THE BLOG

What Women Want

05/01/2013 12:52 pm ET | Updated Jul 01, 2013

It's an age-old, mystifying question no one has ever really nailed down. Many people have taken stabs at it, merely guessing off their own experiences and what they've been told, but if we're still asking the question and not yet feeling comfortable we know the answer, we must not have answered it correctly yet. So, what do women want?

Diamonds, chocolate, Jimmy Choos, and a candlelit dinner with red roses on the table are always welcome, but there is one thing we women want that we aren't getting. Take it from me. Although I'm only 23 years old, I've had my fair share of dating adventures. I may have more female friends than I have male friends, but the experiences I have had with men tell me a lot about where the male species is going wrong.

It always starts out the same. I meet a nice guy, we talk every day, go out on a few dates, and to any stranger it would look as if things are perfect between us. However, if there is anything I have learned from my many Sex and the City marathons, it's that we can't ever expect anyone outside of our own relationships to understand what's going on behind the scenes. Sometimes that smile you see on a woman's face might just be her trying to convince herself she's happy, when really, there is one huge thing missing, nagging her in the back of her mind. She wonders, Am I more interested in him than he is in me?

Recently I've been gaining more male friends. I was pretty excited about this because up until then, most of my close friends had been females, so it was nice to see things evening out. And, as always, it's interesting to hear a guy's point of view on dating/relationships. Some of these guys were students at my college, some were involved with the military, some were just regular guys working and trying to figure out what to do with their lives. We talked about how they chose their major, why they joined the military, whether they were closest with their mother or their father, and what happened with their past relationships. (Hint: Notice a pattern here?) However, after having had numerous conversations with them and hanging out during walks by the river, at the movies or over dinner, I realized all over again why I've taken to hanging out with females over males: A lot of men only like talking about themselves.

Men, if you want a key to a happy relationship, here it is: talk with us, don't talk at us. For those of you who weren't brought up with this helpful hint, the conversation rule is: You ask a question, the other person answers that question and then asks a question in return. Don't let the conversation be one-sided. We know you like talking about yourself. I'm sure we've all heard that the way to get someone to like you is by letting them talk about themselves, but here's the thing: That can only go on for so long. We want you to show interest in us, too. When you don't ask questions about us, it comes across that you're self-centered and you don't care. We want you to actually mean it when you ask us how our day was, or what our presentation was about this morning, or what our plans are for the week. Better yet, just remember at all that we had something important going on that morning or a dinner the previous night with a certain family member that we were nervous about. It's not only a turn-on when someone cares about you and knows, and remembers, how to show it, it's flattering and makes us feel good. This is your in!

Everyone loves talking about themselves; I get it. We love sharing the things we're interested in, our favorite movies and foods, and our likes and dislikes. But no one can have a relationship when it's only one-sided. Part of being in a relationship is getting to know the person we care about more intimately, and of course I don't mean that on just a physical level. I mean on the what-makes-them-tick level. What is their passion? What makes them get out of bed in the morning? What is their motivation? Asking questions, not just answering, is the key to connecting. I remember doing a double take the first time a guy answered a question I had and ended it with, "... what do you think?" It was so refreshing and flattering hearing him ask me what I thought, instead of assuming I had nothing to say or not even thinking to ask me in the first place.

Ever since the beginning of time, women have been taught to dote on the men they love. It's the way to attract and keep a man -- dress nicely, have a drink ready for when he comes home, make him feel important. But if times are changing and women have been working for equal pay, why don't we work for equal treatment in the conversation too? In many ways, women encourage this "lesser" treatment when we don't ask for it. We put up with the man not "returning the favor" (a.k.a asking questions about us) because we feel it's something they have to grow into. Well, that or we maybe we don't think we can find anyone who will actually ask us questions in return.

"But men aren't talkers," you say. In case you forgot, women spoke caveman back in those days too, but we evolved. Tough! If you're a guy and you want to have a relationship, you're going to have to get over that. The only way to become what you want to be is to practice. When you don't ask questions about a person, it comes across that you don't care, even if you really do. We could very well think we're doing fine showing the other person we care, but ask yourself this: How much do you really know about the person you care about? Not asking questions equals no interest; it makes us women wonder if we're more into you than you are into us.

If you're going to invest your time, your money, and yourself in another person, you might as well -- gee -- get to know them, right? So the next time you take a girl out to dinner, keep track of who's talking. Conversation is an art. It should be a balance of questions and answers. It's basically a version of the golden rule: Treat the conversation the way you want to be treated. If you like it when someone shows an interest in you and asks you questions, chances are your date will too.