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Show ALL Forums  > Dating and Love Advice  > Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it'      Home login  
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 pjagos
Joined: 1/7/2008
Msg: 1
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)Page 1 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)
Ok, so there have been many posts asking this question, so I thought I would answer it in a separate thread based on actual psychological research, plus some tips on how to overcome this (also based on research).

Essentially, men disclose less than women in nearly all situations. Generally, female to female self disclosure is the highest, male to male self disclosure is the lowest, and female to male self disclusure is in the middle. However, while men disclose significantly less than women the effect size for this is rather small (d= 0.18, across 205 studies). This means that while men disclose less, the difference is not really that great.

Jourard (a major player in self disclosure research) attributed this to the social roles of men and women:

"The male role requires men to appear tough, objective, striving,
achieving, unsentimental, and emotionally unexpressive.. . . The
male role, and the male's self-structure will not allow man to acknowledge
or to disclose the entire breadth and depth of his inner
experience to himself or to others. Man seems obliged, rather, to
hide much of his real self—the ongoing flow of his spontaneous
inner experience—from himself and from others. (Jourard, 1971,
p. 35)"

Or, one could take an evolutionary psychology perspective and conclude that we evolved to be this way. Men who revealed all they knew died, those who kept their knowledge close survived to reproduce. (Note: the selection pressures that resulted in modern man are vastly different from those we face today. Essentially, our brains were designed for life 100, 000 years ago in the pleistocene era, we haven't changed much since then).

So, there are two reasons why men do not self disclose as much as women. BUT there is a way to make up for this. Based on my own research (along with the members of my group, gotta give credit where it's due), we discoved that men can be "primed" to disclose more.

When men were given a survey measuring perceived self disclosure, they reported disclosing much less than women. HOWEVER, when men were asked to fill out a longer demographics questionnaire first (basically, self disclosing) they reported disclosing just as much as women did on the second questionnaire.

So, to get men to talk about more sensitive topics, get them talking about other things first, then slowly work your way into the target topic. I'm sure reassuring them about their social role not being compromised by self disclosure won't hurt either; let them know that talking about their feelings doesn't make them a wuss.

Hope this helps somebody,

Cheers!

Paul

References:

Dindia, K., and Allen, M. 1992. Sex differences in self-disclosure: a Meta-analysis.
Psychological Bulletin. Vol. 112: 106 – 124.
 The_garbageguy
Joined: 12/21/2007
Msg: 2
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 2:21:32 PM
UGH UGH. Me big strong man. Kill food. Woman cook it. Ugh ugh.
 excalibur19
Joined: 10/10/2004
Msg: 3
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 2:36:21 PM
From the broadway Solo hit" DEFENDING THE CAVE MAN"
WOMEN GET MORE PRACTICE AT EXPRESSING Their FEELINGS
This is why men don't express their feelings
Example:
Hey bob did you ever want to cry AND DIDN'T KNOW WHY??
 pjagos
Joined: 1/7/2008
Msg: 4
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 2:45:26 PM

UGH UGH. Me big strong man. Kill food. Woman cook it. Ugh ugh.


Yep, essentially that's it.

I should clarify a few things though, when I say that we haven't changed much in 100, 000 years, I mean physically. Our society has changed unbelievably rapidly, however, our brains and bodies have not had time to change to match it.

Also, I would like to point out that as I said in the beginning, the difference between men and women isn't really that great. Also, the relationship between the two people plays a large role in how much one self discloses.
 pjagos
Joined: 1/7/2008
Msg: 5
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 2:50:48 PM

WOMEN GET MORE PRACTICE AT EXPRESSING Their FEELINGS
This is why men don't express their feelings


You are right in a sense, but it's circular. WHY do women get more practice? Because they are not inhibited from doing so, while men are.

Now, I'm not trying to say that my original post was meant to apply to all men, because nothing does really, but it is a generalisation that is representative of most men.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 6
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 2:57:43 PM
Quite simply, because we get punished for it from the day we turn 3. All of the sudden we're supposed to cough it all up because a woman claims to love us? It doesn't work that way. Overcoming a lifetime of conditioning takes work and patience, and most men don't see any real value in putting in that much work or going through that much pain.
 Next Time Round
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 7
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 2:58:16 PM
I think women complain about men not expressing their feelings because, unless there is a situation where a man may be feeling a wide range of emotions (death of a parent for example) and just needs to withdraw for a while, women tend to assume they already know the answer.

Then it becomes a game of "I read it in Cosmo so it must be true". The woman is looking for a particular answer -- a result found in the monthly quiz. No other answer will do. Then when he's starting to feel a bit angry - but for the most part is still maintaining his composure - he'll say something like "I feel this whole discussion is a waste of time". And thus the fighting words have been spoken. The gloves are off and it's a free-for-all where every past sin is thrown on the table. Can last into the wee hours or for weeks...until the next edition and quiz comes out.

I seem to attract the male equivalent of this type of thing. Guys who are convinced that there must be something wrong with me if I am thinking or involved in work that requires concentration. I've heard everything from "are you okay?" (over and over again in one evening) to "I have concerns about your mental health! Nobody sits by themselves and repeatedly reads the same thing out loud all night." (Tell that to my boss when I used to volunteer to edit a huge tract of first draft text from home in time for a deadline.)

Next thing you know I'm a sleep deprived, overly caffeinated, raging f^cking maniac who's proving their point. And I'm ever so glad to be going to work...walking out the door is good practice for what's coming sooner or later.
 GeneralizingNow
Joined: 10/10/2007
Msg: 8
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 3:00:17 PM
^^^socially inhibited only, though--men are perfectly CAPABLE of expressing their feelings in words. You're not dumb, you know. . .
 passionandsong
Joined: 10/9/2007
Msg: 9
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History
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 3:07:02 PM
i have had a theory of this sort for quite a while.in prehistoric times ,men were the hunters.there jod daily was to find meat.now you must imagine that this entaled hours of being very quiet,so not to scare a way the prey.little communication.of course there would also have had to being an intense battle with themselves to resist emotion.(fear for sure).on the other hand the females were the gatherers,berries roots what have you.now they on the other hand must of had to do so in groups.they would of had to talk often so to scare away preditors.since most expression of feelings is about comunication,the women would of course have built a much more capable pattern of doing so.add in the amount of children they would have been tending to at the time and the ability for women to multi task better then men becaumes much more understandable aswell.
 Next Time Round
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 10
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 3:29:02 PM
I agree with passionandstrong. Especially about fear be it with prey or in battle. In modern times it could be winning a video game. He's doing his thing. Leave him alone. Stop complaining. People are human beings not TSE readings to be constantly updated.

To he and she: want to know the secret meanings behind something? Buy a cryptic crossword puzzle book.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 11
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 3:39:15 PM

^^^socially inhibited only, though--men are perfectly CAPABLE of expressing their feelings in words. You're not dumb, you know. . .


Not so. We don't get much practice, so we're clumsy at it. Then, when we misspeak, women freak out, take what we say the wrong way, and storm out on us. And so, the climate of punishment continues.

No. We're not dumb. We get it. That's why we keep quiet.
 dawn1114
Joined: 2/27/2006
Msg: 12
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 3:44:55 PM
I'm personally glad that men (in general) don't blab on and on about their feelings. Verbalized emotions are a lot like verbalized dreams: not nearly as fascinating to the listener as some people seem to believe.
 GeneralizingNow
Joined: 10/10/2007
Msg: 13
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 3:51:40 PM
I stand corrected, Ace of Space. You ARE dumb.

Just because men only use 200 words doesn't mean they can't express their feelings verbally. And believe it or not, many actually do it. [I'll just leave the goading "women freak out" part out there in the ether.]

My take on why more men don't express their feelings verbally is that they are afraid of the vulnerability that comes from it--afraid they may get laughed at, scorned, hurt, rejected, or WORST OF ALL, fully acepted and loved. Then the woman will have all this power (the power of love) to wield over their heads.
 Riick
Joined: 2/9/2006
Msg: 14
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 3:59:42 PM

From the broadway Solo hit" DEFENDING THE CAVE MAN"
WOMEN GET MORE PRACTICE AT EXPRESSING Their FEELINGS
This is why men don't express their feelings >


Whoops, not the explanation offered there; it was THIS (which is not circular and makes some real sense ---- Remember this was a "Hunter / Gatherer" Society --- men did the hunting, women did the gathering):

WOMEN - chatted with one another - during food gathering- to signal that they were still there - alive!, and that local Leopard hadn't made Lunch of them.

MEN - kept quiet on the hunt - otherwise the HUNTED would hear them, and leave for a safer place.

Now women "gather" in Supermarkets and at Macy's and spend HOURS doing it.
When men hit Macy's -- they're in and out in 10 minutes.
Go to hunt shirt,
Find Shirt,
Kill Shirt,
Bring shirt home.
 passionandsong
Joined: 10/9/2007
Msg: 15
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 4:12:25 PM
stand corrected, Ace of Space. You ARE dumb.

Just because men only use 200 words doesn't mean they can't express their feelings verbally. And believe it or not, many actually do it. [I'll just leave the goading "women freak out" part out there in the ether.]

My take on why more men don't express their feelings verbally is that they are afraid of the vulnerability that comes from it--afraid they may get laughed at, scorned, hurt, rejected, or WORST OF ALL, fully acepted and loved. Then the woman will have all this power (the power of love) to wield over their heads.

men are not affraid to get scorned or hurt for there feelings.we just really havnt been prepared for the feeling we have when we get them for women.its not a fear so much as it is a confusion.women have been thinking of love before puberty,men have been thinking of anything but.god has an awesome sense of humor doesnt he?we dont even realize we want to be loved until we meet you.women are the teachers in this respect.the first time a man feels love,he has no idea whats going on or if he even wants it.its very confusing.the more he feels it and loses it the more he wants it,but the original idea of love is foriegn to him.
 pjagos
Joined: 1/7/2008
Msg: 16
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 4:52:10 PM

Why don't men talk about their feelings? Because we don't need to.

I stand corrected... REAL men don't need to talk about their feelings. Most of todays' men, who have read too much Cosmo, or Metrosexuals think they need to talk about their feelings. Truth is that a REAL man either fixes the problem or if the problem isn't fixable then he keeps quiet cuz talking about it is a waste of time. He'd rather go work in the garage or watch TV. Much more productive.

...and I'm being TOTALLY serious.


Good sarcasm often doesn't translate well over text, but whether that was serious or not, it does illustrate my point.

Although I offered both a social and an evolutionary explanation, and posters have mentioned good examples of both, it is very likely a combination of the two that does the trick.
 AppleGeek
Joined: 9/26/2006
Msg: 17
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/18/2008 5:17:05 PM
Emotions are a symptom. If they're good then you find the cause and keep it. If they're bad you stop or get rid of what ever caused it. If I can't figure out how to do either of those things I may discuss how to.

Look at all the mating rituals in the animal kingdom. Lions fight for control of a pride, stallions for a herd, gorillas are dominated by an alpha gorilla. Of course actually fighting is bad because you get hurt. Better to make it a match of bluff and bluster, the bigger and scarier you are the more likely you won't have to fight the challengers. Expressing how you feel means you can't win the face off and your relegated to beta non-breading male status.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 18
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/20/2008 12:25:43 AM
My take on why more men don't express their feelings verbally is that they are afraid of the vulnerability that comes from it--afraid they may get laughed at, scorned, hurt, rejected, or WORST OF ALL, fully acepted and loved. Then the woman will have all this power (the power of love) to wield over their heads.


Very insightful. Whoever winds up with you will be a lucky man I think.


I stand corrected, Ace of Space. You ARE dumb.


If more women had the quality of insight that you do, I'd certainly feel a whole lot safer about expressing my feelings--especially the tender ones.

So, please allow me to beg your pardon for the bitterness in my reply. I just get so tired of the double-bind of feeling pressured to express my feelings and then being rejected when my fears about doing so, which are valid feelings in themselves, are interpreted as a lack of caring.

The fact that some men are less damaged by their conditioning than others is lucky for them. However, it does not change the fact that, by and large, men are trained out of it from an early age. It is a handicap that we all have to deal with to a greater or lesser extent.

That power to love can appear to be a power to impose an obligation through guilt. "You should do what I want because I love you and I'll feel hurt if you don't." You and I both know that love isn't about that. However, it sometimes appears to play out that way. Does it really matter what I'm feeling if you're crying because you didn't get your way? Shouldn't I just "man up" and do right by you--however you interpret that to be? If I truly loved you, isn't that what I'd do, and without a moment's hesitation?
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 19
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/20/2008 1:46:34 PM
It's funny, when you go back later and reread what you have written.

I wonder where I learned to be so mistrustful of love. It now seems to me that no self-respecting woman would want a man to be her slave. A relationship that's based on that sort of guilt-tripping wouldn't be worth a damn to her. It sure wouldn't be to me.

Hmmm ... Maybe CassaGo's right. Maybe I have been dumb. Where did I get an idea as stupid as that about women? And why on Earth did I believe it?
 passionandsong
Joined: 10/9/2007
Msg: 20
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/20/2008 3:21:22 PM
no matter how you look at it you are going to hurt and be hurt.the question is did you do it on purpose.if those that hurt others by mistake were human enough to admit it,this would be a dead thread.
 broward
Joined: 1/30/2007
Msg: 21
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/20/2008 7:43:43 PM
I'm curious.

Why is the goal to make men talk more?
Why isn't it to make women talk less?
Why isn't that even a discussed option?
Interesting bias.

Where's the "equality" in this equation?
 AppleGeek
Joined: 9/26/2006
Msg: 22
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/21/2008 7:23:49 AM
I though the goal was mutual understanding. And this discussion was about one of the ways that the genders differ in their approach to it.
 coruja
Joined: 7/17/2006
Msg: 23
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/21/2008 9:35:26 AM
Good post OP - but I expect it will fall on 'deaf-ears'. Kudos for trying though. Maybe the Mod's will pin it though, that would be nice.
 pjagos
Joined: 1/7/2008
Msg: 24
Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/21/2008 7:51:35 PM
Thanks!

I like to help, especially if it involves me talking about research I've done, lol.

Cheers!

Paul
 passionandsong
Joined: 10/9/2007
Msg: 25
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Why men don't talk about their feelings (an explanation, warning, it's a long one)
Posted: 1/25/2008 8:40:19 AM
Thanks!

I like to help, especially if it involves me talking about research I've done, lol.

Cheers!


i for one would like to keep this thread alive.i think it is leaves a lot of oppertunity for men and women to have a better grasp on how we tick.really cant see why there are not more female responses.
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