General Question About Men

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
General Question About Men
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 11:14am
I have a question for you guys out there. I know in some of the prior Mars/Venus type posts its generally come through that men don't like to discuss their problems but rather perfer to mull them over on their own. However, I was wondering to what extent keeping things inside applies to discussing the details of whats happening in your life or how you feel about outside topics.

For instance, when you get home each day do you tell your wife/SO what happened at work (i.e. it was super busy b/c an emergency project came up that had to be resolved by 5) or since the project had been resolved would you just simply tell her the day was fine? If she says something similar do you ask her details of what happened or just go on to the next subject? Do you and your wife/SO ever have extensive discussions on how you feel about events entirely outside your relationship? (I.E. if your best friend decided to divorce his wife, would you simply say to your wife/so "BF is leaving his wife" or would you mention it and then if your wife/SO asked, continue in a discussion/debate of whether you thought he was making a good decision?

I guess the reason I ask ,is I generally enjoy discussing the "ins & outs", and "why and why nots" of many questions or hearing the details of someone's day b/c I think it helps me to get to know a person better and feel more connected to them--yet many of the men I have dated never seem to want to delve below the "surface" of things and discuss why they think what they do or what they've done in detail, they rather just say "this is what I think" and move on to the next topic--i.e. a typical conversation would be:

Me: "God work was awful today, our new client called pitching a fit about the filing deadline we missed."

Him: "That sucks, I hate it when clients get that way. So what should we do for dinner?"

On the other hand, if he had made the same comment to me, I'd respond by asking more questions, for instance--"why did the company miss the deadline?," or "is the client always that unreasonable?" or "how did Bob (your boss) respond?" etc. --since I don't see the comment as an indication of a problem, I'm not trying to solve the problem, just get more details of the situation so I can be more familiar with what my BF is dealing with at work.

However, as the pattern goes, generally the men I meet seem less interested in learning the ins and outs of why things are what they are or of discussing things in any sort of "detail". So, I'm starting to wonder if that truly is a gender difference or more the type of man I seem to be attracting? Are there men out there would spend a significant amount of time conversing about such things with their wifes/SO's or are men as a gender much happier to stick to the facts and not discuss topics at length?? Thanks in advance for answering!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 11:24am
Yes. There are men out there who like to discuss things. I know of at least three. Where there are three there are bound to be more. My ex and I talked about everything under the sun including what went on in our day to day lives. We were both introverts, so sometimes one or the other of us would be in withdraw mode, but for the most part it was chatty city.

My friend M who lives in Dallas calls me about once a week and we talk for about two hours about everything from his aversion to calling his new girlfriend his new girlfriend to the glitches in the system he's building to my latest run in with my mother.

A who also lives in Dallas is just as chatty in person but won't talk on the phone. We mainly communicate through e-mail now.

So, yeah, they're out there, but you can't expect them to read your mind. If there's something very specific you want to talk about, I'd suggest saying, "I'm still feeling lousy about this work thing. Do you mind if we talk about it?" If you wait around for him to ask the "right" question you're liable to end up frustrated with him, and he's going to have no clue that the fact that he did nothing is actually what got him into trouble.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 11:43am
Most people (men and women) are more apt to talk and ask questions if it is about a topic they know and feel comfortable with. If you talk about something they know little about, and have no interest in, then they are unlikely to engage you in conversation about it.

Here is a very stereotypical conversation, so forgive me...

Guy: "Man, my car is running mint these days. Ever since I adjusted the carb, it's not running so rich and I'm getting lots of horsepower".

Most women would probably reply "uh-huh. Where do you want to go for dinner?"

However, if you were really into the topic, you might ask some questions or comment further. Guys work the same way. If you bring up a topic they are really into, they will probably talk with you at length about it. However, if you bring up things where they have little interest, they probably will nod and smile and move to the next topic.

Just because you want to talk about something, and he does not, does not mean he doesn't want to talk at all. It probably means you two have not hit on some mutual topic that you are both interested in.

It's not really a guy/girl thing.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 12:40pm
I have found that tendency in most of the men I am attracted to - the ones who are really chatty and curious - often that correlates to me not being attracted to them in a romantic way - they make great friends. I think for me a reserved type of guy is a better complement to my tendency to be more outgoing/chatty. I think it's fine to maintain close friendships with your girlfriends in order to do that chatting and inquisitive thing. Here is one thing I tried with my ex - in a VERY lighthearted, humorous way:

Me: Guess what, honey - X quit her job to travel around the world!"

Him: Wow (or "hmmmm")

Me: Um, Honey, can I please do your side of the conversation ;-) "Really? Where is she going? What is she going to live on" Could you ever do that?"

Me: Well, let's see . . . .

we usually would both end up laughing - the other thing I noticed was that over our (long) time together, I became more reserved and he became more curious. In contrast, the bf before him was "like a girl" (sorry to generalize) - always wanted to know the scoop, to know more, to tell me all the trivial details of his and everyone else's day and always responded very enthusiastically to even the littlest anecdote I had. It turned me off I think in part because I sensed that some of his interest wasn't sincere but was just a need for approval from me as in "see how i'm interested in your life?"

I also have found that the chatty/inquisitive men also have effeminate mannerisms which happens to be a turn off for me (but certainly not for everyone, as I have examples of at least one happy marriage like that). Hope this helped.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 12:47pm

Just thought I'd point out that I haven't found this to be the truth at all. Of course I run in artistic, inquisitive circles so my definition of effeminate might be a little different than Deena's.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 1:10pm
Thanks for everyone's responses! Strangely, I, like Deena, have found the more "chatty/inquisitive" types to be more "feminine" as well--and since I'm usually attracted to a more "guy's guy" I have been somewhat frustrated by several of my past boyfriends seeming lack of curiousity--I guess I've always taken it as a sign they aren't that interested in me, or my life, but maybe it really is a gender trait. Guess I'll just have to do what Artie and Deena suggested and start telling them I want to talk more about certain topics rather than just dropping it.

As a corollary question though, I was wondering how many of you spend a significant time "conversing" with your SO? I mean when you spend time together are you often "doing something" (i.e. movie, biking, hanging out with friends) or do you often (or ever) spend long periods of time just "talking" (i.e. about world events, life aspirations)?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 1:24pm
My wife and I talk frequently and at length. We always have since we first met. We don't spend 24/7 doing this. There are times were neither one of us is very chatty. Other times only one of us is really into talking (more often her than me). However, I *love* a good "how does the world work" conversation. I have the heart of a philosopher and love to chat at length about what motivates people and figuring out the subtlies of reality.

Yes, we have even had extended talks about "Why do you think people exist? What is our purpose in life, or death?" Very stimulating conversations. (seriously) We've spoken on just about every imaginable topic. Including how cells work, and what started life on this planet.

More often, we talk about mutual friends and hobbies. As we dated, we merged our interests together. We both fence and both hang out in similar circles. So we do pass the gossip on the people we know. Talk about who is dating who, as well as just talking about group dynamics and how we think particular things work out.

Naturally, there is only so much going on with the people we know. So we also talk little chit chat things. How's your mom doing? How'd work go? What's your schedule tomorrow?

If I had to quantify the time, I would say we spend 2-3 hours talking each week day. Mostly chit chat, with about 30% of the time spent on more serious things. Weekends have larger chunks of time, and we are more likely to discuss more serious things. We probably talk about much more serious topics once/twice week. (Politics/war/foreign countries).

My wife and I are very similar in much of our values and approaches to life. So all this talking is pretty natural and is not forced. However, early on she asked *LOTS* of questions, and was the cause of most conversations.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 4:25pm
My dh and I do have long talks fairly regularly, though lately our schedules have not been matching up to make that possible. We talk about everything from current events to religion to the weather (meteorology, actually). We even *gasp* talk about our relationship on a semi-regular basis. For us, it's kind of necessary since we have a non-standard arrangement. Despite the occasional "seriousness" of such talks, he and I have passed more than one evening in a restaurant talking happily about how well our relationship is going.

Most recently, he and I have been having long discussions on the nature of creativity. These have been great--I'm exploring my own creative outlets more than I ever have before, and my dh finds this enthralling.

But then again, it also often happens that dh is not in the mood to have long chats. He does the "guy thing" mentioned here, and doesn't really want to go into long conversations about our days, our friends, what's on TV, etc. I do this myself sometimes too. I hit a point a few weeks ago when I refused to talk about the war in Iraq, period. Sometimes, silence is good.

My dh is *not* an effeminate man. (Those of you on the board who have met him will likely agree with this assessment.) My dh is a beer drinking, sports watching, engine tinkering Man's Man.

On the other hand, one of my 'other guys' IS quite effeminate in many ways. He's the one I call if I just want to chat for an hour or two about nothing. He *loves* that. Interestingly, his wife probably would not have married him if he'd been more "masculine" in his attitudes and actions.

Everyone is different. And I find that that Wretched Planet Book perpetuates stereotypes that do exist, but are not as 100% prevelant as "Doctor" Gray would like us to believe.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-29-2003 - 4:37pm
Most men are not looking to "solve the problem" wtih you....they've already solved it, or relegated it to tomorrow's agenda. When women respond wanting to get into the psychological dynamics of "why" - the men are generally offended. WHY solves nothing - and most men know it. Why is asked after everything is resolved as a point of reference for future interaction in this type of situation or with this person.

Most women are not looking to "solve the problem" with a husband/SO....they're looking for validation, approval, or to simply "be heard" and commisserated with. When men respond with how to solve the problem - typically women think they're uncaring and emotionally detached.

Men typically "solve problems"....women typically want to know "why the problem transpired/exists". Two separate approaches.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-30-2003 - 10:50am
A couple thoughts come to mind with this question.

First, are you a very talkative person. Do you tell him everything about everything and just talk all of the time? If so, it is pretty exhausting to have to pay great attention to everything being said and make the appropriate comment. Most people won't say, "honey, you've been talking straight for the last two hours...could we please just have some quiet in the house?" Instead, they'll let the other person talk and make some general comments.

A woman I know told me she took the advice of telling her husband fewer things. She found him more interested and attentive, and he remembered things that she wanted him to do much better than when she jabbered on for hours at a time then get upset when he didn't remember something she told him.

Another thought is you may be the most interesting person to him, but your day is not the most interesting thing to him. You want it to be and you want him to be as interested in a client getting upset over a missed deadline as you are, but that's not going to happen. I have fishing stories that, to me, are very interesting, yet would bore someone else because you had to be there to appreciate it.

If someone can remember one thing that is discussed each night, that would equal 365 memories every year. The more you talk and discuss, the better chance that nothing will be remembered or retained. So try talking about fewer things for shorter amounts of time and I think you'll find your conversations will be deeper.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-30-2003 - 2:20pm
Well, I have found it - certainly not all the time - I know a lot of theater people (I guess they qualify as artists ;-)) and that seems to be true there too (the ones that are not gay, I mean). I have no issue being friends with effeminate men at all and indeed sometimes prefer it but even if it is just an effeminate voice it happens to be a romantic turn off for me. Superficial? Maybe - but we all have our preferences, I guess.