3 Phrases that get him to open up, p142, Sept 2012 Cosmo.
Instead of asking “What are you thinking”, Cosmo suggests the following questions to ‘get guys to talk’. That smacks of ‘waterboarding’. Guys don’t seek an emotional experience when talking. Guys create bonds by doing things together, often in complete silence. I’ve helped a friend move apartments for hours without saying a word. When guys talk, the purpose is to get enough information to a) make a decision, or to b) take action:
- “when is game” or
- “need oil for car” or
- “want food for mouth” or
- “Yes, hello, my name is Graham Wellington, the Turbowealthy. When I’ve sufficiently impressed you with my social status, please let me know, so we can start with the sex.”
If a guy asks another guy a bunch of questions, we want to accomplish something. Therefore, conversations feel strange when they do NOT have this purpose. Guys get wary. “Wait a minute, nobody talks just to ‘feel connected’… what does she REALLY want from me…”
Chances are that he likes you, and wants you to be happy. We are willing to knock out jerks, spend lots of money, and change your tire in the rain to make you happy/keep you safe. Talking seems pretty easy in the scheme of things.
Make sure you clearly explain that you are interested/fascinated/would love to hear about what he is doing with his life. He will not believe you, so you’ll have to interrupt every few minutes and ensure him that you REALLY enjoy it.
IMPORTANT: Stick to “hearing about you makes me happy” for starters. Do NOT say “talking makes me feel connected”. This makes you sound like an outright crazy person. Yes, guys want to feel a connection too, but just keep it simple initially.
OK, from Cosmo, three phrases that “get him to open up”:
||The real guy’s reaction
||A real guy’s suggestion
|“Let me know if you need to vent”
||“What? Vent? Are you talking installing something in the bathroom/kitchen??” Do not ask this. It will confuse a guy. It’s my understanding that ‘venting’ means explaining a situation you have experienced, with the intent of releasing the emotion that comes with the frustation that is experienced. If this is true, guys don’t ‘vent’. If the problem is vented, not solved, the emotions will just crop up again. We want to fix, not vent.
||Try “You seem pissed/sad. Let me know if you want to explore some ways I can help to improve your situation.” That’s a sweet team to be on.
|“I bet you killed that presentation today.” (intent is flattery)
||“Yes, I did” or “No, I got smacked”. Flattery doesn’t work with guys. At all. He either agrees with you, or he ignore what you said as empty flattery/a ridiculous under-assessment of our skills (since we are great).
||Better to ask “Do you want to talk about that presentation or not?” If not, the conversation can just move on – no sweat.
|“I have to tell you this story…” (intent is that we’ll feel like sharing too)
||This is a very good idea. Guys love to tell stories. If the story you start with is brief, he will be interested for a short while NO MATTER WHAT THE SUBJECT IS, because YOU are telling it, and he likes you, so he thinks it’s worthwhile (at least initially).
||Keep stories very short (less than 2 minutes). Ask him if anything similar has happened. If not, try another 2 minute story.
- He wants you to be happy.
- If you’d like to ‘get him to open up’, respect and understand that this is not guy style. Forcing this process will cause wariness and closure.
- Remind the guy, from a place of warmth (not desperation), that you enjoy hearing about what’s going on with him. It may help to say something like “Listen, I know it sounds crazy to just talk, but I’m interested to hear more”.
- Try some of the phrases I’ve listed – do not use what Cosmo suggests.
Last, guys who are frustrated in a relationship sometimes say “She starts conversations, just so she can do all the talking”. Try staying out of the conversation, see if this helps him build up momentum in the conversation.
Terri Orbuch and Tonya Reiman were sources for the Cosmo article. They know much more about this subject than I do, but it’s always worth incorporating another opinion… particularly from a guy.