It’s a common cliché: men don’t like to talk about their feelings. Some would go so far as to say that men are cold or don’t know how to show emotion.
This is untrue.
Men need to talk and express themselves as much as women do. They are, however, generally more selective about who they talk intimately with and don’t feel the need to vent to anyone who will listen. Guys often need a little bit of encouragement to feel comfortable enough to be open with you.
So how do you get him to to be more open?
Shut Up Already
Typically women are the talkers in a relationship, chatting away about everything under the sun, gossiping about this and that and never being tired of the sound of their own voices. You have to give him a chance to speak without monopolizing the conversation. If you find yourself filling in gaps and pauses then you are guilty of this. He hardly has a chance to think about what you just said and you’re three sentences down the road – the conversation has moved on without him.
It’s even worse if you try and finish his sentences for him. He may be struggling to find the words to say what he means but it’s better if he gets a chance to express himself fully than if you cut across him to give your two pennyworth before he’s finished explaining something. If you want to encourage him to talk, bite your tongue and let him complete his train of thought without you assuming you know what he’s going to say. Finishing his sentences or interrupting will tell him that you already think you know the answers and that whatever he does say doesn’t really matter. In order to get him to really open up, you’ll need to give him the time and space to do just that, without your voice butting in.
Pick Your Time
You man is more likely to talk when he’s in the right mood. You’ll have to use some common sense and also learn his body language. If he just needs to chill out, don’t start a deep discussion. For example, avoid bringing up a sensitive topic right after he gets home from a busy day at work. If he’s deep into watching a game, you’re not likely to get more than a terse answer to any question, at best. Just like you have moods when you’d rather not talk, and want to be left in peace, he’s the same way.
Talk And Walk
Women generally like nothing better than sitting down face to face over a coffee for a good old chin wag but this may be the worst way to get anything out of your guy. Chances are he will feel very uncomfortable just sitting there having eye contact while trying to express himself. Instead, bring up questions and topics for discussion while doing something else, while you’re gardening, cooking together, doing home improvements, or even just taking a walk. Don’t bring up deep conversation if the work you’re doing requires his concentration, but you might just get him to open up while you’re both busy with something else that you don’t need to focus on too much.
Avoid “We Need To Talk”
If you want him to talk, the worst way to begin is to tell him he needs to do it! All he hears is that he is in trouble, and he knows that intense conversation will follow, and that’s not something he’ll look forward to. Saying “we need to talk” is almost as bad as treating him like a child, and he’s less likely to act like an adult as a result. Just pick a good time and bring up whatever it is you want to talk about or tell him what you want to talk about and ask him when would be a good time to have a chat about it.
Wait until your guy is ready to talk if there’s something bothering him. Don’t nag. You can’t rush trust, confidence, or comfort levels. It’s not that he doesn’t trust you as such, it might be that he doesn’t trust himself to express himself properly. Or he’s not sure of his thoughts in his own mind yet. Women are often happy to express things that they haven’t thought through – talking is a way of working out how we feel. Men not so much. Be patient if he doesn’t yet know “what he wants”; he may not have solved it yet, but he will with time and patience.
Don’t take it personally if he needs some time. Patience is key and if you’re ready to listen, he’ll let you know, when he’s ready to talk.
Be Open To The Type Of Talk He Wants To Have
If you know something is bothering your guy but he’s not opening up, ask if there’s anything you can do to help and just say you’re there if he wants to talk. There are times when he’ll want your help at coming up with a solution, and other times when he’ll just want to vent and express his feelings. Knowing where he’s coming from will help you to react in the right way and that will encourage him to open up and trust you when he wants to talk about other issues too.
If your guy has a hard time opening up, don’t start with the deep stuff. Talk to him about things that interest him. Learn about his hobbies and interests and become knowledgeable enough to have good conversation with him. Better yet, have him teach you what he knows. If you always only want to hear what’s in his inner heart, he might dread discussions with you. However, if you get him talking about something he’s good at expressing, he might find it easier to open up about intimate things at a later time.
Show Him The Way
Men often have a hard time reading our signals and moods. If he asks what’s wrong and you say, “nothing”, he might just believe you and leave it at that. It doesn’t matter that you think you’re being obvious, more likely than not, he won’t understand what’s going on. Instead, be honest from the beginning, explain yourself clearly, make requests and ask direct questions. Don’t expect that he’ll pick up on your vague insinuations; he won’t. Of course, he can hear if you’re upset, but he probably won’t know why. Show him how you can communicate what it is you want or need in a way that is non confrontational, so that he doesn’t dread discussions with you and is happy to be open in turn in a similar way.
In any conversation or discussion, getting tense, upset, or stressed doesn’t help at all. When trying to help your man open up to you, those reactions will likely help him shut right down all communication again. If you want him to open up, he needs to feel that what he says will be safe with you and you won’t overreact. Check you understand what he really means before reacting at all. If you’re tempted to get upset, take a deep breath and decide if you can finish the conversation or if you need a bit of a break to think about what he said. Thank him for being honest even if it’s not what you wanted to hear.
If your man is not as open and communicative as you would like, despite all your attempts, there’s no point in getting upset. He’s not going to react like your female friends even if you want him to. He’s probably not built that way. Be thankful for whatever he opens up to you about. Don’t complain that he doesn’t do it more, be happy when he does and chances are he’ll be that much more open than he otherwise would be.
Over to you: Do you have any tips about getting your guy to open up more? Please share in the comments below
My man was taught to run and hide, not talk. So for me it is all about patience. I have to allow him to get out what he wants to get out without interrupting him and saying, “Yeah, but…” He also talks a lot slower than me, so it can be a challenge to sit back and let him finish what he has to say, but it is important to do so. If I keep interrupting him, he will totally clam up.
Bellaisa recently posted…The Common Sense Diet
I think that’s quite common Bellaisa. We just seem to talk more than them and I reckon we get more practice from a young age. My husband was brought up with two sisters who like to talk. I don’t think he felt he needed to say much, and if he wanted to say anything it was hard to find a pause in the conversation that was long enough to speak.
Ana recently posted…One Easy Tip To Keep Your Marriage Strong
That’s a really good point. Lol. My husband had a mother and sister who talked enough for him. So his transition over to me (who talks very quickly and often and was an only child who could dominate conversations) was quite familiar to him.
Bellaisa recently posted…Self Help Dating Books, the Right, the Wrong, and the Confusing
Pick your time is a big one here. If he’s listening to a radio show or going through his emails when he’s home, it is definitely not a good time. Our problem is our schedule is so crazy between both of us working for ourselves and the kids’ sports schedules, sometimes we hardly see each other at all!
Michelle recently posted…Manage Your Twitter Accounts and Increase Followers Using Hootsuite
That happens to most couples with families these days I think. And probably why date nights are so popular if there’s a night left to fit one in that is!
Ana recently posted…Top 10 Tips To Make The Most Of Date Night
I usually read dating advice articles that are written by men but I pretty much agree with all the points in this article. I should find a way to show this article to the girl I am dating… ha
The first two irritate me the most. You should add another one “Put Down Your Phone!” I find it incredibly rude when a girl starts furiously texting in the middle of a date.
I liked your Facebook page. Great stuff!
Timothy Torrents recently posted…Never Give Up: Don’t Limit Yourself
Thanks Timothy – great to have a guy’s perspective on all this. And I agree about phones getting in the way – I hate it when someone starts texting when you’re out with them – and I also noticed an article in UK Psychologies this month about a Smartphone being the third wheel in bed in some relationships.
Ana recently posted…How To Give Your Relationship The Kiss Of Life