My wife has several female friends who seem to have trouble finding a guy, or keeping a guy, or just interacting with guys in general. Men have long been mystified by what goes on in a woman’s mind, but until recently, it was never very clear to me that women might also be confused about what men are thinking. Lately, women have asked for my advice on their relationships. Typically, when it’s not the guy’s fault and she shouldn’t just forget about him and move on, the problem boils down to some faulty assumptions on what it means to be a man, and what women should expect when a guy is interested in them.
This is not to say that the woman is always wrong, or needs to try extra hard to find a way to “keep a guy,” while the guy does whatever he wants. There are many times when the man is wrong, but in this article I’m focusing on a few mistakes I see women make, from time to time.
So, here is my advice. I tried not to sugar-coat anything. It’s coming to you raw, and sometimes brutally honest.
BE HAPPY WITH YOURSELF FIRST
Admittedly, this isn’t really advice from a guy’s perspective, but I felt it was necessary to say. You should be able to be alone and be happy. Don’t define yourself based on your relationships. If you bounce from relationship to relationship, you aren’t taking the time to really get to know yourself. Take it easy, and wait to find a guy that actually matches who you are, and what you want in life. That will be easier to do, if you actually know who you are and what you want in life. Take some time to yourself, and figure those things out.
BE OPEN AND HONEST
This may come across as harsh, so I apologize, but it needs to be said: don’t try to manipulate us. It will only lead to negative emotions associated with you. You probably won’t like yourself too much after doing it, either. Nothing truly good can come of it. From a guy’s perspective, we hate this. If you want something, or need something, just say it. Don’t beat around the bush. Be open and honest, both with us and with yourself.
This is related to the last point. If you want to know something, don’t try to extract it in some convoluted, manipulative way. Just ask, directly. Yes, it leaves you open and vulnerable. If you expect a guy to become open and vulnerable with you, you need to do the same. In fact, from a psychology perspective, if you open yourself up and show some vulnerability to a guy, there is a fundamental want to reciprocate. Deep down, we will want to do the same.
If you’ve just started a relationship and you want to know where you stand, ask. Please.
Not only will asking improve the depth of your relationship, but it will actually improve your life. Asking honestly and directly is the most effective way to get what you want. Too often, we don’t get what we want simply because we don’t ask. Start by asking for what you want in your relationship, and hopefully you’ll become more comfortable asking in all other aspects of your life.
Take control of Your life
First, I’d like to point out that we are in the 21st century. The rules of society as they existed in the past do not need to be carried forward indefinitely. You can make a change, if you want to. What I am referring to is the assumption that women should wait to be “hit on” or “asked out.” Why is this still happening?? Let me ask you a question: who do you think has the power in that situation? On the surface, you might assume that the women holds the power because she can reject the guy. But, really, the man holds the best position in this game. He gets to choose who will receive his advances. After getting over your fear of rejection (which really doesn’t take very long), this is definitely the stronger position. Take back your life, ladies.
Let me reframe my stance on this, slightly. Do you constantly say something like, “Why do I always attract these jerks?” Why are you trying to attract, and not go after what you want? You want a nice guy, find one. You want someone funny, witty, and nice to their mother, find one. Take the leap yourself. Stop waiting for the guys to ask you out. Take control of your own life. Yes, you might get rejected, and yes, it sucks at first. But, realize that it’s not personal to be rejected by someone you approach. They know nothing about you, or almost nothing. They might not be ready for a relationship, or already in one, or having a bad day, or tired, or maybe you’re just not their type. Either way, you get over being rejected fairly quickly if you keep asking.
DON’T EXPECT SHY GUYS TO “SWEEP YOU OFF YOUR FEET”
I was listening to a woman’s problem about a man she felt was “very shy.” She asked me why he didn’t ask her out. I mean, if he likes her enough, he would ask her out, right?
Why would you expect someone to miraculously change their whole personality based on a very short interaction? If anything, the more he likes you, the less likely it is he will ask you out. You’ll make him even more nervous, and more shy, and he’ll retreat further. Now, that being said, after spending enough time and becoming comfortable with you, they may break through their shyness and ask you out – but this could take a long time. But, again, why wait?? If you like the guy, and you know it’s going to be hard for him to ask you out because he’s shy, do him a favor and make it easier on him. If you truly like him, why not ease some of his suffering, because undoubtedly he suffers each night regretting not asking you out because he’s too shy.
Constantly asking a man to validate your self-image is exhausting, and will ultimately kill any relationship. You need to be able to stand on your own two feet, know who you are, and know that you are worthy of anyone and anything.
Self-soothing is actually a very simple concept. If you are upset, make yourself feel better – be it by having a nice cup of tea or a relaxing bath, or watching a funny show. Don’t expect or ask your guy to fix every situation or calm you down every time you’re upset. It places a huge burden on your relationship, and it’s ultimately not that effective. Of course, I’m not saying you should never seek comfort from your man. Just don’t force it or get angry at them if they’re not able to fix things.
He’s Not withholding Emotion on Purpose
Emotionally speaking, most guys are stunted. It’s really not our fault. We’re trained almost from birth to suppress our emotions. It takes time to open up and find those feelings again. Make sure you make the environment comfortable and non-judgemental. Also, being open and honest yourself will go a long way.
Never make assumptions about how he feels or assume you know what he’s thinking. That’s a sure way of either making him angry, or making him feel like he shouldn’t even bother telling you how he feels, since you seem to already have it all figured out. You might know what he’s thinking. Yes, you might be right. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter. If you want him to share his thoughts and feelings with you, then you need to pretend like you don’t know, and that you care. Not just now and then, but all the time.
We Cannot Read Minds
Nor should we be expected to. The same, of course, applies in reverse. You should not have to read our minds. If you’re being open and honest, as I mentioned earlier, this is really not going to be an issue. If there’s a problem, start a dialog. Try and tell him exactly what you feel, and don’t say “yes” when you mean “no”, for example. Honesty, above all else.