How To Get Along With Men

Article Word Count 1253, average reading time 5.0 minutes

A while ago I wrote the guys some tips on “How To Get Along With Women”. A lot of women (and a few men) wrote me thank you notes.

I think more men should probably have read it. The reason I think that is because of the numbers of women who said,”How do I get my boyfriend/husband to read this?”

The answer is, put it in front of him and say, “This could get you lucky more often…” or, “If you read this I’ll make your favorite meatloaf tomorrow.”

Whatever it takes. All I’m saying is that, when it comes to moving a man in the right direction, bribes work.

I also had requests from women to write the same thing for them – on how to cope with us guys.

My first instinct was to beg off, and hope that some women with her head on straight would take on the job — then I thought, “wotthehell”, nobody’s gonna do it like I would, non-PC and all, so here goes.

Disclaimer first. This is my opinion, not “scientific fact”, if such a thing even exists. It is written by a guy who’s not in his first marriage, but definitely in his last. Also, I’m a guy who loves women as a species, but is convinced that we are wired so differently inside that it’s a miracle that we can interbreed.

Little joke, there – but only partly in jest.

Okay, Ladies, here are the clues, at least as far as I can express them. Did you read my earlier article on getting along with women? In there I made some useful comments on the difference between the sexes, and I won’t be able to recapture them verbatim here.

Most of my writing is done without reference to any earlier writing. I write as if we were in a coffee shop together and you were across the table from me, and we’re just talking off the cuff. As a matter of fact, I do a lot of writing in coffee shops and airports.

Women Change – Men Don’t

As I remember, essentially I said that women grow up and men don’t. What I meant was that we men freeze at about age twelve — yeah, yeah I know, that sounds disrespectful to men and I don’t mean to be, but think about it.

What does a man need to be able to do that he can’t do by age twelve? Maybe he needs to develop more know-how about taxes and diapers and his trade or profession, but the basics don’t change.

I remember seeing a woman comic on TV years ago, filmed on a honeymoon cruise. She looked out at the audience of newlyweds and said, “The thing is, you women expect your men to change, and you men expect your women won’t —  and you’re both wrong!”

She was correct. You’re the complicated ones. We’re the drones. Smart drones maybe, but essentially and from a biological viewpoint, seed carriers, meal tickets and defenders. And takers-out of the garbage.

Maybe you don’t know the basics about men. So here it is straight from the biologists. Men evolved needing to cooperate to hunt and to build together. We solve puzzles and plan processes together. We’re built to work in packs, like dogs and wolves. “Bringing home the bacon” didn’t always mean paycheck, you know. Once upon a time it really DID mean “the bacon” — literally — the food.

Men need to know how to get along with other men in team situations, and we learn that on the playing fields in school. Think about what that requires in terms of basic skills and values.

It would take a certain dogged ability to do what needs to be done, an ability to subordinate one’s needs to the job and a focus on external requirements. But maybe not a sensitivity towards ones own feelings, or those of another.

I find this behavior on the part of men is universal, regardless of what level of society you’re at. I’ve worked on a cattle drive and I’ve sailed as crew on a Navy destroyer. In more recent years I’ve hired teams of lawyers, engineers and scientists, and they all behave the same.

The only noticeable differences in men’s team or pack behavior are due to age and education. It’s the difference between the hats of cowboys and bankers — just style and cost — the basic uses are the same.

We’re Not Like Your Girlfriends; We Can’t Be

Men build teams for a specific purpose, a function. Women build community with one another to help raise each other’s children. I think the combination of those drives builds civilization.

So how does this impact you? Here’s how: don’t expect your guy to be anything more than a good team player — and good at things that fit into our model of what we should be good at. For example, we’re probably more comfortable coping with leaky faucets than weeping women.

Most of us know we should be caretakers of our women and children — and most of us are pretty good at “staying the course” on the job and at home.

But we are LOUSY at being women! Don’t expect us to give you the same quality of attention that you get from your girlfriends — we don’t give each other that level of attention. We don’t readily share our feelings — hell, we don’t even think about ourselves in anything like the intensity that you do.

Sometime, just for fun, go to a large newsstand and study the covers on the magazines that are clearly being marketed to either men or women. Notice the titles and think about what that teaches you about our differences.

Men are largely creatures of habit and routine — work, hobbies, friends, sports, food, sex, and not necessarily in that order. I once told my daughter just before she was married, that a man only needs three things from the woman in his life in order to thrive; food, sex and approval.

The Secret Key To A Man’s Heart

It sounds trivial, but I bet that the approval item is something that is missing from a lot of women’s consciousness.

It’s not something that man asks for — in fact we probably don’t even know when it’s missing. We just know something’s not right. We just become dissatisfied. Then maybe we meet a woman who makes her approval of us obvious. Then people are shocked when so many men stray.

Not an excuse for immorality. Just data. But consider this. To a biologically designed team player whose family is his most precious team, how important do you think it would be for him to feel valued and approved of by that team?

Okay, I’ve painted with a “broad brush.” You can nitpick all of my stereotypes. Or you can take advantage of the experience of a lifetime.

There ARE differences between boys and girls, and they don’t get any smaller with age. There is a growing body of scientific opinion that our differences are more biological than cultural — so that means that we probably won’t change much in how we operate.

Just as I suggest that men be patient, loving and caring with their women, I suggest to the women who read this — and who want to get along better with the men in their lives — that you begin to consider us as well-meaning but not terribly sensitive creatures, who can benefit from some specific directions.

I know, in the movies the romantic lead knows the woman’s mind almost before she does. But that guy didn’t have heartburn and a bad knee, someone stabbing him in the back at work, a fight with commute traffic on the way home, and his favorite sports team in second-to-last place.

Quick recap of the important points

— Love us for what we are, not what we could be.

— Don’t expect us to be as good about your inner life as your girlfriends; we’re not wired that way.

— We mean well, but we need affectionate direction.

— And a LOT of patience.

And if you love us, feed us and appreciate us, most of us will do our part to keep humanity rolling along in a good natured fashion. And there will be more laughter in the world.


Tom Hoobyar

© 2008, 2009 by Tom Hoobyar

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