Published February 11, 2008 by
God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and take them to the promised-land. Moses’ life was not without its failures, though, he couldn’t trust enough that God wouldn’t lead them astray and instead of asking God for directions chose to wander around in the desert for 40 years.
At this point, we have found through the millenniums that nothing much has changed. All men would rather wander lost in the wilderness than having the appearance of being weak and stopping to ask for directions.
Men are notorious for not asking for help, especially when it comes to asking for directions. They’d much rather travel miles and miles, trying to figure it out on their own, rather than admitting they are lost. This is one of the biggest complaints women make against men, as Deborah Tannen points out in her book, "You Just Don’t Understand" (Morrow, 1990).
Perhaps childhood conditioning has something to do with this tendency. Most often, little boys are taught to be independent and not act like sissies or babies by constantly requesting help. Even though this appears to be a "manly" thing to do, in reality, it is not. If a man needs help or assistance, he needs to ask for it.
If women understand that this merely is one of the "sex differences" in communication, they can help their mate to realize it is okay to ask for help. Instead of arguing, you can say instead, "I know you’d like to figure this out on your own and that you have a good sense of direction, but I would prefer if we could stop and ask someone for directions."
An alternative to this is asking for a "pit stop" to use the rest room and then asking for directions. Once you have them you can advise your spouse that they pretty much had things worked out according to the gentleman in the store. That way your advice is a volunteer gift instead of a force opinion.
By saying one of these you are allowing the man to "save face," as you are now talking his language. In essence, you are allowing him to help you by honoring your feelings of discomfort about the matter.