Building Bridges

Issue # 25 of 43 

David LeClaire
By: David LeClaire

Not Asking For Help

For some odd reason, men, including myself, like to do things the hard way. Go to a store, and men, rather than look at the directory or ask questions, start wandering around looking for things.

Now anyone would know it saves time and effort to get the straight scoop right away, but men like to "prove to themselves" that they are of higher intellect and instinctively they are keen. They don't need no stinking directions! They can find it on their own!

This particular quirk rears its ugly head in many situations in life. Of course, driving heads the list for many women, as they have wasted many hours of their lives in a car with a man who just wouldn't stop and ask where they were, or how they could get to where they were trying to go. Us men take a weird sort of pride in being able to "sense" our way there.

Assembling things is another common trap for men. They bring home a new barbecue or toy for junior, but low and behold, it needs to be assembled. They open the box, scatter the parts, and then place the directions within reach, should they absolutely need to "give in." A few cuss words, thrown tools, and some frustration later you will hear them complaining!

But give up? Nope. They have to prove they can conquer that stupid grill. They won't be turned back. Maybe you accidentally wander into the pit, and lend some helpful advice such as "have you read the directions?" or maybe "why don't you set it aside and come back to it later?" The venom in their voice and heat from their eyes tells you to retreat. A smart move. They will either make it, or break it (which happens sometimes too)!

It's hard to understand this glitch in the personality of men, since they usually want to remain calm and hate frustrating things. But it says something, to themselves, about their manliness, when they can "wing it" and make it all work out right. Most men love to be the problem solvers, and love to be able to crack the code of a problem or obstacle without needing help - which often means asking for directions. Does this sound at all familiar to you?

David LeClaire has spent much of his time teaching at community college and private school, and lead communications training for Fortune 500 companies. Now a popular and active Seattle area sommelier, this graduate of Central Michigan University led seminars for a wide variety of organizations. LeClaire is the author of "Bridges To A Passionate Partnership." He can be reached at

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Text © 1998, David LeClaire. Part of the original Sideroad.
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