Phrases That Mean Different Things To Men and Women

No matter what kind of business you’re in, you’ll find different communication styles between people. And a newsurveyof a thousand Americans wanted to find out how communication differences can cause misunderstandings between coworkers. But surprisingly, the poll reveals that several phrases often mean completely different things to men and women, even though they have nothing to do with sex or gender.

Those phrases include:

  • “With all due respect”- How would you feel if one of your employees or a colleague said this to you? It might depend on whether you’re a man or woman. Among males surveyed, 68% hear this as positive and 26% think it’s “very positive.” But on the flip side, 51% of women hear it as negative and only 13% consider it “very positive.”
  • “Bless your heart”- Does this sound like another way of saying “you’re sweet” to you? It does to 77% of men in the survey, who consider it a compliment. But 44% of women report that it’s really a backhanded insult that really means “you’re dumb.”

The survey also looks at what’s considered appropriate in the office and there are some gender differences there as well.

  • Flirting tops that list, with 93% of women giving it a hard no, saying it’s never okay at work. But not all male respondents see it that way, as one in four (27%) think it’s totally fine to flirt at work.
  • Some men also seem to think it’s fine to talk about sex in the office, with 20% agreeing it’s acceptable, but for 94% of women, that subject is off-limits at work.


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