Some people are more sensitive than others. While there are certainly perks to having a sensitive man, there are certainly some considerations you need to make. Guys in touch with their emotions are good at feelings, and they tend to be very thoughtful and willing to be a shoulder to cry on.
Conversely, having an overly sensitive partner can make relationships difficult. They tend to wear their emotions on their sleeve and can easily get hurt during an argument. You may feel that you need to tiptoe around them or walk on eggshells, as anything you say can be offensive.
Some folks can let things they hear roll right off their back, but a sensitive man tends to personalize any statements. Throughout their life, they will carry their anger, pain from past traumas, and general resentment for what happened to them. You can always tell this is the case when your partner still remembers something you said or did a year ago that upset them.
You may look back and laugh about the stupidity of the situation, thinking things have smoothed over, but the very remembrance of the event triggers them. Some may say they overreact, but this is who they are and how they feel. They can’t apologize to others for how they feel inside.
NOTE: We realize that sensitive women can also require special care. Because of the differences in male and female behaviors, we covered the things never to say to a sensitive woman in a companion article.
Never Say These Things to a Sensitive Man
Some words and phrases won’t sit right with a sensitive guy, and these are some statements you should avoid. Here are some things you should steer clear of when it comes to a highly sensitive man.
1. “Man Up.”
A highly sensitive person has a comfort zone that they fear stepping outside. One such problem that’s often seen in these situations is social anxiety. According to Harvard Health, when someone has an underlying anxiety disorder, it often means their emotions and senses are in overdrive.
For instance, going into the supercenter grocery store is no big deal for most people. However, those with an anxiety disorder might find it a terrifying experience. When you add sensory processing issues to the mix, it can be a nightmare. Anxiety causes your senses to be heightened, so having sensory problems becomes commonplace.
While you don’t have any qualms about running into a big box store for clothes, groceries, and a haircut, they might avoid them like the plague. While it may just be a grocery store to you, to them, it’s a miserable experience.
Never tell someone, “Man up,” because you don’t know what they think or feel. Try to reserve your observations until you walk a mile in their shoes. Encouragement is one thing but using such statements to persuade them to do something is another.
2. “Just Do It.”
You and your man are on a date at an amusement park. You adore roller coasters, and the faster it goes, and the more loops, the better. These places are known for being loud and overwhelming, so you’re happy he agrees to go with you. However, it would help if you didn’t pressure him to ride anything with you he finds uncomfortable.
He doesn’t find flipping upside down and being hurled through the air at top speeds entertaining. A man with such sensitivities might find this experience painful, as it can cause headaches and dizziness. Rather than being thankful he came with you to someplace you knew was out of his comfort zone, you keep pushing him to do more.
Telling him to do something when he’s already on edge at the day’s events isn’t a wise choice. He will see you as not giving him credit for stepping outside his safety zone, which could cause resentment. He needs you to see how much he is doing for you and not push him to extend himself when he’s already uncomfortable.
3. “I Don’t Know What to Do for You Right Now.”
When you see a partner or friend crying, your first response is to try to fix what’s wrong. You must understand that you don’t need to say or do anything in these moments. Crying is a natural reaction to strong emotions, and saying that you don’t know how to help them comes across as if they’re broken.
Truthfully, there’s probably nothing wrong. You see an outward display of inward emotions. However, you should tell them you’re there if they need anything, but never make statements that they’re beyond help, as it will only worsen things.
4. “Stop Taking Things So Personally.”
Calling out your guy for being overly sensitive seems like the natural thing to do. However, though your words may be wise, they will come off as hurtful or judgmental. Sure, you’re trying to be helpful and open their eyes to issues, but it’s best to keep your observations to yourself as they can’t handle them. Reminding them that they have a problem with their emotions will feel like you’re taking a dig at their personality rather than being helpful.
5. “Snap Out of It.”
Are there times when your sensitive man seems to be a million miles away? Perhaps he’s distant or spacey, and you’re trying to talk to him. He’s acting this way because he’s deep in thought. Don’t try to interrupt him, as you don’t know what’s going through his mind right now. Give him his space to resume reality, and then proceed with what you want to discuss.
6. “You Need to Process the Past and Move On.”
Some subject matter should be avoided. When you’re with a sensitive man, you learn the pain points and soft spots that can provoke an emotional response. If you know that his childhood is one of those things he doesn’t like to talk about, then leave it be.
The only time you should ever discuss this subject is when he brings it up to you. Telling him that he needs to address the situation and deal with things is something he already knows. He knows he has some work to do on sensitive issues, but right now, it’s not the best thing for him to do.
7. “We Need to Talk.”
There will be times in your relationship when you need to discuss issues. However, the blanket statement “We need to talk” evokes fear. He’s going to think of everything he’s done wrong and what could upset you. The truth is that it might be far from the issue at hand. While you think you want to talk about something simple like vacation plans, he fears you will end things with him.
8. “Can You Please Hurry Up?”
You’ve undoubtedly discovered that your sensitive man is ridiculously indecisive. It takes him so long to make any decisions because it takes him time to process all the details. Even something as simple as choosing a jelly in the grocery store may seem overwhelming to him.
Sometimes you need to relax and let them make some choices in their time and way. You will find they appreciate you more when you allow them to go at their own pace and don’t hurry them along. The same thing can happen in conversations too.
He may struggle to find the next word, or it takes him time to articulate his thoughts. Be patient, and don’t ask him to hurry up. He’s doing his best, but his brain and emotions are programmed differently than yours.
9. “You’re Acting Over-The-Top.”
The highly sensitive person doesn’t think or feel the way others do about situations. According to an article published by the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, many people think it’s a disorder, condition, or diagnosis, but being highly sensitive means a sensory processing issue is at play. It’s estimated that around 20 % of the population is overly sensitive, and most are empaths.
Humor is often a way that many people address tough subjects. Remember what Shakespeare said when he stated that “many truths are said in jest?” Well, there’s a lot to unpack in that statement. People use humor to address complex subjects.
When you tell a sensitive man that he’s acting over the top, the negative statements are hard to ignore. Even though you may laugh and joke while saying it, it will not change how it’s received.
10. “You Need to Toughen Up.”
The sensitive man will cry more than the average person. You may see these tears while watching a movie together, even when the storyline doesn’t move you. He already feels awful about his sensitivities, so the last thing he wants you to do is to bring attention to it.
Rather than point it out, why not offer him a tissue or shoulder to cry on? It would help if you encouraged him to let it all out rather than dry it up. He’s probably comparing something he sees in the movie with an experience from his past. Learning to love the tears is part of loving him.
11. “Don’t Get Upset When I Tell You This.”
Can you tell a dog not to bark or a cat not to purr? No, these are instincts built within them to help them function and communicate. When you tell a sensitive man not to overreact when you give him any news, you’re already increasing his anxiety by uttering those words. He can’t help if he bursts into tears when something goes wrong; it’s just who he is as an overly emotional and sensitive person.
Final Thoughts on Speaking With More Gently to a Sensitive Man
Relationships, both platonic and romantic, require work. While your man may be sensitive, you may have other issues he must understand. It would help if you respected him, gave him the space to deal with his sensitivities, and above all else, be supportive. There are some good things about having a sensitive person as your partner, but you must also learn to manage challenging things.