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7 Things guys fake in relationships

I started my foray into relationship expertise by making every mistake imaginable. I started blogging about it in 2008.

Acting (as long as it’s not crappy acting) is an integral part to maintaining peace in a relationship.

In my experience, I've learned that a Piranha 3D-worthy performance won't cut it. Most women need to be convinced by a Gone With The Wind-worthy performance to buy what we're trying to sell.

Below are seven things men fake in relationships:

1. Looking "busy"

To women, having nothing to do (my daily goal) is a sin. But how does one look busy if there's nothing to do? My boss at my first restaurant job demanded I "look busy" between the dead hours of 2 to 4 p.m. So, my buddy and I did stupid things for that stupid request: move silverware out of one tray to a new tray, or unset a table and reset it. These days, my tried and true method of circling the office with documents in hand is an example of looking busy. My brother-in-law recently taught me his home tactic. Upon answering a call from me one day, his background sounded like the last scene of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

He said, over the din: "What’s up, I'm just having a beer."

"A beer while operating power tools?" I asked.

"Nah," he said, "I'm just running a saw out here because if I go inside your sister's just going to tell me what to do; she needs to think I'm doing something."

2. Listening

Men have the ability to look a woman in the eye, sprinkle in correctly-timed nods and react. However, when asked to riff off of, or refer back to whatever was said, the man will have no recollection of the topic.

3. Being engaged at events he doesn't want to attend

A friend of mine complained to me about a weekend with his in-laws. I assumed he sat glumly in the corner, but he actually did the opposite. He said: "I threw myself into the work. I helped prepare things; I served drinks, smiled and participated in conversation. I hated every minute of it, but it went by faster. My only other option was clock-watching." Catching the Stockholm Syndrome is a strategy I employed when a girlfriend invited her friends (and none of mine) to our apartment. I crowned myself Coat Taker and Drink Server. The evening flew by, and my girlfriend was happy. Internally, though, I clung to my dream of fading away in front of the TV by myself.

4. Knowing where he is going

I'm genetically engineered to avoid asking for directions (or sharing the planned route with my traveling companion), and to test short cuts and ways around traffic. For 99 percent of this adventure, I'm programmed to act confident, to ask my girlfriend to believe in me. The last 1 percent is ultimately admitting, "wow, we're lost."

5. Tech/building prowess

We love fixing things and often manufacture confidence throughout the process. For example, "hooking up a sound system" is actually a rudimentary (kind of organized) trial and error with wires. We like to attempt most projects without consulting the instruction manual first.

6. Empathy and thoughtful responses

There are many complicated questions in this world: What is the meaning of life? What alternative energy sources can curb global warming? Does this dress make me look fat? Questions posed by females often have assumed correct answers that the male must deliver, or no answer (aka a "venting session"). Dangerously, the topics often cover things we don't understand or care about, like makeup. A varied delivery is key: "You look great," works, but should sometimes be remixed as: "I love that color on you." A simple "yeah," while looking at a fantasy football lineup on a phone will not go over well. "Listening's" evil cousin, empathy, requires lending an understanding shoulder. But a male must check his sanity at the door while trying to grasp the stress such disasters as:

  • A certain shoe was not available for a full two weeks!
  • Someone looked at me the wrong way when I made a comment in a meeting at work.
  • That just-out-of-college (author's note: and probably hot) new girl at work is so annoying.

7. In-bed confidence

All maneuvers will be delivered with confidence as if they were vetted and approved by various females (but not too many females). On the outside I'm trying to look as smooth as possible, but on the inside I'm throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Do you agree that a certain amount of faking is good for a relationship? What would you add or subtract from this list?

Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/360/Getty Images
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