Men: changing the conversation

What exactly are guys talking about these days? A new study sheds light on what's on the male demo's minds.

A new survey from Ketchum and Maslansky + Partners out of the U.S. aims to shed light on how men speak to each other, and break down stereotypes.

The survey, which polled 900 men between 18 and 49, found that seven out of 10 guys are very or somewhat open about their feelings while talking with other male friends. Bucking the stereotype that real men don’t talk about how they feel, the study found that only 6% didn’t talk openly about their emotions. What’s more, the report found that more than half are comfortable “being emotional” in front of their male counterparts, while 66% said “no” when asked if they were uncomfortable when a friend displayed emotion in front of them.

Talking about “personal stuff,” such as love, relationships, struggles and health isn’t as taboo of a topic of conversation as one might think, with 38% reporting that they are very comfortable discussing private issues, and 46% saying they are somewhat comfortable. That being said, men in the 36-to-49 age range are more likely than their younger counterparts to not want to open up (23% versus 15%).

Sex remains a hot topic of conversation among guys, with seven out of 10 saying they talk about the act regularly with their friends, with eight out of 10 saying those conversations tend to be on the humorous side.

Looks appear to be something guys still aren’t talking about with their friends, with 61% saying they rarely talk about their appearance. And the older a guy is, the study found, the less likely he is to pay his friends a compliment on appearance.

That being said, 68% of guys say it’s okay to be vulnerable when discussing his looks with a close friends, while half say they share advice on personal care products on occasion. Again, older generation guys tend to avoid offering up opinions on personal care products (65% say they rarely/never offer up advice) versus younger guys who are more evenly split.

The study also found that unlike previous generations, guys don’t feel the same need to be a provider and protector, with 83% saying the expectation placed on guys has changed. Money is also not a big measure of success for guys, with 82% saying the funds in a bank account don’t signify success.

This study comes on the heels of a Microsoft Canada study into the guy demographic, which found that 55% of guys said looking good was important to them, while 40% say clothes reflect who they are. Almost half (41%) were interested in beauty, grooming and personal care products, while 60% said they took pride in their cooking.

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