Individuals often assume that others know how they feel or that their feelings are reflected by their behavior. As a result, people become lax about communication. In all relationships one must not only express love and appreciation through behavior, but must openly verbalize these feelings. Words alone can be empty and meaningless if an individual’s behavior is not consistent with them.
Although beginning to change, socialization practices in American culture have led men to be generally less expressive and affectionate than women. This attitude can be problematic because both males and females are equal in their need for emotional warmth. Family members should try to be sensitive to these gender differences and develop ways of expressing supportive-affectionate feelings that meet the needs of males and females while allowing all family member to feel comfortable.