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By Laura Schaefer
Top 5 things that drive men crazy
Men love women. They do. But that doesn’t mean women don’t drive them crazy. Even after oceans of ink have been spilled about how the two sexes can better understand and accept each other, women still find ways to annoy men — and vice versa. Here are the top five ways she’s making you crazy right now. Ladies, are you guilty of any of these irritating behaviors?
1. Game-playing/manufacturing drama. There are lots of ways to create drama and excitement in a relationship, but men aren’t usually fans — unless said excitement involves clothing removal. “Asking too much too soon about his past relationships” is one way women drive men nuts and create drama, says Dr. Linda R. Young, Ph.D., a psychologist and relationship coach who blogs for Psychology Today. Making him late by taking too long to get ready is another. Getting irrationally jealous over platonic friends or running hot, then cold with no explanation are just a few more.
Whether the drama is minor or significant, men would rather skip it. “I think these [behaviors] exist because men and women don’t have the skills to live beyond the ‘game-playing’ they learned as adolescents, which is perpetuated by the media,” explains Marni Battista, expert dating coach and founder of DatingWithDignity.com. “It takes an entire toolkit of advanced skills to create truly win-win situations in relationships. A person who doesn’t have these skills will always go to those old ‘default’ tendencies to fill the void.” And thus, drama is born.
Ask yourself: Have I recently thrown either an object or a tantrum? If the answer is “yes,” you might be a drama queen. Take it down a notch by talking to your partner about why you’re feeling so angry and exactly what you need to feel calmer in the relationship. If you’re the one dealing with a drama queen, tell her you’re happy to discuss problems like an adult but you’re not interested in entertaining a whole restaurant with her shenanigans. If she doesn’t calm down, tell her to audition for a reality show and leave you alone.
2. Expecting the man to pay for everything. Most men don’t mind picking up the check early on in a courtship, but after a few dates, it’s nice for a woman to offer to contribute financially — especially if exclusivity has been established. Men like to be generous, but they don’t like to be taken for suckers, especially if the woman they’re seeing has a good job. As a corollary to this one, “Men are often put off by women trying to get a sense early on about what he does for a living and how much he earns,” says Dr. Seth Meyers, a Los Angeles-based psychologist and author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription. Men are people, too. If they feel they’re being sized up for more shallow, resume-type qualities, they’ll be annoyed.
3. “Wanting to know ‘where the relationship is going’ before he’s ready to say, or before he knows himself,” is a big one, according to Dr. Young. Dating is supposed to be a chance to get to know another person. It’s not a guarantee of finding a certain kind of relationship, and women who treat it this way drive men nuts. It’s almost as if the woman is selling herself short — after all, you can’t help but ask why a lady would want some kind of commitment from someone she doesn’t really know yet. Why is her “audition process” so short? Likewise, “Men often get bothered with women asking or talking about their beliefs about marriage and children early in the dating process,” observes Meyers. It puts too much pressure on what should be the fun part of getting to know someone when the end goal is the only thing a woman wants to focus on.
If the relationship isn’t likely to blossom into something steady and he’s upfront about that, a man wants the woman to hear what he’s saying and take him at face value. “Men are frustrated by women who don’t really believe them when they say, ‘I’m not in a place to have a relationship, but I really like hanging out with you,’” says Battista. “A man will give this ‘disclaimer’ and then be irritated when the woman finds she can’t change him, then begins to get angry that he hasn’t met her expectations.” If a woman wants to know how a man really feels and then gets hysterical after an honest response, it’s enough to — you guessed it — drive him crazy.
4. Being controlling. “Correcting him on little details when he’s got the big picture right,” adds Dr. Young, is another thing that drives men bonkers. It’s often true that women are better at multitasking, but that doesn’t mean they have to run every detail of the show. A man will get frustrated if a woman asks him to do something then won’t give him a chance to do it his way. The real show-stopper is when she then claims she “has to do everything around here!” If this situation sounds familiar, how can you improve it?
“If you want to put a stop to people’s annoying behavior, you first have to make them aware of it,” says Marc Muchnick, Ph.D., author of No More Regrets! 30 Ways to Greater Happiness and Meaning in Your Life. “Often, people don’t realize that what they are doing is bugging you, so when you tell them, it may come as a surprise.” So tell your significant other that she has to trust you if she doesn’t want to plan every meal, vacation and weekend you spend together, guys. Then do a good job with the task — in your own way, of course — and she just might back off.
5. Not getting enough “guy time.” In ancient cultures, men often spent most of their time with other men while the women socialized with each other. That, as we all know, has changed. And it’s hard for some men to accept. They want their guy time, and it’s rough when women don’t respect that. As long as “guys’ night out” isn’t a code for regularly losing thousands of dollars gambling or paying for strippers, men deserve to have time with their male friends. Deciding exactly how much time is appropriate should be left up to each couple. Remind her that time spent away from each other means the time you do have together will be that much richer — especially with funny stories about the ridiculous thing your buddy Paulie did last weekend. The key is, be reasonable. If you want more guy time than gal time, maybe having a wife or a girlfriend isn’t in the cards for you.
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Top 5 things that drive women crazy
How many times have you heard a woman say, “Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em!” when it comes to men? Ten? Twenty? A thousand times? No matter how much women love men (and vice versa, of course), they drive them crazy sometimes! Here are the top five things that make gals bonkers when it comes to guys.
1. Trying to “fix” things instead of listening. The terrific show Modern Family addressed this common point of contention between the sexes when Phil Dunphy went to the spa and his wife Claire called him with a problem. He tried to fix it, but fortunately, the spa ladies set him straight. All she really needed (and wanted) was a sympathetic ear and some recognition for all the things that she did for her family.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to being a good listener — and women can tell the difference if a man is faking it. If you’re a man who wants to be a better listener, try maintaining eye contact, reframing what she’s said to make sure you understand it, and uttering affirming statements, such as: “That must’ve been really hard,” “It sounds like you handled it very well,” or asking, “Is there anything I can do to help?”
What should you do if your partner is a perennial “fixer” instead of simply listening to you? Chances are, you’ve already tried to explain why his fixation on fixing things doesn’t work for you. The next step might be to remind yourself that, despite this annoying habit, your man isn’t all bad. When it comes to dealing with his shortcomings, “the key is to focus on what you like about the person, not what you don’t like,” counsels Marc Muchnick, Ph.D., author of No More Regrets! 30 Ways to Greater Happiness and Meaning in Your Life. “What about this person is unique and special? The answers should help minimize the [impact of] annoying behaviors.”
2. Behaving in a way that could be perceived as lazy or indecisive. “Women are made crazy by men that don’t ‘man up,’” says Marni Battista, expert dating coach and founder of DatingWithDignity.com. “From saying they will call and not following through to texting instead of picking up the phone to make a date, women are learning that it is less common to find a man who embodies chivalry and good, old-fashioned alpha male energy.” Women hate it when men are lazy with maintaining their personal appearance, forgetful about making plans, or avoid making decisions. And they particularly dislike it when men are emotionally passive by saying things like “I’m sorry you feel that way” instead of really apologizing when it’s called for during an argument. Ask yourself: Do I take the path of least resistance when it comes to dealing with women and with my life? If the answer is “yes,” chances are good you’re guilty of this one. Try a little harder to impress her and make her feel valued, and you might be surprised at how much happier and more fulfilling your relationship becomes.
And if you’re a lady who’s dealing with a lazy dude? Pick your battles wisely. You’re not going to turn a hoodie-wearing Xbox addict into James Bond overnight. By being clear about what you expect (and by asking for realistic things, like the occasional fancy date night), you’ll see some progress. If you don’t, tell your man-child to take a hike.
3. Not paying attention to her feelings. Women are emotional beings. They notice things — like stand-offish body language or the time a guy paid more attention to other women on their date — and they don’t like it. Why do men sometimes act so callously? “These [behaviors] persist because people don’t work on dealing with their issues as much as they should, and they simply leave a relationship when they’re frustrated, even though the same problems often rear their heads in the next relationship,” says Dr. Seth Meyers, a Los Angeles-based psychologist and author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription. In a society rich with dating options, men might think they can get away with unkind behavior; it’s up to women to tell them that they can’t. “If he drives you crazy because he’s inconsistent, uses language that puts down women, is secretive about himself after months of dating, or prefers his time alone over time with you, you’re probably better off moving on,” advises Linda R. Young, Ph.D., a psychologist and relationship coach who blogs for Psychology Today.
4. Paying too much attention to technology toys. We get it; smartphones and their attendant text messages, Twitter feeds and Facebook status updates are fascinating. But when a man spends more time looking a tiny screen instead of the face that’s right in front of him, there’s a problem. “Tell your partner what effect his behavior has on you and be specific about what you want to see [him doing] instead,” says Young. “For example: ‘When you keep texting other people while we’re having dinner, it sends the message to me that I am not your priority when we’re out together. I understand your needing to stay in touch at work during off-hours, but I think not using the phone while we’re eating dinner (barring emergency calls) is reasonable. What do you think is reasonable?’”
5. Taking her for granted. A good relationship is not one in which the male half is spending most of his free time with his buddies in dives, playing video games or watching sports. If this is how you’d prefer to spend all your time, why even bother having a girlfriend? Obviously, women need to give their partners space to socialize outside of their relationship, but the key is finding a good balance. Communicate with your partner about what she feels is reasonable when it comes to deciding how you’ll both spend your time. If her expectations are completely different than yours about the amount of quality time she requires, you may not be a good match. “Overall, for a relationship to work long-term, your partner’s personality has to be one that yours meshes smoothly with,” explains Meyers. It’s the same with setting expectations.