6 Min Read
- What Are The Best Communication Methods?
- How To Talk To Your Man Is More Than Gender Generalities
- The Next Step
- What To Take Away
- Reader Comments (15+)
Does it ever seem like communicating with your man requires an instruction manual? For many women, knowing how to talk to a man is truly frustrating. The good news is that there are some communication secrets that can help.
We've all had times in our relationships when we can relate to the book title, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. As the title suggests, men and women don't always speak the same language, and sometimes it’s so bad that it’s like they’re from different planets.
So, just how do you effectively talk to a man?
Communication breakdowns are one of the biggest problems couples can face. This is especially true in long-term relationships.
Eventually the lack of understanding each other moves from frustration and to a complete disconnect between partners. At this point it can become difficult to deal with even the littlest of things.
Fortunately, women tend to be better communicators than men and are more apt to be proactive when it comes to conversation break downs. This isn’t always the case, but women are generally more emotionally aware than men and better able to articulate their feelings and recognize when change is needed.
Conversely, identifying feelings and expressing them can be overwhelming for many men.
So, ladies, learning how to talk with a man can be a vital skill when it comes to the health, happiness, and longevity of your relationship.
What Are The Best Communication Methods?
There are a number of communication techniques that can be effective.
What works for you and your partner will depend on each of you as individuals and how you work together as a couple. Some principles, however, are tried and true.
Here are 5 communication secrets for talking to a man that will help both women and men bridge the communication gap.
The following is an excerpt from 5 Talk-To-Him Truths That Can Keep Your Bond Strong by Stephanie Booth.
- Guys Crave Short and Sweet Compliments.
Think about how football players congratulate each other after a win: high-fives, butt slaps, and Gatorade dumped over one another's heads. Suffice it to say, men like to be praised in a totally different way than women do.
To compliment him so he feels it, save the sappy stuff for your girlfriends and adopt a less-is-more attitude instead. Short and sweet lines (think "I had no doubt you'd get that promotion!") will mean more to your man than raving about how he's the next Donald.
- Men Savor Silence.
Let's say you and your guy have just had amazing sex. You're curled up in each other's arms, enjoying the post-booty buzz, when two things happen simultaneously: You're overcome with an urge to confess that you've never felt closer to him...right as he's closing his eyes to enjoy the afterglow.
Before you assume he's not feeling the bond, remember that the way men and women experience intimacy is essentially opposite. While women tend to put a talking soundtrack to intense moments, guys want to be in it without the running commentary. "Summing up an experience enriches the event for women," says James Houran, Ph.D., director of psychological studies for True, an online relationship service. "But men don't place the same emphasis on dialogue." So while you're recapping, he's thinking, "Why rehash this? We just did it!"
- Dudes Don't Have to Hash Out All of Their Problems.
When her husband lost his job, Annie, 25, tried to offer consolation. "I'd ask, 'How are you feeling? Are you okay? Because that's what I'd want people to ask me. But every time I raised the subject, James just brushed me off."
This reaction is a typical guy approach to a crisis. Women circle around dilemmas with discussions to tackle them, but men prefer to skip the chitchat and fast-track to the solution. So while Annie wanted to work through the impact James's job loss was having on his self-esteem, his only interest was in an action-based resolution.
- Your Crying Can Freak Him Out.
Generally, the only tears guys shed are tragedy-fueled. Women, on the other hand, will well up for all sorts of reasons: frustration, fatigue, anger, empathy, sadness, and yes, even happiness. And female tear ducts are often triggered by something small (like stubbing your toe) after a series of other bigger frustrations. Makes sense to women...big mystery for men.
Take a look at it from his perspective. One minute you're seemingly happy, the next you spill some milk and start bawling. If there's no obvious, tangible problem to match the tears, the emotional outpouring appears to be a huge overreaction, so your guy doesn't show you a whole lot of sympathy. The problem: This in turn hurts you.
"This isn't about men being insensitive," explains David Coleman, author of Making Relationships Matter. "They get frustrated because they want to find a specific problem and solve it."
- "Sorry" Isn't His Only Way to Make Up.
Besides those three little words (I love you), those two little words (I'm sorry) are the most difficult to say in a romantic relationship, especially for men. First of all, it's a closure thing. While women need to give (and hear) that verbal apology right after a fight to feel like it's over, men don't. "It's not in their makeup to dwell," explains therapist Nina Atwood, author of Soul Talk. So once the fight has seemingly ended - meaning, you've stopped verbally battling - they move on.
What's a girl to do? Look around to see if he's been showing you he's sorry in other ways. While women rely on hearing those words of regret, men are more inclined to show it. "For a guy, your hurt feelings become a problem he needs to fix, and men do that by taking action," says Atwood.
You can read the whole article here: 5 Talk-To-Him Truths That Can Keep Your Bond Strong.
How To Talk To Your Man Is More Than Gender Generalities
Understanding the communication tendencies that are typical for each gender is a good start when you’re struggling to talk to your man. It’s not the whole story though.
Within the generalities associated with each gender are many, many nuances that are specific to an individual. To truly improve your communication, you’ll need to go deeper into the list above and work to understand and respect what fits your partner's needs specifically.
>Modern masculinity has become very confusing for many men, and feeling conflicted about how and when to express themselves emotionally isn’t unusual.
So, make sure you take this list and become clear on how your partner fits into it. Some of these may apply intensely or not at all to your boyfriend or husband.
The Next Step
If you’re reading this, finding that much of it rings true, and wondering what to do next, you’re not alone. The fact that you’re looking for ways to improve your communication means your farther along than many, however.
Having identified some of the key areas where things can go wrong, there are now a few things both you and your partner should do:
Women show this list to your husband or boyfriend. Ask him which of these he can relate to the most, and then ask him to explain how he thinks it's affected his relationship with you in the past. Get some ideas from him on how he would like you to communicate with him differently in the future.
Men show this list to your wife or girlfriend. Explain to her which ones most describe you and how you've experienced communication difficulties in the past because of it. Let her know how you'd like her to communicate with you in the future and ask her if she will do that for you.
Using this list as a guide can set you on the right path to better communication.
What To Take Away
Learning how to talk to a man (or more specifically, your man) doesn’t happen overnight.
Improved communication and understanding between partners takes effort – from both of you.
This can’t be a one-sided effort. To be successful, both of you need to be willing to make changes in order to bridge the divide.
- Use the list above as a guide for working with your partner to improve communication.
- Understand how your partner specifically fits into those generalities.
- Modify your approach with each other so that you’re talking, listening, and understanding in ways that fit for you as a couple.
This method can (and should) go both ways. As much as it can tough for a woman to understand how to talk to a man, men often experience the same difficulties when talking to women.
I want to challenge you to use these communication differences as an opportunity to better understand each other and build a stronger relationship. Despite the common male-female communication differences, relationship communication does work, it just requires some effort.
Which of these 5 communication differences can you relate to the most? Share a brief comment below.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published Jan 26, 2010, updated on February 19, 2019, and updated again for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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