lead author Jukka-​​Pekka Onnela, assistant professor of biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health.
  • When women talk, they are not just chatterboxes, engaging in small talk about insignificant things to each other for hours on end--they have great collaborative skills, more so than their male counterparts. Dr. Molly Sweet, co-director of the Cambridge Center for Gender Relations, says “When you get more women in a group or in a smaller group, you are going to have a better problem-solving model.”
  • A six-year series of studies published in the journal Science in 2007 of some 400 U.S. and Mexican male and female university students, showed that women spoke a daily average of 16,215 words a day, versus 15,669 for the guys. The participants in this study wore an electronic recorder that caught the chatter. “A 500 word difference is statistically meaningless,” says Dr. Matthias R. Mehl, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Arizona who led the study.

When women talk, they are not just chatterboxes, engaging in small talk about insignificant things to each other for hours on end--they have great collaborative skills, more so than their male counterparts.

You Can't Get Anywhere Without Female Collaboration


Men Should Stop Stereotyping and Yap More

Let's say if the stereotype was true, that women are always yapping to one another. Would that be the worst thing in the world? No, it wouldn't. In fact, it would be a good thing. Talking has more benefits than most people realize. For example:

  • It will help you sort through your thoughts and clarify whatever is going on for you at the time.
  • If you just worry about your problems without talking to someone about them, they probably start to seem worse and bigger than they are. Talking will cut them down to size.
  • Someone who's not involved in whatever's bothering you might suggest options you haven't thought of.
  • If you're talking to someone neutral, but caring, they won't take sides or push an agenda.
  • Talking is like a pressure valve for your head. Switch it on once in a while to let some steam out.

So guys, next time you make a joke about women talking too much--take a hard look at the facts. Women don't talk more than men. And even if some women do talk more they are engaging in self-care behaviors that men should be doing more of.

For more, check out The Benefits of Talking.

Relax, Kick off your Shoes and Talk to Yourself!

And We Should All Start Talking to Ourselves More

Another stereotype that is not gender related is that if you are talking to yourself you must be insane.

For as long as time, talking to one's self was seen as a sign of instability, possibly some kind of mental illness like psychosis. But in many cases, it may not be. Talking to one's self may have several important benefits, although I wouldn't do it too much in public--it might tarnish your reputation a bit. But if you are alone in the privacy of your own home or walking along an isolated path in the woods, chatter away to yourself. Linda Carbone, Rewire Us, feels that talking to one's self is a sign of sanity, not insanity. She shares some tips about talking to yourself:

  1. Compliment yourself on the way you handled a difficult situation.
  2. Give yourself a pep talk. Self-talk can help you motivate yourself to achieve a goal at work, in a relationship, or in your personal behavior.
  3. Debate both sides of a difficult decision. Elaborate on the pros and cons to bring out the right choice.
  4. Blow off steam. If you’re not the type to confront people who tick you off, talk to yourself about how they bother you or how unfair a situation is.
  5. Understand your thoughts better. Talking to yourself expands your self-awareness.
  6. Rehearse a difficult conversation. Practicing what you need to say to get your points across clearly and without anger will help in real life situations.
  7. Boost your memory. Research shows that saying the location out loud where you place an object will help you remember where you put it.
  8. Venting out loud gets rid of stress. Doing a free-association monologue to yourself has a cathartic effect.
  9. Improving attention span and concentration. Many people with ADD talk to themselves to help bring a tangle of thoughts into focus. Athletes may talk to themselves before a game to calm down and to focus on the game plan.

- See more at:

Which kind of talking do you prefer to do?

See results

Loving More, Stereotyping Less

Instead of judging or stereotyping others based on gender or any other difference, start loving based on the fact that we are all human beings in the same boat. We are all precious and to be valued.

Judging hurts others as well as those who judge. Remember that judging has very little to no value and it harms everyone.

Judging demeans others and reduces the uniqueness of humanity into a crude stereotype.

Judging focuses on the negative and creates bad Karma. Bad Karma results in bad things happening to us.

Loving does the opposite.

Loving creates good will, acceptance, peace and smiling faces. Loving creates beautiful afternoons and gorgeous evenings with majestic sunsets.

Loving creates good Karma and wonderful and pleasant surprises.

Loving builds up and creates beauty.

Loving fosters connections, good friends and warm, cozy feelings

Love begets love. Judging begets judging. Which do you prefer?

Loving Versus Stereotyping

Good Karma
Bad Karma
Gorgeous sunrises and sunsets
Storms and hurricanes
Close relationships
Loss of connection
Hope and optimism
Misery and pessimism


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    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 3 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks for the international perspective, Dr. Billy Kidd. I wouldn't call any woman a chatterbox.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Battle of the Genders? That in itself is an outdated idea in modern countries like Sweden. In Sweden, men give half the childcare and do half the housework. In the U.S., women hold more middle management positions than men. So America is starting to move in that direction, too. I cannot imagine calling the boss a chatterbox.

      For millennials, young women earn more than men.

      Nice research.