- Gender and Relationships
10 Ways You Chicks Can Make Us Guys Happy
We want you to be happy
The good news is that making your man happy is generally not complicated. Before we get into the rest of this Hub, internalize one single fact: We men are happiest when you are happy. By understanding where we're coming from, you will find that your relationship loses the drama factor and both of you will be happier.
A caveat before we begin
Nothing in this Hub is meant to suggest that you are supposed to wait on your man hand and foot or subsume your needs and wants to his. Not at all. The point of this Hub is to help you see just how relatable your man's ego, wants, and needs are to yours.
We like to be heard too!
Tip 1: Listen to him
"Of course I listen to him!" you say. "He just doesn't talk!" The trouble is that we have a misunderstanding about the meaning of the word "listen." Men do not, as a rule, talk as much as women, and certainly not about the things that women do. As I covered in my other popular Hub, most men say things very quickly, and only once. So invite your man to confide in you, but don't expect that he will respond instantly. Give him time to begin communicating his hopes, dreams, feelings, and desires - his way. Don't pressure him to share with you your way. As he begins opening up and sharing more with you, you will find yourself feeling a lot more connected and cozy-close to him, which will make you feel happy. And like we said before, if you are happy, well, he is happier still.
Take a tip from Jarvis
Tip 2: Spend time, no questions asked
Every man has something he does on his downtime that is important to him. Me, it may be writing a novel or coding a mobile app. If we're talking my dad, he liked stripping and refinishing furniture in the garage. Other men might enjoy watching football or collecting victrolas from the 1800's. If it's something that helps us to push the office out of our heads for a while, then we would love for you just to come and hang out. Maybe you could bring a beer, or maybe not. It's up to you. When my wife comes in and loops her arm through mine, quietly taking in the moment with me, not asking me to have a "talk" or demanding that I change what I'm doing, it makes me very happy. "But I already do this!" you say. Okay, answer me something: When your man is relaxing at his hobby, do you seize the moment to ask him something? To mention a concern at work? To remind him to call the contractor about that floor? To tell him about the F Junior got? Okay, if you do this, then you are not just hanging out with him. He feels ambushed and a bit annoyed. You do need to communicate your concerns to your man, and this Hub is not going to contest that. But there's a time and a place for everything. So every now and then, try being a companion. When men hang out, they talk about the item at hand, not everything that is happening in life.
3: Do something just because
You like it when your man remembers something you said in passing and acts on it. Funny how women often forget that we're just the same. I work in radio, and I remember one time I happened to mention on the air that I had a yen for a blueberry muffin. A couple hours later, the receptionist called and said my wife was downstairs. Lo and behold, she had baked me blueberry muffins and came to bring them . . . just because. I was very happy. (A) Because it was sweet and wonderful and I expect nothing less from her (B) Because it meant she had been listening to me, even if it was over the radio and (C) Because in her quiet way, she was affirming my career by listening at all. I will never forget that moment, nor the lesson I learned from it. Acts of random kindness mean more in the end than anything else.
4: Ask for help with something
It doesn't have to be anything world changing or dramatic, but we honestly like helping the women we love. So ask! When you need something fixed, or you don't have time to pick up something from the store, or you are having trouble formatting your resume on that silly new version of Word, ask for help. We won't resent it. Just ask nicely and ask once. We don't like being hassled. That special smile you give us when we make it better leaves a warm glow for a long time.
Tip 5: Take him shopping
"Whoa!" you say. "Hold on, isn't that counter-intuitive? Haven't you heard that we gals have to drag our men kicking and screaming to the mall?" Sure, if you're talking about normal girl shopping. Lots of women take their men shopping for something they want, and then expect their man to get into the shopping "experience." That is an unfair thing to do. No matter how much he loves you, walking around Saks Fifth Avenue looking at skirts is not his idea of a good time. Guys go in, grab their stuff, and leave. The secret here is to take your man shopping for something you want for him. For example, let's say you know he has an important job interview coming up. And let's say you know he has the fashion sense of a gerbil. So you do your browsing ahead of time, and narrow down the choices to, perhaps, one or two trips to the dressing room. Then you put him in the car, you drive him to Lord and Taylor, and you dress him in something that makes him look like a million bucks. You get to solve something for him, make him feel special, and have fun shopping all at the same time. Win-win. Bonus tip: When it comes to other joint decisions like home furnishings, he doesn't really care about this tile versus that, or this wallpaper over that one. Make the decision and let him know. He'll be relieved that you are happy with the choice.
Tip 6: Get rid of the kids when you need to talk
You both have busy lives. No, he should not come home, flop down in his La-Z-Boy and leave you to help Junior with the homework. But the time to talk about that is not when he's just been chewed out by his boss and he's trying to get his mind off it. And it's certainly not a good time because you are stressed and angry, liable to snap and say something you don't really mean. Call a babysitter, take him to his spot, feed him a couple margaritas, and then broach the discussion. He's a reasonable man, which is why you were attracted to him in the first place. Sometimes men don't pull their weight at home, and that's not fair to you. At the same time, a little diplomacy goes a long way. Bonus tip: Keep it short. The impact of a complaint to a guy is inverse to the amount of time you take telling him about it.
Tip 7: Push him
Whether you believe it or not, every man daydreams of being something great, of doing something big. That is why men get together and shout themselves hoarse over a few other men running around on a field kicking a ball. (I just watched the FIFA final in a Spanish panadería bakery and it struck me that the knot of "soccer widows" chatting in the corner were overlooking an opportunity to make their men happy by shouting with them.) So let your man know early and often that you believe in him and you won't take pathetic for an answer. Spur him to get that Master's. Push him to ask for that raise. Dare him to quit that job that he hates and tell him exactly why you know he could get that dream position. He wants to open a food truck and sell gourmet hot dogs? Great! Tell him to dream even bigger. Nothing makes a man believe in himself more than hearing it from the woman who loves him. You will find that the more you push him, the more he will believe in himself and start being that guy you always knew he could be. There is nothing sexist about this tip, because any decent man will want to do exactly the same for you.
Tip 8: Keep private things private
It's instructive to look at the difference between a man's Facebook feed and yours. Most men limit their updates to simple, uncompromising things like comments about news, their sports teams, links to articles from the Economist, or other public stuff. On the other hand, lots of women post photos of everything they are doing, pictures of the kids, pictures of the family vacation, pictures of their new purse, Bible verses, thoughts of the day, and all kinds of personal stuff, up to and including rants about the men in their lives. Please don't. You're welcome to say whatever you want to about yourself or your things, but please keep your gripes with him between you two. Facebook is not the place to look for support and sympathy from your girlfriends about the way your (unemployed?) man forgot to pick up Junior from soccer practice. It embarrasses him when you post stuff about him, especially if it makes him look inept or unsympathetic. The same thing goes for conversations with your friends, especially when he is around. You might think you're giving him a friendly nudge in the ribs, but he is hoping a hole will open in the floor and swallow him. A good idea is to sit down with him and come up with a list of the things you both are comfortable putting "out there." You might be surprised to know that he has been suffering in silence, quietly deleting things out of his feed and hoping his friends don't see yours.
Tip 9: Say nice things about us
Like many of the other items on the list, this one applies just as much to women as it does to men. It's been said that people will rise to the compliments you give them. So look for ways of saying nice things to your man, and about your man. Mention that he took out the garbage. Thank him for fixing the leaky faucet. Tell your friends about the time he left the office early to fill the car with gas so you wouldn't have to - and make sure he's within earshot so he can glow inside. The more you say positive things about your man, the more he will want to be that awesome man you tell him he is.
Tip 10: Compliment his looks
Ladies, come on, you should know this one intuitively. You absolutely love it when your man notices the new makeup or hair or shoes or what have you. It shows appreciation and care that he takes the time to notice your looks (especially when he compliments you without trying to turn it into something more, amiright?). Men are just as self-conscious about their looks as women are. So take the time to tell him what you find physically attractive about him. For instance, I love it when my wife runs her fingers across my lips and tells me how she likes my teeth. (I don't know, ask her.) You know, I brush those pearly whites with Pepsodent Whitener to keep them glistening for her. Take the time to compliment his shoes, his hair, his new cologne - whatever he has done that means he took special care to please you. As he feels like he has an idea of what you like, he'll start branching out and dressing up more.
Tip 11: Touch him
I love how when I am walking down the street, sometimes I will feel my wife's little hand slip into mine. I love waking up in the middle of the night to feel her brush her hand on my shoulder. I love how sometimes when we're eating in a restaurant she'll reach across the table to touch my hand. You don't have to give him a full-on bear hug to make him feel connected. Look for opportunities to make those secret touches that show your attraction and interest. Save the big, ostentatious smoochies for the privacy of your home, by the way. He wants to feel your love, not to feel the eyes of everyone around on you both.
Choose something that makes YOU happy!
When arguments over silly stuff happens, it's usually because we are faced with decision fatigue. We feel that there are three answers to your question, all of them wrong, and we don't know which one to pick. We do what any man will do when his back is up against the wall and he has no good options out of the mess: We hunker down, maybe push back, or even say stuff we don't really mean to get you to give us some breathing room. So help us out ladies! Give us your preferred solution. We'll be pickled pink that you chose something that would make you happy, and we're perfectly happy to go along with it. Here's a video from the (clean) comedian Ken Davis telling us just that: