I don't have any children, but I do have a seven-year-old goddaughter. When she becomes a preteen, something I plan on telling her, on repeat, is one of the best things she could ever do is have a set of male friends. Not boyfriends, mind you. I mean, platonic male friends. They're the next best thing to having a really great brother. They're protective. They're honest. And they'll help to drive home the point I'm about to make.


Besides being a writer, something else that I am is a marriage life coach. Both professions mean that I spend quite a bit of time delving out advice. If there's one thing I find myself asking quite a bit to brokenhearted women is, "Why didn't you take what he said at face value?"

Not to say that men, as a whole, are the greatest communicators in the world. At the same time, though, I'm on the fence about how many of us, as women, deserve an award for being the best listeners. Is it just me or does it seem like a lot of times we get into more uncomfortable situations than necessary simply because we would rather interpret what a man is saying rather than accept what has already been said?

Just in case you're tempted to give me some pushback on this, here are five examples of what I mean when I say take your guy's word at face value.

“I’m not ready for a relationship.”

He likes you. You like him. You spend time together. You might have even had sex. In your mind, this all may emotionally translate into you being in a relationship (or heading there). But if this is what you're doing with someone and he tells you that he's not ready for a relationship, clearly this is evidence that not everyone defines a relationship the same way.

If you don't listen to him and decide to give him even more of yourself—mind, body and spirit—all the while hoping to change his mind, how does that make him a bad person if he decides to see other people or end things completely?

"Ready" literally means "completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use." If a man is telling you he is not prepared to make a commitment or more importantly, that he's not FIT for one, he's basically giving you a forecast of how things will turn out if you keep pushing forward.

Choose wisely.

Do you typically listen to men when they're honest with you about where they're at? Why or why not?

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