By decoding men’s lack of care, you may be surprised to learn that he actually really does care despite his lack of interest.
Ever have this happen?
Quietly minding your own business, organizing papers or cool stuff in the garage, getting the bucket and the sponge together to wash the car, or sitting in the sun tossing a ball to the dog. The moment filled with just the right amount of busyness to free the mind of every other thought. A yogi might call this, a moment of bliss.
When suddenly you realize someone is talking.
Your man brain, using the highly sophisticated facial imaging system recognizes the person as, oh yes, ‘significant other’. She is speaking. No visible blood, broken bones or bruising so ok, she is, good. Maybe. She is excitedly sharing something that happened to her. Lots of hand waving… Fire? Dog ran away? We ran out of chips and salsa??
Focus. Come on brain don’t fail me now.
Sensing crisis we take control of the ship, sending a message from the command deck telling the engine room to increase the rpms to the brain. The effect is immediate, our man-perfect hearing and razor-like focus come online. We set the bucket down, stand up straight, our calm, steady, “caring” gaze beaming. Our timing is perfect (again) as at that moment she turns, plants her feet, winds up and delivers the pitch. We sense too late our early warning system has flaws because this pitch is well underway and traveling way too fast to gather in all the details. Impact is imminent.
Being the experienced captain that we are, we keep up our ‘I’m listening’ face while attempting to make sense of what seems like a series of broken Morse Code dots and dashes.
Hmm this seems to be an S.O.S. of some sort…
“Something about somebody’s sister, no wait, sister-n-law said something about too much money, eyebrows, booty as big as a truck? Don’t look at me that way, don’t you know? About someone, her mother? Bullcrap. Her mother’s sister, her sister’s friend? ON FACEBOOK! What bullcrap. You ASK before posting pictures, drowned rat? Super insensitive, She had no right, typical, she is too blonde to even be talking about this, how dare her…soooo like her, and IF she ever snaps my booty, never speaking, to somebody about something…ever…and I am not going to her birthday party!”
She stood steaming in front of me, I looked at her intently, hoping for a brief cliff note (in English) of the last 21 minutes to flash across her eyes. Nothing. Brain registers that there is a pause, she is waiting. The moment to decipher the pitch is past and we sense instinctively that now is the time to swing.
So we say innocently, “Why do You care?”.
This comment beautifully pulls her out of the stress of somebody saying something about someone and into a soliloquy about…caring.
A few hours later, men know two things really clearly. First, ‘why they dang well better start caring’ and second, it’s too late in the afternoon to wash the car.
Disclaimer: nothing I am about to write will give men an understanding of women. Because last time I checked they alone have the definitive word on that subject. What I will share is what a man means when he uses the word “care”. Please understand, I respect that each individual male holds his right to be right, preeminent. I am not speaking for all of the male kingdom. I am only hoping to share a little insight that may help free up more time to keep things organized, the car washed and the dog happy.
When men use the word ‘care’ they are using a word that sums up all time, energy and money that may improve his or his family’s life. They use the word to express the amount of investment being made into something that ultimately improves their life.
I think the difference between men and women is that women use ‘I care’ speaking in terms of valuing another person’s existence. A woman cares for and about people all the time. Simply because they are people. Men say ‘I care’ to declare their level of investment in the efforts of a person because that effort may affect his life somehow.
Example. A woman may say “I care about you”. She is truly happy that a person is alive and with them. A man may say “I care that you cook dinner”. His use of the word care means that he sincerely appreciates your time and effort. He says this because he knows what it is to invest time, energy and money into something. A woman says she cares to mean she values the person, not exclusively the invest of time, energy, and money.
For women, life has meaning because there are people. For men, life has meaning to the degree life is improving. Which is why when men say “I don’t care”, alarms loudly go off in a woman’s head. Women hear this word and literally think men “don’t care” about people (how sad). That upsets women and then they will take all the time they need, to make certain You do care about her and every other person on her list of VIP’s that she has been compiling since kindergarten.
Please know men are ok with other people being on the planet. They are using the word ‘care’ differently, that’s all. When a man is expressing value toward a person he uses the word “like” or “love”. A man’s “I like You” Is a women’s “I care about You”.
Remember men use the word ‘care’ to express degree or amount of investment. Here are some common ways you may hear this expressed.
“I don’t care about ___ right now”. Translation: “I don’t have the time, energy or money to invest in the issue of you getting the best deal on a buy two get one free deal on Amazon of pink ballet slippers for our 4-month-old in anticipation of them going to ballet class when they are 3 years old…right now”. This does not mean never. This means right now. He has inventoried his supply of time, energy and money and right now is not a good time.
“I don’t care about that person’s issue”. Translation: “I don’t’ have the time, energy or money to invest in solving the issue of the girl in your yoga class that smells like she has a toe fungus issue”. Either, because it is an unsolvable mystery or solving that problem for that person will rob them of the opportunity to grow into an awesome person.
“I don’t care about negative news”. Translation: “I don’t care about the negative news of a hoarder’s house full of cats burning alive. This is not because I hate cats but because media hyped sad stories seem like a huge waste of time, energy, and money.”
“I don’t care about hypotheticals.” Translation: “I don’t care whether your cousins might be offended by our serving barbecue chicken. I am giving up my precious time, energy and money, then standing in the heat over a hot grill to host the reunion in my yard so they can damn well eat the chicken or have more salad.”
Notice NONE of the “I don’t care” examples are about not liking people, shopping or cats. These comments all reflect the effort to manage time, energy and money. (Yes, he likes your cousins, seeing them at a picnic once a year for an hour and a half is fine.)
Hoping this explanation saves women from what may feel like blunt force trauma to the heart when hearing your man share how much or how little he cares.
Misunderstanding aside, your man really cares that you want to understand him, and he really, really likes You…a lot. : )