A young woman getting a piggyback on a sunny day

How You Talk to a Man is Everything

by Eharmony Editorial Team - November 29, 2011

Have you ever tried to communicate your feelings to a man only to have him shut down or pull away? I remember when I used to walk on eggshells around a man. That awful, helpless feeling o

Have you ever tried to communicate your feelings to a man only to have him shut down or pull away? I remember when I used to walk on eggshells around a man. That awful, helpless feeling of being so unsure of what I should express and how I should communicate, that more often than not I wouldn’t speak up at all. And, when I DID let a man know how I felt, it usually came out all wrong, and I’d end up pushing him away. It took me a long time to land upon a powerful combination of words that helped me be true to myself, get my needs met, AND help a man become completely devoted to me.  

FIRST, FORGET THE MYTH THAT MEN ARE SCARED OF FEELINGS. I know you may have heard that men don’t like feelings. You may have suffered some painful experiences with a man when you DID try to talk about feelings with him. But here’s what I want you to know:  men aren’t afraid of feelings at all. What they don’t like is drama – when we unleash our pain, disappointment, and anger in the wrong way. That’s when you’ll see a man shut down, become defensive, and call you “dramatic” or needy.  

STOP TRYING TO HIDE WHAT YOU’RE REALLY FEELING.  When we’ve expressed a feeling to a man only to watch him withdraw, we’ll often start doing something else:  we’ll ignore the feeling altogether and pretend it’s not there.  When he asks us what’s wrong, we’ll look away and say, “Oh, nothing.”  But doing this actually creates MORE distance between you and a man!  Why? Because he’ll sense that something IS wrong with you, and he’ll know you’re pretending. He’ll know you’re not being authentic, and it starts to make him wonder whether he’s getting the whole picture with you. And, because you’ve been covering up so much, sometimes you might not even know exactly what you’re feeling!  

Your first task is to practice simply getting in touch with what’s really going on for you. If he was late to pick you up (again), stop and ask yourself what the core feeling is, and keep it simple: in this case, you’re probably angry.  

USE THE RIGHT WORDS TO REACH HIS HEART.  What you say to a man really is EVERYTHING – certain words can make him pull away and make you feel like you’re losing him, while other words can draw him to you like a magnet so that you feel like the most important thing in the world to him. If you launch at him with an accusation (“You’re always late!”), then not only will you NOT get the resolution you want, but you’ll create more unnecessary tension.  But watch what happens when you leave him out of it and focus on your feeling:  “I feel really angry when I have to keep waiting, and I don’t want to be late.” See the difference? You’re not making him out to be the bad guy, and you’re not hiding who you really are. 

Now here’s the key — follow up your feeling with an offer of negotiation: “What do you think we can do so we’re both happy?” When you talk to a man like this, he can’t help but feel like he’s just won the lottery. He’s found a woman who isn’t afraid to show him her true self and who respects him enough to want to come to an agreement. Practice this the next time you’re feeling disappointed with a man, and notice how he starts looking at you differently…and responding to you differently.   ________________________________________________________________________  

To learn more ways to express your feelings in a way that will make a man want to listen to you, subscribe to Rori’s free relationship advice e-newsletter.  You already have everything you need inside of you to connect to a man deeply – and Rori’s simple-to-follow tools will show you how.