Men who don’t know how to open up about their feelings often display these 9 subtle behaviors

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Ever wondered how men express their feelings when they don’t quite know how to put them into words?

Trust me, I have. Always curious, always questioning.

Through years of observation, reading, and personal experience, I’ve managed to identify 9 subtle behaviors that offer a glimpse into their inner world.

They’re not exactly ‘secrets’, but recognizing these signs has given me a new perspective on understanding men better.

They’ve provided a valuable insight into the complex world of unexpressed feelings in men.

And who knows? Unraveling these might just help you understand the men in your life a little better.

Let’s get started.

1) Avoiding emotional conversations

One subtle behavior I’ve noticed among men who struggle to express their feelings is the tendency to shy away from emotional conversations.

This can be tricky terrain to navigate. It’s not like they are emotionally vacant, it’s just that they may not have the tools or the comfort level to articulate their feelings.

In his book “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” John Gray explains that men often process emotions differently than women, preferring to retreat into their ‘cave’ to deal with feelings privately. This resonated strongly with my observations and experiences.

Avoiding emotional conversations not only limits their ability to connect with others on a deeper level but also restricts their own understanding of their emotions.

By recognizing this trait, I’ve developed a more empathetic perspective towards these individuals and found ways to encourage open and non-judgmental dialogue.

This understanding has tremendously improved my relationships with men who display this behavior. It’s not a quick fix, but it’s indeed a step towards better communication and understanding.

2) Displaying physical discomfort

Another subtle behavior that I’ve observed in men struggling to express their feelings is physical discomfort.

Remember, it’s not that they are devoid of emotions, they just find it challenging to put them into words. And this inability often manifests physically.

Consider my friend James. He’s never been the type to openly discuss his feelings. I noticed that whenever conversations took a deeper emotional turn, he’d start fidgeting, crossing his arms, or changing his seat position more frequently.

Initially, I dismissed these signs as mere quirks.

But after reading “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman, I realized that these gestures were likely a physical representation of his emotional discomfort.

This behavior is more than mere restlessness; it’s a silent cry for help, a sign of inner turmoil seeking an outlet.

Recognizing this physical discomfort not only gives you insight into their unexpressed emotions but can also guide you in making the conversation more comfortable for them.

3) Being overly practical

This hit home for me when I started noticing a subtle behavior among some of my male friends.

Whenever they’d face an emotional issue, rather than expressing how they felt, they’d immediately jump to finding a solution.

Take my buddy, Mike, for instance. When going through a tough breakup, instead of expressing his feelings of sadness or loss, he dove headfirst into finding ways to ‘fix’ the situation or move on as quickly as possible.

The more I observed, the clearer it became. This wasn’t just Mike being proactive; it was his way of coping with emotions he found difficult to articulate.

This behavior is more than just being pragmatic; it’s a shield against vulnerability and a way to maintain control in emotionally challenging situations.

By understanding this trait, I’ve been able to foster more compassionate and patient relationships with the men in my life. It’s not an immediate transformation, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

4) Using humor as a defense mechanism

Humor is a universal language, a way to connect, and often, a tool to lighten the mood.

But I’ve found that for some men who struggle with expressing their feelings, it serves an additional purpose: a defense mechanism.

Take my friend Sam, for example. He’s the life of the party, always ready with a joke or a funny anecdote. But when conversations take an emotional turn, he skillfully turns it into a light-hearted banter, cleverly steering clear of disclosing his feelings.

This behavior is more than just being witty; it’s a subtle way of masking vulnerability and maintaining emotional distance.

Recognizing this pattern can provide valuable insights into their unspoken emotions and help create a safe space where they feel comfortable opening up.

5) Throwing themselves into work

Have you ever noticed how some men dive into their work when dealing with emotional turmoil?

For a long time, I struggled to understand why my friend, Ben, would suddenly become a workaholic whenever he faced personal issues.

Ben wasn’t merely increasing his workload; he was using work as an escape, a way to avoid dealing with his feelings.

This behavior is more than just being dedicated to their job; it’s a subtle sign of their struggle with emotional expression.

Understanding this pattern has helped me approach my friendships with a new level of empathy and patience.

6) Being physically expressive

Picture this: You’re having a conversation with a male friend.

You notice that his words don’t reflect any emotional depth, but his body language tells a different story. He’s pacing, clenching his fists, or maybe there’s a certain intensity in his eyes.

This is another subtle behavior I’ve observed in men who struggle with expressing their feelings – they become physically expressive.

Consider my friend, Tom. He’s not one to talk about his feelings. But over time, I’ve learned to read his body language. His physical expressions often reveal what his words don’t.

This behavior is more than just physical movements; it’s an unspoken language of emotions seeking expression.

Recognizing this behavior can help us understand their silent emotional battles and provide them with the support they need. 

7) Engaging in solitary activities

Over the years, I’ve noticed that men who find it challenging to express their feelings often turn to solitary activities as a way of coping.

My friend, Alex, for instance, loves his alone time. Whether it’s going for solo runs or spending hours in his workshop, he values his solitude.

Alex wasn’t just being introverted; he was using these solitary activities to process his feelings in his own way.

This behavior is more than just a preference for solitude; it’s a form of self-therapy, a safe space for them to wrestle with and understand their emotions.

Recognizing this behavior can help us respect their need for solitude and give them the space they require to navigate their emotional landscape.

8) Non-verbal communication

In my journey of understanding men who find it hard to express their feelings, I stumbled upon a subtle yet profound behavior – non-verbal communication.

Consider my friend, Jake. He’s not one for emotional conversations.

But he communicates his feelings through other means. A pat on the back, a reassuring smile, or a thoughtful gift – these are his ways of expressing what words fail to convey.

This behavior is more than just gestures; it’s a silent language conveying emotions that words often can’t capture.

Recognizing this behavior can help us decode their unspoken emotions and appreciate their unique ways of expressing feelings.

9) Suppressing emotions

The final behavior I’ve noticed in men who struggle with verbalizing their feelings is the tendency to suppress emotions.

My friend, Matt, for example, has a poker face most of the time. It’s challenging to read his emotions. His habit of suppressing feelings became apparent when he would brush off emotional discussions, often changing the subject or making light of the situation.

This is more than just maintaining a stoic exterior; it’s a defense mechanism to avoid confronting uncomfortable emotions.

Recognizing this behavior can help us understand their silent struggles and provide them with the support and space they need to process their feelings.

Bottom line

Understanding emotional struggles isn’t always about the words spoken; often, it’s about recognizing the behaviors that speak volumes. Let’s keep learning, keep observing, and keep supporting each other.

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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