15 Ways To Deal With A Sensitive Guy (And How To Tell If He’s Using His ‘Sensitivity’ To Manipulate You)

Women tend to get the reputation for being the sensitive ones,  but this is commonly refuted even by the more “macho” men out there. Guys can be quite touchy, as well, and when you’re dating one who is really truly very sensitive, it can whole other ballgame. While you should never have to walk on eggshells with anyone, especially not a partner, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to avoid triggering his sensitivities and ensure he’s comfortable and content in your relationship. Here’s how to handle a sensitive guy, as well as how to tell whether or not he’s using his so-called softheartedness as a tool of manipulation.

  1. Don’t try to play games. They just don’t work on a sensitive dude — not in the beginning of the relationship, not in the middle. Never. Of course, you shouldn’t need to be told this. You’re a grown woman. Act like it.
  2. You might have to make him feel secure. You can be the most loyal woman in the world, but your sensitive dude might question the state of your relationship status anyway. While it’s not your responsibility to solve his issues, a little reassurance does go a long way.
  3. Get vulnerable. Playing hard to get might be your preferred M.O., but making it work with a more sensitive guy generally requires you to let your walls down a bit. If you want to experience real love, you have to be willing to let him in. That’s the only way forward.
  4. Be honest about your feelings. He’s going to know something is up no matter what happens, so generally just keeping informed about your feelings can help avoid issues. Be upfront and honest with him even if the truth hurts. He’ll be far more upset if he finds out you lied.
  5. Don’t offer him outs. You know when you really want to hang out with a guy but you aren’t sure they feel the same so you offer them an easygoing out just in case they’re going to bail on you? A sensitive guy will read that as you trying to bail on him, not that you’re low maintenance.
  6. Be the extrovert in the relationship. Maybe you’re not usually the most outgoing of your friend group, but in this coupling you are. Embrace the role. Pull him out of his shell every once in a while. You’ll be surprised at how much fun it can be (and so will he).
  7. Don’t try to make him jealous. A sensitive guy is already aware of the fact that other guys in the room are checking you out, no use in torturing the guy by actually flirting with them. This is an immature game and an unnecessary one. You would hate it if he did this to you, and you know it.
  8. Let him know he’s your one and only. Touch his arm when you guys are out, smile at him from across the room, stay connected. The more secure he feels with you, the more open and giving he will be as your partner.
  9. Don’t be afraid to make moves. Whether it’s asking him out to begin with or getting him to the bedroom after date nights. It’s sexy when a confident woman takes charge. Don’t hesitate to go after what you want.
  10. Let him know what you love about him in the bedroom. A sensitive guy can be as confident as any other guy in the sack, but it doesn’t hurt to compliment and point him in the right direction. He’ll be willing to learn and grateful for the feedback.
  11. Try not to bicker for no reason. I know, sometimes it just happens. But remember that a sensitive guy is going to take everything you say to heart, so try not to say things you don’t mean. He’ll do the same in return because he knows how much it can sting.
  12. Keep it touch. Call or text your sensitive guy whenever you feel like it because he likes to stay connected in the same way that you do. You don’t need to be in touch 24/7, but going AWOL for days on end probably won’t go down very well.
  13. Don’t be dependent on him. Of course your boyfriend should be there for you but you don’t want to expect to carry all of your emotional baggage, because he’s going to worry about it even more than you do.
  14. Apologize when necessary. Holding grudges or building resentment is going to felt by a sensitive guy so it’s better to handle issues as the come. Be accountable for your actions and if you mess up, admit it. Say you’re sorry and make it genuine.
  15. Be a patient listener. Sometimes sensitive guys will clam up when they feel vulnerable, but he needs to be heard as much as the rest of us. Offer him the same love, patience, and understanding you want him to offer you and you won’t go wrong.

Is he really a “sensitive” guy or is he manipulating you?

While it’s great to think you’ve bagged one of the rare emotional dudes, there’s a chance he could be using his “feelings” to take advantage of you. Here are some warning signs.

  1. He always plays the victim. No matter what happens — he gets fired from his job (again), his loved ones call him out for being selfish — he’ll always act as though he’s the innocent party and everyone’s out to get him. It gets really old after awhile.
  2. He tries to gain your sympathy. He might do that by being the victim, but he’ll also always have a sob story on hand if he needs to win you over with a tear-jerker.
  3. He paints his exes in a bad light. You know the guy who claims all his exes were psychos? Yeah, he might be using that as a way to impress you. He’ll paint them in a negative way but make himself seem like an amazing boyfriend. He’ll say something like, “My ex cheated on me and treated me like crap and yet I was always there for her.” That story might be true, but the manipulative faux-sensitive guy might have a lot of these types of stories up his sleeve.
  4. He cries when you confront him. You’re upset because he did something offensive and when you confront him about it, he gets tears in his eyes. He says, “But don’t you trust me?” or “Can’t you see that I adore you?” Yup, the manipulative faux-sensitive guy loves the drama! He’s also smartly trying to turn the spotlight onto you by asking you those questions.
  5. He guilts you. He loves to put you on a guilt trip. When you don’t respond to his victim-based stories or dramatic appeals, he’ll turn the tables on you. He’ll say that you’re just like everyone else who has doubted/misjudged him. Ugh. This guy really loves to lay it on thicker than peanut butter.
  6. He says he’s afraid you’ll hurt him. This is the classic move of a guy who’s going to go out and hurt YOU. He comes across as being fragile and sensitive, asking you to treat him kindly or saying, “Please don’t ever hurt me.” But don’t be fooled. A guy who is clearly insecure to that extent and making you feel like you’ve got to jump through hoops to show him you’re worth it is probably manipulating you.
  7. You make excuses for him. Ever told your friends that your boyfriend isn’t a bad guy, he’s just had a lot of bad experiences in his life? Ever tried to explain to them that he’s not moody, he’s just going through a tough time? If you find yourself constantly having to make excuses for his lousy behavior, the guy’s not sensitive, he’s a jerk.
  8. His smile doesn’t reach his eyes. When he talks to you about something he needs from you and you express that you can’t help him out this time, he seems totally fine with that… until he thinks you’re not looking his way. Then he looks like his temper is brewing and he’s about to lose it. He puts on a mask to try to seem like the nice guy but the reality is that he’s really not.
  9. He doesn’t respect your feelings. While you have to jump through hoops to show him that you respect his feelings, he doesn’t offer you the same respect. He’s quick to write off your feelings, which shows that his sensitive guy mask is really nothing more than that.
  10. He loves giving you the silent treatment. Sometimes you feel like you have to walk around on tiptoes because you never know what could set this guy off. He might disappear into his own world for days and give you the silent treatment. You might say, “He’s just sensitive and something hurt him,” but deep down you know that it feels weird and wrong. A guy who leaves you hanging and wondering what you might’ve done to upset him is not a sensitive guy. He’s manipulative! The best thing to do is head for the exit, even if he cries his faux-sensitive heart out.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog ThatsRandomKate.blogspot.com