Our words and actions can have a huge effect on our relationships. Men might seem strong but we can be very sensitive and vulnerable at times. It is important to try be conscious of this when you are talking to a man. Even words that are meant in good fun can take a toll on our self esteem. EZ Dating Coach, Mike Goldstein, recently experienced this first hand. To combat seasonal depression, Mike decided to take Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes and he was excited to share this news with my friends at a party. In front of everyone, his girlfriend's friend told him that if they wrestled, she could totally kick his butt. He was really taken back by this comment. It made him uncomfortable and it seemed like it made everyone around them uncomfortable, too.
Mike has a great sense of humor and he is a huge advocate of equal rights for everyone. So why did this joke bother him so much? On a psychological and emotional level, when a women competes with a man, especially an alpha male, it makes him feel emasculated and small. Even if the man is laughing and understanding that it's just a joke, he is still probably feeling hurt inside. It is not because he is sexist or he doesn't think that you're funny. It's because the idea that men have to be strong is so deeply ingrained in him, any comments suggesting otherwise make him feel like less of a man.
Another great example of bad competing would be if a man was excited to tell a woman that he got a raise at work. She might think that relating to him and sharing a story about someone she knows' successes at work would be a great idea but it would actually be a big mistake. It would deflate his ego and make him feel bad about himself. The woman is trying to share and relate to him but the man is just left feeling like his achievements are underappreciated and not good enough.
The worst thing that a woman can do is compete with a man or share something that makes him feel like he has to compete. When he's with you, he wants to feel good and he wants to feel like he is good enough. Let him know that you appreciate him, you are proud of him, and praise him for his successes.
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