Men Don’t Get Hints


I found this post in a Reddit forum:

I wonder if to women, who seem to live in a world of subtlety and nuance, we men just look like great big oblivious walking bricks. We are astoundingly literal creatures.

“Let’s go back to my place and check out the new wallpaper in my bedroom.”
“New wallpaper? Why the fuck would I be interested in that? Dumb girl.”

Ladies, take this to heart. When your guy is not picking up on your subtle hints, it’s not because he’s being deliberately obtuse, it’s because we’re just not built that way. If we miss hints that would lead us to poon-tang (which we’re interested in), then we’re sure as hell not going to pick up on hints regarding whatever random household chore we have apparently failed to do. Glue a post-it note to our forehead, write it across your breasts, but don’t simply hint at it and then get frustrated if we don’t catch it.

Yes, I have been with my man for 12 years, however that doesn’t mean that I understand what the hamster that runs the wheel in his brain does. After staring at the situation in the photo for three straight days, I decided to do a bit of research into why this situation wasn’t remedied with my husband’s first trip to the bathroom.

It comes down to men not getting the hints we lay out and not wanting to deal with the nagging that usually ensues after said hint is not picked up upon. Here are the two techniques that I have tried to implemented at our home and seem to be working:

Remember to say please and thank you—be sure to touch him when you do

No one enjoys being bossed around, especially by spouses, so there’s no point in throwing down orders like a spoiled diva. All it does is stirs up memories of their mothers nagging them to clean their rooms.

Therapists concur that we need to approach our husbands not like children, but with the calm, respectful manner we would friends. Be sure to ask, not tell. One day I said to my husband, “The fucking garbage?!” That sentence didn’t even get a reply. I tried again. “Could you please take out the garbage? It’s totally rank.” I could have left out the last part, I suppose, but I did get a response, although it wasn’t the one I wanted: “I’ll do it when this show is over.”

Later, when the garbage remained unchanged (and still smelly), I took the advice of Toni Coleman, LCSW, a relationship coach from McLean, Virginia. “Husbands will respond better if you place a persuasive hand on his arm or back. Men really respond to physical touch.”

So, I leaned in closely, but not close enough to block his view of the T.V., placed my hand gently on his shoulder and using my sweetest voice, I said, “Honey, could you please take out the garbage now that the show is over?” Not only did I accomplish getting his attention, he got up and took care of the smelly mess straight away. He seemed pleased (and a bit shocked) when I thanked him with a kiss afterward.

Granted, I don’t get a kiss, box of chocolates or diamond earrings when I clean the bathroom, however this technique takes very little of my resources and, more importantly, IT WORKS!!

Play the empathy card

Another handy tactic is getting your spouse to empathize with your situation. It is better to say that you can’t relax and scratch his back until the dinner dishes are washed than, “Why don’t you ever help with the dishes?” Not only do gentler words persuade your husband, they allow him to come to your rescue—something men take pleasure in doing.

One day I asked my husband to bring the crates that were filled with camping gear down to the basement for the winter. One day went by, then two… then on the third day, I nagged again. I was told, “Why don’t you put the crates down there yourself!”

I realized that my husband didn’t understand why I was asking (OK, nagging) him to do something I could do myself. I told him it’s difficult for me to lift the crates and carry them down the stairs. The next morning the crates were put away.


Ladies, I know it’s difficult to communicate with our men, but hopefully after utilizing these two techniques at your home, the garbage will never be full and smelly again!! =-) 

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

15 thoughts on “Men Don’t Get Hints

    • .. recovering from coffee coming out my nose. ..
      Yes, unfortunately putting your hands around his neck may not get the results you’re looking for. .. Go a little lower. However, go too low and they get the wrong idea again…
      As a last resort. .. Yes. Always go for the throat 😉


  1. Great post! My boyfriend has told me from the start of our relationship that he is very literal and doesn’t take hints. I ignored his advice to start with…..but have found he is completely right and I need to say what I want directly. I like the idea about touching him when I ask….although I think he’d get suspicious ha ha ha


  2. Who says men can’t take hints? When I asked my wife for a Christmas gift hint, she said anything that would be pleasing to the eye. So I’m giving her a Jenny Craig gift certificate. 🙂


  3. Very accurate and good advice. I have used similar with my husband. Even better – after being away for 5 days I came home to a house that had been vacuumed and the sink emptied. Sweet!


  4. Delightful post! While I’d say more seriously that in my experience it’s not gender-specific or even type-of-relationship-specific at all—every party in any relationship having utterly different ideas of what’s obvious or logical or desirable and being equally unable to read minds, even well known ones—who needs to be serious to take an excellent behavioral hint from such an excellent meditation on diplomacy! 😀 Love it.

    Happy, happy December to you, both with your related-persons (clearly you have a handle on how to accomplish that happiness) and on your own!


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