It’s no secret that most guys have a hard time discussing their feelings. This can be immensely frustrating for the women in their lives and potentially damaging to their marriages. One of the most common questions from women we get at Guy Stuff is about how to get their man to talk.
Getting a man to talk about his thoughts and feelings can be tough. Many men have been taught since childhood that being emotional and discussing how they feel isn’t manly and shows weakness. Unfortunately, this perception has done a disservice to the emotional and mental health of many men, and their ability to maintain healthy relationships.
So, what can you do to get your man to talk to you?
Tips For Getting The Man In Your Life To Open Up And Talk
It’s important to remember that you can’t force someone to do anything – even talk. However, how you go about it can make a big difference. The right approach is crucial when it comes to initiating any kind of sensitive conversation. This is true with anyone, but especially true when it comes to men who may not have any level of comfort or experience with discussing their feelings.
It’s also important to remember that just because they don’t talk about their feelings doesn’t mean that men don’t feel anything, even if they say they don’t. Their response, or lack of, makes it easy to assume that men don’t care, are insensitive, or even that they don’t love you, simply based on their unwillingness or inability to express themselves. This is a big mistake. Most men, like most women, feel things deeply. They just need to be coaxed, and most likely taught, how to express these feelings.
Here's some marriage help about communicating from The Oprah Magazine and the article How to Get Your Man to Open Up. It's written from the experience of a reporter and suggests strategies they use to get people to talk.
- Choose the Right Time -- Even if something has been bothering you, don't slam a man with it when he gets home from work, try a lazy Sunday afternoon (not during football season).
- Pick the Right Place -- A fellow journalism teacher knew to meet interview subjects on their home turf (an athlete in a sports bar, for example) because it let them feel they were in control. Now she has learned to butter up her husband for a big talk. "Even though I prefer sushi," she said, "if we go to his favorite Tex-Mex place, he's going to be happier." And more receptive.
- Don't Be Argumentative -- No matter how outrageous his response, probe further, call bluffs, but diffuse a fight before it happens. Say, "That's so interesting, I wouldn't have thought of it that way--please go on." After a bit of prodding, he may start to make sense.
- Selectively Ignore These Rules -- If your husband blows his Christmas bonus on a Harley-Davidson and skydiving lessons, it's finally appropriate to say, "What are you thinking?"
Give these strategies a try for better success in getting your man to talk to you.
What Happens When Couples Don’t Talk
If this seems like a lot of work and you’re tempted to just leave things alone, I urge you to reconsider. Lack of communication in a relationship is one of the biggest problems a couple can face. And the longer it goes on the harder it is to reverse. Poor communication is also a root cause of many other marital problems and can lead to emotional affairs, full-fledged cheating, or potentially divorce.
You’ll have to tread lightly though, ladies. Pushing a man too hard to talk when he’s not ready can backfire and lead to him closing up even more. And getting angry at him for not talking to you and sharing his feelings won’t help things either. In fact, these tactics may cause resentment and such discomfort in your partner that he shuts down, withdraws more, and digs in deeper on his refusal to talk.
The truth is that men and women do communicate differently. Men are generally more concise and plainly stated when it comes to talking, whereas women tend to analyze (sometimes over analyze) what they think and feel. Another difference is that women are typically much more aware of their feelings than men. Thus making them more capable of talking about them. This is important for each partner to keep in mind when talking in order not to become overly frustrated with each other.
The bottom-line ladies is that when you’re trying to figure out how to get your man to talk, patience is key. You may need to explain to him why talking is important to you, for him, and for your relationship, and you may have to do this more than once. As time consuming and frustrating as this may be, not putting the time and effort in will be far worse.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published December 26, 2009 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Looking for More? Check Out These Articles
- Communication Secrets On How To Talk To A Man
- Using Good Communication Skills In Your Relationship
- How Three Words Can Stop A Divorce
- Get More Help with Communication