As a dating/relationship and life coach, I work with both men and women. Because I’m trying to help them radically alter their lives, they usually tell me the absolute truth about what they’re thinking. They don’t hold back because I need total authenticity to help them move forward.
So, as a man, I can give interesting insight into the male mind. But, since I’ve worked with numerous guys over the years, I’m in an even more unique position to explain how to understand men, including what we think about love, life, relationships, marriage, your new haircut, and just about anything. Men and women might be from different planets (Mars and Venus), but getting a basic insight into the male mind isn’t as hard as you think.
This article will give general tips to understand guys, so you can better interact with them and even get what you want.
Try To Think Like A Man
The other day a client of mine sent a random selfie of himself to a girl he liked. He didn’t know her personally, but came across her Instagram. He was surprised when she ignored his photo and blocked him. After all, he told me, he would love it if an attractive, random woman messaged him.
When trying to understand men, you’ll have to first realize that men and women think and act differently. This doesn’t mean men and women are unequal, inferior, or anything negative. It just means that, in terms of the way both sexes look at reality and behave, there can be differences.
If you feel like the men in your life are impossible to understand, then you might be assuming that he thinks just like you. That’s not the case. So, if you truly want to understand men, remember that they’re wired a little differently. In fact, male and female brains are literally different, which can lead to different behaviors and thought processes.
Not All Men
If you’ve had a strong male in your life, you might be tempted to think that all men are like that person. This, of course, can be positive or negative. I know many people who hate men based on a negative experience with an abusive father or husband. I also know people who are very trusting of men because they grew up with a great father or had a supportive boyfriend.
Although most men might share certain traits, it doesn’t mean that all men act and think in the exact same way. Many people don’t know how to understand men because they think all men are the same or all men act like one man they knew at some point. So, if you’re truly trying to understand guys, you’ll need to put aside stereotypes and prejudices and look at men with an open mind.
Communicate With Men
A friend of mine was complaining about never understanding her husband’s needs. She constantly told him what he needed to do to make their relationship successful, but the relationship continued to fail. My response: “did you ask him what he wants?” She admitted she really hadn’t bothered asking the one person who could definitively answer the question!
If you want to understand people, whether male or female, you have to really communicate with them. I don’t mean stereotype them, make assumptions, or believe what you want to believe. If you really communicate with the men in your life, then you’ll begin to understand them in ways you never considered possible.
Talk to them! If you’re having trouble, keep in mind the next two tips. Remember that men feel emotions, but are often discouraged to speak up due to cultural expectations about masculinity.
Ask Open Ended Questions
Many guys put up a front and don’t want to talk about their lives. If you give them the chance to respond with one word or short answers, many are going to do that, rather than open up. So, don’t give the guys you want to understand a chance answer with something like “good, fine, yes, or no.”
Open ended questions get the discussion going. For example, instead of saying “how was your day?” which usually elicits a “fine” ask, “what did you enjoy about your day?” When you try to start conversations, ask yourself if your questions will get him talking or get him saying a word or two.
Think of the men you want to understand. How much do you really know about them? You might know their favorite sports teams or what they get when they go to a steakhouse. But, you might not really know what makes them tick.
Whether you’re trying to understand men or wanting to be a good communicator in general, practice active listening. This is where you truly pay attention to what the person you’re talking with is saying.
When actively listening, you don’t look at your phone, stare off into space, or think about what you’re going to say next. Instead you truly and thoughtfully hear what the person is saying. You make eye contact, lean in, and ask clarifying questions.
Talk is cheap. Anyone can say anything. Take, for example, dating profiles. People often express what they want in very noble terms. A guy might say how he wants a strong, independent, intelligent, sweet woman, but he goes out and dates women who are the opposite of what he says he wants.
We live in an age when people are expected to say the right things. It’s all about appearance. So, a guy can post the right things on social media and tell you what you want to hear, then behave totally different!
I’m not picking on men because women do this too. And, many guys make the mistake of focusing on words rather than actions. But, if you’re a woman looking to understand men, believe me: observation is better than what men say.
Some men are truly manipulators who want to put up a good front. But, a lot of it is plain old human nature in action. Many guys might want to be someone different, so they say great things about what they want to be. Then, they go out and act the same way. Observe them to truly understand their thinking!
You Can’t Fully Understand Men
You can, however, learn a lot about men based on my previous tips and make generalizations that allow you to better interact with the men in your life. And, it’s worth the effort to do that, trust me.
But, with roughly 3.5 billion men in the world, there will always be nuances and exceptions to every single generalization and rule. And, you don’t want your rules and generalities about men to cause you to keep a closed mind about individual men or unfairly judge them.
So, try your best to understand men as much as possible, but realize that individual personalities and cultural expectations will impact your experiences with individual men.