Why He Won't Listen? 5 'Tricks' To Get Him To Listen To You
By: Carlos Cavallo
Have you ever been talking to a guy and just knew by the spaced out look in his eyes that he wasn't listening to you? Why won't he listen to you?
You're trying to share some emotional depth and connect with him, but he looks like he's listening to some sports commentary in his head.
Why won't he listen to you?
Now, I'm not talking about validating you as a human being... I want to explore why men have a difficult time communicating with women.
Starting with opening his ears.
So first, I'm going to spill the beans on the reasons WHY men don't listen - then I'm going to give you 5 ways to get him to pay attention to you.
Why Men Don't Listen - Reason 1: He's not wired for it
Men's brains develop very differently from women's - and mostly in the verbal/language department. Guys think in terms of single tasks, and not in terms of their feelings.
So when it comes time to talk with you about sensitive areas like emotion, he will feel unprepared and ill-equipped to handle it.
Why Men Don't Listen - Reason 2: It feels like a Power Struggle.
Some men view romantic relationships as a win-lose situation. If the woman is venting her feelings, then she's winning - and that means he's losing.
So these guys may try to dominate the conversation, telling her that she is illogical, out of control or just a pain to deal with.
This isn't true - and he knows it. He's just feeling cornered, unsafe, and wants to fight his way back to safety.
Why Men Don't Listen - Reason 3: Emotional flooding
Many men find emotional conversation incredibly draining. And at some point, ALL men have a limit.
For some guys, they can handle 5 minutes, and others can take an hour, or sometimes more. But there is always a point where he will run out of mojo in your conversation because he's overwhelmed.
When he reaches this point, he may vent his anger - or withdraw. Again, this is largely a coping mechanism that he uses when he's reached the breaking point.
Why Men Don't Listen - Reason 4: Men cling to the rational.
Yeah, guys don't handle the "irrational" world of emotional needs very well. As a result, he may fight back against this kind of conversation with his significant other.
He might point out errors in her thinking or argument as a way to block or defend.
It's not that he's trying to invalidate your emotional state - it's just that these flaws seem to be too glaring to overlook - even if you're not really talking about "the facts."
Men will also become dismissive, or he uses sarcasm and then withdraws.
Why Men Don't Listen - Reason 5: Problems need to be solved!
You've probably heard this one before, right? Men typically use communication to solve problems.
They share facts that can then be used to correct the issues.
Venting and sharing feelings don't seem productive to most guys. "Why are we wasting time and energy just complaining and whining?" he thinks. "Let's fix whatever's bothering you!"
And if you can fix that problem, he'll assume: "There! No more pointless droning about emotions."
What he doesn't understand is that sometimes the point for you IS to just communicate the emotion.
You just have to remember that there's nothing wrong with his attempt to solve the problem, either. Just a mismatch of priorities and timing.
So now let's dig into a few tricks that you can use to get him to listen to you. These are valid strategies to get men to sit up and pay attention.
And the best part is that they don't require you to play games or manipulate to get what your relationship needs.
So let's kick it off with:
GET HIM TO LISTEN - TRICK #1: Get your thoughts straight BEFORE you have a talk with him...
Yes, men do become frustrated with emotional conversation.
HOWEVER, his frustration isn't that it's emotion-based. It's that the conversation doesn't seem to have a structure that respects HIS needs.
Men are driven to make the woman in their life happy. And we're more than happy to do anything to make it happen.
We just don't want to lose our minds getting there.
If there's something wrong in your relationship, and you aren't quite sure what's bugging you yet, the best thing to do is talk to a girlfriend first.
Don't work through your emotions WITH him unless it's absolutely necessary.
He'll be excited to sit and talk when he knows that you understand where the problem is and can get to that point quickly.
Next, obey the Golden Rule of Conversations with men:
GET HIM TO LISTEN - TRICK #2: Recognize that most men are not a suitable receptacle for emotional venting.
You have to be careful not to use him as an emotional "dumping ground." Just as valid as your need to vent is his need to not be "flooded" with emotions that raise his anxiety.
Katrina, a woman I coached, told me:
"Carlos, I realized that I was actually making my boyfriend close off from me during conversations. I would come home from work and promptly start telling him about all the frustrating things that happened to me that day.
"I didn't realize that my need to vent was pushing him away. He had a right to enjoy my positive side, but there I was - showering him with negativity right when he just wanted to enjoy our being together."
"So I made a quick and easy change - I would meet up with a girlfriend on lunch during the day where we could both do a little venting. That got rid of the pressure I felt to talk about these things at home."
"Our relationship is actually much closer now because of it."
Get him to listen - TRICK #3: Let him know that you don't need a solution.
This one is tops on the list, because many women don't recognize the pattern early enough to catch themselves when they go down the road of misunderstanding.
You might start out wanting to work on your relationship, but then maybe you mention something you noticed that bothers you.
You're still leading up to the real problem, but he is already hunting for ways to "fix" it. He didn't realize you were just organizing your thoughts out loud.
Simply sit him down sometime - when you have no issues going on in your relationship.
Don't wait for the emotional crisis to appear, because your emotional urgency will make you forget. Do it BEFORE the problem appears.
Just let him know that there are times when you just need to vent. And then remind him when the time comes.
You'll find he's a much more open listener when he knows what you need up front.
Yes, he will still want to solve the problem. But at least now you've set the stage correctly for him to handle the conversation.
Listen Up! TRICK #4: Don't interrupt him to talk about something important
If a guy is in the middle of something he enjoys, and his girlfriend, partner, or wife interrupts him to have a serious conversation - he's going to react poorly to the situation.
A guy thinks: Jeez, couldn't she have planned this a little better?
Men won't understand the emotional urgency behind your sudden crisis. They won't see how important it is to you when it comes at a cost to him of his enjoyment.
After all, you've been thinking about this for days, wondering if it's really a problem to begin with.
Should you even risk mentioning it at? Maybe it's nothing...
And then, when you realize that you can't let it go, it finally pushes you to the breaking point...
But it's during his sports game... or his favorite movie - or video game...
Don't demand that your man stop doing whatever he is doing to listen to you.
He'll be emotionally taken off guard, and panicked about not being prepared.
It's likely he'll just wait for you to finish talking so he can get back what he was doing.
So it goes without saying, he'll be barely paying attention to you. And not the attention you deserve.
Instead, wait for him to finish, then you can open up the conversation you need.
Also, don't tell him you "need to talk." Men know what that means, and it's just as big an interruption as just going right into it with him.
Leave his mind clear so that he can engage you fully when he's ready.
Get him to listen to you - TRICK #5: Tell him what you need to hear...
Most of the time, a man actually hears you, but he just doesn't know the "correct" thing to say. (And he doesn't want to ruin his shot at having sex later, too.)
So you can help him 1000% by just giving him a heads up of what you're expecting to hear from him.
Most women hold out on this information.
Because deep in your heart of hearts, it would prove his love and feelings for you much more if he were to magically read your mind and say it without you having to tell him.
But guess what? He can't read your mind - and probably never will.
And if you create a false expectation that:
TRUE LOVE = A man's ability to spontaneously come up with just the PERFECT thing to say to you (on his own)...
Well, I'm here to suggest that this might be an unrealistic expectation.
I know, I know... it's romantic. All the fairy tale romantic comedies told you "that guy" is out there... your instant soulmate...
But this isn't the foundation of a realistic romance - or long term relationship.
And let me give you a bonus tip that will make the difference between a so-so relationship, and a Real Life Romance that will surpass any couple you know.
Praise him A LOT.
Why do I say this? Because the one thing I see lacking from both sides of the relationships I coach is this:
After a certain period of time one (usually both) people typically get caught up in the "What I'm Not Getting" and forget what they ARE getting.
Men need to be validated by the woman in their life - not insulted or put-down for the things you feel he's coming up short on.
(Trust me when I tell you that no one was suddenly inspired into giving what their partner wants based on sarcasm or snarky comments.)
Give him lots of praise when he's done something you like or admire.
Heck, even if he's just taken off his shoes instead of tracking grass clippings from the backyard, tell him about it.
Because the truth that we all ignore is that what is noticed gets repeated.
Which means if he does something really boneheaded - like leave his dirty underwear on your bathroom counter - making a big deal out of it makes it more likely to happen again.
BUT - if you sing his song when he puts those boxers in the dirty laundry, he'll be more likely to repeat that behavior. It's crazy, and yeah - it's just like a little kid.
But it works.
Men today don't get a lot of praise - of any kind. The media makes us look like evil oppressors or clueless idiots (or both.) So we need a little recognition to counter some of that bad press.
Couples who've been together for a while often don't realize that their wellspring of compliments for each other will dry up if they LET IT.
If you feel that this applies to you, it's time to bring that sense of appreciation back into the relationship.
What's more, doing this just makes for BETTER communication between you two. Re-opening that channel of praise can set things back in motion and inspire him to reciprocate.
As you've noticed, communication plays a HUGE role in a relationship. It's so important in fact, that certain words can make or break a couple.
I mentioned that guys need to hear their partner to praise them. But we also have OTHER needs that need to be fulfilled too.
And in a lot cases, simply telling him the right words can satisfy those primal desires buried deep in that man-brain of his.
Once he gets that satisfaction from you, he'll drop all those defensive shields and let you into his heart without hesitation.
Then all those typical guy issues such as emotional unavailability and tuning you out will be a thing of the past.
If you want to know how to communicate better with your man and TRULY connect with him, here's a video presentation you should check out.
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