7 phrases only emotionally mature men use, according to psychology

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Language tells you many things about a person. It reveals how seriously they take themselves, it points to where they grew up, and it even says a great deal about who they are.

My favorite thing about the secrets hidden between linguistic lines, though, is that they hint at just how emotionally mature we are.

How can you tell a man is emotionally intelligent? What kinds of phrases does he use and why?

Let’s find out.

1) “I feel X, can we talk about it?”

We live in a society that makes it quite difficult for men to be open about their emotions – the fear of ridicule and embarrassment is still too strong, and many men end up bottling their feelings deep inside.

The issue is that no matter how much you might suppress your emotions, they eventually find their way back to the surface, be it through anger, physical pains, passive-aggressive remarks, or relationship troubles.

As the psychologist Barbara Markway, PhD, writes, “Many times, men express their feelings using a secret code—a code that even they can’t decipher.”

This is why a man who can voice his feelings openly and without shame is someone who’s unlocked the next level of emotional maturity.

And that’s because he isn’t afraid of other people’s opinions of him. His sense of identity holds firm when under fire, and he wears his vulnerability as a shield instead of thinking of it as a weakness.

The ability to communicate his emotions and thoughts openly not only makes him more confident and self-assured but it also means he may have an easier time navigating romantic relationships and close friendships seeing as honesty is such a vital part of both.

2) “I don’t know but I’ll find out”

“Somewhere along the line, we mistook confidence for competence,” says David Burkus, an associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University.

He continues, “For leaders, a powerful antidote is simply acknowledging that you don’t know. When you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, just say ‘I don’t know’ and then commit to finding the answer.”

Burkus’s advice doesn’t apply only to leaders. It comes in handy for all men, especially those who are afraid of appearing ignorant.

The truth is that admitting you don’t know something is a much more emotionally mature and self-assured thing to do than pretending you know exactly what the other person is on about.

Again, it shows you feel comfortable in your vulnerability. What’s more, it highlights that you’re no stranger to humility, which is something that helps us all stay self-aware.

3) “I didn’t know that, tell me more”

This phrase is in a similar vein to the one above, except it has much more to do with a sense of respect for other people’s knowledge and skill.

You probably know where this is going.

Yep, this one’s about mansplaining. Or the lack thereof.

While the previous phrase was about admitting that you don’t know the answer to something, this one displays an appreciation for what other people can teach you.

An emotionally mature man knows that he simply can’t be an expert at everything. 

Since he has an innate sense of curiosity, though, he always looks for new ways to expand – and listening to other people talk about something they’re good at is one such example.

4) “I made a mistake and I apologize”

This article wouldn’t be complete without a section on apologies, of course.

You’d think that there’s no way to mess up an apology, right? You say you’re sorry, you explain how your perceptions on the issue have changed, and you promise to act differently in the future.


Unfortunately, many men (and women, too) struggle to execute apologies correctly.

The reason tends to be the simple fact that they are too submerged in their own heads, always seeking new excuses or ways to twist the narrative so that they’re portrayed in a positive light.

But the goal of an apology is not to explain yourself. That can be part of it, sure, but the ultimate aim here is to acknowledge the other person’s feelings, express regret, and commit to making a change.

The key is to always speak in “I” terms and take full accountability.

Psychiatrist Samantha Boardman MD explains, “ Saying a version of ‘I am sorry if you were offended’ shirks responsibility and blames the other person for being overly sensitive.”

She also says that “factors that make an apology effective include taking responsibility and accepting fault, expressing empathy, and willingness to make it right.”

If you know how to apologize properly, it’s a sign you’re already on your way to mastering emotional intelligence.

5) “I’d like to take some space to process my feelings, but I’ll be back”

Look, I get it.

Sometimes, emotions get heated. Sometimes, you can’t figure out how to communicate your feelings, and the argument gets out of hand.

And sometimes, all you want is to take some space, decompress, and return to the other person in a more rational state of mind.

That’s completely understandable.

The problem is that many men aren’t quite sure how to voice this need, and so they accidentally make everything worse.

They find an excuse to go out with friends in the midst of an argument with their partner, making it seem like they don’t care.

They storm out, slamming the other person out.

They dismiss the whole issue altogether because they simply don’t have the energy to deal with it anymore.

None of those are very productive at all.

Emotionally mature men do something different entirely: they openly say what they need and reassure the other person that they mean well and take the problem in question seriously.

And then they take some space to calm down.

6) “What can I do to help you feel better?”

Not always are we able to recognize how other people feel. It’s perfectly normal to feel confused sometimes.

But the way you approach that confusion is where the line between high and low emotional intelligence is often drawn.

If you just drown in that state of doubt or shut it out so that you don’t have to deal with it at all, there’s a chance it may only make things worse.

After all, your hesitation to take action may come across as indifference, which could hurt the other person a great deal, especially if they’re your partner or close friend.

 A man who’s very emotionally mature won’t just freeze up. No, he’ll try his best to figure out why the other person is upset or what they can do to help them feel better.

And the easiest way to do just that is to simply… ask.

You won’t always know what other people need. But you can always try to get them to tell you.

For example, my close friends and I often ask each other, “Would you like some practical advice or emotional support right now?”

Our reactions vary based on what the person in question replies. This makes it easier for them to feel supported and for us to know what to do.

7) “Let’s solve this together”

Finally, an emotionally mature man knows that he is competing against no one but himself.

Be it work, romance, or anything else, he approaches everything with the desire to collaborate, nurture a sense of companionship, and create something amazing together with others.

This is why “Let’s solve this together” is such a great phrase. It summarizes everything that needs to be said in a few simple words.

Yes, we can work it out. Yes, we are on the same team. Yes, I care. Yes, let’s take action.

When you think about it, this kind of attitude is essentially the definition of emotional maturity. It is the belief that one can grow, learn from others, and have thriving relationships.

It is the desire to always be a better human.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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