Three Ideas to Help Men Become More Thoughtful

This guest post is by Mike Bundrant of theiNLP Center.

A lot of good men could be more thoughtful of the women in their lives. These guys have all the right intentions, but thoughtfulness just doesn’t come naturally. Is this you? You diligently go about your business as a breadwinner and may love to putter around the house, but she wants something more.

What does she want, specifically?

She wants to know that you are 1. thinking about her and 2. willing to extend yourself to meet her needs. If she doesn’t get ample evidence of these two things, she may not be happy no matter what else she gets. Worse, at some point she will stop asking you to meet these needs, but the needs won’t go away. When this happens, the end is near! She will eventually leave you, or leave you emotionally. Either way, your relationship is over.

I know what you may be thinking.

“Whenever she asks me for something, I give it to her. What’s the problem?”

This is great. It means you are considerate when you are made aware of her needs. Keep it up – don’t stop being considerate. Just know that it doesn’t meet criterion number one above. It doesn’t prove you are thinking about her, even though you may still extend yourself by doing what she asks.

For example, which do you think will make her happier?

  1. She asks you to help with the dishes and you do so without complaining.
  2. You realize she needs help with the dishes without being asked and offer to help.

Another example:

  1. She reminds you that you haven’t brought her flowers lately, so you go get her some.
  2. You surprise her with flowers well before she feels she needs to mention it.

It isn’t rocket science. Still, I am amazed at how many guys, myself included, don’t put this into practice. Nothing can replace the powerful combination of being thoughtful (considering her wants and needs before being asked or reminded) and extending yourself (reaching out, going out of your way to do something for her).

But don’t do this…

I once gave a coaching client a list of 100 thoughtful things he could for his wife. I wanted to help him with ideas and get his mind moving in a certain direction toward being more thoughtful and romantic. Well, he took that list and gave it to his wife. “Honey, I’m going to be more thoughtful now,” he said. “So, review this list and circle the things you want me to do for you. I plan on doing one a week.”

When his wife told me about the event, I was dumbstruck! And I still am. I suppose this approach is better than doing nothing at all, or is it? At any rate, the point is—there is no adequate substitute for being purely thoughtful, especially in the minds of many women.

Three tips

Here are three ways to remind yourself to be thoughtful so she doesn’t have to. Remember, this is written to guys for whom thoughtfulness does not come naturally. Here you go, men:

  1. Get your mind moving in that direction. Brainstorm ideas and create a list of things you can do for your partner. If you never think it – if you don’t open your mind to ideas in the first place, thoughtfulness has no chance of becoming natural for you. Keep your list a secret!
  2. Schedule it. Put it on your calendar and mark it as a high priority. Just don’t tell her that you need to remind yourself to be thoughtful in this way and remember, this is your life and she is a very important part of it. She is more important than paying the bills or mowing the lawn or tinkering in the garage. She’s more important than any hobby you might have. She’s even more important than your career to your overall happiness, when it comes right down to it, is she not? All you need to do is be thoughtful and extend yourself—make it your highest priority! The good news is that a little effort in this department goes a long way.
  3. Deal with your narcissism. If you are resisting this concept, then you may have a narcissistic streak that you need to come to terms with if you want thoughtfulness to become more natural to you. There are lots of resources, therapists and coaches who are well prepared to help you.

The bottom line: If you think you may be less thoughtful than you could be and it impacts your relationship, there is no better investment of your time and energy than to get this one handled. Being thoughtful pays dividends in ongoing and often unexpected ways for years to come. Just do it!

Mike Bundrant is a mental health counselor (Retired, NM) and internationally recognized NLP trainer. Find Mike at theiNLP Center. iNLP also offers a free personal development mini-course.

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This post was written by a guest contributor to FeelGooder. Please see their details in the post above.

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Comments

  1. Hi, I really enjoyed this article… I googled “thoughtful men” fishing for confirmation and understanding . My man of just about five months now shows up as less thoughtful than I’d like. I’ve even thought of not remaining involved with him because I’m not feeling
    “courted” as much as I’m feeling like he’s too used to me and too comfortable as if he’s not
    putting the effort out to impress me at all. It’s
    confusing because in several ways and in many things that he says I can tell he really
    cares about me but when I need him to show me he cares he’ll do what I ask like you mentioned in your article but I had to ask and that’s what ruins it for me. When I recently became I’ll with a chest cold and he doesn’t come to my place to check on me or ask me if I need anything from the store it hurts. I asked him to bring me orange juice and I could tell it wasn’t what he really had in mind for his evening but he sucked it up and was nice and came over with what I had asked for. I wish he valued me more that’s how I feel “less valued” … I aske myself should I be looking elsewhere and find a more thoutful guy? His lack of attentiveness has showed up in other areas also but I’ve shared with him how I feel and he’s trying. It’s just that there are times when I do want him to “read my mind” some things , especially for a sick partner , should be obvious… ” can I get you anything?” …. Simple. Am I taking crumbs of the table like a desperate woman from a man who is just using me? Or are most men this
    off track?

    • If he’s like that at 5 months, trust me he’s not going to change after a year. You deserve to be more valued than that. I hope by now you found someone worth your time

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  3. It’s a little bit weird that you’d have to have that bit about “Don’t do this..” in there, I am dumbstruck by that as well…
    Thanks for the tips, we could all be a little more thoughtful, I’d say. This helps in figuring out where to start.
    Would you say all humans have a streak of narcissism, like another trait that sets us apart from animals and leads to destruction.

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  16. Manasi Shah says:

    I absolutely loved your article! My boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship hence him doing small things means all the more as we have few opportunities to connect with each other! I have brought this topic up a couple of times and he feels he can only do something on occasions that we meet. That narcissistic streak you mentioned definitely plays up. Would really appreciate some advice on how to overcome that? And whether a guy who resists the very idea of making me happy is worth it?

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  18. Saythatagain says:

    I really enjoyed this blog and shared it with my long distance boyfriend. I have tried to explain this to him before, but it always comes out of my mouth all wrong and I get frustrated and shut down. So this is wonderful, I couldn’t have said it better and many women feel like this and it is hard explaining this without feeling needy or insecure. I am neither, but occasionally I need this or I start to feel unappreciated and feel like leaving a relationship that is wonderful in all most all aspects. Thanks Again

  19. Amy Bossart says:

    Thank you for the article. You hit the problem I was having head on. I kept asking for a date night, because he would naturally just do his own thing and get caught up with his own life and I’d be left waiting and angry. I hated bringing it up, I don’t like to make him feel trapped, take away from the things he loves to do or make him feel bad. And he would always ask “Well what do you want to do?” He isn’t naturally creative in the romance area so I usually come up with the ideas. But i couldn’t figure out why I still wasn’t happy. It was the thought. It was exactly as you said, I wanted to be number 1 and I felt like number 2 sometimes lower on the list. Every time he does something thoughtful it means the world to me and shows me how much I mean to him. Otherwise I’m left feeling he doesn’t think of me when I’m away or care to be with me. I’m going to show him this article and hope it helps him.

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