Men who can't communicate

15 Ways to Communicate With A Man That Won’t Communicate

In This Article

Knowing how to communicate with a man who won’t communicate is a skill you may want to pay closer attention to, especially if you are with a man who finds communication challenging. 

If your husband refuses to communicate, you may have a challenge in the marriage because communication is vital for the health and growth of your marriage. Similarly, if your partner refuses to communicate, your relationship may just be headed for the rocks. 

Don’t worry. If you are in a relationship with a man like this, this article will come in handy. Let’s show you how to communicate with a man who won’t communicate. 

What to do when he doesn’t want to communicate?

Effective communication is a vital part of every relationship. Now, this goes beyond your romantic relationships. If effective communication is absent, your relationship with friends, family, and loved ones will be affected.  

Here’s the catch. For effective communication to occur, both parties involved must make a conscious effort for this cause. Effective communication in relationships cannot happen if only one party does all the reaching out while the other party is passive. 

Take this knowledge into your romantic relationships. It should give you a clue as to why it is challenging to be in blossoming relationships with men who don’t communicate. Communication is bound to get exhausting when you are the one who is putting in all the work. 

Now, this leaves much to be desired. What do you do when you can’t communicate with your partner? Focus on trying out more effective communication strategies with him. It could be that his refusal to talk to you is a sign that there’s something you could do better. 

We will discuss these more effective ways in detail in subsequent sections of this article. 

How do you get a man to communicate? 

Not discussing problems in a relationship can cause the entire relationship to nosedive. Not talking about accomplishments and the good things in your relationship can also negatively impact the relationship.  

However, there is something you must bear in mind. There is a clear difference between the way men and women communicate. These differences can even be traced down to anatomical reasons. 

For one, a report by the London Image Institute has shown that the Anterior Cortex of the brain is larger in women than men.

As a result, women spend more time contemplating and processing information than men. Considering the size differences in the Corpus Callosum of men and women, women also tend to exhibit a less-linear direction in thinking. 

If there’s anything you should take away from these, it is that you may not be able to get a man to communicate the same way you get a woman to. Because men and women are wired differently, you must understand how to make a man tick if you want to get the best out of him in terms of effective communication. 

To get a man to communicate, here are some things to try.  

1. Listen to him 

Once you get the conversation going, listen as much as you speak. It is not enough to start a conversation, you must be willing to allow him to speak his heart out. Plus, men like it when they are with women who they feel listen to them. 

So, don’t just be the one speaking all the time. Let him speak while you listen closely. People will bare their hearts when they know you are listening closely. 

Related Reading: The Importance of Art of Listening in a Relationship

2. Nudge communication with effective follow-up questions 

Another way to get a man to communicate is to use follow-up questions effectively. When he is done talking about one thing, chip another subject in as a follow-up question and watch the conversation flow.

15 ways to communicate with a man that won’t communicate 

Here’s how to communicate with a man that won’t communicate. 

1. Find out why 

Sometimes, his failure to communicate might not be for the reasons you thought. You might think that he is angry with you when the reason for his lack of communication could be that he is preoccupied with something else or stressed. 

If he refuses to talk to you (especially if this is new), don’t conclude that he is being difficult. Try and figure out precisely what is going on with him. 

Related Reading: Top 10 Causes of Relationship Communication Problems

2. Broach the subject 

It might be impossible to find out what’s going on in his mind if you don’t ask him. Carefully bring up the subject when you feel it is the right time. Encourage him to be honest with you. 

Is there something that he is bothered with? Is there a way you can help? These questions can help you understand the problem and what to do. 

However, remember to back down if it feels like you are pushing him beyond limits. 

3. His eyes say a lot 

“The eyes are the windows to the soul,” right? This is the perfect time to tap into the meaning of this statement; when you are figuring out how to communicate with a man who won’t communicate.  

When he talks to you, what does he do with his eyes? If he maintains a healthy amount of eye contact, it could be that he is honest and has nothing to hide. However, if he doesn’t maintain eye contact, it could be because he has something to hide or is utterly bored by you. 

Then again, too much eye contact (the one that feels like he is staring you down) can also be a sign of deceit. 

4. What are his hands and arms doing? 

Pay attention to his hand gestures when figuring out how to get a man to communicate. This is because he might pass vital information across with his hands, things he may not be able to say with his mouth. 

For example, crossed arms could signify defensiveness. If his arms are on his hips, it could be a sign of aggression or because he is ready to take charge of a situation. 

The hands and arms can reveal much, even if he doesn’t know how to communicate. 

5. Is he mirroring you? 

Mirroring is simply the art of replicating your overall body language. People mirror others when they feel comfortable with them, and mirroring is a sign that they wish to build stronger interpersonal relationships. 

So, keep an eye out for this. Does it feel like he is replicating your moves? Don’t be quick to get put off, especially if he is a stranger trying to get his bearing around you. It could be his way of letting you know he is interested without being too upfront. 

Related Reading: The Key to Judgment-free Communication: Mirroring, Validation and Empathy

6. Don’t play the blame game 

To communicate with men in a relationship (and even women, for that matter), you must understand that no one wants to perpetually be at the receiving end of blame. 

Your partner might begin to withdraw from you if they feel like you seize the slightest opportunity to pile blames on them. While figuring out how to communicate with a man who won’t communicate, eliminate blames from your conversation. 

Even if you believe he has done something and deserves to be blamed, you might want to consider approaching this from a different perspective.  

“You are wrong” is no way to get someone out of their shell. 

Related Reading: How to Stop the Blame Game in Your Relationship

7. Talk about your feelings as well 

Sometimes, his inability to communicate might be because of how he perceives you. If he thinks of you as too strong, independent, and stoic, he might decide to keep to himself. 

While you spend your life wondering what you did to deserve a man who won’t even communicate. 

One of the easiest ways to get him to communicate is to speak about your feelings. Talk about more than just how your day went. Open your heart to him, and you might be surprised when he returns the favor. 

Related Reading: 15 Ways to Help Your Partner Understand How You’re Feeling

8. Let him know what you need 

When trying to communicate with someone who shuts down, you must be willing to let them know what you need. There are so many reasons why they can be shutting down on you, and you need to let them know that this also affects you.  

When you let him know what you need, you make it easier for him to adjust. 

9. What is his primary love language®

One of the easiest ways to show someone that you love them is by using their primary love language®. The challenge with waiting for him to talk is that words of affirmation might not be his primary love language®. Hence, there may be a disconnection here. 

To eliminate this, find out what his primary love language® is and use it on him repeatedly. Over time, he’ll get used to this, and his communication skills will improve simultaneously. 

Suggested video: The 5 love languages® explained. 

10. Genuinely appreciate him 

People like to be celebrated, praised and appreciated. While there may be some parts of him that you may not like, there are also some things about him that you love. Focus on those good parts and appreciate him for them. 

When he feels appreciated and genuinely loved, it would be easier for him to adjust (or put in an effort) when you ask him to make changes to how he communicates. That way, he may not see your suggestions as an accusation but as a way for him to become a better man. 

Related Reading: 30 Compliments for Men That They Love to Hear More Often

11. Compliment his looks often 

Looking for how to communicate with a man who won’t communicate? Commending his looks will help you break the ice and get to him faster. 

When he dresses up for an occasion, don’t just stand aside and wait for him to compliment you. Instead, start that cycle by yourself. If he doesn’t tell you that you look good, tell him that he looks amazing. 

He will likely return the favor (even if only out of courtesy). Over time, though, he will know that this type of communication is something to appreciate and would start doing it more frequently.

12. Look at his mouth 

Look at him when you are trying to communicate with a man who won’t communicate. The way he holds his lips will tell you a lot about what he is feeling and thinking every time. 

What is the direction of the edges of his lips? Are they turned upward or downward? If they are turned upward, it could be that he is happy or satisfied with something. Turned downward? He might be angry, sad, or dissatisfied with something. 

13. Ensure your tone of voice is appropriate 

Sometimes, it may not even be about what you said. It may be about the way you said it. A man might pull back from you if he feels like you disrespectfully spoke to him. 

To help him communicate better, focus on passing your message across each time without screaming at him or making him feel small. Ensure that your tone of voice is calm, soothing, and appropriate. 

Remember, he is your partner and not a random boy. 

14. Ask the people he loves to help you out 

If you can, enlist the help of his close friends and family. While there is no guarantee about how this will turn out, doing this can help him see from your perspective. 

However, if you decide to try this, you must be diplomatic about it. Ensure that you don’t try to enlist too many people, as this might make him feel like you have been spreading stories about him and can even cause more harm than good. 

15. Know when to seek professional help 

He may not open up to you if a professional is not involved. If you think it is necessary, suggest couple’s counseling to him, and if he is on board, you can go ahead with this option. 


Knowing how to communicate with a man who won’t communicate is vital, especially if your man has challenges with communication. 

Use the 15 steps in this article to help him get comfortable with communication because you’ll enjoy the relationship even more when this happens.

How To Communicate With A Man That Won’t Communicate -

You want a happy and successful relationship, but do you ever think-my husband stops listening as soon as I start talking; my boyfriend’s face turns blank as I start to talk, or my partner shuts down and won’t talk to me. If you feel like you have tried everything, learn the answers to how to communicate with a man that won’t communicate.

What is Communication?

Communication occurs when individuals send or receive information, but in a relationship, communication is much more than an exchange. Communication is an expression of your thoughts, feelings and intentions and is vital to feel connected to your partner.

Keys to Successful Communication

What you say and how you listen are the keys to a healthy relationship. When you are sharing your thoughts and feelings, you may need some time to think about what you want to say to be clear and succinct. Your goal is for your partner to understand you and be able to listen to your entire message. When your partner is willing to listen with compassion, curiosity and openness you will more likely feel heard and understood. As the listener, you can encourage your partner to talk more freely by showing interest, such as leaning towards your partner or using eye contact.

Effects of Poor Communication

Poor communication begins by partners not taking turns listening and speaking with each other. Also, communication breaks down when couples interrupt, call names, label, disrespect, or yell or scream at each other.

Poor communication erodes the foundation of your relationship. Over time, when couples stop communicating or poorly communicate, the effects damage their relationship in the following ways:

  1. Conflict Increases-Each time your conversations are unresolved, the more likely you are not to resolve the next issue. Usually, couples stop cooperating and create lose-lose situations which increases conflict management.
  2. Loneliness Increases-Poor communication means that you will talk less and less, creating a sense of loneliness and distance in your relationship.
  3. Feel Unhappy/Negative Emotions-Communication is key to any relationship so the less you share your thoughts or feelings or the more you miscommunicate, you may feel unhappy, sad, depressed, or angry.
  4. Fight, Flight or Freeze-When couples ineffectively communicate with each other, usually it creates the 3F’s which stand for fight, flight or freeze. The 3 F’s are the body’s response to danger or threat. Partners who fight back in an argument are utilizing the fight response. Partners who want to leave the situation are using the flight response and partners who freeze need to physiologically stop their thoughts and body from reacting and are ready to protect themselves.
  5. Resentment–Resentment builds when couples argue and do not repair and fix the problem.

Poor communication and ineffective communication create a lot of stress in a relationship.

5 Reasons Why Your Spouse Won’t Communicate With You

  1. The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Criticism)-Dr. Gottman found that the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling, are detrimental to relationships. Your partner may not want to continue a conversation with you because he felt criticized and attacked. When a partner feels like he can’t do anything right then it may difficult to continue having a conversation. Sometimes when he feels like he’s never right then it feels hopeless and pointless to continue a conversation.
  2. The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Stonewalling)-The stonewaller has difficulty processing an overload of emotions and shuts down and disengages from the conflict to calm down.  This reaction can be very frustrating for the partner who wants to communicate. Unfortunately, when the stonewaller is in overwhelmed and flooded (emotionally dysregulated), your partner will experience physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, raised levels of stress hormones and possibly even a fight-or-flight response.
  3. Stressed-Some men do not want to talk about stress or their feelings around stress so they won’t communicate and will not talk with you. You can ask your partner why they are not talking, but if he might not want to discuss it.
  4. Tired-Sometimes, when your partner is tired he is not in the mood to talk. It’s not something you did or said, but it’s the mere fact that he is exhausted and may just need to sleep.
  5. He Is Avoiding An Argument-Any topic that may lead to conflict your man may not want to discuss. He may deflect, ignore or become distracted so not to talk about an issue. Avoidance is not the best way to deal with a conflict, but some men might not want to talk because they are scared, worried or nervous it may lead to an argument.

How Do I Get Him To Communicate?

Try being patient about his lack of communication and give him space when he does not want to communicate. You can also try being supportive and understanding. Ask to schedule a better time to talk. Finding a time both of you are comfortable could be the answer to how to communicate with a man that won’t communicate.

As a couples counselor for over 10 years, I find when a partner tries to provide space and is patient with the non-communicative partner the partner really appreciates it. Many partners describe when a partner is trying to get them to talk, follow them around, or texts them a hundred times a day, they feel like the “communicative” partner is on their back, and they feel trapped and backed against a wall.

Honestly, you can’t force him to communicate because he has to be willing and want to share with you. Therefore, you may need to accept that you picked a partner that is less expressive than you would like him to be.

How Do You Talk To Your Partner When He Shuts Down

Dr. Gottman studied 1000’s of couples for over 40 years to understand how successful and unsuccessful couples manage conflict. He reported that criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling (shutting down), negatively impacts communication.

You will need to understand why your partner is shutting down.

Sometimes partners don’t know what else to do or how to stop the argument, so they withdraw.

When your partner shuts down, you need to stop talking and give him some space and time. You might wonder, “Why do I need to wait for him when he shuts down?” or “Why can’t he talk about this issue?” I’m not suggesting that you sit and do nothing while he calms down, but you need to take a break.

Dr. Gottman found that when couples took 20 minutes to 1 hour to calm down, they were more likely to return to the conversation and discuss the issue more successfully.

During the break or pause in conversation, each of you should take time to self- soothe.

Examples of self-soothing are taking a walk, listening to soft music, playing a game, doing yoga, performing meditation, exercising, being in nature, taking a bubble bath, working on a project or journaling.

When you are upset you should be careful if you call a friend or family member and share with them all the details of what your partner did or said because when you start communicating again with your partner, then it might be difficult for these friends and family to forget what you told them. Of course, if you are in an abusive situation you need to get help and rely on friends, family and professionals for support.

You need to find what will help you calm down and relax.

When you are unsure how to communicate with a man because he is not communicating with you, take time to slow down and reflect on how you want to communicate and how you can work together to improve your communication.

Additional reading to support your relationship as you explore options for couples therapy and healing:

What Causes Resentment In A Marriage (Plus How You Can Heal Resentment In Yours)

How To Discuss Relationship Problems Without Fighting

Why Do We Keep Having The Same Arguments?

ADHD & Relationships

7 Tips For Improving Communication In Marriage & How PACT Therapy Helps

Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Vermont and Florida. She also works with international couples and expats. With her support, you can learn how to reduce stress and conflict in your relationship through an intensive marriage retreat or couples counseling.   Reach out to Lisa for a 20-minute free private consultation today.

6 typical mistakes in communication with a man, because of which parting is inevitable

Why do some couples build harmonious and strong families, while others constantly quarrel and sort things out? Here are the most typical mistakes that women make in dealing with men. They not only interfere with coming to an understanding, but also increase the risk of parting. Read the selection and evaluate whether you are doing everything right or if there is something to fix.

Error 1: let him take a step forward, he is a man

Women mistakenly believe that it is men who must always take the first step. Girls, as well as guys, need to remember that relationships are the work of two people. Photo © Pexels

Such tactics of behavior, as psychologists assure, speaks only of a woman's disinterest in communicating with a man. Girls who wait for a young man to make the first move just want to get results without any effort. And this is a complete shifting of responsibility to another person, in this case, to a man.

How to fix the error? Just understand that relationships are primarily the work of two people. Yes, don't push too hard if you're afraid. But there is nothing wrong with showing the man you love that you are interested in him. Call first, write SMS or invite on a date.

Error 2: jumping from topic to topic during a conversation

An inconsistent story often unnerves a man, which causes conflicts in couples. Photo © Pexels

Dear ladies, let's remember once again: male and female psyches work differently. Therefore, another common mistake, due to which the second half can turn away from you, is an unstructured conversation. Men love logic when everything goes in the right order. And if you first tell about an evil girlfriend, then about a new manicure, a quarrel with your mother and how you want a dog, all this will confuse and anger your chosen one.

How to fix the error? It's simple: restore the chronology of events in order to consistently share your impressions or experiences with your beloved man. And it will be easier for you to avoid mistakes and your soulmate to understand what the point of the conversation is.

Error 3: I'm hinting too thickly, but he won't understand

You shouldn't communicate with your man only by hints. Learn to talk about your desires directly. Photo © Pixabay

Another common and one of the main mistakes that a woman can make in a relationship is to talk to a man with constant hints. Unfortunately people can't read minds. How do you think a man should behave if they don’t tell him directly what they want or what needs to be done, and then they also roll up a scandal on this basis?

How to fix the error? Do not be afraid and do not hesitate to talk to your beloved and ask him for something directly. Constant walking "around the bush" only annoys men. As a workaround, you can directly set the time and topic of your next request conversation to see what happens. For example, "on Wednesday at six in the evening we discuss the lack of a shelf for books, which is inconvenient."

Mistake 4: manipulation of silence after a quarrel

The worst mistake of a woman in dealing with a man is manipulation of silence or ignoring her beloved. Photo © Pexels

Maybe at first such erroneous tactics of female behavior will be to the taste of a man, for example, for the first 10 minutes of silence. But then he will definitely start to get angry if you continue to ignore his desire to understand the situation. The manipulation of silence, as psychologists call it, is one of the most painful for the psyche. For especially sensitive people, it is akin to torture.

How to fix the error? For the first time, you can really disperse in silence to different rooms in order to give yourself and your partner a little cool down, to experience emotions. And then, if the man is dear to you and you want to save the relationship, calmly discuss what happened. Don't make the mistake of the first point, don't wait for your loved one to come up first.

Mistake 5: defiantly saying "everything is fine"

If you don't like something, don't defiantly pretend and answer that everything is fine. Photo © Pixabay

Another type of avoidance and shifting responsibility to a partner, another major mistake in communicating with a man. Why be surprised? If you demonstratively close yourself from the chosen one, do not go for rapprochement, choosing the wrong tactic "everything is fine." Who likes that his opinion and desire to eliminate the conflict is not appreciated?

How to fix the error? As mentioned earlier, don't be afraid to speak directly to the young man. Strong and harmonious relationships are built on the trust of partners. By avoiding discussing problems with each other, you only push the man towards ending the romantic relationship.

Error 6: first interested in sex, and then his personality

Also one of the most common and, we think, obvious mistakes in communicating with a man. If you are primarily interested in flirting and sex, but you stubbornly refuse to recognize your partner as a person, then this is not a relationship at all. Despite the fact that men may have a little less need for interpersonal heart-to-heart conversations, this does not mean that the chosen one will appreciate being treated like a sex doll.

How to fix the error? To begin with, decide for yourself, for what purpose did you start getting close to a man? If you are only interested in satisfying your own needs, it is easier to find a lover to meet. And if you intend to build a strong and harmonious relationship, perhaps then marry the chosen one, do not make such a banal mistake. Talk and be interested in the partner's opinion, his feelings and desires.

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"Understand me": why men and women often do not understand each other

"Understand me": why men and women often do not understand each other | Big Ideas Communications
Article published in Harvard Business Review Russia
Carol Fleming
Photo: rawpixel / Unsplash

Editorial. Why do women and men often have problems communicating with each other? The fact is that they are used to speaking and expressing their thoughts in different ways, the author of the book “Speaking is easy! How to become a pleasant conversationalist by communicating confidently and naturally, ”and communication skills specialist Carol Fleming. We are publishing a chapter from the book (her translation of the book comes out this winter by Mann, Ivanov and Ferber) in which Fleming explains how to maintain the right communication strategy regardless of the interlocutor's gender differences.

You must have noticed that men and women speak differently, and these differences are great. We have often heard desperate groans about this. We think we speak the same language (it sounds like the same language), but we wonder why men and women so often cannot understand each other.

The manner in which men and women communicate always brings us back to the problem of our biological nature. For centuries, men have demonstrated dominance when communicating with each other, while women, when talking to each other, have shown mutual care and protect friendly relations. These differences in communication styles often lead to misunderstandings between men and women.

Protocol and harmony, duel and duet

Much research has been devoted to the differences between male and female speech, in particular the work of Deborah Tannen. Tannen coined the term genderlect to describe the differences between male and female communication patterns: “there is no right and wrong, worse and better; they're just different."

Communicating with each other, men usually try to prove their superiority. They often disagree, play pranks on each other, and tease each other. Men seem to enjoy fighting for status, so they take on positions of authority or expertise to put themselves above others so that no one can outbid them. (Have you ever heard of "condescending tone"?)

Women's conversations are noticeably different, as they try to be equal and do not seek leadership in the conversation. Women have a deep need for networking. They worry about how their words affect others and also think about building and maintaining relationships. They often smile and easily express friendliness and sympathy.

Biolinguist John Locke in his book Duels and Duets: Why Men and Women Talk So Dierently focuses on the reasons for differences in male and female communication. He found that the purpose of the speech behavior of men and women is to influence people of the same sex: “Ancient biological predispositions differed because our ancestors, men and women, competed for the things they needed in two fundamentally different ways; they are two separate evolutionary trajectories.”

The main rule of male communication is: "Do everything to appear the best - the strongest and smartest, the most courageous and resourceful." Locke called this style of communication dueling.

Women, on the contrary, do everything to maintain harmony in society - they act as a duet. During a duet, you exchange something very personal (thoughts and feelings), and it occurs only with close communication and mutual trust of the interlocutors.

Similarly, Tannen labeled the male conversational style as the "language of protocols" and the female conversational style as the "language of harmony." The main differences are related to dominance (in men) and relationship maintenance (in women). Imagine a cross, where the horizontal line is the female line of equal relationships, and the vertical line is the male tendency to dominate.

Tannen insists that we must consider communication between men and women as intercultural. She advises to remember this in order to achieve mutual understanding and avoid problems. The fact is that men and women develop communicative features that contribute to communication with their own sex, and not with the opposite. When communicating with each other, men and women talk to people of the opposite sex in the same way as with members of their own. They have no other mode of communication that they can freely use in conversations with each other. Misunderstanding occurs due to the fact that society expects us to behave for which evolution has not prepared us.

Men and women at work

As far as communication at work is concerned, Tannen noticed that in occupations where men have been in leadership positions for centuries, there is already a set norm for relationships between men. Hire a woman for this job who is ready to communicate as equals and compete for leadership positions. What do you think will happen next?

There's not much guesswork here, right?

Look at the headlines of self-development books in a bookstore. A very large part is intended for a female audience.

What interesting things will we see in these books?

- All authors write that women need to work on what they say, how they say and how they look when they speak - in general, on their communication skills.

- All authors believe that women must improve themselves in order to fit into the company of "straight white men." (No one, of course, writes about this directly, but I can read between the lines. )

- All books are written by women, mostly PhDs in communication skills like me.

- About 95% of the research in one of the books I flipped through was done by women. The remaining 5% are links to Webster's Dictionary or some research institute. I didn't find any male studies...

It seems that women's problems concern only them. And to put it in a nutshell, their main difficulty is that they don't talk like men.

My consultations and work confirm the existence of this problem. My clients often complain that at work they are considered less competent and reliable than they really are. They turn to me to learn how to increase their credibility in the eyes of colleagues. So I interviewed 35 senior executives in San Francisco (30 men and 5 women) and asked them all the same question: “It is often said that women's manner of communication is the reason why they do not occupy the top positions in corporations. I am developing a communication skills course for women in high positions.

Learn more