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Author Topic: Why don't men want to talk about stuff?
boo
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Icon 1 posted October 23, 2006 20:36      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's the age old question. Women like to discuss things and get them out in the open. Men shut up tighter than a clam shell the minute their wife/gf says, "We've got to talk."

What's the big deal? Why can't you just say what you feel? [Confused]

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted October 23, 2006 20:40      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Because women slap us when we say we're horny?

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boo
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Icon 1 posted October 23, 2006 20:47      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well that's your problem. [Roll Eyes] There's a time to talk (the general rule of thumb on that is, when we want to) [Big Grin] and there's a time for .. other stuff.

You're talking when you should be .. doing something else. Figures! [Roll Eyes] Men!

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted October 23, 2006 21:16      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
boo wrote:
There's a time to talk (the general rule of thumb on that is, when we want to) [Big Grin] and there's a time for .. other stuff.

Which also tends to be when -you- (women) want to [Roll Eyes]

Anyway, I've always thought that the reason men don't talk about their feelings all that much is actually due to inherent competitiveness in the gender.

When children interact with each other, crying/talking about feelings and anything 'soft' gets equated to being weak and inferior (children don't really grasp the difference). Anything that makes you seem weak or inferior becomes something to avoid and, after a lifetime of such behavior, it's nearly impossible to break out of it.

Then you get freaks like me. I usually don't bother revealing much of anything about myself, but it's mostly due to the fact that I find talking about myself to be boring. Sometimes, however, I get the urge to open up and reveal some deeply personal information. Everyone usually acts shocked and/or horrified when that happens, so I don't do it often.

Alternately, maybe the right words just don't exist for most men to express what they want to say. In those instances, I think everyone should resort to interpretive dance [Smile]

--------------------
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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 00:30      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Men do want to talk about stuff. Ask (pretty much) anyone here about their network and they'll tell you in minute detail.
Women don't want to talk about stuff, they want to talk about feelings. Completely different.

Of course, sincce this a grown-up forum, without this caveat I'll get lots of people shouting at me for sexist generalisations.
Some women like to tlak about stuff, some men like to talk about feelings. YMMV, HAND.

quote:
g- "whit ye talkin bout?"
t & s - "fitba"
t & s -"what ye talking bout?"
g - "shoppin"

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 03:33      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This post come with the same warnings as that of littlefish. It is of course just my experience, and I am a middle aged (56) man in the UK, who has been married since 1982, so I may well not speak for your experience, age group, or even the culture in your country, but I find there are a number of problems when it actually comes to talking openly about your feelings, and especially with your significant other.

First like many men, I usually find analysing my emotions rather boring, as it seldom results in any significant change or greater self awareness or understanding on my part. That is probably the root of it. But if you are still going to do it with your partner, also be aware that you may be opening a can of worms, because, for it to have meaning, you must talk about the uncomfortable and darker things as well as the good stuff. It is very hard to do this while keeping a sense of proportion in your listener, as people hear the bad stuff much more than the balancing good, so then it degenerates very easily into blame, hurt, and maybe even a row, which actually leaves you farther apart, and often with something which you will be interrogated about for months or years to come. Secondly when asked why (e.g. you behave in such and such a way) often the truthful answer is "I don't know". This is seldom acceptable, and is generally interpreted as an inability to discuss emotions. To say that you do not have strong feelings about something that makes your partner emotional is likewise often misconstrued.

Lastly many if not most women that I have known, despite wanting you to be open, also want you to be their rock; strong, supportive, patient, and listening. It is not easy to combine this traditional male role with that of touchy-feely new man. Significantly the idea of the new man is as usually a subject of ridicule even by women themselves. I suspect that most women lose respect if you display too much weakness in front of them as it can move the relationship to that of mother and child, rather than lover. Women quite rightly want equal respect in the world, but many also (sometimes secretly) like you to be chivalrous, flowers, opening car doors for them, and so on, which is a way of behaving that is predicated on the patronising notion of the weak and feeble woman who needs protecting.

In short the expectations of the male role in relationships is riven with contradictions and impossible expectations at the moment, and you just have to negotiate the compromises you can live with, which is no bad thing.

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 04:42      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Men (in my experience, generally speaking, caveat emptor, etc.) are quite happy to discuss "stuff" just not usually the same "stuff" women want to talk to them about.

Also men, for whatever reasons, quite probably the ones Calli mentions plus the confusing social state of flux the male role in society has fallen into leave many of us totally bloody bewildered...

Are we supposed to fulfill the traditional male roles of breadwinner and head of the house? With the stoicism and stiff upper lip that we are alledged to be full of? Can't do that, it is socially overbearing and an anachronistic chauvanistic attitude... New men then, all touchy feely and metrosexual? Get laughed at by men and scorned by women!

Women often claim to want to "know" about our inner feelings as men, but they don't want to hear the darker bits, the fact that maybe occasionally we are sick and tired of all the demands the job/house/wife/family/etc. place on us and that maybe just rarely the thought of running off with her best friend for a pointless and sordid sexual encounter crosses our minds. Or that sometimes we would like to shout "just shut the fsck up for 5 minutes" at the world in general. Far too often they want to "know" about them so they can "helpfully adjust" them...

Oh yeah and btw, I can't remember the number of relationships/marriages I have seen fail because after she persuaded him to change his clothes and his hair and his friends and his job and his way of life until he was just another grey guy slaving away to pay the mortgage she didn't love him any more "becuase you're not the man I met/fell in love with/married any more!!!! [Mad]

Now I have got that off my chest I will go back to my stiff upper lipped, emotionally repressed, keeping it to myself behaviour if that is alright with everyone! Thank you...

Group Hug?

Bah Humbug more like!
[shake head]

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YaYawoman

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 05:22      Profile for YaYawoman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Eh, it aint just men. Quite frankly sometimes there is too much talking and discussing and not enough doing. Also sometimes I just am not in the mood to yak. [Wink]
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Astronomer Jedi
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 05:25      Profile for Astronomer Jedi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hugs for Serenak everyone.

I don't mind talking about my feelings, I just generally don't do it with family, precisely because they all see me as the strong, stoic one. I'm also wary about sharing with newish people too much...I did that once towards the beginning of the year, as some of you may remember, and that didn't go so well.

It's also hard even talking to my counselor at uni over study matters.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 05:58      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by boo:
Women like to discuss things and get them out in the open. Men shut up tighter than a clam shell the minute their wife/gf says, "We've got to talk."

Every man knows, when women say "we've got to talk" it's almost always bad news.

If you really want to know why men and women can't communicate, the answer can be found here.

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csk

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 06:06      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Serenak:
Oh yeah and btw, I can't remember the number of relationships/marriages I have seen fail because after she persuaded him to change his clothes and his hair and his friends and his job and his way of life until he was just another grey guy slaving away to pay the mortgage she didn't love him any more "becuase you're not the man I met/fell in love with/married any more!!!! [Mad]

It's amazing how much better a relationship where each person takes the other person as they come actually is. Obviously there are extreme cases (eg if someone had say a severe mental illness or alchoholism and refused to let it be treated), but the liberation of being yourself rather than being a chameleon to adapt to suit who you're trying to please is amazing.

--------------------
6 weeks to go!

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 07:15      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Right on the nail CSK. It's taken me over 40 years to figure out how to be myself most of the time. I've learned to cherish my inner eccentric.

OTOH, life in general really pushes us to be chameleons. I know I adopt different persona depending on the situation. I'm a different guy at work and home for very good reasons. At home I care about my family's emotional needs for the sake of them being happy and able to focus on their dreams. At work I care about my staff's emotional needs to keep them motivated and focused on MY goals. That may sound like I'm a jerk, but it's really just the requirement of good management.

But that sort of strays off topic. As far as Boo's original question goes. I'ld say men don't want to talk about "stuff" because it's usually the precurser to an argument. When my wife (of almost 25 years) says something like "We need to talk", it's going to be a fight. And it always comes down to the same thing - men and women think different. And I say "Vive la Différence!"

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 07:34      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by boo:
It's the age old question. Women like to discuss things and get them out in the open.

We do???

I'd much rather keep my personal bullshit to myself, if you don't mind.

--------------------
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csk

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 07:52      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
quote:
Originally posted by boo:
It's the age old question. Women like to discuss things and get them out in the open.

We do???

I'd much rather keep my personal bullshit to myself, if you don't mind.

Oh, and the other thing is there are exceptions to every rule, you will find women around the place (like Xanthine, by the sounds of it) who don't necessarily want to open everything up at all or easily, don't require long drawn out emotional discussions to feel fulfilled, etc. I'd say that in my own case, more serious feelings-based discussions are probably equally initiated by both myself and my girlfriend. In other words, guys, be sure to get to know each woman as an individual and don't assume they all fit one restrictive mold, even though there are often common characteristics.

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 08:22      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Although I like a number of the explanations in this thread, I'd like to offer yet another. Men don't talk about their feelings because they don't really know what they're feeling! (Standard "I'm generalizing, duh!" caveat applies here!)

Men deal in more concrete areas: math, science, computers... stuff where theres always a "right" answer, a single conclusion, a testable hypothesis. Feelings are the absolute antethisis of the types of thought pattterns men excel at. Hence, when you ask a guy about his feelings and he says "I don't know," it's really because he doesn't know, because he can't test his feelings and come to one single, solid, 100% conclusion.

Women, by contrast, deal with less concrete things: art, literature... things that concentrate more on how you *feel* about something, rather than how you made it.

The center of a woman's world is how she *feels* about things, but the center of a man's world is what he *does* with things. (Generalizing here!) Let's recap: he will tell you what he DID with it, she will tell you how she FELT about it.

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get rich and you still die"


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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 08:34      Profile for SpazGirl   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yay!!! I'm an exception to the rule!!!

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Things, and things.

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 08:39      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MacManKrisK:



Women, by contrast, deal with less concrete things: art, literature... things that concentrate more on how you *feel* about something, rather than how you made it.

The center of a woman's world is how she *feels* about things, but the center of a man's world is what he *does* with things. (Generalizing here!) Let's recap: he will tell you what he DID with it, she will tell you how she FELT about it.

Right you are, MMKK. So let me ask you something: How do you *FeeL* about Garlic? [Big Grin]

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 08:58      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by garlicguy:
Right you are, MMKK. So let me ask you something: How do you *FeeL* about Garlic? [Big Grin]

I don't know. [Razz]

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get rich and you still die"


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boo
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 15:15      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
boo wrote:
There's a time to talk (the general rule of thumb on that is, when we want to) [Big Grin] and there's a time for .. other stuff.

Which also tends to be when -you- (women) want to [Roll Eyes]

Anyway, I've always thought that the reason men don't talk about their feelings all that much is actually due to inherent competitiveness in the gender.

When children interact with each other, crying/talking about feelings and anything 'soft' gets equated to being weak and inferior (children don't really grasp the difference). Anything that makes you seem weak or inferior becomes something to avoid and, after a lifetime of such behavior, it's nearly impossible to break out of it.

Oh that's so sad. [Frown] I've never thought of that. If that's true, it certainly does explain a lot.

On a happier note, I do like your interprative dance suggestion. [Smile]

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boo
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 15:17      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:
Men do want to talk about stuff. Ask (pretty much) anyone here about their network and they'll tell you in minute detail.
Women don't want to talk about stuff, they want to talk about feelings. Completely different.


Excellent distinction. I'm embarrassed to admit I never really thought about it. But that begs the question, why won't they talk about their feelings? Maybe for the reasons Steen mentioned. [Frown]
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boo
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 15:31      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:

First like many men, I usually find analysing my emotions rather boring, as it seldom results in any significant change or greater self awareness or understanding on my part....

Lastly many if not most women that I have known, despite wanting you to be open, also want you to be their rock; strong, supportive, patient, and listening. It is not easy to combine this traditional male role with that of touchy-feely new man.

Also very interesting. I really feel I'm getting an education, here. You guys have said things I've never thought about and opened my eyes to a different way to view this subject. Thank you.
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boo
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 15:39      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Serenak:

Are we supposed to fulfill the traditional male roles of breadwinner and head of the house? With the stoicism and stiff upper lip that we are alledged to be full of? Can't do that, it is socially overbearing and an anachronistic chauvanistic attitude...

Women often claim to want to "know" about our inner feelings as men, but they don't want to hear the darker bits, the fact that maybe occasionally we are sick and tired of all the demands the job/house/wife/family/etc. place on us and that maybe just rarely the thought of running off with her best friend for a pointless and sordid sexual encounter crosses our minds. Or that sometimes we would like to shout "just shut the fsck up for 5 minutes" at the world in general. [shake head]

I don't think it's a bah humbug. I think it's all very valid. And it might surprise you, actually, to know that many women have similar feelings. So much is expected of us, as well. Get an education and a career, be aggressive and get to the top, all while you're also having babies and being a loving, nurturing mother. Keep the house clean, cook healthy, nutritious meals, be all things to all people. Oh, and don't forget to also be the *Victoria Secret* model for your man. [Wink]
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boo
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 15:40      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by YaYawoman:
Eh, it aint just men. Quite frankly sometimes there is too much talking and discussing and not enough doing. Also sometimes I just am not in the mood to yak. [Wink]

I hear ya, sister. [Big Grin]
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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 16:31      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by boo:
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
boo wrote:
There's a time to talk (the general rule of thumb on that is, when we want to) [Big Grin] and there's a time for .. other stuff.

Which also tends to be when -you- (women) want to [Roll Eyes]

Anyway, I've always thought that the reason men don't talk about their feelings all that much is actually due to inherent competitiveness in the gender.

When children interact with each other, crying/talking about feelings and anything 'soft' gets equated to being weak and inferior (children don't really grasp the difference). Anything that makes you seem weak or inferior becomes something to avoid and, after a lifetime of such behavior, it's nearly impossible to break out of it.

Oh that's so sad. [Frown] I've never thought of that. If that's true, it certainly does explain a lot.

On a happier note, I do like your interprative dance suggestion. [Smile]

The phrase I usually hear used to describe this is "hegemonic masculinity".
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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2006 16:37      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MacManKrisK:
Although I like a number of the explanations in this thread, I'd like to offer yet another. Men don't talk about their feelings because they don't really know what they're feeling! (Standard "I'm generalizing, duh!" caveat applies here!)

Men deal in more concrete areas: math, science, computers... stuff where theres always a "right" answer, a single conclusion, a testable hypothesis. Feelings are the absolute antethisis of the types of thought pattterns men excel at. Hence, when you ask a guy about his feelings and he says "I don't know," it's really because he doesn't know, because he can't test his feelings and come to one single, solid, 100% conclusion.

Women, by contrast, deal with less concrete things: art, literature... things that concentrate more on how you *feel* about something, rather than how you made it.

The center of a woman's world is how she *feels* about things, but the center of a man's world is what he *does* with things. (Generalizing here!) Let's recap: he will tell you what he DID with it, she will tell you how she FELT about it.

I don't think it's men and women so much as thinkers and feelers (that is, from a Jungian personality theory point of view). More women do tend to be feelers and more men thinkers; however, the difference is not proportionate to the actual behavioral patterns. I think that's where gender roles come into play - some men may very much want to talk about their feelings at certain times, but are deterred from doing so by the masculine gender role. Similarly, some women may not prefer to express their feelings about things, but there are others who do (either because they're natural feelers or because of their gender roles) guiding the conversation.

And as someone who works with both mathematics and music, I disagree with the premise that these sorts of subjects are antithetic of each other. I do consider myself more logical than emotional, but that has not hindered me at all in the arts - being logical does not imply a lack of emotion, after all.

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