How many times have you asked a man, “What are you thinking?” and been met with one of the most amazing conversations of your life? Not very often, right? That’s because as direct as men often are, they aren’t in the habit of going around digging for another guy’s thoughts and feelings. It isn’t often that one man asks another man “how do you feel about that, Jim?” Men often share what they are comfortable with and then go quiet. Women relish in the details, the elaboration, and the emotions behind the experience.
For example, a woman would never just say, “Jim cheated on me” to her best friend and move on to the next conversation. This revelation would lend itself to details, explanations, feelings and condolences on the part of the best friend.
One man could definitely say to another “Jill cheated on me” with his best friend responding, “oh wow Jim, I’m sorry” and then both move on to the next conversation. The best friend would understand that his buddy was upset, and Jim would feel like he got it off his chest. This level of brevity between men is often difficult for women to understand.
As you’re already aware, men don’t often share their emotions in the same way that women do, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have deeper emotions at all. If you are trying to figure out your man a little better, or trying to get a new man to open up a bit more with you, all you need to know is how to tap into that place that will make him open up without putting him in a pressure cooker. Here’s how to get a man to open up:
Be the first to open up. The science behind this revelation rests in the fact that men won’t pursue or open up to someone that won’t do the same in return. However, this has to be done sparingly. If you are too busy blabbering on about yourself, your day, your nail appointment, your co-workers, he’s not going to reveal himself too you. You’ll also sound like a self-centered windbag and no one likes that.
If you open up about something important and personal first, you would be surprised at how quickly he will respond. This tells him you are in a safe place with him, and this makes him feel safe enough to open up to you as well.
Listen more, talk less. While it’s important to open up, there’s a saying, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.” When men know they are being heard, and not cut off for someone else to interject their own agenda, they will talk more. Most people err on the side of talking far too much. If you’re working with a bit of an introvert, you could keep talking for years and never know anything about them unless you stop and let there be silence sometimes.
Don’t judge him. You would be surprised at the power of one little sentence; “I love how honest you are with me, even when it’s not necessarily what I want to hear.” Love him, warts and all, and he will be that much quicker to give you the same affections in return.
Let go of your expectations. Opening up to him first is an all important step, but if you are dropping the “L” bomb for no other reason than to hear it back, he will know your intentions without you having to say another word. And the word will definitely drop like a bomb, all over your heart. Revealing yourself in general, without expecting anything in return is an important step in showing him that you just want him to know how you feel, regardless of his position in the matter.
Give him time. Right after he walks in the door after a twelve-hour day at the office is not the time to quiz him about his feelings. Gently ask him how his day was, listen for the answer (and let “fine” be enough for now), and then tell him to grab a shower or glass of wine and let him tell you more about it over dinner. The low pressure environment and the gratitude he will feel will manifest into an open communication that will pleasantly surprise you, and bond you together in a way that direct pressure simply won’t.
Let go of the past. Men know you have a past. They certainly do as well. And they are often painfully aware that all of their past relationships haven’t gone perfect either. If you are trying to get him to open up more, constantly reminding him about the ex-boyfriend that cheated on you or taking every opportunity to rattle on about how he was late for your Aunt Gertrude’s anniversary party, he’s going to hole up faster than a turtle who has just been startled.
The more you talk about his transgressions or ones from your past partners, the harder it will be to have a meaningful conversation without him feeling judged. This goes double for little jokes and jabs about mistakes he’s made in the past. You don’t like it when a time you messed up is constantly brought up, do you? Same goes for him.
Activities rather than planned conversations will go a long way. If he knows you want to have “The Talk” or “Any Talk” for that matter, he will go and find something else to do. Take him for a walk, golfing or a bike ride and he will often relax enough to begin sharing things with you. Men bond through shared activities, while women often feel more bonded through conversation. You might get what you’re after if you give him a little of what makes him feel closer to you.
The Bottom Line – How to Get a Man to Open Up
When it comes to getting men to talk more, women often forget that means they need to talk less. Men will run from the very first sign of pressure, so learning how to navigate the tough conversations with your man, without showing him any signs of pressure, will be the easiest way to get a man to open up. Create a safe environment for him to open up to you, by being the first to share, and the first to listen when he finally starts to share.