Monday, March 26, 2012

7 Things in Relationships That Separate Men From Boys


Men know how to listen. Boys don’t.

The ability to listen comes with the acquisition of wisdom. Somewhere along the way you learn that what you’re anticipating isn’t as important as what you allow the other person to say. Whether you know you’ll agree or disagree isn’t relevant. It doesn’t matter if you think you have the answer. It’s more important to just be there in the moment and listen. Men develop an empathetic ear over the years. Boys miss the message.

Men value a woman’s time. Boys waste it.

The value of our time increases with age. We don’t wanna waste it playing meaningless games or dancing around reality. We want people to be straight forward with us about what’s on their mind and what they see our situation evolving toward. Men don’t need to lie to women to get what they want. They get that by being who they are and being willing to accept the consequences (if you can call them that) of their nobility.

We don’t string people along in hopes of getting the prize — in most cases the cootie cat — by saying the right things with the wrong intentions or leading women on. Duplicity in dating is a sign of immaturity. Honesty about what you want (or don’t want) is a marker of adulthood.

Men admit their transgressions. Boys convince women they’re insecure or crazy.

Conceding that you’re wrong or at fault isn’t always easy, but most of the time it’s the step that needs to be taken. Men understand this. They can admit when they’ve had a lapse in judgment. They can take the heat for the unintended results of their actions. Boys can’t. In relationships, boy finds ways to convince women that they’re insecure or acting crazy when they were right all along. You see this a lot with emotional and physical infidelity. Some might call this slick. I call it immature and selfish.

Men date women. Boys date girls.

Men date women with a clear sense of direction and self-worth. We date the experience that has molded her into the person she’s grown to be. Boys date girls. They date the impressionable, the naive and the uncertain because they’re easier to manipulate. They look for someone that can’t spot their insecurities, or they date someone more insecure than themselves. Men understand that the difficult is done today and the impossible takes a little longer. Boys are concerned with the ease of the present moment.

Men ask women out. Boys wait to be asked.

Part of being a man is dealing with rejection. You can’t win ‘em all, but you can try to win the ones you want. Men go after what they like. Boys watch their likes pass by and pursue only those who pursue them first. They don’t initiate conversations or ask women out. They wait to be asked because they’re afraid of losing. Men can accept defeat. Boys dance around it.

Of course there are plenty of other things that separate men from boys, but these are just seven that pertain to one aspect of life — romantic relationships. It takes some of us a long time to get there. Some of us never do. But if a man has embraced the ability to do these seven things, he’s set himself up to be a great boyfriend, fiance and/or husband.

In the manliest voice,

Slim Jackson is a Harlem-based writer and the Executive Editor for Single Black Male, a fresh relationship blog offering the perspective of 6 male writers. Follow Slim on Twitter at @slimjackson, and check him out on his personal blog,


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