Don’t Be Annoying: When To Give Your Man Advice and When To Step Back

November 4, 2011  |  
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Since most women are nurturers by nature, we have to really make a conscious effort to remain equals with the men we date and not fall into fix-it mode the second we walk into their messy apartment or we see that there isn’t one fruit or vegetable in their kitchen. Yes, you should care about his wellbeing and take an interest in the things that are important to him, but sometimes women go overboard. We make men feel like they are doing everything wrong. There is a fine line between caring and condescending. Learn how to walk it:

His work

Absolutely ask him how an interview went, or a big presentation, or if he got a promotion he was up for. If these things go poorly, this is not the time for you to step in and say “well maybe if you had done x, y and z differently…” It’s his career. It’s his line of business. Unless you’re an expert in the same field of work, a few encouraging words should suffice. If you really feel you have advice that could help him, wait a while until the sting of him not getting the promotion or bombing the interview has passed.

His dog

A man’s dog can be a great thing to bond over, but it can also make you distant. Be good to the dog. Pet the dog, cuddle with it, love it. Honestly, even if you’re not a dog lover, pretend to be. Dog lovers are suspicious of non-dog lovers. If something seems wrong with the dog, bring it up. But keep in mind that men treat dogs differently than women do for the most part. This isn’t his baby, it’s his buddy. He doesn’t hold it up in the air and talk to it in a baby voice. He probably doesn’t dress it up. And he probably doesn’t call it things like “snuggle muffin.” Don’t do that either. You can do that to your own dog. But a guy doesn’t like to see his dog being subjected to that kind of treatment.

His family

Your main priority should be your guy. If he mentioned that a parent is going to have a surgery, or that a family member has passed away, absolutely ask him how they are doing. But don’t start buying his mom every cookbook written by her favorite celebrity chefs or start baking his dad’s favorite cookies every week and bringing them over. A guy needs to invite you into his family. And if you become too preoccupied with his family, he’ll feel that you invited yourself and that you are rushing things.

His friends

Same rules apply here. Ask about the big things, but you don’t need to know if his friend is still fighting with his girlfriend, or if his other friend’s chlamydia cleared up yet. You might be trying to show that you care but, the difference between men and women is that, men, even just between one another, don’t talk about those kinds of things that much. They probably don’t want to gossip with their girlfriend about it.

His diet

If it’s bad, deal with it later when you’ve been together for a while. Even if that does mean you have to watch his belly grow. There is nothing that makes a man feel more that you have stepped into the mother role than when you start yanking Twinkies out of his hand or when you interject while he’s ordering at a restaurant.


His personal project

His current job may just be his day job. It may just be how he makes money but on his own time, he is making plans to start his own company, or he is writing a novel, or trying to invent something. A man’s identity is greatly tied to what he does. So, definitely check in on how his own project is going. But don’t start bringing home every book on how to start your own company, or every flyer for classes on novel writing. He A) could take this as pressure or B) might start to resent his project because it was supposed to be all his—where he got his alone time, and you’ve intruded on it.

How he spends his free time

He works hard all week. If he wants to watch TV on the couch—if that is what he looks forward to—let him do it! Of course, he should make a point of doing fun things with you but, when it comes to his free time that he spends alone, don’t pick at him about how he spends it. It doesn’t affect you.

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