General Question

IzzyAndHerBeans's avatar

Why do guys hide their feelings?

Asked by IzzyAndHerBeans (357points) January 23rd, 2012

If there’s one thing that bothers me about guys, it’s when they simply cover up their feelings and keep me guessing. Guys and girls differ in an innumerable number of ways but why can’t feelings be shared just as easily as girls can share their feelings? It makes it really hard for me to put trust into someone when I’m always guessing how they feel. If you answer the first part of this question, maybe you can help me with the second part of the question: how do you get a guy to open up? I have a hard time coming out and just telling a guy something, but I need to start doing that if I want any sort of luck in future relationships.

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30 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

We are trained to at a young age by our fathers, and we often hear women we admire admonishing men to “Man Up” when they are complaining.

At some point in our formative years, a girl tells us to open up, and we do. She will then dump us for one of our friends who is kind of a jerk.

We never do it again.

6rant6's avatar

I’ve read that men process emotions at different speeds than women. In many cases, we haven’t quite worked out how we feel about something you want to know about. And early on we learn never to say out loud anything that we’re not prepared to defend to the death, because women NEVER FORGET!

rebbel's avatar

Men are hunters.
Men don’t want to show their weak points to the competitor hunter he could benefit from that, and men also don’t like to lose.
If it was only for hunting I would be hardly a man.

Ron_C's avatar

Me and most guys I know don’t want to hear about other people’s feelings so we assume that you don’t want to hear about ours. Hell, I don’t even want to know about MY feelings.

We’ve been married for 46 years and I still try not to talk about my feelings. I’ll listen to my wife’s problems because that’s what she expects but I choose to ignore and hide my own feelings. I’ve had more than 60 years of practice so I’m getting pretty good at it.

Frankly when I really need to “talk” about something like that I write or answer a question here. That way I don’t have to look people in the eye and they can’t see the tears in mine.

john65pennington's avatar

Its a macho thing with men. We hold it back, because the ladies may not think we are strong people.

I do not agree with this. I have cried many times at homocide scenes, especially when a child has been killed.

marinelife's avatar

Men are literally wired differently than women. They say many fewer (hundreds) of words each day. Their emotional centers are not wired into their verbal centers.

It takes a man 9–11 hours to process something with a lot of emotional content. So don’t expect an answer right away to a question loaded with emotional content. Tell the guy to go away and think about it for a day, and then to get back to you.

I really wish I had known these things when I was your age. It would have saved me tons of grief.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s dangerous to show feelings. You get picked on. There is no advantage, among boys or men, to showing your feelings. The only men who can show feelings are those who are the strongest and aren’t worried about others trying to attack their weaknesses. That’s on the male side. And most guys spend most of their time with guys, so that’s what they know.

There are men who like women, and have experience speaking the language of women, and they often can talk about feelings. There are ways of talking about feelings without whining or seeming weak, but men don’t often seem to take the time to learn how to do that.

But most of us are not trained to name feelings. If you don’t know the name of a thing, you can’t talk about it. Most men don’t spend a lot of time in introspection, trying to understand themselves. Those that do often end up as writers and philosophers, and how many of those get “man of the year” awards?

There’s one good reason to learn the language of feelings. It allows you to talk to women and to make them feel understood and if you can avoid the one big mistake, it might help you to get laid. A lot. The big mistake is that women will often take a guy who can speak of feelings out of the potential lover category and put the in the cemetery for friends. There are ways around that, but that’s a secret that only a few know.

I’m actually a little confused by the whole thing. It’s clear that if you can speak “feelings,” you can be very attractive to women, no matter what you look like, physically. It’s not hard to learn to speak “feeling” but hardly any men bother to learn. But if it’s so effective at allowing you to attract women, why don’t more men learn how to do it?

I have to wonder. Perhaps men really do prefer the company of men, much of the time. If that’s the case, then there’s no reason to learn to speak “feelings.”

I used to be somewhat ashamed that I didn’t generally like the company of men. I thought something was wrong with me. But I guess I just prefer women. I have found a number of women whose company I enjoy over the years. Most of my friends are women. My male friends are kind of dodgy males—artists, dancers, and writers—men who can—hey!—express feelings!

My female friends tend to be more on the independent and strong side of things, too. They believe in being able to take care of themselves. They won’t let a man do something for them just because he’s the man. They are also artistic types.

It’s funny. I have a hard time believing there are more guys like me. If you love women, it’s a great way to be. But then I look at what people say here and I shake my head, wonderingly. And my friends tell me there aren’t a lot of guys like me. I don’t know what to make of that. I’m glad I’m unique, but it seems like it’s pretty easy to make a little change and be able to have much more of a deeper connection with women. It doesn’t even seem to cost you anything with men. It’s like ending up in some other category that is so confusing that everyone treats you with respect because they don’t know what else to do. I’ll take that.

FutureMemory's avatar

I share my feelings readily with women. Plenty here can attest to that.

blueiiznh's avatar

Both male and female hide their feelings. It maybe more in males because they somehow were told it was no macho to let feeling known. PSHT!!!
I never have. I learned and was nurtured at an early age that it is better to be in touch with your emotions and to speak from the heart. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, but I make certain you know where I am coming from.
Some people think that you are vulnerable in speaking from your feelings by putting yourself out there. That can be a big reason why some hide their feelings.
The great thing about feelings is that they are mine. Only mine and from my perspective. What I feel is what I feel and others don’t have to agree with it. This is very different from beng right or wrong on something.
As far as someone leaving you guessing, just ask the question you are looking to have answered. How you get that open honest dialogue is a trust that is built. Some people have a hard time with trust and thus seems more challenging.

People need to know that you will hear them out. Opening up about feelings does not come easily for some. If he takes the chance to open up to you, hear him out. Resist the urge to comment on what he is saying until he’s done.
Simply taking the time to actively listen without speaking shows that you value what he is saying. Knowing that you value this kind of conversation may help him open up more in the future.

kenmc's avatar

Why do some people generalize like this?

How to get a man to open up: A machete, because all males are made of tree bark. Its the only way to get to the delicious emotional sap inside each and every one of us.

rebbel's avatar

@kenmc “Why do people generalize like this?”
Some people, or all people ;-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Guys and girls aren’t different in innumerable ways – the sooner you realize this truth, the sooner you will be able to relate to singular men.

cookieman's avatar

I cry at Hallmark commercials. Don’t know what’chu talking ‘bout Willis.

jca's avatar

I was discussing this with a friend of mine last night. She was talking about guys she has known that, when presented with the fact that their girlfriend or spouse might leave them, act like it’s no big deal. Then when the girlfriend or spouse leaves them, they cry and sulk and get very upset. Yet, they were unable to deal with this or verbalize this at all prior to it happening. I think guys are raised to be “tough guys” and not show their emotions. It’s kind of sad, in a way.

Nimis's avatar

I don’t think a lot of guys are thinking about how they’re feeling all the time. They just feel it and that’s the end of that. There doesn’t seem to be this constant drive to verbalize (in order to share) it.

Whether or not they express their emotions (ie cry) is another matter.

Nullo's avatar

I’ll often keep my thoughts to myself if I think that they’d hurt someone. Unless I want to cause them pain, but that’s another matter.
Not displaying emotional troubles is helpful for adding to the stability of a group.

Paradox25's avatar

Social gender constructs. All we have to do is watch how each gender is brought up from birth, along with all of the propaganda and peer pressures that the child deals with as they get older to be a man. I’m very open with my emotions (to a degree) and feelings. I also tend to be a very emotional guy as well and most people who know me know this. This doesn’t make me a pushover.

Esedess's avatar

With the exception of only a few women who’ve actually cared, and listened for the sake of listening, most, apparently just wanted to hear whatever I was keeping from them solely because it was something I was keeping it from them. What’s the point of that? I don’t need to tell my problems to someone to figure them out. That’s what my brain and the internet are for.

saint's avatar

Why do women give up way too much information?
Who knows?
And the sun will rise tomorrow.

mrrich724's avatar

I’m not sure there is a conscious effort to hide feelings most of the time. I think we just think different

sinscriven's avatar

Asking how to get a guy to open up is a lot like asking how to get a girl to put out.

Both often times require time, patience, and investment. Once they feel you’re worth taking the risk for it’ll happen, and pushing it before they’re ready is only going to end badly. It’s a moment of extreme vulnerability so you can’t expect it to be available to you immediately.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@sinscriven I would have worded it a lot different, but I think you’ve got the concept down. It takes a lot of trust and respect to let another person all the way in, and share everything, and it is pretty scary, but when it happens it’s amazing.
@IzzyAndHerBeans There’s still a lot of guys are tough, guys don’t show their feelings crap out there in our culture. It’s a bit tough to overcome at times.

EverRose11's avatar

MMMmmm I do not think all men hide their feelings, I actually believe most really cover up their feelings , as a measure to protect themselves and whoever else is around them that perhaps they feel they need to protect. I mean from the time they are very young the man has always been handed the role of defender and protector. They have been told real men don’t cry and to keep a “stiff upper lip” and be in total control of their emotions, I believe especially in a relationship they hold their true feeling at bay, not sure say a women if they are in a relationship or a marriage would consider them a sissy or a wimp. Men keeping their emotions in check is more from their upbringing , many factors play on how and if the man can express their true feelings.

FutureMemory's avatar

Any other guys besides me unable to relate to this?

cookieman's avatar

:: raises hand ::

wundayatta's avatar

What’s the big deal about having and talking about feelings?

Never mind. You can go a long way simply by sharing a feeling or two. Could make a guy think he’s special. Which would be silly.

sinscriven's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe : I admit It’s not the classiest analogy, but i think it describes the dangerous impatience of trying to brute force a glass cookie jar nicely. :3

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@sinscriven You do have a way with words. lol

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