10 Things You Chicks Should Really Understand about Us Guys
Pssst . . . A Little Secret
When you get together with your girlfriends over a scone and a cup of coffee, what do you talk about? The guys in your life, of course. More to the point, the "what the heck is he doing?" things. The "I have no clue where that came from" things. The "he's a guy and guys just aren't relational" stuff. Well, get a clue, gals. Instead of asking your girlfriends for advice, why not turn to what a guy has to say?
Myth 1: Guys Don't Have Feelings
I call foul on this myth right away. It seems that decades of movies with John Waynes and Jason Stathams have convinced women that guys don't have feelings. We do. In fact, we look to the women in our lives for validation, love, cuddling, and support. The difference is, we're not particularly adept at telling you this. And we don't want anything to get back to our guy friends. But a quick tip: Guys are, by and large, straightforward. We resent anything that feels like emotional manipulation. This means if we need some emotional support, make us feel safe and we'll ask for it. But don't try to drag out an emotional response. If you "just know" something is wrong with us, you're probably reading too much into it.
Myth 2: Guys Never Want to Talk About Their Feelings
Well, that depends upon your definition of "talk." Ever seen how two guys share their hurts and disappointments? Bet you never did, because it happened so fast you missed it. Friend 1: "Hey man, my boss chewed me out me this week, my girlfriend is all hormonal about something I don't know what, and I'm late with the rent." Friend 2: "Ah, man. That sucks. That really sucks. I'm super sorry." Friend 1: "But it's all right. You know?" Friend 2: "Yeah, just hang in there, buddy." Friend 1: "Yeah." Maybe they shake hands or hug a real man hug. Friend 2: "So, the guys are getting together tonight for the game and some pizza. Wanna come?" Takeaway lesson: A guy will only share his troubles with someone he really trusts. Also, he'll do it in a way that doesn't make him look wimpy or lose face. Your guy will "talk" about his feelings with you. Just don't expect a Shakespearean monologue. At the same time, listen to him when he does talk like this. Brush him off a couple times, and he's not going to open up anymore.
Myth 3: Guys Are Just in it for the Sex
Wow, another ugly one. And it's so unfair to men. First off, some men are real skanks, and you want to stay away from them. But truly, not all men are like that. Most men are looking for a fulfilling relationship with a wonderful woman, but they just don't know how to get there. When guys hang out, guess who the hero is? "Man, how did you get such a great wife? How do you keep her happy?" If you want to find a man who's about the relationship instead of the sex, slooooow things down. Demand commitment. Dress moderately. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be a microwave instead of a Crock Pot, with your desire dangling outside of you. Now imagine that the bra you wear or the shape of your pants pushed the desire big time. Now you have an idea of what makes men do what they do. In other words, you get what you pay for. If a man doesn't feel pressured to have sex with you after the third date, you might be surprised to find what a gentleman he can be. The trouble is, our culture has convinced everyone that sex is way, way more important to a relationship than it is. Be open with a man about why you're attracted to him, so he doesn't feel the need to seduce you.
Myth 4: Guys Don't Try to Understand Us
Correction: You don't try to tell us. I tell you, when guys hang out, the single most common topic of discussion is "Hey, anyone here tell me why my girlfriend/wife did this or that?" And all the guys chip in. Truth be told, we're not good at sniffing out meanings in stuff. If you want us to understand something . . . well, tell us. "I'm mad at you because I found out you spent the gas money on World of Warcraft IV" is a lot more effective than throwing a pout fit for three days and saying "You're always spending money we don't have!" Be specific. We guys are episodic in nature. We don't do longterm checklists. If you pull away and complain about nonrelated things, we won't be spurred on to dig deeper and find out where we erred - we'll be confused, nonplussed, and ultimately, angry.
Myth 5: He's More Interested in Work Than Me
Once again, you need to understand a man's reasoning. Much ink has been spilled over a man's need to feel affirmed by his job and career, so I'm not going to add to that. Suffice it to say, that's true. What is also true is that a man has a hard time understanding you when you say that a relationship is more important than a career. Too many self-righteous women ask their men, "Why is this so much more important to you?" To which the men are thinking inside, "Why not?" Unless you have a darned good answer to that question, don't ask it. You just push your man toward making the determination that the career is, in fact, more important. Too many women assume that their position is morally superior. Trust me, that's a values judgment, and you're liable to lose. A man puts a lot of work into building a career, and he feels entitled to some payback. When you met this man, you knew he was a guy with a lot of goals, ambition, and drive. Learn to celebrate and affirm that - not squelch it.
Myth 6: Guys Are Afraid of Commitment
Baloney. Guys are afraid of entrapment. You see, most guys have a slightly different definition of commitment than you do. They need a lot more space. Like a guy told me the other day, "Oh, I was committed to her. I just didn't want to go out with her every single night." Commitment doesn't mean the guy cuts all his friends out of his life, trots dutifully after you to the Laundromat, and stops calling his mom every now and then. Commitment doesn't mean that from now on, you control every step and decision of his life. You try to do that, he won't think it's committing. He'll think it's controlling, and he left Mommy's house for that very reason. To a guy, commitment is very simple: I choose you over every other girl in the world. Isn't that flattering enough to trust him with the other details?
Myth 7: He Thinks I'm Fat
This ties right back in with the insecurities and misconceptions that lots of women have about men and sex. Does your guy like you to dress sexy, be hot, and wear nice clothes? Sure. But he understands that not every woman looks like a supermodel. Heck, as tech-savvy as he is, he knows how to Photoshop you to look like Megan Fox anyway. If he's with you, then you are his queen. Relax and ignore the occasional pimple, extra pound, or whatever. When he says, "Uh . . . sure. Looks great," it's because it does. To him.
Myth 8: Guys Are Bad Listeners
This one is right up there with the old myth that all girls are good listeners. Guys are people, too. Sometimes we're tired, or stressed, or just wanting to think about something else. We don't mean to brush you off. Remember, guys usually speak whatever is on their heart quickly and succinctly. If you want to keep our attention, learn to speak our language. Break it up into bullet points. Don't repeat the same complaints every day. We heard you the first time. Don't always wait for a response, either. We might need time to think about it.
Myth 9: My Guy Doesn't Love Me If He Doesn't Love the Stuff I Do
"When we first met, he just loved to do my thing with me, but now he just makes excuses!" Well, duh. As I mentioned before, men are episodic in nature. We like to do something, finish it, and move onto the next thing. We're not good with commitments that demand we be there, every Friday, at 4:30 p.m. So he joined drama club to be with you? Great! After a play or two, he'll be itching to move on to something else. It doesn't mean he has stopped loving you, it just means you need to adapt and join him on his next big quest. Look around. Why are church ministries, PTAs, social groups, 4-H, and school boards mostly run by women? Because women take comfort in continuity and busyness. Guys are 100% different. Guys get restive when there's no end date in sight. And what about goals? A guy wants to be part of a thing that is going somewhere. A new color scheme for the cafeteria is not "somewhere."
Myth 10: He Doesn't Care When I Cry
Oh, tsk, tsk. First off, he does care. A lot. But most guys just don't have the emotional tools in their toolbox to fix this problem. Remember the old saw? "Girls don't want you to put out the fire - they just want you to stand in the fire with them and burn." The truth is, most guys don't know what you want when you cry. So why not tell them? "Look, I am crying because my best friend from high school just left a nasty message on my phone. So please, can you hold me for twenty minutes and then we'll go get dinner at the seaside restaurant?" Wow. You've given him a way to fix this mess.