No matter how much you might wish your guy was just like you, he’s never going to share his every thought and feeling like you do. It’s just not how he’s wired. Remember, many guys think showing any kind of weakness (and yes, he thinks sharing his emotions is a weakness) will make you think less of him. It’s up to you to make him feel comfortable enough to be himself and be open with you. With the right techniques, you can totally do it — you just need to know how. Here’s how to get your guy to actually talk to you.
- Wait until he’s busy with another activity. Guys panic when you try to get them to talk and they don’t have a distraction nearby. They’re far more likely to talk to you if they don’t have to do it face-to-face. Try to ask him about his day while he’s working on his car or helping you do the dishes after dinner. You can even talk to him when he’s doing his favorite hobby. He’ll be more relaxed and feel less cornered that way.
- Start with a joke. We’ve all made the tragic mistake of telling a man “We need to talk.” He really can’t tell you anything because his mind goes blank. The only thing he thinks is, “I must have done something wrong.” Avoid putting pressure on him and start out with a joke or two. The more relaxed he feels, the more likely he is to start sharing. He won’t even realize what’s happening until much later.
- Be open with him. Show your guy that it’s okay to be open. I’m not saying you need to share every single thought and emotion with him. Save some of those for your girlfriends. Just show him there are no consequences for talking to you. When you set a good example, he’ll follow the lead and be talking to you in no time.
- Bring up an imaginary scenario. If a guy doesn’t think you’re talking about him or even anything real, he’ll open up more. Tell him you have this friend who’s going through something similar to what you know he’s going through. Ask him what advice you should give and how you might better understand your friend. You’ll get an inside look at how he feels and what he might need from you.
- Wait until he’s relaxed. Most people don’t want to talk when they’re tense or feel pressured. Wait until a time when you know he’s more relaxed. Try taking advantage of post-sex cuddles or while you’re both dozing in front of the TV. Keep your tone relaxed and friendly. Don’t jump straight into the big questions, such as “what’s wrong with you.” Take it slow and he will start talking.
- Don’t blame him. One of the quickest ways to ensure your man doesn’t talk is by blaming him. If you know something’s wrong, but he’s not talking, saying “You never tell me anything. I don’t know what’s wrong with you!” isn’t going to help. It’s just going to make him clam up even more. Just like with women, sometimes we’re not ready to talk about something that second. Encourage him. Don’t blame him if he doesn’t immediately share or seems distant at first. A little patience goes a long way.
- Ask him general questions. Guys aren’t well known for subtlety, but when it comes to their feelings, they suddenly become masters of the art. Two can play at this game. Ask him simple, general questions. Ask him about his day, how work was, what he’s looking forward to over the coming weeks, and what he might like to do over the weekend. This makes him start having a genuine conversation with you. You’ll notice him relaxing and he’ll give you signs to how he’s feeling along the way.
- Talk about his interests. Ask a man about his interests and he goes from quiet to talkative in two seconds flat. It doesn’t matter if you think his hobbies or interests are boring. You’re in a relationship, so you need to at least be open to hearing him talk about the things he loves to do. This shows a guy you’re interested in him which makes him more comfortable. This makes him feel like it’s safe to share his feelings with you.
- Explain why it means so much to you. Guys often think women talk about their feelings all the time because we just love to hear ourselves talk or that we’re drama queens. Okay, so that’s true for some women, but not all. Sit your guy down and explain why knowing what’s going on in his life and how it affects him is important to you. When he knows you’re not being nosy and it’s because you genuinely care about him, he’ll open up far more often. You’ll be way more likely to get him to open up if you tell him honestly why it’s so important to you.
- Play games with each other. As in, actual games. There’s something about playing games as a couple that gets both of you talking. It’s as if you’ve shut away the rest of the world and the competition takes over. Use this time to talk about what’s going on in your lives. Start by asking him questions and sharing details about yourself. Before long, game time becomes conversation time. Your man has fun, stays relaxed, and shares his feelings. Everyone wins.
- Reward him. When your guy shares even small details, such as saying he was hurt that his coworker got that promotion he’d been working so hard for, reward him. Once you get him to open up about it, thank him, give him a long deep kiss or even offer to fix his favorite dessert. A small reward encourages more conversation in the future. No matter what you do, just don’t make fun of him when he does share. Encourage and be positive.
- Start slow and be patient. If your guy has been distant or quiet for a while, there may not be a quick fix or an easy way to get him to open up. You may need to use several of these methods and start off slowly. He might share a little one day, be quiet for the next two and then open up more on the fourth. You can’t change years of ingrained habits in a single day. Be patient and he’ll come around. After that, it’s easy to get him to talk. All you have to do is ask.
What not to do if you want him to open up
Now that you have solid tips to foster better communication with your guy, it might be helpful to know what you shouldn’t be doing if you want to be successful in getting him to open up.
- Don’t grill him. If there’s something specific you want to know about your boyfriend or what’s going on in his life, it’s totally cool to ask him straight-up. However, regularly grilling him with a million questions about minute details about a difficult, sensitive, or generally unpleasant topic isn’t going to get him to open up. In fact, it’s more likely to make him not want to tell you anything at all and he’ll run away from the conversation.
- Don’t pressure him to talk when he’s not ready or doesn’t want to. It’s great that you’re ready to have a specific conversation, but that doesn’t mean he has to operate on your timeline. Some people need time to process their thoughts and feelings before they can voice them to anyone else. While it’s not okay for him to shut you out for good and claim he’s never ready to talk about anything at all, you should have reasonable expectations here.
- Don’t give him an ultimatum. You want to know how to get him to open up, not how to get him to break up with you. Giving a guy an ultimatum — “You either tell me what you’re thinking or we’re done!” — will not result in you having some deep and meaningful conversation that brings you closer than ever before. In fact, you likely will be done because he won’t want to be with a partner who would manipulate him in such a way.