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34 Secrets to Get a Man to Open Up, Communicate & Understand You Better

Communicating in a relationship isn’t always easy, especially when your man is the silent type. Follow these tips to learn how to get a guy to open up easily!

how to get a man to communicate with you and open up

Sometimes, it can be difficult to communicate our thoughts and feelings with a guy. Emotional availability is the Holy Grail of modern dating and relationships. You’ve swiped right, had a couple of decent dates, maybe even met his dog. But now you’re staring into the abyss of how to get a guy to open up.

Let us guess, it feels like you’re trying to crack open a safe, but instead of money or jewels, you’re after something far more valuable: raw, unfiltered emotions.

But before we try to unlock the treasure chest of his feelings, let’s get one thing straight: Men aren’t emotional Fort Knoxes that require a special combination to access.

Men are just people—sometimes emotionally guarded people, sure, but people nonetheless. So, let’s leave the emotional crowbars and grappling hooks at home, shall we? [Read: 15 gender stereotypes about men we need to let go of for good]

Why do men conceal emotions?

Why do some men treat their emotions like top-secret classified documents?

If you’ve been wondering how to get a guy to open up, the first pit stop on this emotional roadmap is understanding why men often put up emotional barriers in the first place.

1. Social conditioning, toxic masculinity, and the John Wayne phenomenon

Many guys are socially conditioned to be stoic, unflappable rocks from a young age. Remember when Timmy fell off his bike and was told to “man up” and not cry? Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about.

This harmful form of masculinity, often dubbed as ‘toxic masculinity,’ means that many men grow up learning that showing emotion is akin to showing weakness. So, instead of seeking a healthy outlet for their feelings, they just bottle them up.

Now, imagine you’re dating Timmy, and you wonder how to get a man to communicate with you. It ain’t easy when he’s been coached to be more John Wayne and less Mr. Rogers. [Read: What makes a man a man – 20 manly & relevant traits that defy stereotypes]

2. Attachment styles 101

Okay, let’s dig a little deeper. You’ve found yourself a guy, but before you go playing emotional detective, it’s good to know what kind of “suspect” you’re dealing with. Enter: Attachment styles.

The way a person connects emotionally stems from their earliest relationships—usually with caregivers. And no, we’re not suggesting that you need to psychoanalyze his baby photos, we’re talking about understanding how these early-life experiences manifest in adult relationships.

a. Avoidant attachment style

So, you’ve been texting for weeks, and things seem cool. But the moment you bring up future plans or anything that requires emotional investment, he starts acting distant. Sounds familiar? You might be dealing with an avoidant attachment style.

b. Anxious attachment style

On the flip side, if he’s always anxious about losing you but can’t seem to express it properly, that’s the anxious attachment style. Secure is what we’re all aiming for—balanced, open, and communicative.

c. Fearful-avoidant attachment style

Then, there’s the unicorn of attachment styles, fearful-avoidant —both scared of getting too close and terrified of being too distant.

Knowing your man’s attachment style could be the golden ticket to understanding how to get a guy to open up.

How to get a guy to open up

We’ve discussed the reasons some men might not be open with their emotions. Now let’s focus on practical ways to encourage open communication.

Here are some actionable, relatable, and psychology-backed tips to help you understand how to get a guy to open up and enhance communication in your relationship.

1. Simply let him know that it’s okay to talk to you about his emotions

Women sometimes forget, but men are often told in one way or another that discussing their emotions is “girly,” or reflects weakness.

This can stem from a childhood experience where they were maligned for crying during their baseball game, or from their fathers always encouraging them to be strong.

Whatever the case may be, many men have learned to equate being emotionally vulnerable with being unmanly or weak.

So, if you want your man to let his guard down and genuinely speak to you about his emotions, you might need to let him know that you will not think less of him for doing it.

2. Show that you’re actively listening

So, you’re having a deep chat with him, but are you really tuned in, or are you just thinking about what you’re going to say next?

Truly understanding someone is about being an active participant in the conversation, not just a bystander.

When you make the effort to listen—really listen—you’re inviting him to be more open with you. This is a core principle in Carl Rogers’ person-centered therapy, where the focus is on giving the individual your full attention and creating an empathetic environment.

3. Nonverbal cues matter

Smiles, nods, and even awkward foot shuffles—all of these send a message. Pay attention to your own body language as well as his. Eye contact, for instance, can be incredibly powerful in showing that you’re engaged.

Just remember, nonverbal cues are the supporting actors that give the dialogue depth. It’s like the visual seasoning to your verbal steak.

A man’s body language is a way he communicates. [Read: Male body language – 48 subtle signs to instantly read a man’s thoughts]

4. Apply communication techniques – open-ended questions

The difference between “Did you have a good day?” and “What made your day interesting?” is vast. The latter invites a narrative, a story, an emotion. This relates to the Socratic method, which employs open-ended questions to stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas.

It’s more than just asking questions, it’s asking the right questions. The result? You pave the way for him to open up about deeper thoughts and feelings.

5. Reward him when he does express himself well

If you notice that your boyfriend is expressing himself well, and communicating in a style that you would like him to at a certain point in time, compliment him!

Show him that this is what you would like. You could even hug him or show him in some other way that this is what you want. Sometimes he simply just might not know how you would like him to express himself.

So when he does it right, letting him know that this was correct and rewarding him for it will go a long way in helping him learn to keep doing it. [Read: 47 best compliments for guys]

6. Make time for uninterrupted conversations

Have you ever tried to have a meaningful conversation while juggling groceries or while he’s engrossed in a video game?

Spoiler alert: It usually doesn’t work. Carve out time when both of you can focus solely on each other. Even something as simple as a walk in the park can provide the right setting for a deeper connection.

7. Don’t make fun of other men who do let their guard down

This is one of the key points to remember when learning how to get a man to communicate with you. Your boyfriend is not going to be thrilled about being emotionally vulnerable if he sees you calling out your male friend for expressing his emotions.

If you want your man to communicate in a real way with you, then you have to create an environment where he feels safe to do so. He isn’t going to feel safe if he feels that you will make fun of him for doing it.

8. Be vulnerable first

The “emotional leap of faith” isn’t just for rom-coms. When you share something personal about yourself first, it often encourages the other person to reciprocate.

Psychology calls this the “reciprocity norm”—the social expectation that we should return what another person has provided us. [Read: How to be vulnerable in a relationship, open up & 28 secrets to grow closer]

9. Be okay with him communicating in a way that’s most comfortable for him

Maybe he feels better talking about his feelings over text messages, and if that’s the case, that’s fine. Not everyone feels comfortable speaking face to face. As long as he’s communicating, that’s a great first step.

He probably won’t launch into a full speech about how he feels, and he might use disjointed language or odd sentences at first.

Again, let him talk in a way that suits him. Don’t push him to communicate in the same way that you do.

10. Drop the judgment hammer

If you’re constantly correcting his grammar, rolling your eyes, or making snide comments, don’t be surprised if Fort Knox stays firmly locked.

Creating a judgment-free zone is a psychological basis for establishing trust. Without an established supportive environment, it can be difficult or even impossible to know how to get a guy to open up.

11. Learn from the pros

In the modern world, there are many ways of learning from professionals about how to communicate properly. Some of the most accessible ways to do this are by watching TV programs that contain relevant information.

For example, shows that feature Dr. Drew, the famous physician, often feature communication issues and many other related psychological problems.

Watching shows with Dr. Drew, as well as other shows, like Couple’s Therapy with Dr. Jenn can help your boyfriend learn about communicating in a safe and non-threatening way. This can be a great way for your man to learn to communicate from the masters. [Read: 31 communication exercises and games for couples and secrets to feel closer]

12. Have your boyfriend read material about communication

If you can get your boyfriend to do this, it will help significantly. He may be reluctant to spend some time reading a psychology book, but if you can get him to do it, there is a great chance that he will learn a lot.

If he’s not much of a reader, sending him a short online article might be a better option. You can also choose to highlight only the parts that he’ll find relevant, so he won’t be pressured into reading the entire book or article.

If you’re wondering how to get a guy to open up, providing him with resources and time alone can do the trick. [Read: 42 secrets to communicate better in a relationship and ways to fix a lack of it]

13. Use humor to lighten the mood

Sometimes a dash of humor can ease into deeper topics. Making someone laugh not only relieves tension but also increases the levels of the “feel-good hormone,” oxytocin.

And guess what? Higher oxytocin levels are associated with greater feelings of social bonding. [Read: How to make someone laugh when they’re down & lighten their burden]

14. Try going somewhere special

If you are struggling to get your boyfriend to open up, changing the scenery might be a useful tool to help him feel comfortable and open up about what is on his mind.

Going for a walk in the park, alongside a river, or even going to his favorite restaurant can help him to open up. He may not need this once he gets more comfortable with expressing himself, but initially, this can be the nudge he needs.

15. Get him to spend time with people who are great at communicating

This method is a little bit sneakier, but if you have some friends who are great at expressing themselves, get your man to communicate and spend more time with them as it may help him to learn how to do it better.

If your boyfriend spends enough time around people who communicate well, there is a good chance that some of their speaking styles may rub off on him.

This can be a desirable effect and may improve your relationship. It can also show how important the company you keep is! [Read: True friendship – 37 real friend traits & what it takes to be a good, loyal one]

16. Make sure to show him that you love him and care about him

The amount of affection that you show your boyfriend may not seem directly related to his ability to communicate, but it very well could be. The more secure your boyfriend feels in the relationship, the more likely he might be to communicate. 

The reason for this is that he will feel less nervous that you might leave him if he appears “weak.” Expressing your love for him lets him know you will still care about him even if he has a problem that he discusses with you.

17. Celebrate small wins

Finally, remember that emotional openness is a journey, not a sprint *or a marathon, for the athletically inclined among us*.

When he does share something meaningful, celebrate it. Reinforcement is a powerful psychological tool, the more you positively reinforce when your man communicates, the more likely it will happen again.

Don’ts & pitfalls to avoid when getting a guy to open up

While understanding how to get a guy to open up is important, there are also certain approaches you should steer clear of.

Mistakes in this area can do more harm than good. Here are some key don’ts and pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. [Read: 20 big relationship problems that either push a couple apart or bring them closer together]

1. Beware of emotional blackmail

Navigating emotions is tricky enough without introducing emotional blackmail into the equation.

It’s crucial to recognize that pressuring someone to open up using fear, obligation, or guilt will not only close off honest communication but could also harm the relationship. No one wants to feel cornered.

2. Avoid fix-it syndrome

When someone we care about has a problem, it’s a natural impulse to want to fix it. But when it comes to emotional openness, remember that you’re a partner in understanding, not a mechanic with a quick fix for every emotional hiccup.

Instead of offering immediate solutions, try simply being there to listen and support. [Read: Depressed boyfriend – 25 signs & ways to help him with love & support]

3. Don’t ignore his comfort zone

While the goal is to get him to open up, pushing too hard can backfire.

Everyone has their boundaries, and respecting his can show him that it’s safe to share his feelings when he’s ready. This is the exact opposite way of how to get a guy to open up.

4. Don’t make it all about you

It’s tempting to relate his experiences to your own, but sometimes this can make the other person feel like their feelings are being overshadowed. This isn’t a competition of who has it worse, it’s an opportunity for open dialogue.

5. Don’t overanalyze

While it’s natural to look for deeper meanings in what he says, overanalyzing can actually deter openness. If he feels like he’s under a microscope, he’s likely to clam up. [Read: 19 ways to be a much better listener in a relationship & read their mind]

6. Be Wary of ultimatums

“You need to talk to me now, or else…” is not a good opener for meaningful communication.

Ultimatums usually create stress and can lead to dishonesty just to resolve the situation quickly. If you want to know how to get your man to communicate, you’ll need to establish an equal playing ground and work from there.

7. Be mindful of timing

Perhaps you’re a morning person eager to tackle emotional discussions with your first cup of coffee. He might not be.

Consider when he’s most relaxed and open to conversation, rather than springing it on him at less opportune times.

How to get him to understand you

Of course, communication is about listening as much as it is about speaking. Here are a couple of ways you can get your guy to listen to what you have to say, so you can kiss miscommunication goodbye! [Read: Relationship facts – the real facts of love no one talks about]

1. Keep it simple

We sometimes get so caught up in our feelings that we have trouble expressing our thoughts. The best thing to do when learning how to get your guy to open up is to keep it simple while trying to communicate with your man.

Think about what you are truly feeling and what you want to express to him. That way, you will be able to convey how you feel without all the added stress.

Then, take a moment to simplify what you want to say by identifying the key aspects of what you want to communicate.

For instance, if you are feeling neglected, then just say it, and then give an example as to what he does to make you feel that way. It is easier to overcome a hurdle when you pinpoint the main issue so that a solution can quickly be implemented.

2. Say what you mean

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. This is an old yet relevant saying when it comes to communicating. Guys usually just want you to be honest about what you want.

Instead of saying you are fine when you are upset, say that you’re actually upset. Explain why you’re feeling that way. If you say you’re fine, then he will take that and run with it

We know it can be hard to admit that you’re upset without feeling like you’re asking for pity, but trust us when we say that guys want you to spell out your feelings to them so they can find some way to help you resolve it. [Read: How to talk about feelings in your relationship and grow closer]

3. Don’t expect him to be a mind-reader

One thing that many women are guilty of doing is expecting their guy to be a mind-reader when it comes to how they feel. If you want to know how to get a man to communicate with you, you should always remember that a guy cannot read your mind.

He’s not going to pick up on your silent treatment or annoyed sighs. He will just assume you’re not feeling wonderful that day. But, you’ll silently see that he’s not understanding how you feel. How can he?

Instead of expecting him to just pick up on how you feel in a psychic way, voice your feelings in a constructive and healthy way.

4. Allow your emotions to subside before speaking

This means no hysterics! Guys never respond well to emotionally charged conversations. When you allow emotions to lead instead of being logical, whatever you say will make him upset, confused, or just downright irritated.

Also, when emotions lead, you tend to say things you do not mean. Be patient with the process of allowing your emotions to settle down, then go into the discussion with an open mind and a calm demeanor. [Read: Healthy relationship boundaries – how to talk about them and set them]

5. Be straightforward

Guys love it when you straight up ask or say what it is you want or need. Stop with the passive-aggressive behavior because that never works. They’re not likely to pick up hints or subtle cues.

When learning how to get a man to communicate with you, be as clear as you can be. If you want some attention, then say so. Want to spend time with him? Say so. If you’re hungry, just say so!

Being straightforward allows him to better understand you and give you what you are asking for. Catch the drift?

6. Don’t assume – just ask

Assumptions are the root of misunderstandings when it comes to learning how to get a man to communicate with you.

When you assume he feels a certain way, that’s when you let your overthinking get the best of you. And aren’t women the experts when it comes to scrutinizing every single word, every emoticon, every tone, every whatever?

But hear this: Men hardly ever add subtle hints when they’re telling you something. That’s something women are likely to do, but not men.

So when you assume that he’s mad at you simply because there’s no emoji in his text, you’ve probably got it all wrong. But if you need the reassurance, do him a favor and ask before you start overanalyzing! [Read: Signs you’re overanalyzing is sabotaging your relationship]

7. Understand that guys communicate differently

Guys tend to be less vocal than women, which makes communicating with them more effective when you keep things simple and honest.

Try to keep the differences between the way guys and girls communicate in mind. Most guys will listen with the intent of logic first, and most girls will communicate from an emotional standpoint.

If you really want to be heard and understood by him, speak his language. You have a better chance of effectively conveying your opinions when you are aware of the type of communicator you are speaking with.

Guys are not that complex to communicate with, so just keep it simple. When learning how to get a man to communicate with you, that’s a key thing to remember.

When to seek professional help

Understanding how to get a guy to open up is one thing, but there are situations where the emotional barriers or communication issues are too complex to navigate on your own. Here are some signs that it may be time to involve a certified psychologist:

1. Chronic emotional withdrawal

If your partner’s emotional distance becomes a consistent pattern over an extended period, despite your best efforts to encourage openness, it may be beneficial to seek professional advice. [Read: Emotionally distant partner – 24 signs, effects & steps to feel closer again]

2. Serious trust issues

A fundamental lack of trust can be a roadblock to meaningful communication. It may be borderline impossible to learn how to get a guy to open up if he doesn’t trust you enough to let you in.

If trust issues persist and harm the relationship, professional guidance can help address the underlying concerns.

3. Escalating conflicts

If disagreements and conflicts are escalating and you’re unable to resolve them despite trying various communication techniques, this could be a sign that you need the mediation skills of a certified psychologist.

4. Mental health concerns

If you notice signs of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or other forms of emotional distress that are affecting your partner’s ability to communicate, professional help is strongly advised.

5. Unresolved past trauma

Past experiences can have a lasting impact on emotional openness. If your partner is struggling with unresolved trauma, the expertise of a certified psychologist is often essential for healing and moving forward.

[Read: Do men have feelings? Then why do they act like they can’t understand and don’t care]

Understanding men’s emotions and encouraging open communication are crucial steps toward achieving emotional intimacy in a relationship. Implement these tips into your discussions so he can feel safe and supported to open up to you.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...