Why Is Understanding Men So Difficult?

Trouble understanding men? Find out why this woman is confused after a business coffee meeting and the mistakes she made

understanding menSometimes Single Women Get Frustrated Trying to Understand Men – That’s Where I Can Help

“Hi Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan,

I’m confused and hope you can help.

I was a asked by a Joe to join him for a business meeting and he asked me for my number. I got couple of texts and calls from him. After I told him I wasn’t interested in the multilevel business, he became distant  I also asked him if he liked me and wanted to keep friendship going. He said yes. I then asked him how he was doing and if he wanted to grab a coffee. He sent me this text, “I think your nice girl and deserve a guy that will be able to give you the attention you deserve, but I cannot be the one.”

Where did that come from? What changed?  I don’t understand when he just told me he liked me. Please help me with understanding men!

Nice Girl”,

Hi Nice Girl,

OK, so you want to know why Joe’s interest changed? Well, I’m sure there are many missing details, but from the little bit you did share this is what I think. Let me say this gently – overall you need a bit of help understanding men. Below I’m going to provide some very direct and honest pointers that will help about this situation and for the future with men as well.

1. Inviting you to a business meeting is NOT a date.
Joe’s interest in you was business related, not romantic. What made you think he wanted to date you? He asked for your number to follow up for the business opportunity.

The Bottom Line: Don’t confuse a business meeting with a date.

2. He might have falsely shown interest to open a business conversation.
Joe may have flirted and turned on the charm a bit, hoping this would sell you on his multilevel marketing. But I didn’t hear anything about asking you for a date. Was this wrong on his part? Not really. Flirting and charm are a part of every day living.

The Bottom Line: Don’t confuse a man’s flirting with you for true romantic interest. They are not the same thing. Flirting with you may be fun, but that doesn’t mean he wants to date you. That may sound confusing, but it’s true. Please take my expert advice on this because I am 100% certain.

3. Once you turned down the business opportunity, he became distant.
Now we know for sure Joe was only interested in you for the business because after you turned him down, he “became distant” – your words. So what made you think things would continue? This was definitely not reading the situation clearly.

The Bottom Line: Don’t read into situations to get to your own conclusions. Look at things objectively. He became distant = lack of interest.

4. You directly ask whether or not he likes you.
Yikes! You didn’t have one date and thought it was OK to ask him directly if he likes you? At the start of dating, never put a man on the spot like this. What Joe did was save face and avoid hurting your feelings. That’s why he answered “Yes” to your question.

Clearly he didn’t mean it. If he was being distant and not engaging in texting, calling or most importantly ASKING YOU OUT ON DATES, then he doesn’t LIKE YOU. He was unresponsive and you pushed the issue.

5. You tell him you’ll accept friendship.
OK, I have a concern about your self-esteem. Do you consider yourself to be a consolation prize? If he doesn’t want you romantically, you’ll except friendship so you can at least have something? I don’t want to be too harsh but this is completely unacceptable.

The Bottom Line: Don’t offer your friendship to a man who makes himself distant. You deserve a boyfriend who pursues you and a friend who wants to be with you. This will not flow from a person already distancing himself.

6. You asked him to go for coffee.
The man is distant and you ask him out? Yes, friends go for coffee. But you never let the dust settle to see if he actually wanted to be friends. This is socially aggressive behavior when it comes to men. While men and women enjoy a good deal of equality in the work place, dating has not achieved that same level of balance.

When it comes to understanding men and dating, you must consider gender roles. It’s true things are changing for people under 30 and women can sometimes initiate – but gently and with feminine charm – not direct masculine ballsy-ness.

Singles over 40 operate with more traditional gender roles. Just know that regardless of your age – a person needs to show some kind of interest to be open to friendship or coffee. From the story you shared, I don’t see any hints even.

Many women today think that because of the equality that has been achieved, you can be as direct in your persona life with men as you are in busienss. Nothing can be further from the truth. The direct approach will only get a man to avoid you, back away and try to say anything so he doesn’t get some big emotional scene.

Think about it – what would have been your reaction if he answered honestly, “Nope, I don’t like you very much. Please stop bothering me.” If he said that you would have been floored. Your direct approach left him no choice to say anything else but falsely saying he liked you and was willing to be friends.

The Bottom Line: I don’t recommend asking a man out. If you decide to do it anyway because it feels right, never ask the same man out more than once. If a guy thinks dating you is a good idea, he’ll take over. If he doesn’t, then you know it’s time to move on.

7. This is an opportunity for understanding men and basic human behavior.
Seems like you need to practice reading between the lines. I realize this might not be easy for you. When you take everything at face value, a lot can feel confusing. For the future, one thing I can tell you is when someone pulls away and becomes distant, that is not a sign to move in and press for more. Instead, that’s a signal to walk away and look for someone who shows more interest in friendship or romance.

The Bottom Line: There is plenty written to help you with understanding men so you can learn to catch on faster, know when to let go and move on.

Wishing you love,

understanding men



Working with a Dating Coach, whether you choose private dating coaching or group dating coaching can make a tremendous difference. Contact me today at 203-877-3777 to learn how I can help you with understanding men and finding love more easily.

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice  and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony, MSN.com, MORE.com, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.

4 thoughts on “Why Is Understanding Men So Difficult?”

  1. Rachel – who knows? Maybe he was telling his friend about you. The truth is, while a curious mystery, it’s one you’ll never solve and is still a waste of time. Stop thinking about him and what happened and get over it. You are wasting your precious life thinking about him even as you read this.

  2. Hey Ronnie its me again, I forgot to add something in this post about this situation. 3 months before I gave this guy a Christmas card I had seen him at the mall. When I saw him at the mall he was with another guy. I smiled and said hey to him and he said hey to me too. After that I went into the pet store that was about 40 feet from where I saw him. As I walked into the pet store I noticed out of the corner of my eye that this guy and the friend he was with were a few feet behind me and they walked into the pet store too. I went to the back of the pet store and looked at the fish. When I got to the back I noticed that this guy and his friend went towards where I was at and stood by the fish tanks. I waited for him to say something to me but after a minute of waiting he didnt say anything so I went to the front of the store to look at the puppies and then that guy and his friend walked away from the back of the store and then walked out of the store. It just seemed like this guy had followed me into the pet store? What was going on here?

  3. Hi Rachel,
    First, giving the guy a Christmas card was a nice thing to do. You did NOTHING WRONG. His odd behavior has nothing to do with you or what you did – it’s his problem. So, don’t feel badly that you blew it with him because you absolutely did not ruin anything.

    Now this is the hard part.The problem is that you innocently misunderstood his saying “Hey” as showing interest in you and thinking that must mean he wanted more. Truth is he was getting EXACTLY what he wanted from you – a simple hello. He didn’t want anything more. Who the heck knows why – that’s something we’ll never know.

    You tried being friendly and sadly he rejected that. It wasn’t a mistake to be friendly – he just didn’t want to take things to another level. I don’t want to tell you not to be friendly – that WOULD BE A MISTAKE. However, you can’t automatically expect that your friendliness will get the reaction you want from a man and motivate him to ask you out. That was the only real mistake.

    Men face this all the time as they approach women to talk to them and get a phone number. They get shut down left and right. They expect this knowing at some point a woman will talk to them. So you got to feel what it’s like to be a man in the traditional sense of how dating works.

    In the future, if a guy flirts with you and doesn’t take it further, don’t expect something more to happen. Just enjoy the flirting and look to meet other men who actually want to date you and get to know you.

  4. Hi Ronnie,

    Back when I was going to college, I would pass by this on campus in the dining hall and in the halls. He would smile at me and always say “Hey”. This behavior happened frequently. 3 or 4 times a week for a few months. I thought he kind of liked me, that it was all he had done. I thought he was shy and didn’t have enough courage to ask me out. So, I gave the guy a Christmas card thinking he would start talking to me more and ask me out.

    When I handed him the card he politely said “Thank you”. I had to go to class so I just left. I figured I would see him again when I came back from Christmas holidays. However, when we got back and ran into him unexpected. he no longer said hey to me. He didn’t even look at me. This went on for months.

    When I first noticed him ignoring me I didn’t speak to him either because I knew immediately that I had made a horrible mistake. Instead of him talking to me more, he ignored me completely. Why did this have the opposite effect? All I did was give him a Christmas card. Since when does giving Christmas cards push people away?


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