14 Tricks To Get Him To Listen To You (Without Sounding Naggy)

Here's how to get your man to listen to your needs.

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If there’s one thing that seems to be virtually impossible in a lot of situations, it’s teaching guys how to listen.

And if you’re in a situation where you’re interested in commitment or similar, you already know that you want to get him to listen (and act) without sounding needy. This is a fine, fine line you have to walk.

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The problem with getting men to listen isn’t just the actual listening part. It’s not sounding crazy and still getting what you need out of the relationship.

Speaking as someone who only recently mastered this, here’s how to master communication skills and get him to do it.

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Here are 14 tricks to get him to listen to you without sounding naggy:

1. Realize that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink

What I’m saying is that there’s only so much you can do to try to get a person to listen to you. There are only so many times you can try to sit him down and explain to him your needs.

If he’s not listening after you repeatedly tell him that you’re not happy with something, you need to realize he’s saying that you’re not important enough to listen to. If he’s saying that with his actions, it may be time to break up. (Protip: Don’t get back together with him if this is what it takes to get him to listen.)

2. Do talk to him when it’s a good time

In other words, don’t try to talk to him while he’s watching football with his friends or trying to do his taxes. He will get annoyed with you and just want to end the conversation quickly. Instead, take time while he’s eating dinner to discuss things.

3. Aggression does not work with men, and if you have to get aggressive, it may be time to leave

What I mean by “aggression” is extreme behavior like yelling, emotional blackmail, throwing tantrums, or threatening to leave. Most men will not react well to these tactics, and they honestly shouldn’t. Why? Because these tactics are extremely unhealthy for any relationship.


4. Smile and ask if you can talk to him for a bit

The “we need to talk” phrase should be used sparingly, as most guys tend to assume that you will kill him after saying that.

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5. Ask for his input, too

More often than not, when we want something done or when we want someone to listen, we forget to listen to them, too. You’d be surprised at how many guys want to give their two cents but get steamrolled by their girlfriends. Chances are that you might uncover a lot of issues that you can work through together.

6. Explain the “whys” of things

Saying things like, “Honey, I have been feeling unappreciated and overexerted. I work 40 hours a day, clean the house, and take care of the kids. It’s getting to the point where I’m feeling like I’m running on empty. Could you please take me out for a pampering day?” will get you much further than, “I need a spa day, now.”


7. Avoid “you” and “never/always”

Men tend to shut down when they hear accusatory language, so if you can, pose it as a problem that you can both tackle together. So, instead of saying, “You never seem to appreciate me,” say something along the lines of, “We should have a day to focus on each other. You pamper me, I pamper you.”

8. If it’s a serious conversation, explain to him that he needs to listen

Emphasize its importance, and if it’s a matter where you may break up, tell him that. Don’t let him think it’s casual when it’s really not.

9. Explain your needs firmly, clearly, and assertively

This is the hardest part about how to get him to listen. We often will dance around the issue until we blow up. This is especially true with commitment talks.

A good example of an assertive way to talk to a guy without sounding crazy is to tell him, “Listen, I love you, but I need to know where we are going. My goal is to marry within the next two years. I need to know what your timeline is looking like and what I should expect.”


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10. Emphasize the positive things about him, even if you’re criticizing him

Too much criticism can kill the strongest relationships. So, don’t criticize him too much. A common way to keep morale up in the office is to sandwich critiques via a positive-negative-positive method. It works well with relationships, too.

For example, this would be a good line to use: “Honey, you’re the best man I’ve ever been with, but leaving your work clothes in the bathroom has got to stop, okay? You’re so tidy with your desk, so this shouldn’t be an issue.”

11. Believe what you hear him say

Men are way more direct than women are, communication-wise. If he’s saying he doesn’t want to marry, believe him and act accordingly.


12. Stick to the subject at hand

Some guys may try to divert your attention in order to avoid a tough topic. If you notice that, tell him, “Yes, we can discuss that later, now let’s get back to the original topic, okay?”

13. If it’s turning into an argument or you’re really not getting through to him, state your point succinctly and stop talking for the rest of the day

Things can get very ugly with certain discussions. Do not try to get a reaction from him if you can tell he’s very ruffled. Do not try to force the subject if you’re beating a dead horse. Rather, just state your point as simply as possible, turn around, and leave. Or take a nap.

A good example of this would be if you feel like your partner is embarrassed by you. Just say, “Look, I feel like you’re hiding me away from everyone else. If you don’t want to be with me and are ashamed of me, then tell me. If you do want to be with me, take me out when you’re with family or friends. Your decision.” 


14. If he refuses to even talk to you, flips out, or calls you “crazy” for broaching certain topics, remain calm

I’ve been in a couple of relationships where openly discussing things would just not happen. He’d stonewall or just blow up if I mentioned certain things. As hard as it is to do, it’s crucial to remain calm.

Understand that a reaction like this is a reflection of him, not you, and that it’s time to bring the relationship to a close. Should he ask why, tell him, “I don’t maintain relationships with men that I can’t hold a discussion with, sorry. This conversation is over.”

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others.