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Man listening to his wife

Real (Old) Men Don’t Listen

SENIOR MEN ARE CONVERSATION COUNTERFEITS

They’re skilled at pretending to listen. They smile kindly and offer an occasional uh-huh, or they just wear a neutral expression and count on your enthusiasm for chatter to fill the void. Even when they do listen, they don’t always hear.

Young men know the value of spirited conversation with women.  Their mothers and sisters are engineers, lawyers, CPAs, and entrepreneurs. Senior men grew up in a different world. They’re suspicious of women’s ability to get at life’s deeper issues. They may even believe men are in charge of substantive thinking.

To share one’s life with a responsive man is the dream of most readers of this blog. We want to share our impressions, beliefs, goals, knowledge. Without solid verbal exchange that’s not going to happen.

You and I know that senior women have a lot more on their minds than shopping, baking, and Botox, but your senior man may take some convincing. Here are some tips for inspiring him not only to listen, but to join the conversation.

1.  Share your thoughts, but edit your presentation

A good man – one who is now or is potentially interested in you – will try to follow you, but he will follow you just so far. He will be glad to know that your granddaughter is playing Chopin in a piano recital. He will want to learn the date, the time, and the venue, but he will not want to hear about the difficulties of finding her the right dress.

2.  Talk about his interests

I do hope you won’t tie up with a sports fanatic, unless you are one yourself; sports love can’t be learned. On the other hand, if he’s interested in world events or science, you can read up on his interest areas and listen to his point of view. This will both stimulate your mind and give you pleasure in learning new things. As for your views on fashion trends and weight gain, wait until you have a more appreciative audience – your book club, your co-workers, or your sisters.

3.  If you’re lost for discussion subjects, try travel

Almost everyone likes to plan trips or recall fun times in a country not one’s own. If you can’t afford a major trip, or if you’re still shy about sharing a hotel room with him, talk with him about dream travel (the pyramids, the fjords). Fantasy is a great aphrodisiac.

4.  Get to the point

Men want specifics. No exceptions.

5.  Be positive

Senior men have been through marriages that ended in divorce or the death of a partner. They’re not looking for more angst. The right woman for a senior man is one whose glass is half full. If life has dealt you lemons and you haven’t made lemonade, now is the time to start — not that you have to act the phony! If you’re naturally quiet and contemplative there’s no need to become Miss Congeniality. Just don’t look for a shoulder to whine on.

6.   Don’t put yourself down

Never, never say, “I hate my hair”, “I’m SO FAT!”, “I’m too old for sex“, or “I think I’m a manic-depressive”. Your old guy is investing in you. While he’s examining the prospectus, withhold those negatives.

7.  Encourage Humor

A worthwhile man will appreciate a good sense of humor because he will have his own. Old guys love an appreciative audience, and your laughter will be music to his ears.  Warning: old guy humor can be painfully corny, so be careful what you encourage. See my earlier post for more about the nature of old guy humor.

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'Real (Old) Men Don’t Listen' have 9 comments

  1. December 28, 2014 @ 4:01 pm Jilly

    I have a man friend who always looks like he is listening but just when I think we are getting somewhere he starts talking about something on entirely another subject. It’s unbelievable. I call him on it and he says hes sorry or he denies it. It’s really getting to me. What you are saying here is so true about them not listening.

  2. June 25, 2014 @ 5:11 am The Brat

    My single friends worry about pleasing a man sexually, but conversation is the real test. If he doesn’t like what you say and how you say it, you’ll never get as far as the bed. Good post, thanks.

  3. June 8, 2014 @ 5:25 am abigail

    Sienna, you’re right on the money on this one. I hate to say it, but men are just looking for one thing, and it’s not conversation.

  4. June 6, 2014 @ 10:08 am Barbara J.L.

    Funny, just last night I had a fight with my significant other over this very thing. He cut me short and told me to get to the point. I am a lawyer and I know how to get to the point, and in this case especially I was embellishing very little if at all. I see his behavior as mostly standard impatience but also that to him woman-talk is empty. BTW, he is 68 (in reference to Tilly’s comment here), so has really no excuse. He’s not so special that he shouldn’t be grateful someone talks to him at all. lol

  5. June 5, 2014 @ 8:14 am Tilly

    I think you’re right about older men tuning out, but only the real old ones, like over 70. Younger than that they’ve been in the workplace with women who are smarter than they are, so they’ve formed the habit of listening – or else.

  6. June 5, 2014 @ 7:01 am ElizAnn

    The thing I resent is that women have to do all the trying on this. It’s another case of men having to be catered to. I’ve been through this with several men, and I’m just not going to do it any more. If he likes what I say, and listens, there will be a second date. If not, well –

  7. May 19, 2014 @ 4:22 am Patsy R.

    EGarth– I don’t wait for them. I set my own agenda.

  8. May 15, 2014 @ 8:09 am Tracey

    Good advice here about picking your battels and also that women need to be positive — but he has to be positive too. We’ve all been through a lot.

  9. May 6, 2014 @ 9:38 am EGarth

    It’s worse than this. Men want you to listen to their blah blah but just turn off when you want to say something that means a lot to you. I am tired of doing all the work of conversing and getting nothing back except do you want to go to bed now. Plus men interrupt you any time they want to no matter what you are doing. Just try to interupt THEM during a ball game on TV.


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