Men communication problems

What Guys Misunderstand About Communicating

Alex Manley





There's a common perception that men communicate differently than women in life, but especially in their relationships, regardless of who they’re dating..

Whether that’s true or not, it’s fair to say that some guys could stand to benefit from a little communication upgrade. Beyond just helping you iron out disagreements and misunderstandings, becoming a better communicator can seriously improve your connections with the people already in your life and the people you’ll meet going forward — and it might even improve how you communicate with yourself.

RELATED: How to Communicate With Women

With that in mind, here are five misconceptions about communicating that many men still have (and could stand to improve on) — along with quotes from real women on what they wish men knew about the issue.

1. They Struggle With Talking About Emotions

“[I wish guys knew] when women share their feelings, they are able to be fully accountable for them, and are not always intending to place any amount of blame on their man. This can be very difficult for a man to grasp as they often feel great responsibility for their partner’s emotional well-being.” - Iz, 25

Whether it’s listening to a friend vent, or digging deep and talking about their own feelings, many guys are at a loss. And that’s not entirely their fault — from a young age, girls are typically socialized to be conversant in emotions, whereas boys are … well, not.

“Many men have not been raised to value their emotional selves,” says Jor-El Caraballo, a relationship therapist and co-creator of Viva Wellness. “The ‘man up’ or ‘shake it off’ attitude is rampant in many cultures in an effort to build ‘strong,’ resilient boys and men. The problem is that for people who are socialized as boys, this is reinforced over and over again, and then it becomes difficult for men to discuss their emotions as they get older.

As Lesli Doares, host of the internet radio program “Happily Ever After Is Just the Beginning” and author of “Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After with More Intention, Less Work” points out, that dynamic isn’t just foisted on young boys — grown men are also sometimes shamed for letting their emotions out.

Ironically, it can occur in the very same romantic relationships they’re in; relationships that could greatly benefit from greater emotional openness and transparency.

“Women say they want men to be open and vulnerable, but [many] still want to see them as strong and invincible,” says Doares. “It is a tough line for men to walk, so even if they are aware of their emotions, they don’t feel they can share them. The first step is for men to become aware of all their emotions. They have been taught to shut down some of them without realizing that it shuts them all down. Learning to feel them is necessary before they can be expressed in a confident way.

If you find yourself struggling to get to that place of openness and vulnerability with your romantic partner, it might be worth seeng a professional first. A licensed therapist or counselor could help you understand your emotions, their causes and their end results in a clearer way. As Beth Liebling, founder of sex toy boutique Darling Way and host of the “Love and Laughter With Beth” podcast notes, emotional support — much of which comes through conversation — is a bedrock of strong relationships.

“I like to explain that each of us needs to be a 3-year-old sometimes, but in an adult relationship, we need to take turns,” she says. “[Many] breakups happen when both want to do so at the same time and neither person is willing to take their turn being the adult and giving more than they are receiving in a particular moment.”

2. They Struggle With Being Clear and Direct

“I wish (straight white cis) men understood that women are often already putting up with a lot of annoying things [men do], and so then when those women do or say something annoying to them, instead of being hurtful, they could somehow take into account how much space they’re being given to be flawed instead of instantly being judgmental of these women. ” - Lea, 26

One aspect of communication that men struggle with — particularly when it comes to talking with women — is varying levels of directness. Because men are socialized to speak in direct ways with each other, encountering a more nuanced conversational approach can throw ‘em for a loop. It’s that discrepancy in directness that’s to blame for the stereotype many guys adhere to that women are impossible to understand. Rather, it’s just that they communicate differently.

“Men think women don’t say what they mean because, traditionally, they don’t,” says Doares. “Women have been taught to be ‘nice’ and not ask for things, so they do it in roundabout ways.”

What does that look like in practice? Well, according to Doares, it could be as simple as dropping hints rather than making requests.

RELATED: What Women Say & What They Really Mean, Revealed

“Statements such as, ‘Hey, I heard about this new restaurant…. ’ instead of ‘Hey, can we go to this new restaurant on Friday?’ Or ‘Susan at the office said she had a great time this weekend when she and her husband went to...’ and you’re supposed to figure out that she wants to go there, too. Some of this is changing, but it’s about not wanting to ask directly and be told no.”

Regardless of your partner’s gender, if you’ve noticed miscommunication around that kind of nuanced approach to requests cropping up in your relationship, consider talking it out \ and seeing if you can come to a compromise of sorts with one of you being more assertive while the other tries to be more attentive. Even being able to ask a question like, “Wait, when you brought up that new restaurant… Was that a subtle way of saying you wanted to go?” could go a long way towards much smoother and easier communication.

“The best bet in avoiding miscommunication is to focus on exploring,” says Caraballo. “Ask more questions. Be curious about your partner and [their] needs. Really taking the time to listen to understand, and not respond, can go an incredibly long way.”

3. They Struggle With Listening

“[I wish guys knew] that not saying anything, and responding to open-ended questions like ‘how was your day’ with one-word answers is not communication. But also talking at me for half an hour while I politely smile and nod and maybe try to ask some follow-up questions that you mostly ignore to continue unchanged on your train of thought is also not communicating.” - Meredith, 30

Since time immemorial, men have accused women of being overly chatty. Regardless of who talks the most, however, in recent years, there’s been an increasing sense that in fact, men are the bigger talkers.

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Particularly when they’re in conversation with a woman, many men seem to hold forth at length about their thoughts, opinions, feelings and so forth. Of course, that’s totally fine — so long as you leave space in the conversation for the other person to do the same. And yet the tropes of the mansplainer, the reply guy, the questionless date and others persist. How can guys strike the right balance where they don’t feel walked all over, but neither does the other person?

“The average guy needs to understand two things,” says Doares. “1. He is entitled to think, feel, and communicate in an authentic way, and 2. How to ask clarifying questions so he can get a better grasp of how his partner communicates.”

The notion of asking clarifying questions is a powerful one. In essence, when you ask your partner how they’d like you to communicate, you’re listening about listening. That might seem a little meta for your tastes, but what you’re doing is acknowledging that communication isn’t the easiest thing in the world and it is worth putting effort into. That makes a powerful statement around doing something that doesn’t require saying a single word.

4. They Struggle With Difficult Questions

“[I wish guys knew] that saying ‘yes, dear’/the right thing in the moment is not a good strategy if there’s no follow-through.” - Anne-Marie, 25

The notion that women ask men emotionally fraught questions to which there are no right answers, specifically designed to provoke a dramatic reaction — the classic one being “Does this dress make me look fat?” — is well-cemented by pop culture.

Doares thinks that this “trap question” is more an issue of low self-esteem. In other words, rather than a specific question automatically going south, it’s just one that’s opens up a conversation topic that can easily turn bad because it’s pre-loaded with lots of emotional baggage.

“I’m not sure women are trying to make guys feel bad, but they often don’t believe their guy finds them beautiful, smart, etc., despite what they say,” she says. “This is a woman’s picture of herself. She sees all the imperfections and believes her partner sees them too but is just trying to make her feel better.”

It’s not surprising, then, given how much of our cultural discourse is around women’s looks (specifically, their body shape), that women asking their male partners for reassurance about their looks or their weight could go badly. But it’s also worth noting that, even if it’s not a “trap” question per se, it might not be a healthy question — either to ask or to answer — if it’s becoming a common thing.

“If this is something that your partner does often, could you communicate how that feels for you?,” says Caraballo. “What if you asked, ‘Are you really asking me if you look fat or are you looking for a different answer?’ Odds are, she might want to feel seen and attractive to you in that moment. That's understandable but posed in a really dubious way which can build resentment over time.”

5. They Struggle With Being Non-Competitive

“[I wish guys knew] that communication requires an intimate level of caring where you welcome the possibility of being in the wrong; that real communication requires openness and depth of feeling. ” - Nina, 29

In the world of all-male communication, it’s common for a conversation to become a competition, whether explicitly or implicitly. If you’re used to interacting with your male peers in competitive ways — and many male-leaning hobbies, like sports and gaming, are — it can be tough to turn that aspect of your thinking off.

But a good conversation, especially a serious one, is rarely anything like a competition. In a relationship, trying to outdo or shame your partner in an argument is likely to make things worse rather than better. Caraballo suggests approaching conflict not with the mentality of what someone did wrong, but with how it made you feel.

“When you communicate with your partner, sharing problems from the ‘I’ perspective is often overlooked but so important,” he says. “Instead of saying ‘You did x’ and ‘Why did you do y?,’ which breeds defensive behavior, try speaking from the personal ‘I’ and saying ‘I felt hurt when you did x’ or ‘I felt so frustrated and confused when you did y. ’”

According to Caraballo, this helps to“reduce misunderstandings and demonstrate patience and compassion rather than your communication feeling like an attack on their character or personhood.”

Acknowledging that you have a subjective take on the situation rather than a completely objective one shifts the focus away from a right-versus-wrong mentality to one where you can both share how you felt and arrive at a middle ground — or at least a common understanding.

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conversation tips

How Men Communicate in Relationships

The way men communicate in relationships is completely different than the way women communicate.

When men and women in a relationship communicate, it’s hard to say who gets more frustrated. Men sometimes feel as if women spoke in tongues, and women, on the other hand, often cannot remember the last time they heard anything besides: “What’s for dinner?” from their men.

The reason behind this lies in the simple dissimilarities that cause storms in a relationship – in questions about when, why, and what men and women communicate to each other.

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So what are those simple dissimilarities?

Simply put, the main issue is the fact that men and women experience the purpose of communication differently. It may sound strange, but let’s test this. If you are a man reading this, you probably think: “How can it be seen differently? Communication has one simple purpose – to communicate information to someone!” On the other hand, a woman will probably think that yes, there are numerous varieties of conversations, but mostly, they all build some sort of a relationship between the two, and help bring people closer to each other.

Now, it is not just a lay opinion that there are significant differences in communication patterns between men and women. Psychological studies confirm that women in relationships often talk simply to bond, without a real intention to communicate any sort of relevant information. And this is not a bad thing. But for many men, it is utterly difficult to grasp such an interaction, and they get downright confused and frustrated by this.

Men believe that if one speaks, they ought to say something new, informative, practical and logical. They should present a problem, or offer a solution, express an attitude… If a man doesn’t have something useful to say, he won’t speak. Oh, but this is where the problem arises. A woman interprets this as an alarm, a sign that her partner is growing cold – because conversation means intimacy and mutual interest. A woman then wants to talk things through, but speaking about emotions puts a man into a challenging position. Not only does the culture demand him to be strong and composed, but there is a neurological obstacle to these conversations as well. Women can feel and speak at the same time. Interestingly, men actually have to switch from speech to emotions and back, which takes a lot of energy and focus.

Are men really born reserved?

When this sort of conversation about gender differences is started in a company, one of the first things you will hear is that women are born better (and more prolific) speakers. You’ve probably heard that men are superior at mathematics and science, and women in verbal assignments, and that these differences are biologically (evolutionally) determined. However, even though this idea originates from psychological findings, the disparities are truly not that big. To be more exact, a 1988 analysis of 165 studies, performed by Hyde and colleagues, showed that the belief that females are more verbally skillful is not at all scientifically substantiated, not for any aspect of verbal processing (same goes for math and science skills among males). The differences in the abilities that were found were actually slight and meaningless.

Therefore, if you were convinced that it is a nature given trait of yours that you have to communicate in a certain way, it may not be completely true. What is closer to truth is that in Western culture, girls are believed (expected) to be more talkative and verbally adapt, and boys not to talk much, especially not about emotions. So these expectations are actually the ones that do cause a sort of a Pygmalion effect. Parents raise their children in accordance with cultural beliefs, and that is what causes adult women to speak about twice as much as men. However, knowing that this is not a biological prerequisite may be of help if you wish to improve your relationship.

How can we improve the communication in our relationships?

And this is where we get to the question of enriching the communication with our significant others. We now know that there is not an inborn obstacle to it. Also, understanding how differently each of the genders experiences verbal exchange in a relationship may help us all to be more empathetic towards our partners. Finally, the most important thing you can do if you care about the future and happiness of your relationship or marriage, is letting a professional assist you. You may think “I don’t need an outsider teaching me how to speak to my wife,” and that is alright. However, it never hurts to have someone who is an expert in the field give you input on how you can improve further.

In this case, a therapist can provide you with insights you might not be able to acquire yourself, being inevitably subjective when it comes to your relationship. You may also learn how to assertively express yourself without the risk of coming off as aggressive (again). A few visits may save you and your partner a whole lot of time and nerves. And without the risk of exaggerating, it may even save your relationship.


Hyde, J. S., & Linn, M. C. (1988). Gender differences in verbal ability: A meta- analysis.   Psychological Bulletin, 104, 53-69

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I have problems communicating with men: I don't understand what to expect from men in close relationships.

.. — Husband and wife

Dear N.!

Please accept my admiration that you found the courage to work on your problems, and not drag them along, and turned to a psychotherapist. I understand from your question that you would like to be clear about something concrete and enticing.

Your past rejection of men has blocked the way for the fantasies and illusions common to young girls who, unlike you, have a very good idea of ​​what they expect from men; however, in many cases they come to disappointment.

Since you don't have these illusion pictures, you are basically like a blank slate. That is, it is much easier for you than for others to gradually pave the right path for yourself to build a relationship of love, and not to be in illusions.

First of all, build for yourself, first in your thoughts and then in your imagination, the image of a happy family. Don't say "men". No woman can get along with "men", for every woman there is only one man who will become her husband, and with him she will have to build relationships, take care of him and support him.

Replace the term “partnership” with “family relations”. A partner is a temporary position, having received his own, one partner will no longer lift a finger for another.

The family is built on a different basis. Family is the contribution of two, mutual duties, responsibility. Family is work and work again, it is the creation of results little by little, and most importantly, it is gradually increasing pleasure ... from the work itself. I strongly advise you to read articles, questions and answers, listen to lectures on family topics in order to gradually begin to tune in to building your own family.

Now specifically about your question. There are no - and again no - men who are looking for a wife in order to support her and take care of her. This is what women want from them. By the way, men also want something. Not all women are interested in this, unfortunately. Building a family begins with the fact that a person generally comes to an understanding: the desires / expectations of a girl and a guy are completely different.

And the differences are much more fundamental than "he wants chocolate ice cream and she wants vanilla." Love is the practice of not getting what you want, but giving the other what he wants. Even when I myself would like to stand in the pose of a taker and maybe even twist my nose and say with displeasure that I dreamed of something completely different. And suddenly, instead of receiving, you have to give and rack your brains: how to please him and why he is again dissatisfied.

So, if you really want to prepare for family relationships, look at yourself, your relationships with acquaintances, your reaction to sudden troubles, your patience, your ability to express yourself, your ability to calm down and calm down, listen and support. And for everything, everything positive that you have, even for something that is very small in you, but still there.

And understand that with all this wonderful reserve, which is always ready to be replenished with pleasure, you will be able to find a common language with your husband, you will be able to find support and support in him, even when he does not provide them very much, like most people .

People do not get married because they dream of finding an object of care, in response to which they will receive complaints and grievances. People are drawn to the opposite sex - because of the attraction that the Almighty created. Yes, no "higher goals".

But when there is mutual affection and attraction, there is also a desire to do something for and for the other. When the bride and groom stand under the chuppah, the Almighty establishes His presence in this family. When there is love and peace between spouses, Divinity resides in the family and gives them incredible strength - not only to endure each other, but even to do something for each other, to yield in something, to remain silent somewhere. And this power helps to resolve all the endless conflicts between such different people as a man and a woman ...

And there is no person who would strive for such endless work from the very beginning. Everyone wants comfort and enjoyment. And there is no need to blame anyone for this, Gd created people so “mundane” for the work that they need to do in this world. Starting life side by side with a person of the opposite sex, we go on a journey. A long and difficult way of building a person.

“It is not good for a man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18) — alone he cannot be truly worthy and perform truly right actions. “... I will help him against him” (ibid.) - this is what the Almighty says and gives the man a life partner completely “opposite” to him. You have to go through skirmishes, conflicts, grinding, grinding. And what is the comfort and buzz? In the fact that a little bit it turned out to become a little bit more human. And again - but with a great charge and experience. And so all my life.

Intimacy is not built overnight. You can shrug your shoulders and say: this is all so difficult that, most likely, it is impossible. And despair. And you can and should ask - but how? Where to start and how to continue? Beginning - Your personal stock of positive qualities, see above. See how many things already exist and how many things you want to improve and strengthen, add or fix.

In comfort, tranquility and high — this construction of a person will not work. Initially, they are looking for a husband / wife with the closest possible views and lifestyle, as well as - attractive in appearance, so that it would be more or less comfortable with them and there would be an attraction. And then - there is no family without work, no - and cannot be. The only question is “how to work and build a family?”, and not “why have a family when you have to work there and build something?”

I hope this answer will help you find the right direction of thought and attitude and take the steps to truly build a family.

Sincerely, Leya Solganik

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Problems in communication between a man and a woman » Our Psychology

From Milena 12. 03.2019 Communication psychology 0 Comments

Some people feel that they cannot express their feelings and emotions to their partner. If this is your case, you are not alone. Communication problems are very common among all types of relationships. There are many reasons why people cannot communicate clearly or directly, which will be discussed below.

What we know for sure is that communication problems make you exhausted and you lose hope in a relationship. For this reason, you need to learn how to deal with these problems. Keep in mind that communication is a gift and should be treated as such. Once we begin to understand its importance in our relationships, we can begin to use it in the right way to have more loving and satisfying relationships.

I can't stress enough how important it is for people to be educated about what affects their lives and especially their relationships.

Content of Article

  • What are the main problems of communication
  • Tips for better communication
    • 1) Regularly communicate
    • 2) Carefully listen to
    • 3) Be persistent with anger
    • So you've given me good advice - but how can I make it work to avoid communication problems?
      • 1) Do you want to avoid communication problems? Regularly communicate
      • 2) Listen carefully
      • 3) Be persistent
      • 4) To save problems in communication - Avoid disrespect
      • 5) Do not communicate with anger

What are the main problems of communication

change with a person's age, we all begin to learn how to communicate at a young age. Our parents became our first role models at an early age. It's likely that you have the same communication problems as them, so blame them for your problems (it's a joke). However, all is not lost, we can learn to communicate better and get rid of those bad habits called communication problems that we learned from mom and dad.

There are basic communication problems that tend to affect relationships. Below is a list of some of these problems:

  • Lack of self-confidence. A person cannot be firm in his point of view and does not have the ability to clearly express what he feels or needs;
  • Inability to listen carefully. A person hears the words coming from your mouth, but does not listen to understand;
  • Use of disrespectful language. The only known form of communication is disrespectful and offensive language, which also includes yelling and loud bangs;
  • Contempt or silence of another's voice. A person wants to be listened to, but refuses to listen to others, he simply does not consider the opinion of his partner.

Tips for Better Communication

1) Communicate Regularly

Don't wait for conflict to arise to determine how you will react. Make socializing with your partner a regular part of your day. You don't have to say much, start by asking simple questions and encourage your partner to answer in a way that you understand. Take turns speaking as you begin to learn to respect each other's point of view and practice your listening skills.

2) Listen carefully

Show your partner that you are paying attention. Make sure the noise in your surroundings is kept to a minimum, turn off your TV, put away your mobile phone, in general, you need to disconnect from everything that distracts you. Pay attention to the details, your partner will give you "key words" to help you understand. Listening carefully is a great way to show love and respect.

3) Be assertive

You must express yourself clearly, concisely and firmly. Your partner must know exactly what you mean. Avoid vague words and remember that if you can't understand yourself, your partner can't either. You must first know exactly what you want and then try to convey it in a clear way.

4) Avoid contempt

How you see your partner is related to how you communicate with him. If you do not consider him valuable or worthy of respect, it is likely that you will treat him disrespectfully when interacting with him. If this is your case, then there may be a problem that affects the relationship, and you may need more than these tips. Look at therapy sessions or relationship coaching.

If something of value has attracted you to your partner, and although feelings change, the person's values ​​do not change. When you communicate with your partner, remember that you are both different and have different values, but each of you is valuable in your own way.

5) Don't communicate with anger

We all know that when we get angry, we say things we don't mean. Often the words we say when we are angry cannot be returned and have already done damage that is difficult to repair. You need to avoid communicating when you are angry, especially if you tend to release your anger through offensive words.

How you evaluate your partner is related to how you communicate with him.

So you've given me good advice - but how can I make it work to avoid communication problems?

Here are some ways you can start implementing the tips above:

1) Want to avoid communication problems? Communicate regularly

Tell your partner that you are interested in doing something a little different. Explain what your goal is (better communication) and how you plan to achieve it together. Arrange a meeting for a cup of coffee at home or in a cafe, and let this be the beginning of regular communication. After that, make sure you both take the time to talk about your day and the events in your life. Talk about how you feel, but don't forget to talk about the things that make you uncomfortable because it will help your partner get to know you better.

Don't think that because you've been together for many years, this person knows you completely. In fact, there are many things that you have yet to discover. So go ahead and start sharing these things. Remember that this is part of your intimacy. If necessary, set a timer on your phone to remind you of the time you set aside for your partner. Just don't do it when you're doing other things.

2) Listen carefully

Our generation has been blessed with advances in technology, but this has negatively impacted how we listen to each other. Recently I heard someone say that technology has brought us closer to those who are far away and we are moving away from those who are near. And this is a really sad reality. You don't want this to happen in your relationship. Whenever you are talking to a loved one, you should pay close attention to him. It may seem strange, but it may require you to turn off your phone and other devices that distract your attention.

For some people, attentive listening comes naturally, but for others, an extra push is needed. Regular communication with your partner will help you determine what type of listener they are and help you determine what kind of listener you are. You must listen carefully to your partner's needs. If you followed the first tip and already have time to listen to your partner, you may now need to create a welcoming and relaxing environment in order to listen better.

3) Be assertive

To be assertive, you must consider your partner's emotions and needs. You must express your point of view while respecting their opinion. However, you don't need to feel guilty about wanting more romance or wanting to spend time alone. There should be no shame or guilt about wanting what your partner doesn't want or need.

If you've followed the first two tips, you now have a base on which to build sincere and direct conversations. Tell your partner exactly what you want. I had to put it in bold so you could understand me. Don't assume that your partner is responsible for all the phrases that pop into your head. Once you are clear about your needs and emotions, be firm, but also be willing to compromise. Remember that you are in a relationship with someone else and not with yourself. Assertiveness does not give you the freedom to be selfish.

Communication for relationships is breathing for life

- Virginia Satir

4) To avoid communication problems - avoid disrespect

No matter what relationship you are in. The person you choose to share your life with should command respect from you. If you have applied the above tips, it is likely that you are already giving your partner love and respect.

What you need to do often is reflect on how you feel about each other and the value you place on each other's role in the relationship. What your partner has to say is valuable and should be respected, even if you disagree.

5) Do not associate with anger

Anger is a very bad state. What you need to do at this point is to ask your partner for a break.

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