Expert Speak

Reasons why Indian men do not communicate their feelings

Why are men so much less communicative than women in a relationship and how can this be changed?
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There can be multiple reasons why an individual develops a certain style of communication besides their unique biological makeup. The experiences they have had in life and their present belief systems guide their choices about how to express themselves. As a group of individuals, in this case, men in a particular social and cultural environment may encounter similar upbringing that influences their unique belief systems and in turn, affects their communication styles.

Women in India, like most women everywhere, have had a pet peeve; men do not communicate with them in a manner that as expressive as they would have liked. These could be the main reasons why most Indian men find it difficult to articulate their feelings:

1. They might just be more introverted than you. We all have varying degrees of general introversion or extroversion in our personalities. We might end up judging the other one as ‘reticent’ and ‘non-communicative,’ if they are slightly higher on the introversion scale than us.

In India, kam bolna (frugal speech) is considered more masculine and macho and hence a more desirable trait in men.
So culturally it would seem, we do not find expressive men who talk about their emotions very appealing. And we know how men want to be desperately macho and manly, lest they are considered lesser forms of life.

2. Their past experiences might have taught them a different lesson than you. Expressing one’s emotions may not have been encouraged or sometimes even actively discouraged in keeping with detrimentally popular definitions of masculinity. Ladkiyon ki tarah kyun rota hai? (Why are you crying like a girl?), is a regular instruction, read insult, hurled at a young boy should he be discovered expressing hurt or pain through tears. These things have to be addressed in an open and empathetic way that probes into and not punishes the lack of skills or desire to communicate.

3. Current belief systems may be playing a major role in experiencing and expressing one’s emotions. Many men can believe, “There’s no point talking about emotions,” “People may not understand what I am going through and who I am,” “It may make me appear weak to seem emotional,” “I may not be accepted for who I am,” “I do not need to speak to anyone,” and many more thoughts of the same species. These belief systems have to be examined for their merit and see if they stand in his way of connecting with others around him.

Essentially, the fear of coming across as feminine and weak is what stops a lot of men, among other important reasons from experiencing and expressing a reasonable range of emotions.
Communication is essential for a happy relationship. Not everyone has to communicate in the style of the other person, but it is of immense value to understand each other’s style of communication and try to meet each other halfway.

Published in Expert Speak
Deepak Kashyap
Deepak Kashyap is a counselling psychologist and a certified life-skills trainer with a private practice in Mumbai, India. He is also a published columnist in national newspapers and magazines, writing about issues related to sex, mental health, relationships, and emotional disturbances. He also serves as a counselling expert with Bonobology.

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