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Learning About Men From Men

In over a decade of studying men, we have learned the most from listening to them. Most graduates of Understanding Men (formerly The Queen's Code workshop) will say that the Panel of Men was the best part. By learning how to listen to men, and practicing creating the kind of environment in which men really open up and express themselves, you can hear the same extraordinary responses from the men in your life. To help you, here is a list of 101 Great Questions to ask men and some reminders of what is really important to remember when listening to men.

How to Listen to Men

To create the kind of situation that enables men to communicate fully, remember this:

  • Make sure it is a good time to ask a question. This means when he is not doing anything else (including things you don’t think are important). To check, you can ask, “Is this a good time to ask a question?” Don’t take it personally if he says no and try again at a later time.
  • After you ask the question, give him time to think before he responds. He is not taking the answer off the top of his head, he is really thinking about it. That is the respect he is paying to your question. Just wait patiently while he thinks. If you prompt him, or rephrase your question, that will interrupt his thought processes.
  • Once he starts talking, don’t interrupt him. This includes a comment, objection or another question.
  • Watch nodding your head excessively, or agreeing verbally. This can also be an interruption.
  • When it seems like he is finished, listen “one minute longer.” Do this until he says he is done. When he takes a breath, don’t jump in. While men are accused of being “shallow,” they are actually the opposite. They are like deep, deep wells. If you don’t give him a chance to draw up another bucket, you will only get what was on the surface.
  • Make sure you are safe to talk to — this means that you can’t have a “right answer” in mind. If his answer will get him in trouble with you, he can tell this and is likely to not answer at all. The odds of him answering the question the way you would are slim, be willing to be surprised and learn something from him.
  • Appreciate him for answering your question. Even if you didn’t like the answer, he honored your question with a response.

101 Great Questions to Ask Men

Here are some of the “Greatest Hits” from our panels. While the questions may not seem special to you, the responses we have received from men have been extraordinarily enlightening. If you are asking a question about women, take a deep breath and listen with curiosity. To start out, we recommend asking the questions about them and their lives outside of women. That way you can practice being safe to talk to you before it gets more personal to you.

  1. What is great about being a man?
  2. What is your definition of a successful life?
  3. What qualities do you like about yourself?
  4. What qualities do you admire in other people?
  5. Who are your heroes?
  6. If you could have a conversation with one person, alive or historical, who would that be and why?
  7. What is God or spirituality to you? How important is that in your life?
  8. Where do you get your spiritual nourishment?
  9. What makes you feel free?
  10. What’s your idea of a perfect day? What makes it perfect?
  11. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
  12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
  13. How do you define greatness?
  14. What is your definition of an “honorable man?”
  15. Who are your role models?
  16. How have your needs changed since your 20s, 30s, 40s, etc?
  17. What qualities do you think are distinctly male?
  18. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  19. What do you want to be appreciated for?
  20. What have you done out of obligation that you really didn’t want to do?
  21. When do feel at peace?
  22. How do you relax?
  23. What do you do for fun?
  24. How much adventure do you need and where do you get it?
  25. How much “alone time” do you need and what does it provide for you?
  26. What do you like to do alone?
  27. What are you passionate about?
  28. What kind of vacation do you enjoy?
  29. When are you happiest?
  30. If you like watching sports, what does that do for you?
  31. If you like playing sports, what does that do for you?
  32. What are your favorite sports and why?
  33. What do you love about your life?
  34. If you could change something about your life with a magic wand, what would it be?
  35. What do you respect about other men?
  36. What does being with your male friends provide for you?
  37. What is it like to spend time with your male friends?
  38. How much time do you need to spend with your friends?
  39. How does having a wife or girlfriend along change your time with male friends?
  40. What do you think is unique about being ___________ (fill in Nationality)
  41. If you are a father, what is great and what is hard about that?
  42. If you are a father, what do you admire about your children?
  43. If you are a father, what have your children taught or contributed to you?
  44. In being a father, what have you learned?
  45. How has being a father changed you?
  46. If you have a daughter, what effect does she have on you?
  47. If you have a son, what do think is important to contribute to him?
  48. What do you want for your children’s lives?
  49. What do you admire about your father?
  50. What did you learn from your father?
  51. What did you learn from your parents?
  52. What effect do your parents have in your life today?
  53. What qualities did your parents inspire in you?
  54. If you are a brother, what does that mean to you?
  55. What do you like about your job or career?
  56. If you have changed your career, what was that like for you?
  57. Ideally, how would you like to spend the hour after work each day?
  58. What do you need when you first get home from work?
  59. What is the process you use in making a decision?
  60. What was one of the best days you ever had?
  61. What do you enjoy spending money on?
  62. What do you daydream about?
  63. What are your favorite books? What did you like about them?
  64. If you watch T.V., what kinds of programs do you like?
  65. What types of movies do you like?
  66. What are your favorite movies?
  67. If you liked “The Shawshank Redemption,” what about that movie makes it special?
  68. If you like video games, what are your favorites and why?
  69. Do you like tools?
  70. Who is your favorite Superhero and why?
  71. What does your car mean to you?
  72. What is your “dream car?”
  73. If you like trucks, how are they different from cars?
  74. What is your favorite holiday? What is special about it?
  75. What is your worst holiday? Why?
  76. What is love to you?
  77. What does being loved provide for you?
  78. What qualities do you think are distinctly female?
  79. What do you love about women?
  80. Do female friends provide something different than male friends?
  81. How does a woman’s smile affect you?
  82. How are you affected by a woman being happy?
  83. How are you affected by a woman being upset?
  84. What do you think about strong, successful women?
  85. What is different about older women?
  86. What would you change about how women communicate with you?
  87. What makes a woman approachable?
  88. What do you appreciate or admire in mothers?
  89. What makes a woman great to work with?
  90. If you are single (or when you were), what do you think about women asking you out?
  91. Do you like to be called by a woman you are seeing?
  92. If you could have one power (or super-power) that would make your relationships with women better, what would you choose and why?
  93. What kind of gifts do you enjoy giving?
  94. What do you think is romantic?
  95. What is the most romantic thing a woman has ever done for you?
  96. What is the most extraordinary thing a woman has ever done for you?
  97. What is it like for you to shop with a woman? for her? for you?
  98. Do you like shopping for a woman?
  99. What makes a woman sexy?
  100. What are your favorite female body parts? what is it about them?
  101. What is your favorite normal, everyday bed-time attire for a woman?

Some of the simplest, even seemingly silly questions, have led to the most profound and touching answers. The biggest joy has been watching men’s faces as they are truly listened to and appreciated for their willingness to share. Have fun and good luck. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t go well at first. Almost everything we do naturally in listening to women will stop men from communicating. Keep practicing and the rewards will come.

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