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Do men avoid tough conversations?

Hello everyone! I hope your weekend was wonderful. Mine was super busy and super fun. I had a really great time at the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) this weekend. It was a weekend packed with music, art, food, and all the great things that make Atlanta so great!

I even managed to squeeze in a date with Ben, a guy I met last month at the airport. It’s like the 3rd time I’ve met a guy in the airport, oddly enough. Maybe I should hang out there even when I’m not flying!

The date went really well and the conversation was very engaging. We got on the subject of relationships and why they seem so hard to keep. Ben mentioned how a lot of women think that men don’t like or want to communicate. He said the reality is that some men love to talk but they aren’t at all comfortable with accusatory, emotional, or intense conversations.

Apparently women are fans of these types of conversations. Guys hear the dreaded, “We have to talk” and their eyes glaze over and they sort of check out altogether. I thought about a statement someone made during the taping of ABC Nightline ’s Face Off: Why Can’t A Successful Black Woman Find a Man .

The advice was that women should really make an effort to talk to when they are calm and in control of their emotions. The reasoning was that you would be able to discuss the issue you are having with him without coming across as nagging or irate. A lot of women have issues with discussing a topic they are passionate (read: ticked off) about.

Ben agreed with that sentiment and said that many people don’t have problems finding mates, they have issues keeping one. It’s mostly because we aren’t able to talk to one another effectively.

Has this been your experience too? Has communicating and resolving conflict proved to be harder than you thought in a relationship? How do you handle it?

Men, what is the best way to approach you when we feel upset, hurt, or disappointed ? Someone else at the show suggested that we take you to your favorite sports bar and discuss it over a beer.

I don’t know about that one. Could that actually be effective? Are men more comfortable talking to when they are in familiar surroundings? If more effort is made putting you at ease, would you be more inclined to hear us out?

320 comments Add your comment

Wise Diva

July 19th, 2010
8:08 am

Good morning! Happy Monday :)

YESSHEISCUTE

July 19th, 2010
8:41 am

I guess I could see that. If you come across as nagging they automatically shut you out. If you come of matter of fact or sound like hey babe bla bla bla like you are just having a normal conversation they are more receptive to it…..

SlimOne

July 19th, 2010
9:03 am

Happy Mundane Monday! (lurking for now)

East Point's Own

July 19th, 2010
9:11 am

It might be best to talk in a public place to help keep the drama to a minimum…well unless your lady is the type to try to show out because she is in public…LoL

But really most adults tend to not want to create a scene and are able to not yell at each other at a bar or restaurant.

http://hispointofview.com

Kym-Shake it fast..Watch-cha Self!!

July 19th, 2010
9:18 am

Good Morning All,

Wisey I have a problem with tough conversations. But because I have a tendancy to aim for jugular at times when it comes to certain things..I will go all in and just let it flow. Most of the men folks I have had the pleasure of keeping company with were not the most open to tough conversations..so err that made from “interesting” conversations. I am not one to back down easy(I am learning)..so I will do just as the gentleman stated I will come off as nagging.(Don’t judge Me).. As for talking in familar surroundings..I am not sure how serious a conversation you can have over a beer and wings at JR Crickets..with hip-hop playing in the background.

Male: Babe thanks for bring me to the spot..

Female: Well we need to talk so I thought you would like the vibe.

Male: (yelling over the music) Whatcha Say?!

Female: WE NEED TO TALK!!

Male: Ohhh snap that’s Black Sheep..”You can get with this..or can get that..!!”

i'm swiss™

July 19th, 2010
9:20 am

Morning everyone.

On topic: I don’t know that men avoid difficult conversations, so long as those conversations can be grounded in logic and civility. But therein lies the problem:lol:

Off topic: Go me! My awesome mixed-doubles partner & I pulled out the division-clinching win at line 1 in our ALTA match on Saturday. Not to brag or anything, but your boy swiss pretty much took over the match late in the 3rd set to close that mother out…. :-D :lol: Team Swiss: Division Champs, baby! ;-) :lol:

SlimOne

July 19th, 2010
9:20 am

Kym – lmao, great way to start the blog off. :lol:

Dirty Diana 101° ♠

July 19th, 2010
9:28 am

Hola!

Congrats Swiss!!!

On topic: I think the difficult conversations depends on the man. My college sweetheart was very good a having difficult conversations, and once he put his feelings into words and sent me a letter in the mail. (So sweet and touching). However, I dated one guy that could not take difficult conversations, he would get off the phone or leave if the conversation was in person. I am not talking about yelling and stuff like that I mean conversations. He would comeback or call back as if the issue was resolved…

abc

July 19th, 2010
9:30 am

“Tough Conversations” means giving the man a truckload of sheeot for not being what you want them to be. Imagine a man giving you the same treatment, albeit about things that are specifically girly: why do you refuse to wear your hair in an attractive style; you should go to the gym, stop eating sweets and lose about 25 lbs; those friends of yours are straight up crazy, and I’ll thank you to keep them away from me, if not avoid them yourself; I don’t want to hear another word about your father, stop comparing him to me; what’s up with that piece of junk you drive; why do you have such a lousy job, don’t complain to me about it if you’re not willing to fix it.

All delivered with a scowl, intended to make you feel about 1 inch tall, in an effort to make you change. No thanks. You bet men shut down and avoid you when you get like that.

M. (pronouced M dot)

July 19th, 2010
9:30 am

“Men, what is the best way to approach you when we feel upset, hurt, or disappointed ? ”

Guys are logical so we want to handle things as an adult would. Lets discuss in person. No text messages, no emails. Guys just want things straight up.

Another thing that guys really dont want is to try to read your mind in the midst of a storm. If we know things arent right between us and then I reach out and say whats wrong and you say nothing, I have to go with that. But when you get home and send me a 5 page email ranting about whats wrong; thats a no no!

Dirty Diana 101° ♠

July 19th, 2010
9:33 am

East Pernt

For some reason, those yelling matches are not apart of the difficult conversations that I have had in the past. I am not one to yell and go crazy. When people truly learn how to disagree, stay on the subject, not bring up past issues that were resolve the conversations are easier to handle. Also you have to know when to “table” the discussion for a different time if you are losing control and getting ready to act a fool. IMO, when this happens say we will cool down and talk in three hours or a day, but the conversation must happen.

Dirty Diana 101° ♠

July 19th, 2010
9:36 am

. If we know things arent right between us and then I reach out and say whats wrong and you say nothing, I have to go with that.

M.dot I am so guilty on this one, but I do not write the five page email or text. You guys already know what is wrong you don’t need me to say it so I say nothing because we both know the issue.

blue-7/30

July 19th, 2010
9:39 am

GM all
@kym – LOL. i agree that may not be the best place for a serious convo. mr.blue has suggested we go to a lake near us, we both find the water relaxing. waiting to see if the change in atmosphere helps.
Apparently women are fans of these types of conversations no we arent, at least most of us anyway. IMO, women are just more inclined to understand that just because a topic is emotional, may get heated or intense, does not necessarily mean it can be avoided. most men ive met seem quick to try to deflect or minimize whatever the issue, as if simply them making it apparent they dont want to talk should be enuf to make it go away, but even if the convo goes away, the problem still stands. now what do we do?
Has communicating and resolving conflict proved to be harder than you thought in a relationship? He!! Yes…i have made an effort to try to watch how i approach the topic. if i try to stay calm, watch what i say and how i say it (body language, facial expression and tone can be killers) that has helped things stay on an even keel. however there are times that you can be as calm as a monk, and if he doesnt want to talk things still go downhill fast. i am often left thinking that men are really teh ones who control the communication

East Point's Own

July 19th, 2010
9:44 am

@M. I have dealt with several women who will do that… have a converstaion with you and seem to come to a conclusion, and then later that night or the next day send a 5 page email or come back to discuss the issue more with written notes. These types of folks need to wait until they have thier thoughts together to talk, or just leave it at the point where they said they were cool after the last conversation? There is nothing like having a conversation about something the we argeed was a dead issue in the past.

I think that is one thing that most women can’t comprehend, when a dude says that he wants time to think about an issue they lose it, some women seem to prefer to abush you with something (expecting you to know that this issue was on their mind in advance) and argue for days instead of letting you think about the issue she raised and responding with a coherent thought. We don’t sit around with answers to every possible issue that we could have between us on deck ready and waiting for you to come ask us about it.

http://hispointofview.com

abc

July 19th, 2010
9:46 am

For the most part, men won’t fight with you. When you start a fight about something, under the guise of “having a difficult or tough conversation”, we know that the hostility will escalate as the “conversation” progresses, and the only thing we can do to make it stop is either to agree with everything you want, or avoid the “conversation” entirely. We can’t keep up the hostility escalation. Once the hostility escalates to a certain level, every single thing we say or do is wrong.

Women who aren’t like that are absolutely worth a million times their weight in gold. I suppose I should say, women who aren’t like that very often.

Leggs

July 19th, 2010
9:49 am

Good morning!

@Kym ~ you starting early this morning (LOL).

@i’m swiss ~ CONGRATULATIONS

I don’t like drama nor do I like yelling matches. If we can’t have a civil convo on whatever the issue is, I will wait until the boil turns to a slow simmer and attempt to start over.

East Point's Own

July 19th, 2010
9:50 am

@blue-7/30 Its not always that men minimize problems, sometimes women make things a bigger issue than it should be. This is a very subjective topic but in general our level of caring about an issue tends to skew more heavily toward things that immediately threaten life, the house, the family, etc if nobody is about to get injured and the mortgage is paid its not really a threat level 1, putting the toilet seat down is somewhere around threat level 99 to us on a scale of 1-100…LoL But every man has been yelled at as if the house was on fire for leaving the toilet seat down at some point in his life.

This is why many conversations go south, because one person is on level 2 and the other person is on level 35. Sometimes both parties need to be open to listen and re-evaluate how important the issue really is, perhaps both parties should meet around level 15 somewhere and handle it.

http://hispointofview.com

blue-7/30

July 19th, 2010
9:52 am

@East Point – when a dude says that he wants time to think about an issue they lose it – I agree that time to think may be useful, but thats if the time is actually used to think on the issue and we actually come back to it. in my experience that phrase is often used simply as an out, no further thought is applied as evidenced when either they never come back to you or you come back a day, a week, a month later and they still have no thoughts. its that experience that has women flip out when you ask for time to think

kimmie

July 19th, 2010
9:52 am

Good morning beautiful people!

I’m kind of uncomfortable with the sentiments of Wise and some others on this subject. Every woman out here doesn’t approach a tough subject yelling and nagging and emotional! Believe it or not, quite a few of us are capable of having an adult conversation without being Ladyzilla. I’ve approached tough subjects tiptoeing, almost apologizing every other sentence and some dudes still want to cut & run! They quickly get off the phone or try to change the subject or get busy. A lot of men just don’t want to talk about tough stuff, especially if it’s something they can’t quickly “fix” on the spot. That’s why alot, when they want to break it off with you, will just avoid you and not call and stop seeing you.

So in my world, they couldn’t blame it on me being a nag, because that’s not my personality and I’ve taken extra steps to avoid ever coming off as one. A lot of times that’s where I messed up – I MYSELF avoided tough conversations so I would not appear as a nag – and by not speaking up, it was to my detriment. Especially in a dating situation, dudes just didn’t want to deal with the tough stuff. That showed me they weren’t really interested in making it work – so I showed them the door.

Melo

July 19th, 2010
9:52 am

women should really make an effort to talk to when they are calm and in control of their emotions

Good morning folks!!

that advice is spot on…if u come at me charging like a raging bull, I am gonna charge back at u like a raging bull. When two elephants collide,the grass underneath, suffers and gets pummeled(a Zulu saying)

the other advice I wld give is, why give notice of “wanting to have a sit down/discussion” as if we dont talk every time,all the time??

Why the “we need to talk”..the moment u do that,I react the way goose pimples develop on my skin when the skin detects cold coming…I prep myself, mentally for warfare! :lol:

Women need to just sagueway into the topic,as u are talking about other things and just say”baby, u upset me or blah blah.. whatever”, while sitting on the couch munching on pop corn and watching the movie,without forewarning me like that. That makes for a much easier discourse.

The momemt u say “we need to talk”, u cant blame for for preparing myself mentally as if I am heading to the Nuclear disarmament talks with Russia because u give the “talk” such prominence/importance that u have to give me advance notice. Ur emotieons,unfortunately make u give prior warning of confrontation and u cant blame me if i check out in order to save our union.

U bring it on urselves women.

Blame that on ur hormones! :lol:

Happy monday folks!

Kimmy

July 19th, 2010
9:57 am

GM

I dated a guy who shut down and stared at my forehead whenever I talked to him. Men don’t realize that no one enjoys the tough conversations, but I would tell him if I didn’t care I wouldn’t even waste my breath. He would shut down and have nothing to say. We would break up and all of a sudden he would feel the need to share. Needless to say I ended it and hope that he figures out the communicate.

i'm swiss™

July 19th, 2010
9:57 am

Funny how the “tough conversations” tend to come up around the same time every month… :lol:

blue-7/30

July 19th, 2010
10:01 am

@kimmie – I’ve approached tough subjects tiptoeing, almost apologizing every other sentence and some dudes still want to cut & run! – i second that on. your trying to make an effort and they still bail. but we’re the problem. I MYSELF avoided tough conversations so I would not appear as a nag – and by not speaking up, it was to my detriment. – i am guilty of this also, partly trying not to be nag and partly trying his way, he seems to think it will fade away as it were, if i try leaving it, maybe it will. but in my experience that doesnt work, just become worse until its starig you in the face and trying to remain calm while you finally handle it is almost impossible.

@East Point – agreed what may seem emergent to me may not be to you. but if i take your issues seriously, shouldnt you do the same for mine? But every man has been yelled at as if the house was on fire for leaving the toilet seat down at some point in his life. ok, women have called me traitor for this one b4, but if we live together, married or whatever, couldnt the same be sade about me leaving the toilet seat down? seems either one of us could have issues there, take the seat for what it is, a seat, shut up, put it where you need it and use it.

abc

July 19th, 2010
10:03 am

How about someone give some examples of the so-called “tough” conversation topics?

Kym-Shake it fast..Watch-cha Self!!

July 19th, 2010
10:05 am

Alright Mayor McCheesy..Congrats!!!

I think my problem with the tough situations and convo..is I give out passes..I will just let things pile up and pile up and then have one big episode. My son has had to bare witness to this behavior..and it ain’t pretty…poor kid…but I digress. I’m learning to let my feelings go when the incident or action happens as opposes to collecting them and then in a fit of temper..tearing the roof off the sucker.

blue-7/30

July 19th, 2010
10:07 am

@Kym – same here, and awesome idea. its been hard to put into practice, but does seem to help.

Melo

July 19th, 2010
10:11 am

tough conversations” tend to come up around the same time every month

@Swiss..its like the drunk hurling abuse on u when drunk and then blaming it on the liqor……thats when women get the most courage.

blue-7/30

July 19th, 2010
10:26 am

@melo@swiss – wow. amazes me sometimes at the neanderthal way men think. not that we have more courage, its that we have less patience to let you get away with whatever you’ve been getting away with all along. as you are men, you will continute to push, that whole give em an inch they take a mile type thing, and next thing you know its all the womans fault because its that time . when do yall take responsibility for yourselves and stop blaming things on your womans hormones and emotions?

Leggs

July 19th, 2010
10:27 am

“I MYSELF avoided tough conversations so I would not appear as a nag – and by not speaking up, it was to my detriment.”

Here, here! Never again!

abc

July 19th, 2010
10:28 am

Notice that requesting examples of such topics results in crickets.

Melo

July 19th, 2010
10:37 am

blue-7/30??

Answer abc’s question(10.03) if u may, and let us know how we try to get away with it(whatever?), so we dint talk in generalities!

i'm swiss™

July 19th, 2010
10:37 am

“…to let you get away with whatever you’ve been getting away with all along.”

That’s kind of the point… The subject of these “tough conversations” — from my experience anyway — tends to be something pretty trivial at best. Certainly nothing warranting the drama/emotion that typically ensue. And that’s the frustrating part for guys, I think — the disconnect between the weight of the subject and the amount of resulting angst (to borrow Melo’s term).

It's me....lurker

July 19th, 2010
10:39 am

I see the woman are taking a virtual beating today all because of a few one off scary incidents encountered by some of the blog men….LOL

I agree. Not all women come off as GODZILLA, so there shouldn’t be an assumption that all are and plainly aren’t capable of communicating. I’m not one for keeping things pinned up or holding out just to avoid. If there’s an issue, we’re gonna have the talk. An adult talk albeit, but never the less, it ain’t sliding just to avoid you labeling me a nag. My mantra in life is “do the needful.” If we can’t be civilized, “can’t be civilized” not being limited to speaking with our indoor voices but also being adult enough to talk through a situation without you feeling I’m just nagging then by all means…..let me get the door for you. True, no need to yell or scream, no need to say nothing is wrong and later you’re hit from the left with a five-page email (cause I’ve done that before) but no need to ignore and pretend I’m the crazy one. In any case I should be adult enough to lay it out and you should be adult enough to hear it as a valid issue…whatever the problem….and vice versa.

Dirty Diana 101° ♠

July 19th, 2010
10:40 am

Wassup Melo!

subject. Every woman out here doesn’t approach a tough subject yelling and nagging and emotional! Believe it or not, quite a few of us are capable of having an adult conversation without being Ladyzilla. I’ve approached tough subjects tiptoeing, almost apologizing every other sentence and some dudes still want to cut & run!

@Kimmie exactly

SexyCool - Joy bubbles over.

July 19th, 2010
10:42 am

“You look at the conversations as reasons to question whether or not this is the relationship for you. I look at the conversations and I am encouraged by them because they mean that we are doing the work that is required to make sure that we are actually communicating in this relationship, that we are doing the work that it takes to grow a relationship because good relationships don’t *just* happen.”

abc

July 19th, 2010
10:42 am

At least an example rant is provided. Shall we take note:

Men are Neanderthals.
Men tax a woman’s patience in ‘getting away with things’
Men will push the limit of acceptable behavior
Men blame women for having a problem with these things due to hormones and emotions
Men do not take responsibility for themselves

Perhaps as an exercise pertinent to the topic, we should examine and discuss all of these salient points, as an example “tough conversation” topic?

SlimOne

July 19th, 2010
10:43 am

An example of what we may consider a tough convo maybe letting you know what we feel we aren’t currently getting from you out of the relationship. No one really likes to hear about what it is they aren’t doing right so that alone can cause a person to jump to the defensive side off the rip.

abc

July 19th, 2010
10:48 am

What would be some examples of things you’d want to be getting out of a relationship that the man wouldn’t be providing?

blue-7/30

July 19th, 2010
10:49 am

ex. of such topics – i think there are generals that lots of couples have been thru – your mom should not be making decisions in OUR house and/or someone in your family is disrepctful to me – deal with it, just because you work does not mean thats all you need to do – i work also – help around the house/with kids

one i always fun, esp now when baby daddys/mommys is not unheard of – you knew about babby and baby daddy when we got hitched, and you still signed on for this package deal. dont make it out now as if it is now my fault he is a presence in your life, rare as it may be. you made an informed decision.

I am whatever you say I am

July 19th, 2010
10:52 am

Hey Swiss!!!! What is your email? I have off the blog questions for you

Hey Diana!!!

Luvbug

July 19th, 2010
10:53 am

The date went really well and the conversation was very engaging. We got on the subject of relationships and why they seem so hard to keep. Ben mentioned how a lot of women think that men don’t like or want to communicate. He said the reality is that some men love to talk but they aren’t at all comfortable with accusatory, emotional, or intense conversations.

Interesting…this pattern seems all too familiar. What’s wrong with relationships??

A man’s response…women need to xyz
A woman’s response…what I (we women) need to do

I’m not sure what’s considered a tough conversation, but any person (fe/male) can avoid or go aggressively in on a tough topic with a partner from time to time.

As abc has requested, what are examples of these tough topics??

I definitely need clarification on this one.

Dirty Diana 101° ♠

July 19th, 2010
10:54 am

Gentlemen, and example of a tough conversation is any conversation that makes the man do any of the following:

a) There is an emergency to cut the grass

b) You must wash the car right now!

c) You need to think and come back later (she is not pregnant, leaving or dying.

SlimOne

July 19th, 2010
10:54 am

abc – check blues 10:49…but in addition it could be about lack of quality time spent, help around the house, lack of support, an issue of disrespect…leaving his dirty doo doo drawers in the guest bathroom. lol

i'm swiss™

July 19th, 2010
10:54 am

Howdy, i am… it’s brent at karaokebus dot com

abc

July 19th, 2010
10:59 am

It sounds like household chores and inability to get along with his family (and/or vice-versa) are common themes. Insinuation of laziness is pretty certain to get an adverse reaction; control of family members might not be possible. Certainly, you have family members that think he sucks, also.

blue-7/30

July 19th, 2010
11:00 am

ex. im thinking about “hey i know he wants (game, movie, shoes whatever) when can i pick those up. he’d really like that”. hes thinking “I want (game, movies, shoes whatever)when i can i get those for me. i could get that (whatever) she wants too, but then i couldnt get this other I want. i’ll just go get both my things and i’ll get hers later”. im thinking about you, your thinking about you, when do you think about me?

abc

July 19th, 2010
11:04 am

Regarding household chores, and in my experience (and I know this probably isn’t that typical): I think a lot of what I do around the house is taken for granted. I never walk past dishes in the sink without washing them; I do my own laundry and ironing when I need to; I make the bed every day, always leave the bathroom sparkling, take out the trash, feed to the dogs, cook fairly regularly — the notion that I can cook is becoming less of an affront as time goes on — blah blah blah. I never say a word about it, though. If suggested that I do too little around the house, I say absolutely nothing. Why? Because it’s certain to become a battle that I can’t win, resulting in me admitting to being a total slob and lazy jerk. Then she says “no, you’re not; just do WHAT I WANT” with the dammit excluded. No thanks, I’ll just leave it alone and keep on the way I am.

Luvbug

July 19th, 2010
11:06 am

Okay, I’ve read some of the examples women have given…having to always ask/followup with request from men…I think.

I don’t know. Any person should expect some firmness by the third request of the same request.

Now if mom’s is always trying to run our relationship…hmmm…that’s a tough one. I can’t imagine a woman starting that convo vulgarly (at least the first few times around), but maybe some do.

i'm swiss™

July 19th, 2010
11:06 am

Cosign, abc.

abc

July 19th, 2010
11:07 am

blue, if you’re married, just go get the stuff yourself. That’s what he does.

Now, I know better than that, but still. I bring flowers home weekly, presents whenever I feel like it regardless of occasion, and am fairly constantly attentive to doing things for her, because I know it’s important to her. Word, guys: the most valuable thing you can give her are acts of service. It avoids a lot of the BS fighting if there are fresh memories of that.