Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A.

Just Listen

Why Men Don't Ask for Directions: A Self-Analysis

Why men prefer to be lost than ask for directions.

Posted May 03, 2010

On more than a few occasions I have driven around my city lost and getting even more lost by the minute and recently did it yet again.  I know I am not alone as a male who is hesitant to ask for directions and have tried to figure out why I don’t.

  1. To ask for directions is to admit I am lost.
  2. To admit I am lost is to feel both anxious and incompetent. 
  3. To feel anxious is about wondering if not knowing about this is dangerously close to fears of doubts about many things.
  4. To feel anxious and imcompetent is to feel less than and not worthwhile especially when I compare myself to other competent men.
  5. To feel less worthwhile than other men is to feel vulnerable to their negative regard and even scorn (to match that which I am already feeling towards myself).
  6. To ask other men who I project might be feeling as judgmental towards me as I feel towards myself is to invite ridicule and humiliation.
  7. To risk ridicule and humiliation from others for being inadequate when I am already feeling that is too much and it's easier to just fumble around and figure it out myself.
  8. To avoid dealing with this, perhaps it’s better to just get a GPS in my car (which I have), but then of course I might have to ask directions on how to use that (which I haven’t).

This is a work in progress and I invite readers to comment and/or share their alternate explanations for this dumb behavior that many of us engage in. Focus on your thoughts and not your directions, because I don't ask for directions.

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