Just another quick one.
I’ve recently observed two types of relationship complaints becoming more common and, having observed silently for a while and then discussed this, decided to write up my answer.
Men’s complaint: “Women want to talk too much and expect me to place weight on silly things like birthdays, colours and her most distant friends’ names.”
Women’s counterpart: “Men just don’t want to talk, don’t take my personal life seriously and don’t seem to mind when I forget important things about them.”
Women’s complaint: “He just wants to go everywhere. I love spending time with him, but is it really a big deal if we don’t go hiking together this weekend?”
Men’s counterpart: “She doesn’t want to do anything with me. How am I supposed to get to know her if she just wants to sit around watching TV? She’s starting to seem boring.”
Those two complaints stem from a fundamental misunderstanding that is summed up in the title: Men bond over experiences. Women bond over familiarity.
Basically, men get closer to people they do things with. This is why so many men go head over heels for a girl who is into their favourite hobbies, why they want to take their girlfriend everywhere and why they want a good girl to meet their friends and family. They like her and want to see how she acts in public and how well she enjoys what he enjoys. This will reveal key elements of her character to him and help him determine how good of a partner she makes. And all this time together will make his love for her grow.
On the other hand, women get closer to people they know things about. This is why so many women place great importance on dates and names, why they like to gossip for long periods of time and why they try and distinguish themselves by cooking a man’s favourite dinner. They like him and want to learn more about him and test his memory of her. This will reveal key elements of his character to her and help her determine how good of a partner he makes. And all this time unveiling the mystery will make her love for him grow.
These patterns are there for a reason. They serve our biological purposes: the man vets the woman for how well-rounded she is as a potential lover and mother, the woman background checks the man for how successful he is in his tribe. And they are very complementary. By remaining mysterious a man can convince a woman to spend more time with him. By spending time with a man a woman can open him up and inspect his character.
But we need to pay attention to them as well, especially when we’re looking at long term relationships.
Girls: I know you might not be massively into his hobbies and you might think that a night in is as good as going bowling. But by indulging his hobby you are telling him that he matters, whilst simultaneously getting to pick his brain. And if he doesn’t want to take you anywhere near his friends or hobbies, that’s a red flag: he doesn’t think you’re worth getting to know.
Guys: I know you might think all these bits of trivia are simple gossip and that it’s OK to forget a date or two. But by remembering a few select things about her you can keep her happy that she’s made an impression and you have a better chance of bringing her somewhere nice if you keep a bit of mystery and let her talk about herself and her friends a while. And if she doesn’t remember your birthday or other trivia about you, that’s a red flag: she doesn’t think you’re worth getting to know.
TTFN and Happy Hunting!