Many of my guy friends have come to me to ask advice on how to deal with certain woman in their lives because they just can’t figure them out. That led me to thinking What about the men? What is the best advice we women can take about understanding them?
I put that question on my social media accounts a few weeks ago, and the men did not disappoint. Out of all the responses I received, there were a few that showed up again and again. They’re applicable to dating life, but they’re also applicable to understanding how men handle all their relationships, romantic or otherwise. Here, straight from their mouths, are the top three biggest takeaways on understanding men:
1. Allow me to take care of you
“Don’t misconstrue chivalry for undermining your ability to be a strong, independent woman.”
This is a big deal for me. I was raised to believe that men should be doing nice things for the women in their lives, like opening doors or helping them out of cars. However, as a woman in the modern dating world, I worried that expecting these types of actions might be outdated. I dated with the hope that men would be chivalrous but convinced myself not to expect it and acted accordingly.
Responses like these showed me that not only was it ok for me to expect men to be chivalrous, it’s something a lot more men than I thought actually want to do. This convinced me to give men more chances to serve me in this way. Instead of opening doors for myself every time, I’ll hang back a little bit. Even if there is something I can do for myself, I give a man the space to do it for me. If I’m hoping to see more chivalrous acts from my dates, then I should give them the opportunity.
2. Push me.
“I want to be challenged to grow and pushed to be a more full version of myself … I want to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. Push me to offer you more, push me to be better.”
So many men said that they wanted for the people in their life to call them to something better.
This is a bit of advice that I learned the hard way. I remember I didn’t encourage one guy I dated to push himself or suggest that we take up any hobbies together that would make us healthier or more rounded. He had his habits, seemed comfortable in them, so I accepted things as they were.
After we broke it off, I remember seeing him with a new girlfriend. This new girl encouraged him to take up working out, eating healthier, and become a generally better person. I remember being so shocked and thinking to myself I thought he was happy the way he was. Unbeknownst to me, all he needed was someone to push him to be a better version of himself.
I’m not saying you should try to change who your man is, but men do love a challenge. It’s something I’ve seen gets them really fired up. If a challenge is a motivator in other areas of their life like sports or their careers, it makes sense that this would also apply to their personal lives.
3. Tell me what you want.
“Be honest. Be honest with me from the beginning with your expectations, intentions, or direction.”
Responses like these were shared with me over and over again. Nobody is a mind reader, and men just want you to be honest. This is something I’ve been working on over time. I used to expect the men I dated to just know how I felt. After repeated instances of confusion and arguments over the years, I figured out that I was giving myself too much credit. I just needed to be honest and clear from the start with how I felt or what I wanted.
Just recently I was having a conversation with a man and was unclear as to where it was leading. In the past I would have not said anything, tried to hint at what I was hoping to hear, and wait to see if he would eventually clear up his feelings. This time I didn’t do that. I clearly stated how I felt and asked him what his thoughts were, and he answered. Something that would have probably taken weeks of stressing over before was now cleared up in one day, and he thanked me for being honest with him!
When I’m feeling as if potential dates don’t have anything to offer, or thinking that chivalry is dead, I just have to remember the responses I heard from the men who spoke up. This experience taught me one very important lesson about dating: The dating advice we’ve heard in the past that we may think is old-fashioned or outdated still holds true.
It has always been men asking me for advice about women. Now that I’ve reversed roles through this experiment, I realize how much I can benefit by listening to them, too.
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