Knowing how to communicate with a stoic man can be difficult, even if the two of you have a close relationship. Such communication challenges may be especially frustrating if you know that something is wrong, but he refuses to talk about it. Yet getting him to open up doesn't have to be a drawn-out process. If you take care to consider his conversational needs, he is more likely to realize that communicating will improve his mood and strengthen your bond.
Choose a time when he won’t feel ambushed. It may be easier to talk in a situation where both parties can act focused on something else, such as while working on a project together or taking a walk. If you sit him down specifically for the purpose of talking, he might feel put on the spot and have trouble figuring out what to say.
Reassure him that he is important to you and plays a meaningful role in your life. This will validate him and show him that you want him to talk because his feelings and opinions matter to you.
Ask him open-ended questions that prompt more in-depth conversation. A man who isn't used to communicating will likely keep his answers to the point, so asking questions that can be addressed in a couple words may lead to a one-sided chat. Instead, find topics that are specific enough to warrant some discussion, such as “Where do you think we’ll be in five years?”
Listen to what he says without arguing or passing judgment. If he begins to open up, avoid interrupting with your own opinions, as this can reinforce the belief that you aren't truly interested in what he has to say.
Present a problem he can fix. Men often approach difficult situations with a fix-it mindset, so even though you might simply want to talk about something that’s bothering you, he may believe you are asking for his help. If you insist that you don’t need a solution, he may get frustrated, so frame your reason for talking with a desired action, such as budgeting together or agreeing on alone time.
- You cannot force someone to talk to you, so if you sense resistance, ease up on your efforts -- otherwise, he may become determined not to open up.
Rose Springfield specializes in writing about interpersonal relationships and behavioral science. She holds a bachelor of science in psychology and a bachelor of arts in English, both from the University of Arizona.