It’s no secret that women are way better at expressing their innermost thoughts, desires, and feelings than men are. But let’s be clear: that doesn’t mean men aren’t overflowing with thoughts, desires, and feelings. For proof, allow me to direct your eyes to Reddit, which just exploded with a thread in which scores of men are opening up and revealing all of the things that they wish women knew about them but don’t. I’ve combed through the entries and gathered here the ones I found to be the most important. So read on, and always remember that no two men are the same.
1. We crave compliments just as much as you.
Some guys may try to play it off like they don’t need praise — they just threw on that T-shirt without thinking — but anyone who tries to tell you they don’t want a compliment tossed their way is full of crap. Yes, we thought about what you’ll think of how those jeans show off our assets. And yes, we want you to notice how the edge of our sleeves perfectly grip our biceps. (We’ve worked hard to make the muscle pop like that.) These compliments — whether they’re actually voiced or delivered through a lingering stare — remind men of what attracted you to us in the first place, it appeals to our Darwinian sense of selectivity (meaning it’s crystal-clear why you keep choosing us over the other monkeys), and sure, it makes us think there’s a possibility of procreation — or at least practicing the art of it.
2. And they don’t have to just be about our looks.
Just to be clear, the praise you give doesn’t need to revolve around our bodies. In fact, it’s important that women commend the things that masculinity tends to belittle, like if we’re good cooks or have insightful takeaways about foreign films. Tell us when we’re nailing the whole parenting thing, if we’re being helpful partners, or that you think we’re caring sons. These kinds of compliments aren’t something we’ll soon forget, and only make us want to further prove that we’re worth your kind words.
3. Our honesty is well-intentioned.
We know that, at times, tact can be the four-letter word that we never learned. But many times, being brutally honest is our way of showing you that we care. Think about it: Throughout the day, it’s common to lie or obfuscate with people you have no interest in. The art of BS is how we get through the day. But with you, we want to forget all that. We want to tell you why your mother bothers us and how you can stop fighting with your high-maintenance friend. Not only do we think it’ll solve a problem (more on that below), but we also want you to know that we think of highly of you. And mom taught us that you don’t lie to the ones who matter.
4. We really (really) want to solve your problems.
One of the biggest differences between men and women is how we handle difficult situations. Many times, women want to talk about what’s going on just for the sake of talking. To know that someone is really listening to them, and is here to comfort them when times get rough. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But for men, it’s our instinct to come up with as many potential solutions to the problem as possible. Blame the wiring in our brains, but what it boils down to is that we don’t want to see our loved ones suffer. So if you just want to have us listen — and not do anything about the problem, or offer our opinions on how to fix it — then tell us that up front. That way we’ll know to keep our traps shut and arms open.
5. We want you to appreciate our reliability.
Similar to why we’re so damn honest, a good man demonstrates his commitment to you by showing up. So yes, it’s more than a little irritating when you go on and on about the jerk who has mastered the art of ghosting, orbiting, or whatever new dating term kids are throwing around these days. It’s a vicious cycle — the more men feel those guys get the benefits of your time and attention, the more incentive we have to become those guys. And that’s a lose-lose for everyone involved. Instead, smile when we aren’t late to date night, or send us a text thanking us once we prove you can call at anytime. Positive reinforcement, right?
6. But don’t want to be attached at the hip.
We acknowledge the importance of couple time. We’d even go so far as to say that, in the best relationships, showing your beau some form of love each day deepens and extends the partnership. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t spend time apart. Going on a hiking weekend with the boys does not diminish the bond we share, nor does taking a few hours to workout solo or visit a store we know you have zero interest in. Just like women need alone time or girls night with their friends, guys need the companionship of other men or time to themselves. This kind of separation will refresh our minds, give us stories to share, and bring us back to you with more spirit.
7. We love feminine touches.
While no fair-minded guy wants women to return to the life of a 1950s sitcom, neither do we want the elimination of the feminine as a virtue. So don’t be ashamed to hold on to those things that make you different from us if they make you feel good. (If they don’t, then ditch ’em.) We may not always say it, but it’s beautiful — and much appreciated — how much you care about seeing flowers on the table, smelling nice, or cooking a delicious meal.
8. You can be a boss in the bedroom.
Unleash yourself. Express your fantasies. Use your hands. Suggest toys. Show us who’s boss and give good directions. No matter how you slice it, we love when you take control behind closed doors. Not only do your explanations heighten our intuition, but we get off knowing that you’re getting off, and that’s a win-win for everyone involved.
9. Seeing is believing.
Want to know why men like sports? Pure, measurable success. At the end of the game, no one can dispute the number of touchdowns, home runs, or points on the scoreboard. An athlete works toward a goal and is rewarded with concrete proof of his effort.
So what is the irrefutable proof of a successful emotional life? The data is less tangible. Men fear vagueness because, for some reason, it often feels like failure isn’t far behind. (And in case you hadn’t noticed, we hate to fail.) To temper that, we’d love it if you became our ally in emotional pursuits. Tell us when we’re being supportive, that it’s OK for us to cry at the Maxwell commercial, or that you really appreciate us opening up to you about a sensitive subject. It’s basically like giving us a pat on the back, but it’s the encouragement we need to keep stepping in a more emotional, well-rounded direction.
10. Try not to pick out the one thing we did wrong.
How important is picking up our socks if the yard is mowed each week? Does it matter that an item was forgotten at the store when we checked off the rest of the list? If the kid went to his friend’s house with a stained shirt, yet still finished his science project, is there a point to mentioning it? Sometimes we forget things, and maybe it even happens more than you like, but we’re human. And more than likely, we really are doing our best. So before you berate us, think about whether it’s worth the argument, and try to give credit where it’s due.