Understanding Men - With 13 Easy Rules

Why would a man write about understanding men when understanding a woman would be far more beneficial? There is one primary reason: understanding women is a bit more complicated than understanding men, we're simple in comparison.

There are 13 simple rules that men follow. If you're someone who wants to understand why we do what we do, then you're in the right place. 

Rule #1 - Childish

Men are childish, we let our inner child out a lot; sometimes even at inappropriate times. Sometimes we're irresponsible about it, we're guilty of it and we know we are, but we enjoy it. My father has an outstanding sense of humor, he's in his 80's and he admits that despite his age that his mind is still childish, like when he was in college. He holds a PhD in psychology from Notre Dame, but that doesn't stop him from cracking jokes, teasing my mother, and watching the Three Stooges, while doing childish things from time to time.


The Three StoogesCredit: Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc

Rule #2 - Literal

Men tend to hear literally and not figuratively. We are much more simple in our use of the spoken word than women. Whereas a woman will use the words 'never' and 'always' to describe things, we interpret these words as precise legally bound terms. Law and science collide with English in this area. My wife will often say things like 'you never do the dishes...' or 'you always leave your coat on the couch'. She doesn't mean, that every time I come home that my coat is on the couch. She means most of the time, or many times. She does this to stress what she is feeling about the placement my coat. This took a while for me to understand and resulted in many disagreements. In my job, I deal with computers all day so there is some pure logic that leaks into my use of the english language.

Rule #3 - Withdrawal from Stresses

While women tend to need to speak about their stresses, we tend to need to step away and forget about them for a while. What we're both doing is coping and putting things in perspective. Unfortunately for women, the way men cope with stress is precisely opposite of what they need, which is to talk about them. I know when my wife and I disagree about something, she will brood about it, while I go to work and drop it completely out of my mind. This unfortunately is unfair, but its the way we're designed.

Rule #4 - Distracted by Sex

We really don't always think of sex, but we are easily distracted by it. Why do sports shows pull in sponsors that put beautiful women in them, when the primary people watching these shows are men? Because men pay attention to these commercials. Because we're distracted. If your mere presence distracts your man, he'll seem to only be thinking about one thing while you see him. Yes, it may be annoying; see rule #1. You can use this to your advantage to getting his attention. I don't mean by having sex, but uttering a word, or flashing a picture in front of his eyes will get his attention, when he is seemingly busy. My wife has mastered this when I'm glued to a television show, she can say one word, like 'sex' and I will turn to her. It's like something subconscious has occurred, I'm not sure what it was, but I'm going to look at her because it came from her direction, it's become very humorous between us.

President CaughtCredit: Reuters

Rule #5 - Fix Problems Quickly

It's important for us to solve our own problems. If something's not as it should be, we'll see it as a problem and look for ways to "fix" it. We'll often look for a quick fix. Our ancient ancestors spent a lot of time in the wilderness. Those who couldn't solve their problems easily and quickly didn't live long enough to have many children. We are the children of the problem-solvers.

Rule #6 - Need your Confidence

We need you to have confidence in us. This may well be the male ego issue but it's a fundamental need of ours. Don't underestimate our need for your confidence in us. If we feel you don't have confidence, we might look for it somewhere else. Most other ego issues happen in women as well as in men.

Rule #7 - Nuances & Subtleties

We are 'terrible' at picking up on nuances, tones and nonverbal cues. Patterns and styles confuse us too. Reading your cues can be almost as difficult for us as reading your minds. To you, they're as simple as reading the newspaper. If you don't expect us to read your minds, we won't expect you to change the oil in the lawn mower. Let's each do what we do best and admit that some others may lack the skills that we have. For example, you are driving on the highway with an exit approaching, she says, "Are you hungry?", you say no and pass the exit. She was actually saying that she was hungry and wants to stop to eat.

Rule #8 - Fixing Her Upsets (Corollary to rule #5)

When you become upset, our first reaction is usually to 'make it go away'. As it persists, we may become more defensive. Note that unfortunately we often apply rule #5, and try to fix things in an inappropriate way. In this case, we often should not try to fix anything but hold still and listen. We're sorry, but this is NOT obvious to us.

Rule #9 - Surprised at your Reaction

If we're surprised by your reaction, we were probably treating you the way we would have wanted to be treated. Note, we're usually not trying to tick you off. It's okay to become angry; probably even necessary at times. This is an opportunity to communicate, and understand this opportunity is about to slip away. Even if we don't like to talk, we may make an exception and apply rules #5 and #8 to make it go away.

Rule #10 - Overlook your Feelings

Yes, we do have feelings, but we rarely think about them and almost never analyze them. And since we don't often think of ours, we may easily forget about yours. 

Rule #11 - Competitive and Manly

We can be very competitive, and can compete vicariously through others. We want to be seen as manly; even by other guys. This ties back into rule #6, where we need you to have confidence in us. This is not something that men can easily admit too, it comes from our core design. Bringing home the meat from a hunt, winning the football game, we need you to believe we can succeed and take care of you and the family.


Rule #12 - Gross

Everyone has a notion of what behavior is decent and what's impolite, but not everyone agrees on where to draw the lines. Men are more relaxed on where we draw the lines. At least that's how we describe it, but you would just say we're pigs and gross. Talking with your mouth full, and cleaning that spill on the floor with your sock are practical but gross.

Sock mop

Rule #13 - Won't Talk or Think

There are times when we don't feel like talking. There are times when we don't even feel like thinking. This is going to make listening out of the question. If you want to talk during these times, you'll have a lot of inertia to overcome.

These rules exist forboth men and boys. An interested reader will find their guy doing many of these things. A careful study of these rules can help with a deeper understanding into the psyche of men.