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Male Survival Skills 

By Dr. Linda Sapadin

It wouldn't have occurred to him to tell the truth. That simply wasn't his style. It's not that he was lying; he was simply surviving.

The male survival skills of misleading, deceiving, deluding and disengaging are an anathema to women. We don't understand it. Sure, bad guys lie and cheat and don't give a damn. But good guys - our husbands and sons and brothers and dads, NO! They tell the truth.

So, when we catch them in a whopper of a lie, we are devastated. And when we discern a stretching of the truth, a distortion of the facts, a misrepresentation of 'what really happened', we don't know what to think.

Who is this person? He's usually kind, caring and a nice guy. But other times, he's distant, evasive, stubborn and just plain weird. It's not normal. What's with him?

Good question! Are you prepared for the answer?

If so, you've got to make an attempt to see the world through male-colored glasses. Here are a few features of the male experience that you absolutely need to know:

The top 10 skills for surviving in a boy's world are:

  • Showing strength
  • Being aggressive
  • Competing
  • Insulting the opposition
  • Bluffing the other guy
  • Hiding 'soft' emotions
  • Pretending to be listening
  • Making up excuses
  • Blazing a trail
  • Taking risks

Without these survival skills, boys are weak, wimpy and wussy. Not a good resume for success -- in the work world, the 'guy' world, or the 'getting the girl' world.

What are the top 10 skills for surviving in a man's world?

Just about the same as those required for a boy's world. Yes, some of these skills may need to be toned down, but some need to be revved up. After all, a man's got to show strength, be aggressive, compete and take risks to find his way in the world.

But what happens when men are not interacting in the larger world, but are simply trying to get along with their wives and daughters and sisters and moms. Though women admire "a man's man" when they're personally engaged with him, they want him to live by their interpretation of truth and trust, empathy and emotions.

So, when a guy fudges the truth, creates a cover story, competes with his 6-year-old, pretends he's listening (as he watches the game), goes for the fix instead of listening to her, she's baffled. What's wrong with him?

In most situations, what's wrong with him is what's right with him. His male survival skills are kicking in. This is the way he's always been (despite being different in his courting days). He's got no problem with himself and doesn't get what her problem is. Why is she always dissatisfied with him? Why is she always trying to control him?

"And the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain," sang Sonny & Cher.

Yes, the beat does go on. But enlightenment about our different natures helps. Both her enlightenment, and his.

Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at