Many straight women who have had a taste of the dating scene will agree that relationships take a lot more than being a viable candidate yourself to work. With no ‘background knowledge’ of why men behave the way they do, dating them can feel like you’re going in circles. Or worse yet, give the impression there’s something wrong with you.
However, it’s essential to realize that guys are, first and foremost human, which is one thing we have in common despite our differences. Just as every trend and study about your gender couldn’t possibly define you as an individual, the same is valid for guys.
There is no one-size-fits-all guide to male behavior, whether in a relationship or otherwise. The closest you can get is an approximation of patterns based on what men have and do in common. And then, perhaps, you can find a way to adapt it to your man based on his uniqueness and see where that gets you.
If that sounds like something you might be interested in, this article might be a good place to start.
- 1 31 Ways To Understand Guy’s Behavior
- 1.1 1. Dead the stereotypes
- 1.2 2. Ask questions
- 1.3 3. Spend time around men
- 1.4 4. Focus on your man
- 1.5 5. Get him out of his comfort zone
- 1.6 6. No risk, no gain
- 1.7 7. Assess the quality of his relationship with his friends
- 1.8 8. Watch how he is with other people
- 1.9 9. We are more alike than you think
- 1.10 10. Have patience
- 1.11 11. Understand that men really can’t read minds
- 1.12 12. Understand that men are more likely to be avoidants
- 1.13 13. Men want space, but their reasons differ
- 1.14 14. They get lonely too
- 1.15 15. Men have less practice getting in touch with their emotions
- 1.16 16. Just that he shows it differently doesn’t mean he doesn’t care
- 1.17 17. Touch is probably a universal love language to guys
- 1.18 18. But they have other love languages too
- 1.19 19. Their jealousy is rooted in evolution
- 1.20 20. Men want to settle down too
- 1.21 21. Positive reinforcement matters to them too
- 1.22 22. Like us, guys get bored if you lose your intrigue
- 1.23 23. Remember, men are grown kids
- 1.24 24. He wants to be a man
- 1.25 25. Confidence is not inherent
- 1.26 26. Different stage, different drive
- 1.27 27. Men can be petty too
- 1.28 28. They also get rejection jitters
- 1.29 29. The more diverse, the better
- 1.30 30. Men are pretty straightforward when they are into you
- 1.31 31. The simple appreciative gestures mean more than you know
- 2 FAQs
- 3 In Conclusion
31 Ways To Understand Guy’s Behavior
1. Dead the stereotypes
The problem with perpetuating stereotypes is the hasty generalization, which is the real enemy. And that is why one of the first steps to learning more about men and how their minds work is to try as much as you can to avoid these restrictive pigeon-holes.
Many men may be and want something, but there is no such thing as “all men are…” There will also be outliers in every instance, and the one who calls you wife or girlfriend may turn out to be that.
2. Ask questions
If you shouldn’t believe the myths and legends out there about men, what then do you have to go on? The words that come out of their mouths, that’s what. Take an interest in each man you meet like you have nothing to go on, then get to know him as an individual.
As a woman, you may just come to find that stereotypes do not define your boyfriend, and men are generally incredibly misunderstood.
3. Spend time around men
Another trick is to find your way into their “natural habitat.” That is, hang around places where there’s usually a lot of men, where you can catch them interacting with one another unguarded and just observe.
This way, you can see what they are like when they are not trying to impress you or anyone around. Seeing how they behave in specific scenarios that they are not likely to be in with you can give you an incredible insight into the average human male’s mind.
4. Focus on your man
I think the mistake many women who have trouble understanding men make is that they try to figure them out as a collective rather than as individuals. Perhaps, things are so confusing for you now because your current boyfriend couldn’t be more different from your ex, and that’s making you question all you thought you knew about men.
Have you considered taking them one at a time? If you narrow your research down to one man, your understanding of the male mind becomes more streamlined and apt.
5. Get him out of his comfort zone
Another reason why it’s more effective to focus on one man at a time is that the guy has some part to play here, too (obviously!) It’s difficult to gain an idea of someone’s thinking model when they are on “auto-pilot.” i.e., when they are so used to acting a certain way, they don’t even have to think about it.
It’s like brushing, you just wake up, and you brush. The inculcation happened as a kid, now it’s just something you do. It’s hard to learn what drives a person or an action if the need to recall never arises.
Take a doctor, for example, a life requires saving, so they save it, but they also get paid handsomely to do so. Without actually communicating with the doctor, you can’t deduce whether he does it for the cash or he genuinely cares just because he goes to work every day.
Similarly, to get a more rounded understanding of how a guy thinks, you have to get him thinking (and talking) about why he does what he does.
6. No risk, no gain
On the other hand, you may need to undertake some risk-taking of your own. Sometimes you just have to go through the chaffs to get to the wheat. There is no telling which one will turn out to be the right guy, even if he appears to be from the outside.
And even after you’ve made your choice, you sometimes need to put yourself out there to appreciate where he is coming from. For instance, if your boyfriend doesn’t want children or tends to avoid the spotlight, you may need to live a moment in his shoes to have an idea why.
Maybe one day of unguarded look into his relationship with his parents or dragging yourself alongside him to the spotlight won’t help you understand him fully, but it’s a start.
7. Assess the quality of his relationship with his friends
If you want to gauge a new boyfriend’s behavior, perhaps, the quality of his friendships can tell you plenty. If he’s been hanging with them long, for instance, you can expect loyalty from that kind of person.
On the flip side, if his friends aren’t exactly the right kind of circle for him, maybe guys he should have outgrown after high school, change may not exactly be his strong suit. Obviously, one has to have more than one encounter to draw from to make a fair deduction, and even then, it may not be entirely accurate.
8. Watch how he is with other people
In addition to his relationship with his friends, you want to look into his behavior around other people as well, both his fellow men and other women. This will help you assess his personality better than when you only have his attitude around you to go by.
Some men are flirts while others are just naturally friendly towards all people. Those in the latter tend to attract all kinds of people, so before you conclude that all men are philanders (which I’m not saying is wrong), explore the possibility that he’s just an effortless charmer.
9. We are more alike than you think
The key to not losing your mind while trying to figure guys out is to remind yourself that you have more in common with them than you think. If you are unsure how a typical guy would do something, try this simple trick of doing it the right way you would handle it.
For instance, chivalry has been romanticized as a gentleman’s deed doesn’t make it wrong for women to exhibit. It doesn’t take a penis to keep the door open for the frail older man or shift for the pregnant lady.
10. Have patience
Time, they say, is the wisest counselor of all. It’s literally impossible to understand all there is to know about someone else, even they don’t know that. We are all along on this unraveling ride called life; it’s all of our first time, learning and unlearning as we go.
The best way to stay updated, so to speak, is to let time do its thing and just take what you get as you go.
11. Understand that men really can’t read minds
They suck at taking hints, too, as you’ve probably noticed. As a woman, you have to show a man what you want for him to know for the simple reason he isn’t you. The issue may seem obvious to you, but that doesn’t mean he sees whatever it is from your perspective.
Don’t assume they know and are being difficult on purpose, in most cases, they usually aren’t. This may not always be easy, but try to get past your emotions and make your position clear to them as gently as possible. Communication is the master key to relationships if ever I saw one.
12. Understand that men are more likely to be avoidants
Men are more likely than women to develop avoidant attachment styles, according to this study. This barely comes as a surprise since we are, after all, the aggregate of our experiences. Our attachment style is how we behave in relationships, which is molded based on our childhood interactions with our parents/primary caregivers.
Furthermore, for the aforementioned stereotypical reasons and what society has come to normalize as masculinity, many men tend to avoid anything that has to do with dealing with their emotions. (More on this later.)
13. Men want space, but their reasons differ
If you needed one more reason not to buy into every stereotype about men, it’s that you might be cheating yourself. Accountability should be a given in an adult relationship, irrespective of sex. (I can’t believe I just felt it necessary to spell that out.)
We all need space sometimes, it’s not some unquestionable guy thing that should be accepted no matter what. Don’t assume he’s fallen in love with you if he starts acting distant all of a sudden either, it can just as easily mean he’s not that into you.
Revert to the importance of communication and make sure you’re on the same page about why and if it’s something you can provide, rather than agreeing in darkness and suffering in silence.
14. They get lonely too
While some studies suggest loneliness is more common in women compared to their male counterparts, Dr. Louann Brizendine, a professor of Psychology, says men are actually more vulnerable. Particularly older men. Given she’s also the author of The Male Brain, I assume she’s speaking from a scientific standpoint.
But even if you look at it from a logical perspective, it still makes sense because men tend to internalize their emotions more than us. And since age is not some magical cure-all, if they never find a way to break out of that, it’ll only worsen as they get older.
15. Men have less practice getting in touch with their emotions
…because they are not encouraged to, not that they don’t want to. Unfortunately, when a stereotype lasts as long as this one has been standing, it sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
That many men indeed associate suppressing emotions deemed weak with manliness as a societal failure, not the way it should be. Men want to open up and help you understand them too, they just need a little more encouragement due to the status quo.
16. Just that he shows it differently doesn’t mean he doesn’t care
This brings me to this point on empathy. Unlike what the appearance would have us believe, it is not that men aren’t capable of being empathetic in a situation that requires it. But that in addition to feeling for you, they are also wired to search for a solution if there is one.
For instance, as a woman, you might react to a friend getting mugged by checking to see if they’re okay and staying with them till they are no longer shaken. Whereas, a man’s first instinct to the same situation may be to take off after the mugger after establishing that the victim isn’t physically hurt.
So, your boyfriend’s seeming obsession with fixing it does not necessarily mean he doesn’t care about how the problem makes you feel, it’s probably just the way he knows how.
17. Touch is probably a universal love language to guys
Because men are such visual and physical creatures, physical touch is a love language many of them relate to. The biological obligation of sowing their seed to keep the race alive might explain their tendency to read anything that indicates readiness on the woman’s part as a signal to get down.
But it’s also one of the ways to get a man to unwind and relax in your arms. It doesn’t necessarily have to lead to sex for touch to count as intimacy for men either, sometimes a back rub or a hug is all it takes.
18. But they have other love languages too
Then again, you have to be careful not to assume that all men want in or outside a relationship is your touch. Just as you, as a woman, wouldn’t appreciate being reduced to one of the things you like, you shouldn’t think the same of guys.
Take the pain to communicate with the person you are with first to determine his primary language. He may like to be touched but like your something else more.
19. Their jealousy is rooted in evolution
Human psychology is too complicated a subject to narrow down to black and white, but speaking plainly from an evolutionary perspective, men defend their territory is what they do.
Back then, they had to go to wars to defend their possession, and while civilization may have brought a more organized approach to that, the passed down trait still gets triggered whenever they feel threatened. That explains why they are prone to bouts of jealousy and possessiveness, not to excuse them.
20. Men want to settle down too
Despite many men's tendencies to avoid commitment, some are actively in search of it. This sharp contrast, among several others, is one reason why you shouldn’t draw conclusions about the entire sex based on a handful of examples.
While the avoidant lots may view relationships as restrictive, remember men can also develop secure attachment styles if they are lucky enough to receive proper attention growing up.
21. Positive reinforcement matters to them too
Women do not have a patent for receiving compliments and hearing affirmative words from their partners. Whether you have only been a man’s girlfriend for a day or his wife of ten years, he wants to know you appreciate him too.
However, no one appreciates compliments that feel forced or sound like you’re reading to them from a script. So please, try to keep it as natural and personal as you can.
22. Like us, guys get bored if you lose your intrigue
I don’t know about you, but I tend to lose interest in things and people when they stop being intriguing. As do many men and women I know. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of making a guy your only good thing.
Like us, they prefer being a priority among your several good things, not the only one. It’s how some people excuse their aversion to commitment, they feel getting into a relationship means willingly setting yourself up for tedium. Even in marriage, maintaining other interests on the side can very well keep your husband interested.
23. Remember, men are grown kids
From their obsession with establishing a pecking order to their common interests like sports, men develop their proclivities from childhood, and most just grow with them. Children, mostly boys, play by taking apart and rebuilding stuff, throwing things, playing with toy guns, and the likes.
As they grow older, they never really lose interest in these boyish inclinations. It’s why you see guys pay good money to watch someone beat another man up. Why do they bond over testosterone-charged environments, whether during live matches or over video games?
This is because this has become the ‘acceptable’ way over time for men to express themselves without raising an eyebrow. It’s where they go to release pent-up frustrations and escape real-life pressure, if only for a brief moment.
24. He wants to be a man
Speaking of the pecking order, men aren’t all that different from your typical domestic cocks. Even if the line will be so thin it’s almost negligible, they want that hierarchy of status established.
That a guy is progressive doesn’t mean he still wouldn’t do the whole mating dance to get a girl. In a relationship or marriage, men naturally want to provide for their families once they get there, yet another adaptation they have evolution to thank for. The same goes for their hero instinct, their tendency to protect and save the day.
Somehow or other, these are the ways many men know to show love and be useful, so whenever you get the chance and as long as it’s not harming anyone, let them.
25. Confidence is not inherent
Contrary to the belief that guys are supposed to be rock solid on all fronts, it’s not an inbuilt trait. Not for men, women, or anyone. However, since long-standing stereotypes end up becoming self-fulfilling, men make it their life purpose to project a confident front, even if they don’t necessarily feel it within. Because they believe that’s what society expects.
And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, imagine how such expectations make the less poised fellas feel. Not to digress too much, all I’m trying to say is that you don’t expect someone to be anything at all solely because of their gender. If you can relate to that as a woman, all the men in your life want is that you accord them the same benefit.
26. Different stage, different drive
Am I going to sit here and tell you that guys aren’t, in fact, sex-crazed? Not really. Because at certain ages, it’s all they can think about. However, I also won’t pretend that there aren’t men out there who would take intimacy and a stable relationship over sowing their wild oats.
Where teenage boys and young adults can be all about sex, priorities tend to change as they grow into the next life stage. The only problem is, growth isn’t only a matter of age, so you may well still meet a 40-year-old man with the mind of a 19-year-old.
27. Men can be petty too
This one is basically garbage in garbage out; what you put in is what you get. Another mistake I’ve seen many women make is expecting maturity from men just because.
While the researchers battle out whose brain is more mature between the genders, I like to stress the importance of upbringing too. Not everyone buys into the traditional idea of treating a woman special no matter what, some guys will serve you exactly as you give it to them.
28. They also get rejection jitters
Another common misconception is that men are built to handle rejection better than women. If there’s any truth to that, it would probably be due to sheer practice and nothing more.
That guy at the bar may seem confident to approach you, but it probably took him a lot of mental effort to even take the first step. As a woman, keep that in mind the next time you want to reject one. As I like to say, if the kind way is just as effective, take it.
29. The more diverse, the better
Another thing I’ve come to realize with men is how much they seem to dig diversity. Then again, who doesn’t? Whether you’re talking about sex or women in general, the more varied the experience, the more likely they are to remain interested.
So, if you’re looking for a sign to try something new in your relationship, this is it. (Although, as always, your discretion is always advised.) Particularly about the sex, he may not be able to re-enact all his favorite porn scenes, but that doesn’t mean he’d be opposed to trying different things with his woman.
30. Men are pretty straightforward when they are into you
Let’s assume ‘into you’ here means they want a relationship with you because the guys who play games just to have sex are men too. Not to take anything away from men with avoidant attachment styles, those who have been hurt in love before, or those who simply don’t want to settle down.
However, barring this and similar reasons, men who want relationships typically pursue it. Their very nature and life experiences might influence how they express that desire, but there’ll be minimal doubt that they want you. Just thought you should know that.
31. The simple appreciative gestures mean more than you know
It’s good manners to remember your apologies and thank you, irrespective of who you are dealing with. So, it makes sense that, in addition to the occasional compliment, it doesn’t take much more than these to make a man feel loved and appreciated in a relationship. Because again, they are people first.
You shouldn’t wait until your boyfriend or partner does something for you that you can’t do for yourself before expressing gratitude. Even if it has nothing to do with you personally, the occasional hugs and kisses for being there can melt even the coldest of male hearts.
The best way to understand your man is to get to know him as his own person, not based on some typecasts. Encourage him to open up about what he may otherwise not feel the need to do with other people and try not to judge him when he does.
Some guys tend to take a step back and become distant when they start developing feelings they are not ready for. On the flip side, some dote on you more than ever before when they start liking you. Some guys come out to tell you, while others communicate their emotions through body language. Personality, experience, and maturity, among other factors, all play a part.
Your best bet of getting a man to understand your feelings is to communicate them to him as effectively as possible. Try to keep your tone and body language even when you discuss them and use “I” statements rather than “you.”
The best distinction between a guy who really loves you and one who is just saying it is that the latter expresses it without being forced. He would not only tell you how you make him feel, but his actions would show it as well.
Different strokes for different folks. Therefore, the most effective tactic to make a guy crazy about you is first finding out what he digs. Then create a unique approach to him based on a merge between that thing and your personality. Another trick is to keep improving on whatever it is that attracted him to you in the first place.
Besides communication, the other key to understanding guys’ is to realize they are every bit as human as you are, imperfections and all. They are prone to mistakes, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be condemned based on others' actions.
As always, it’s been a pleasure discussing men and their biases. If you liked this, please let me know in the comments and share the article. You never know, you might be saving someone’s relationship or marriage somewhere.
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.