Elvis Presley was once asked to describe his life in one word. His answer? “Alone.” How can a man seen by hundreds of thousands on stage and listened to by millions feel so lonely? He made the mistake many of us make by not surrounding himself with “go-to” guys who had his best interests in mind and shot straight with him. If he had, perhaps he would be alive today.All of us make mistakes, but a wise man learns from them.
All of us make mistakes, but a wise man learns from them. An even wiser man learns from the mistakes of others. Here are 10 common mistakes men make in life. Learn about them and avoid them.
1. The belief that denial is an effective relationship tool.
This comes in close to #1 on any list. If men pretend for long enough that a problem or a conflict does not exist, we expect that the problem will automatically go away without further attention.
2. Thinking of ourselves first and others as an after-thought.
It’s not so much that men are selfish—more that we simply don’t think. Guys tend to go with the first impulse that comes into their heads. Typically that’s a self-serving impulse, but that’s not why we do it; we do it because it’s the first thing that came into our heads.
3. The tendency to believe that, once we explain ourselves, women will automatically change their point of view.
We honestly believe that our rationale is that compelling. The fact is, we might as well get a shovel, dig a deep hole in the ground, and jump right on in because that’s typically the effect of a man trying too hard to justify his insensitivity.
4. Not really listening.
Why listen when we know we’re right? Why listen when we already know what our wife/girlfriend/child is going to say? Well, maybe we don’t know. Maybe we have something to learn. Or, maybe listening will show some respect. Maybe listening more carefully will save the relationship.
5. Not really paying attention.
This is listening with our eyes and the rest of our senses. It would help to notice our wife’s new haircut. Or learn to read the subtext in the conversation. Or to turn off the game when the relationship needs attention.
6. “I don’t need any help.”
The American spirit of individualism buoys this myth. We often believe that seeking help is weak or incompatible with being a real man.
7. Wanting to “fix” problems rather than understand them.
It frequently involves rough riding over basic communication so we can hurry on with the “fix” and leave well-enough alone. To paraphrase a well-known board game: “Do not talk, do not listen, go directly to the solution.”
8. “I can put this together without reading the directions.”
This is an extension of “I don’t need any help.” What is it about the male psyche that gets stuck in the “I can do it myself” stage of child development? We were designed to live and work in a cooperative community. Learning how to draw strength from community remains a critical benchmark if we want to engage our full potential as men.
9. The irrational belief that hiding feelings and building a wall around emotions will make for a stronger, more attractive man.
It actually turns out that the opposite is true. Men who are comfortable with emotions, in touch with their feelings, and who are willing to open up, enjoy better relationships and more satisfying marriages.
10. Attempting to impress other people by trying to do stuff that sends us to the hospital.
Again, the opposite turns out to be true. Women are attracted to men who are alive, who demonstrate sound judgment and act in ways that suggest a secure future.
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How hard or easy is it for you to ask for help?”