The White House recently hosted The United States of Women Summit, where 5,000 women (and men) gathered together to discuss the most pressing issues facing women today. The highlight of the event was when Oprah interviewed First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama. They began their conversation talking about the importance of self-worth. And at one point, it seemed as if they were just two sistas hanging out in the beauty shop, talking about how much swag President Obama has when he walks off of Marine One and into the Oval Office.
But this experience was more than just girl talk. The FLOTUS dropped some serious knowledge, especially when she directly addressed the men. When Oprah asked her what can men do to support women, she summed up her advice in two words: “Be better.”
She went on to implore men to be better fathers, husbands, partners and employers.
“Be better at everything. Be better fathers ….Men can be better husbands, which is — be a part of your family’s life. Be engaged. Don’t just think going to work and coming home makes you a man. Be better. Just be better. I could go on, but I’m not. You get the point, fellas.”
Just in case you didn’t get the point, fellas, let me share three ways you can be better at relationships. I offer this advice, not because I want to bash men, but because as a matchmaker and dating coach, I have conversations on a regular basis with men and about men. And there are some men who need to do better, and that’s who I’d like to address. The sisters want you to know that they need you, and they want you to be better.
- Be better communicators
I know that women and men communicate differently, so I’m not asking you to talk and act like women. I’m saying that women want you to be more consistent. They want phone calls instead of text messages. They want you to be authentic and to be honest, even if you think the truth might push her away. They want you to take risks and share your secrets with them so that you increase intimacy in the relationship.
They don’t want you sending them (or asking for) inappropriate pictures when you just met 10 hours ago. They don’t want you to skip steps in the dating process and ask for sex on the third date. They don’t want you pretending to want a relationship when you really are looking to have fun. They don’t want you disappearing without so much as a goodbye voicemail after you said you were serious about getting to know them. They want you to be better.
2. Be better at facing your fears of commitment
Whether you’ve decide you will never marry again because of what your ex did to you, or you feel like no woman will want you until your credit, career or car is perfect, I want you to know something: You can overcome your fears of commitment!
The first step is to confront your attitudes toward love, women, relationships and marriage. The POTUS, who spoke at the summit and declared himself a feminist, has some practical advice to help you shift your mindset:
“We’re going to have to change the way we see ourselves. And this is happening already, but I want us to be more intentional about it. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but we’re still boxed in by stereotypes about how men and women should behave.”
3. Be better at finishing what you start
Conquering your fears of intimacy will help you to stop being an abandoner. Abandoners can’t finish what they start. Fellas, I’ve heard from one too many sisters who were devastated by a breakup because you came on strong and either fizzled out when you realized you were unsure about the relationship or, worse yet, ghosted her leaving her to fill in the blanks about why things didn’t work out.
Finishing what you start doesn’t mean you have to marry her. It means that you bring closure to the relationship, even if what you share with her is hard to hear.
I think FLOTUS’ message to men was real talk, but it was the truth delivered in love. We’re asking you to be better, fellas, because we need you. We need to believe that good men still exist. We need to point our children to examples of men who love and respect women. We need strong communities where we feel safe and supported. We need you to stand up and speak out when another brother hurts a woman. We know you can be better.