Men Are Extremely Sensitive
THE BIG IDEA: Let’s remember that it takes a great deal of courage for a man just to “show up.”
You have no doubt wondered, “Why did that man show up once, then never come back?”
A clue from business: 90%+ of business deals that don’t work fail not because the parties couldn’t come to terms, but because the relationship didn’t work. Relationships break down all the time, and the reasons why are never addressed.
It could happen because of big egos, and often does. More often what happens is that one party senses (rightly or wrongly) they are not important to the other person. With hurt feelings, they withdraw from the deal. But they don’t tell the other party the “real” reason why they withdraw—that would require too much candor, vulnerability, self-confidence, and processing time. That leaves the other party bewildered and guessing at what went wrong.
It’s the same in ministry to men, and perhaps more so. Men who are searching spiritually are especially vulnerable. Their antennae are up for, “Do you really care?”
Paul Tournier, a Swiss psychologist, wrote that the two great fears of all people are the fear of receiving advice and the fear of criticism. He wrote that people are looking for compassion, not advice. And all people are much more sensitive to criticism than we can possibly imagine.
Let’s remember that it takes a great deal of courage for a man just to “show up.” Most men have already received enough unsolicited advice and criticism to last nine lives.
In time, he will open up. But only after his high-alert sensitivity to advice and criticism have been downgraded because of our authentic care and non-judgmental concern.
Showing up is an act of vulnerability. If a man sniffs even a hint of condemnation, he’ll bolt. If he feels even a trace of unwanted advice, he’s gone. If he senses for a nanosecond that he is not important, he will get his feelings hurt and withdraw from the deal.
If you want much of a ministry to men, you will need a lot of social intelligence. Men are extremely sensitive. If you have a lot of men showing up only once or twice, you may want to restructure the experience for a new man to your group.
Together in the Battle for Men’s Souls,