Men Are Simple

Most guys never had to read between the lines, so they get confused when you do.

Simple man, looking outward. Dean Drobot | Canva

Most men are simple. I know some of you may be thinking I’ve completely sold out my brethren to gain the reader's trust. But that is just not true. Because “simple” is not bad, or inferior, or lacking value and substance.

“Simple” simply means not complex. It does not mean devoid of emotional intelligence or empathy. Most men are quite capable of deep emotion, tremendous empathy, and stunning feats of intellectual prowess. It’s just they epitomize the axiom, “What you see is what you get.” You may try to credit them with great depth and complexity, but truly, you are barking up the wrong tree.


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It's quite understandable why you would believe so much mystery and intrigue is bubbling just under his surface. That is the way you perceive other people. Because, unlike the "What you see is what you get kind of guy", women have been socialized to be more complex, read between the lines, and look out for signs of unhealthy or harmful behaviors from men.

Loving couple, simple communication - Yuri A via Shutterstock


Often, when women speak, their words can be filled with subtext and deeper meaning, which other women inherently understand. But many men are oblivious to these subtle nuances of conversation. Sure, they understand the words, but they fail to grasp the hidden messages and the unspoken emotional underpinnings.

They take your words at face value. Why? Because these types of men are simple and don't read into the layers of conversational complexity. They have not had to develop a conversational check and balances system to try and identify potentially problematic personalities.

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I know it may be hard to believe but consider this. How often have you asked your male significant other, “What did you mean by that,” only to have him stare blankly back at you as if you’d just spoken to him in ancient Aramaic? From your point of view, your question is perfectly valid. He said he didn’t feel like going to the beach today, but you read into his words and interpreted he meant he doesn't want to spend you. You know this because you “read between the lines,” and feel you have ferreted out his true meaning. Thus, you are justifiably indignant.


How dare he not want to spend time with you? When was the last time you hung out one on one without an agenda? And your assessment of his contemptuous comment would be accurate, was he trying to talk around the topic or elude to a problem without directly mentioning it? But he’s not, he’s not using subtext.

 When he said he didn’t feel like going to the beach, what he meant was he didn’t feel like going to the beach. Nothing else. No underlying meaning. No couched insult. He still wants to spend time together, just not at the beach. So he gazes helplessly back at you and your indignation, mind-racing, trying desperately to figure out how his lack of enthusiasm for surf and sand has upset you.

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These types of men talk in an overtly literal manner. For them, words are merely tools of communication, which they employ, with no great pleasure, for the utilitarian benefit of attaining a specific goal. They want something, so they ask for it. They like something, so they praise it. They hate something, so they denounce it. Very practical and very simple.

Consequently, they probably don’t understand why you regularly dissect interpersonal conversations and extract information that completely escapes them. Are you looking for a hidden agenda, being deeply analytical to find any warning signs of potential danger or dishonesty? While, the less cautious, direct-talking man just wants you to like him, laugh at his jokes, and spend time with him. Could it be “simpler”?

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David M. Matthews is an Emmy-winning TV writer, producer, and relationship coach. He is the author of the book Every Man Sees You Naked: An Insider's Guide To How Men Think.

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