10 Ways to get your guy to open up
1. The most important first step is to create a safe space to help him feel secure about speaking from his heart. A man who first attempts to talk about his feelings faces a challenge that is best met with absolute respect and support for his efforts. Let him know you fully understand what a safe space is and how important it is in terms of his feeling comfortable about sharing his feelings.
2. Let him know that your interest in having him open up, to share his feelings, is expressly to understand him better so you can be a better partner to him.
3. Let him know that, unlike his thoughts, his feelings are not debatable or open for criticism because they emanate from his heart and are, by definition, his absolute truth. Sharing his feelings implies making himself vulnerable and willing to give up control, which is extremely difficult for most men. Knowing that his feelings will be welcomed and accepted will encourage him to take that risk and be open.
4. Never betray his trust when he shares his feelings by using what he shares with you against him in a moment of anger. The first time this happens will be the last, because he is unlikely to ever go to that trusting, vulnerable place again. And if there is no trust, there is no intimacy.
5. Let him know that you understand what his demons are and that your interest in helping him move past them is selfless. He should know that your only agenda is to better understand his heart.
6. Never express any judgment about what he shares from his heart. If you ask him what he feels about an issue in your relationship, you must be willing to fully accept what he expresses as his absolute truth.
7. Allow him to completely finish talking when he is trying to share his feelings. Men often need to stop and start again because they become lost in the process, particularly in the beginning. Give him the time he requires without interruption. He will view your patience as encouragement.
8. It takes practice for men to share their feelings, and his discomfort in the beginning is palpable to him and noticeable to you. Share with him how proud you are of him for risking the safety of keeping it all bottled up for the benefit of your relationship. Let him know that you recognize that his willingness to embrace this new paradigm in your relationship took great personal courage and strength of character.
9. Be careful what you wish for, because once he becomes comfortable speaking from his heart he will realize that doing so is the only way to get what he wants from you in your relationship. You might be surprised at how adept he becomes at sharing his feelings with you, so you will have to be willing to hear what he feels each time you have an issue in your relationship. 10. Be prepared to give as good as you get in emotionally related exchanges. Your sharing will serve as his example. You aren't his teacher, but you are his coach in the beginning stages of his heart sharing. Your best effort will become the bar for future dialogue.
About Ken Solin:
KEN SOLIN earned a B.A. in History from Fairleigh Dickinson University and spent a year studying economics at City of London College in England. He spent four years as the women's bathing suit buyer for Macy's in New York City. He was a partner at Unicom Computer Corp., financing large IBM systems for Fortune 1000 firms for another four years. Then, in 1979 he and a partner formed Bridgeway Capital Corp., which provided $500 million in growth capital for international high-tech companies and California wineries. For over 16 years Ken has been leading a men's group in the Bay Area to help men of all ages discuss the most personal issues in their lives in a safe environment. He has discussed men's issues on TV and radio programs and lectures on this topic across the country.