How many times have you heard this when you ask someone how they’re doing: “I’m FINE! And you?”…and, you simply KNEW that you were being fed a line of hooey? How often has that happened to you with men as opposed to women? Perhaps, in these times, it’s an even more important question to ask, “When you hear it, and you know it’s BS, what do you do (particularly when it’s a friend)?”

It’s no secret that part of what makes relationships so exciting, rewarding, vexing, and challenging is the differences between how men and women communicate, respond to things, and even hold things philosophically. One of the most perplexing and needlessly heartbreaking aspects of this particular arena is the way that – in my opinion – men deal with the emotional and psychological challenges they’re facing. So, whether you’re a man or a woman reading this, I strongly encourage you to listen fully.

If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve been very familiar with this thought: “Why won’t he just talk to me.” If you’re a man reading this, you’ve probably got some familiarity with “Why does she always want me talking about my feelings (accompanied by a semi-disgusted look on your face)?” Because there’s a gazillion books on the differences between men and women, you’re not about to read a big piece on that…what I want to actually encourage you to be thinking about is what it may be costing you in your life to be resigned to some notion that these differences in how you may communicate differently from the opposite sex “are just the way it is.” To settle into that, particularly nowadays, I think is a decision made at your own peril.

It’s no secret how much is changing in the world right now…economically, psychologically, politically, emotionally, and environmentally. People are scared…I hear it all the time in my practice, and I’m acutely aware of my own discomforts and uneasiness. Relationships are strained more than they’ve ever been, in my experience. If you’re to assume that this rate of change isn’t likely to reverse (a smart decision, in my opinion), it’s wise to be looking at how you can adapt and flow with it. To resist it, as the Borgs in Star Trek would say, is not only futile, but is only going to bring you a world of hurt, most likely. So, how can you adapt, if you’re going to choose that…particularly when it comes to relationships (of all kinds, not just with your Sweetie)?

The first thing you’re going to have to do is get real with yourself and those you’re in relationship with. You men reading this….this is critically important to you….our Sisters are generally pretty good at figuring out where they’re at, what’s up emotionally for them, and what they need to communicate. Many many men I know, or hear about, keep resting into the “I’m fine/good” paradigm of constructing their sense of reality – and communicating with friends and partners within that structure, when it’s baloney. When you do that, you’re TRULY risking more than you can imagine. (BTW, here’s a definition of F.I.N.E. to try on: F’d up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional.)

This is because you’re going to need connection more than ever before to help you with the kinds of adapting and growth I’m talking about here. Any mess you’re in right now (or are thinking you’re in) is being amplified by how easily you’re allowing disconnection and unconsciousness to be settled for in you, and in your life. As disturbing as some of the changes happening now may be for you, they pose an incredible opportunity for growth, love, and harmonization. Yet, if you’re still hanging on to the notion (again, particularly if you’re a man) that you’ve got to maintain the persona of “It’s all good” when it’s not, it’ll be an even rougher ride…trust me (I’ve learned the hard way).

This is not about you looking for something to be miserable or unhappy about. Far from it…joy and happiness comes more from your ability to deal with what is from a place of trust and faith, in yourself, your power, and your strength (and if you add Spirit in there somewhere, that usually doesn’t hurt, if that’s part of your beliefs system). But, to truly tap into all that that offers, you have to be real with yourself – and others. If you’re not doing that, then you’re not being real in your relationships or having a real relationship in the best ways. Going back to the question earlier in this article about “What’s it costing you” to NOT be real about where you’re at (Yes, men, I’m talking to YOU), I really invite you to take a hard look at it. What’s it costing your relationships, your marriage/partnership, and your children?

If you’re not sure about the cost to you, you probably don’t have to look very far to find an example that can light the way. I know a man, for example, who is suffering hugely right now – emotionally, legally, and financially – because of challenges he had with letting even dear friends know how much he was hurting. Once upon a time, I let myself get to 280 pounds because I wouldn’t talk to anyone about how much I was dying in my corporate job even in the face of huge success with it. There are women reading this who know how much abuse you put up with from men in your life because of fears you had/have about asking for help…or even just getting supported by loved ones by telling the truth. The road has been littered with the corpses (mostly figuratively speaking) of those who keep trying to “Lone Ranger” their internal and external suffering.

You can’t afford it any more…WE can’t afford it anymore. Men can’t afford to continue buying into the bulls**t perpretrated for generations that “real men not only don’t cry, but don’t EVER admit to being scared or not knowing what to do.” It may have been drilled into you for years by your parents and grandparents that that would be “weak.” If you were indeed taught that, I heartily invite you to stop drinking that Kool-Aid. When you consider that one of the single biggest destructive forces in any relationship is resentment, and that resentment is bred by not communicating honestly, you can imagine the costs of continuing to feel that you’re a problem when you’re having problems. The first step of the solution: get real with yourself, then get real with someone else you trust.

Lastly, if you KNOW someone you deeply care about is hurting or suffering, and is denying it (but you can feel it), take the chance of annoying them and don’t take their inadvertent self-deceit at face value. Take the chance of probing a bit more…you just may save someone’s heart…and their life. Worst case: you’ve sacrificed comfort and connection for the sake of helping that person get more connected to themselves and that they’re loved enough to be called on their crap. We need each other…more than ever…to be connected and in the Truth. Helping yourself – and someone you love – get there may just be one of the highest and truest forms of service there is.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Laughton is a life and relationship coach that helps you rediscover the missing joy in your life. His retreats and consultations help you to find the inner spirit buried deep inside you, buried under the hassles of a life not being lived to its fullest potential. Geoff can help you find joy and happiness once again during just one relaxing weekend, and in a small group setting. Geoff also offers 45 minute consultations for couples, helping them grow and renew their relationships. Feel free to stop by his website for inspirational articles, discussion and balance at
Geoff has fully claimed and re-connected to the truth that he had always wanted to do anything he could to help people feel loved, important, alive, re-connected to their own divinity, and to be able to feel and live their own Spirit as fully and out-loud as they were willing

Geoff Laughton spent the last 14 years guiding, coaching, and mentoring people from all walks of life, from all over the US, in their personal growth & transformation.