How do you understand a man? 15 surprising insights

How do you understand a man

If you sometimes feel like men are from another planet, you’re not alone.

Every day we get countless questions from women who ask themselves with their hands in their hair:

How do you understand a man?

Questions such as:

“The WhatsApp contact was very nice, but now he hardly sends anything. How come?”


“We often argue because we don’t understand each other. How can I prevent this?”

They all make perfect sense. You have never had the subject ‘men’s science’ in high school.

That’s why in this article you will get no less than 15 ways to better understand men. So that you will be much more relaxed in contact and also give him the feeling that he is understood. delicious

In this article you will get…

  • A lesson “understanding men” based on 15 surprising insights
  • What Men Really Want From Women (And No, This Isn’t All Sex!)
  • Why men look at other women even when they are in a relationship
  • Why men are like turtles 
  • And much more…


Men understand: that’s how you do it!

Since the dawn of time, the female human race has asked itself questions such as:

  • Why are men so complicated?
  • Why do men think with their third leg and not with their brain?
  • Why do men go crazy over a simple game of football?
  • Why don’t men listen?
  • Why do men always leave their glasses up?
  • And so on…

Professor Dr Serhidan Simove has written a useful booklet to better understand men.

The booklet is here in our beautiful office in Amsterdam and bears the humorous title:

What every man thinks about apart from sex.

The book is full of blank pages.

According to Professor Dr. Simove, we men think of nothing but sex.

Bunch of perverts that we are 😉.

However, if you take a deeper look into the male brain, you know this assumption is wrong.

The male brain is much more than a sexually frustrated organ

The male brain is complex and works very differently from the female brain.

This is precisely why husband and wife all too often do not understand each other.

The differences between man and woman regularly lead to frustrations, annoyances, quarrels or sometimes great confusion.

(For example, if a man suddenly stops responding after a number of dates).

What’s going on in that quirky male brain?

What are the biggest differences with the female brain?

How do you make sure you understand men better?

You will learn it all in this article.

Together with Mathijs I have prepared 15 ways for you to better understand men.

They are 15 eye openers about men that many women are not aware of.

Once you understand men better, you learn to deal with men better.

This offers many advantages when dating, in the relationship or in the daily dealings with men.

So it’s high time to grab your magnifying glass and zoom in like a detective on that crazy, but very interesting, male brain.

Let’s start.


#1: Why Men Are Turtles

Men and turtles have a lot in common.

Not only are there men who actually look like turtles like this gentleman:

Men also have a high sexual drive like this turtle:

But the main similarity between men and tortoises is this:

They both withdraw into their shields

Dog Turtle GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 Men need time for themselves

Of course this is also the case for women, but in men this need is often slightly stronger when they experience stress.

This is partly because men generally have more difficulty processing emotions than women.

(More on this later by the way).

But while you as a woman feel the need to talk out an argument, a man prefers to deal with an argument by withdrawing.

This urge to withdraw is discussed at length by John Gray in Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

Gray describes that men make more testosterone than women throughout the day , which he often uses for problem solving. It also gives him energy.

As soon as men experience stress (when in love or an argument, for example), he produces more estrogen and his testosterone level drops.

As a result, men cannot generate the energy to immediately act on all those intense emotions. He needs some time to process this.

A common misconception among women is that they mistake this “withdrawal” for a man’s disinterest or conflict-avoidance behavior.


#2: What few women realize about men…

If you don’t know yet:

Mathijs and I also coach men in love.

Because yes: many men also have their hands in their hair when it comes to love and relationships…

Meeting women in particular is a major challenge for men.

For example, I recently coached a man who was terrified about addressing women in nightlife.

How do you understand a man


Because he was afraid that women would find him too small . He feared that he would be rejected because of his height.

This is something not all women fully realize:

men are very insecure.

Whether it’s height, weight or appealing to women:

most men struggle with intense insecurities.

In the media and in advertising, there is a lot of emphasis on insecurities of women when it comes to appearance.

But men also have these insecurities. It is only talked about much less because it is a kind of ‘taboo’ among men. An important part of our work is making taboos open to discussion. Because if you dig enough with a guy, sometimes things come up.

(more on this later).

What is important for you to realize is this:

We get a lot of questions from women who deal with insecurity . Especially when it comes to dating.

But understand that men are also nervous before a date . Men too are insecure in front of the mirror.

Men also want to do the right thing to impress you.




#3: Why men do listen (even if they don’t seem like it).

Imagine feeling frustrated in your relationship.

You would like to spend more time with your partner, but he is always too busy.

You know he’s busy, but you’d still love to express your feelings.

You decide to start a conversation with him:

“Honey, I know you’re busy but I feel like we don’t see each other so much…”

Before you can finish your sentence, he interrupts you:

“But we see each other now, right? And last week we already met twice!”

It’s annoying when someone won’t let you finish.

And even more annoying when someone doesn’t want to listen to you.

“Men never listen” is a common complaint from women when it comes to men.

However, that assumption is not always correct…

How do you understand a man

Men and women listen in different ways

The example above is typical:

Woman has a problem (the feeling of not seeing each other enough) and wants to talk about it.

The man hears this problem and wants to solve it immediately.

And that’s exactly the difference between how the two sexes listen.

Most women listen empathically.

For example, women talk to each other to process a certain situation (for example a conflict or a bad feeling).

This is about talking as a means of processing. The only thing a woman needs is someone who listens and understands her feelings.

For example, in the closed MannenBrain Facebook group we regularly see that a woman tells her story purely to ‘write it off’.

A phenomenon we NEVER see in our men’s Facebook group.

Men tend to listen in a solution-oriented way. They hear a problem and want to solve it immediately.

So while you are expressing your feelings, he is constantly looking for ways to solve your problem .

This sometimes makes it seem like he’s not listening, but this isn’t entirely true. He does listen, but very differently than you (would like).

#4: Why he stares at other women (even if you’re next to them).


you have a friend and you walk down the street with him.

Suddenly another (beautiful) woman comes walking towards you…

Not only does he stare at her when she walks by, he also stares at her when she passes you.

How do you understand a man

(If you have a friend who actually does this, click here . Because of course this is not fun).

Why is he doing this even if you walk next to him?

The answer is here:

men are very strongly stimulated by visual images

Stronger than women, according to this study. This has to do with biological and evolutionary differences.

After all, it was important for a man that his offspring had the greatest chance of survival.

The more women he impregnates, the greater the chance.

For the primal female, however, her interests were somewhat different.

She had to make sure that her partner continued to protect her as she gave birth and as the child grew up.

Security was therefore of greater importance to women.

Does this mean that every man cheats?

No, of course not (and luckily).

Does this mean that you should just accept such behavior?

No, that’s not the case either. The only reason I’m telling you this is so you don’t start worrying because you don’t think he finds you attractive. Or want to run off with another lady.

Watching other women is often nothing more than a primary instinct.

It’s ingrained in our reptilian brains. But of course there is no justification for acting on such instincts.

This biological explanation is used by some gentlemen as an excuse that men simply cannot do otherwise. That is, of course, weak gel*l.

Women are just as sexual beings as men.

Even if it sometimes manifests itself differently.

What is interesting is this:

Men’s visual brains make, in general, that men watch more porn than women.

Does your boyfriend watch porn and do you want to know why he does it and what it means for the relationship?

Then quickly watch this video by Mathijs:

#5: Why he doesn’t understand you

Professor Deborah Tannen has written a book on the communication differences between men and women with the ironic title:

“You just don’t understand”

This is exactly the complaint many women have when it comes to men:

they don’t seem to understand you.

And most importantly, they don’t seem to understand your feelings .

How come?

How do you understand a man

Because a man’s emotional ‘engine’ can be compared to a small, simple car.

But a woman’s ” emotion engine ” is like a Ferrari. It can run much higher revs.

The female brain is much more ’emotional’ than the male brain

In addition, many men have not learned to manage or express their feelings well.

(I’ll tell you more about this later).

The result is that he often understands your emotions less well or has difficulty dealing with them.

The men’s brain processes emotions less quickly than women’s, as this study shows.

This is why a break-up sometimes lingers in men’s minds for a long time.

He needs more time to process all those different emotions.

(Making men tend to withdraw themselves as I explained to you earlier).

Men and their feelings remain complex subjects.

#6: Don’t be tempted by stereotypes

You are a woman.

That means you are sweet, caring and empathetic.

It also means that you can cook, wash and clean properly.

“What are you saying, Laurens? That is very generalizing!”


There are many outdated, stereotypical assumptions of women that are wrong.

In case you didn’t already know:

they are also available for men.

Men can drive well, do odd jobs and they are strong.

But they are also numb, stupid, rude and they are all out for sex.

Is this correct?


Of course not.

To give you an extreme example… I once saw an interview with an escort who said that only 30% of her visits to men ended in sex.

So 7 out of 10 men didn’t have to have sex.

What did she want?

Companionship, cuddling, talking, attention from a woman and sometimes she had to pretend to be his girlfriend.

What can we learn from this? Men too are emotional beings who long for connection.

Yet many people are sometimes tempted by stereotypes and hasty generalizations.

Mathijs once coached a woman whose husband had cheated on her.

Horrible of course.

But her beliefs after the breakup didn’t help her much.

She thought all men cheated. She was under the impression that every guy is a hypocritical bastard who would cheat on her.

That is of course a shame, precisely because there are so many nice, spontaneous and honest men walking around (yes they really are).

In addition, there are also men who cannot drive very well, but who are very empathetic and sensitive.

In short, there are many stereotypical generalizations about the genders. The most important thing is that you don’t let this guide you.

Do you want more facts and trivia about men who are true and instructive?

Then read this article:


#7: Men are not anti-commitment

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most well-known stereotypes about men:

Men are only out for sex

Well now,

I’m not going to deny that men (and women too) love sex. That is a well-known fact.

But the claim that men are only after sexual intercourse and nothing else is pure bullshit.

(I now realize that I really haven’t used the word ‘garbage’ in a long time).


what matters is this:

Men also want to enter into a loving and serious relationship

And yes:

there are always exceptions (for example with players or bad men ).

But many men are open to entering into a relationship with a woman they are in love with.

In case you didn’t know yet: Mathijs and I also coach men in love.

Many of those men had little success with women at first. Their initial wish is to become more adept at flirting and meeting women.

Then you see that this works well for them and that they take pleasure in hitting on women.

But the majority eventually works their way to a terminal that is not dominated by womanizing…


The majority ultimately choose to build a relationship with someone who is important to them.

It’s important that you understand this if you want to understand men.

There are many women who still fall under the old-fashioned assumption that men only want sex and nothing more.

“But Laurens, I am now dating a really nice man, but he always keeps the relationship boat off. What should I do?”

Don’t worry, Mathijs tells you all about it in this video below:


#8: Understand his inner primal man

An acquaintance of mine is in a relationship where his girlfriend is wearing the pants.

And I don’t mean this lightly:

his girlfriend literally controls everything.

Where they’re going on vacation, what they’re going to eat tonight and who’s celebrating Christmas:

his girlfriend is always the one who wants to make and will make the decision.

Surprisingly, this guy is not happy in the relationship.

Because, let’s face it, how would you like it if your partner determines everything (and really everything) in the relationship?

“That wouldn’t be nice, Laurens.”

Absolutely not.

And you know what?

For a man this is absolutely terrible

Let me explain to you.


it is usually the man who takes the first steps in the dating process. You can see that in romantic movies:

The man asks the girl out, the man makes the first attempt at kissing and the man finally proposes.

Note: I’m not saying these things don’t happen the other way around, but they are a lot less common.

And why?

Because it is in the nature of the man to take the lead (although social expectations also play an important role).

This dates back hundreds of thousands of years, when people still lived in tribes.

The man was often the chief of the tribe. Leading men often had the greatest chances of survival and reproduction.

This primal urge to lead is still ingrained in men. And it’s exactly why most women find leading, dominant men attractive.

Now I’m not saying that you should always let him decide everything. That’s not how a healthy relationship works.

But do understand that it is important for most men to feel that he is the responsible, leading man.

Let him ask you out.

Let him kiss you.

Let him take the first steps so that he feels that he has conquered your heart himself.

“But Laurens, isn’t this a bit old-fashioned? I mean… can’t I do those things myself?”

As with all advice, these are guidelines. It’s okay to take the lead every now and then.

As long as you are aware of the game between ‘seducing’ and ‘leading’. If you’re more feminine, playful and seducing him, he’ll be more masculine.

Play with this to see what you like.

Are you dealing with a man who is scared to take charge or simply won’t?

Do you like a man and do you want to know how to take the first steps without taking the ‘leadership’ away from him?

#9: How to understand a man: notice this #1 male-female difference

Earlier in this article I told you about writer Deborah Tannen.

In one of her books she gives a wonderful example of the #1 difference between man and woman.

(And no, it has nothing to do with standing vs sitting urinating 😉).

In the book, Tannen talks about the lat relationship she had with her partner. Obviously, everyone has a different opinion about LAT relationships.

Tannen was empathetic to anyone who asked her questions or commented on her LAT relationship.

However, her husband reacted defensively. He wanted to defend himself against anyone who criticized this form of relationship.

Now I am not saying that women are always more empathetic than men and that men are always trying to defend themselves…

But Tannen’s example does show a common crucial difference between the two genders:

women focus on connection, men on hierarchy.

This is because:

The woman sees herself as an individual in a network of connections.

For a woman, harmony within those connections is most important.

That is why it is important for a woman to be understood by others.

The better she is listened to, the easier it is to maintain social harmony.

This is different for men.

A man is an individual in a hierarchical social order in which he moves up or down.

In his world, conversations are a kind of negotiation where people try to keep the strong hand.

They try to protect themselves from others who want to put them down and boss them around.

Life is a competition, with men struggling to maintain their independence and avoid failure.

Once you understand how important hierarchy is to a man, you’ll understand why many men seem to have such a big ego and are so competitive (more on that later).

Of course it is not always the case that every man is only focused on hierarchy and every woman only on connection.

There are always exceptions.

But it is an essential difference between the two sexes. A difference that few other women are aware of.

A difference that makes you understand men much better.

#10: Why men always want to win

Are you familiar with the comedy movie Dumb and Dumber?

Although the film is full of lame humor, it has always been one of my personal favorite comedy films.

(Well, I’m not here to tell you about my cinematic preferences).

(By the way, cinematographic is an expensive word that I never actually use. “Film preferences” could also have been done).

Hey, where was I?

Oh yeah,

Remarkably, Dumb and Dumber contains an instructive scene about the peculiar nature of men.

You can see the scene here:

(Um no, it’s not like all men want to trip you up).

What all men do want is to win.

Men are extremely competitive

So competitive, in fact, that they don’t want to lose a simple stair race to you.

This is largely due to a higher production of testosterone, which makes for more competitiveness as research shows.

So if you don’t understand why boyfriend goes so bizarre with a game of football, then you know now 😉. It’s in its competitive nature.

However, there is also another reason why men love football so much…

#11: Why men love football

If you now have something like:

“Laurens, I don’t feel like talking about football”

then I don’t blame you.

I may be a man, but I’m definitely not a real football fan.

Yet hordes of men go completely crazy when they see a simple ball going into a net.

How do you understand a man


It all has to do with the way men express their emotions


earlier I told you that women are more emotional and empathetic than men.

But that doesn’t mean men are all emotionless zombies.

In fact:

Men are very emotional.

And this is reflected in a game of football. Will his favorite team win? Then he’s crazy.

But if his team loses, you will see more sad emotions than you are used to from the average man.

Take for example the iconic yet dramatic image of this gentleman who is near despair when his team (Brazil) lost 7-1 to Germany:

(What’s a sweetie huh?)

One thing is clear:

what soap operas are to women, sports competitions are to men.

Men often express their emotions in shorter, more explosive ways than women. This is why some men can quickly become irritable or irritable.

But since men also take longer to process emotions, unpleasant emotions often linger longer.

(Just ask a friend of mine who to this day is still bummed that his girlfriend broke up with him five years ago).

So if you really want to understand men, it is important that you know that men are no less emotional than women…

They are often different emotionally.

#12: Why all men want to act so tough How do you understand a man

A friend of mine once called me in the middle of the night to ask if he could stay overnight.

“Well, you’re always welcome, of course. But I do wonder why exactly? Your own house isn’t on fire, I hope?” I asked surprised.

“No, luckily not,” he replied. “But there’s a mouse in my house and that’s why I want to get out of here.”

Yep, you read it right.

A grown man called me late at night to ask if he could stay overnight because there was a mouse in his house.

And you know what?

I loved that he did that.

Well, I don’t always enjoy being woken up at night, of course.

But I think it’s awesome that as a man he comes out for his fear of mice.

Because believe me:

Admitting your fears as a man is harder than you think.

Many men feel the pressure to be ‘masculine’

This is partly why some men talk so loudly, act antisocial or have a big mouth.

They are all roosters who want to prove themselves.

(All the way to pretty women like you).

But that cocky behavior makes it very difficult to admit certain weaknesses, vulnerabilities or ‘unmanly’ things.

(For example, I don’t like to admit that I’m bad at map reading and parking).

They are ‘masculine’ things that men ‘should be able to do’.

But precisely because of this, there is a lot of pressure on many men that makes them feel insecure or behave awkwardly.

So if you ever face a guy in the bar and wonder why he’s acting so weird…

it could be because he feels very self-conscious and if death is that you don’t find him manly or attractive enough. By the way, do you want to know if he might like you? T


#13: What singer Rihanna can teach you about understanding men

Most people know Rihanna from catchy songs like the classic Umberella :

But when I mention Rihanna in the same breath as the famous singer Chris Brown, alarm bells ring for most people.

Chris Brown and Rihanna have had a relationship that, to say the least, didn’t always go smoothly.

In 2009, it was revealed that Brown had even physically assaulted Rihanna.

End of relationship you would think?




Because in 2012, the couple got back together.

If your reaction to this news looks like this:

Oh My God Reaction GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Then I don’t blame you 😉.

I too was quite surprised when I learned that Rihanna chose to go back to Brown.

The reason for her return to the singer with loose hands was downright sad:

she thought she could change him…

Whether that actually worked?

The answer is a big fat no.

Within months, tension between the two rose again and they broke up.

Rihanna failed to change Brown.

Of course, Rihanna is not the only woman to experience something similar.

There are plenty of women who are under the wrong assumption that they can change a (wrong) man.

In many cases, however, this is wasted effort and energy.


it is a very noble gesture that you want to change a man for the better…

But you are not his psychologist who can help him through that change.

He will eventually have to make drastic changes himself if he wants to. If you really want to understand men, it is therefore important that you understand this:

don’t bother changing a man.

Men are not easily changed. They are less likely to accept help from others than women.

Many men are and remain stubborn and rigid beings.

Rihanna learned this the hard way. And luckily, within a few months, she learned that there was no point in changing Brown.

But these are months that have demanded a lot of time and energy from her.

So avoid wasting months if not years on changing a man…

That will save you a lot of suffering.

#14: Understand that he is not a mind reader

“There is nothing.”

It is these 4 words that confuse many a man on a daily basis.

Something is definitely going on, but you don’t say it.

After all, the man himself knows what he has done wrong, right?



If you want to understand men, it is important to understand this:

men can’t read your mind.

In addition, many men are downright blind to subtle hints or passive aggression. This is because the rational brain of men interprets everything literally.

So if you say that there is ‘nothing’ (while there is indeed something), then he is assuming that there really is nothing wrong.

Of course that frustrates you again because he doesn’t seem to understand you.

Moreover, it is quite frustrating for a man when you say that there is nothing, while you remain passive aggressive towards him.

(This is a great recipe for a relationship fight).

What matters is this:

men need direct language.

Is there something going on? Then literally say what it says. Tell him what’s going on.

Don’t expect him to know you and understand you so well that you don’t have to explain.

The clearer and more specific you are about a wish or problem, the more likely he will understand you.

#15: Understand that his man brain is not a woman’s brain

Your beautiful female brain is full of all kinds of hormones such as:

estrogen, progesterone and oxytocin.

These ‘female’ hormones cause ‘female’ behavior.

The male brain contains a slightly different hormone cocktail consisting of testosterone, vasopressin and MIS (Mullarian Inhibity Substance ).

“Um, do I have to remember those names Laurens?”

No, I’m not going to give you an unexpected test like that dastardly Mr Bosman from Geography always did…

But this is important to remember:

these different hormone compositions greatly influence our behavior as a woman or man.

In fact:

man and woman each use different brain functions to perform the same task.

For example, we’ve learned that the brain regions that men use to solve spatial information and emotional problems are different from the brain regions that a woman uses.

In addition, men use a larger brain area to induce aggression.

However, as soon as a baby is on the way, the male brain actually produces more ‘female’ hormones, which enhance the feeling of caring. That way he can take better care of his offspring.

In short:

the female brain and the male brain are both immensely complex . Science is still investigating the biggest differences between the brains.

Also Read:


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