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What he can tell you: The root of your man’s quirks and pet peeves


Who knows your man better – and for longer – than the guy who played with him on the monkey bars when they were kids? He can even reveal what’s behind some of your guy’s most maddening quirks. Grace Ong, 24, never understood why it was so hard to get through to her boyfriend John* during arguments. “I used to break down and end up in tears whenever we quarrelled. He would get angrier and refuse to listen to me after that.”

Grace later discovered from his childhood buddy that John always “shuts down” when women start crying, which he did even as a child, because his mother used to suffer from depression and would cry a lot. “Ever since I found out that he doesn’t take well to tears, I try not to cry. Instead, I sit him down and focus on talking about the problem. This really helps and he’s more receptive to what I have to say,” she says.

Ruth Huang, 26, had a similar revelation. She is quite the spendthrift, unlike her frugal husband Chris. He always brings a water bottle from home instead of buying drinks at the food court, and will walk several kilometres to his destination, even though he has cash for a bus or taxi. “I found it difficult to get used to his style of dealing with money,” she admits.

But while speaking to his secondary school pal Jon, she learnt that Chris’s parents had given him a small allowance as a child, with just enough for food and transport. For anything extra, like toys or even textbooks, he would have to present a “business case” to them first. Ruth now feels better able to deal with Chris’s penny-pinching habits. “Knowing why he’s like that helps me overcome my frustration when he nitpicks over a few dollars. I’ve even learnt the value of saving money from him!”


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What he can tell you: If your guy’s reliable and a team player


This guy spent months with your man, digging trenches and lugging heavy haversacks up a hill together. So of course he’s gathered valuable “intel” about what kind of a guy your man is. Find out from his army buddies: Was your man the popular platoon leader who always took charge and made sure everyone in the team was accounted for?

If he was – score! That shows his sense of responsibility for those around him. Or was he the resident joker who raised everyone’s spirits during outfield trainings? That confirms he’s got an outgoing and jovial nature. This fellow’s not going to be sulking in a corner at your family gatherings. On the other hand, if he was the slacker who always found ways to blow off extra duties and responsibilities, watch out. It could be a sign that he’ll leave you to do the heavy lifting in the relationship.

Sharon Tan, 25, learnt about her boyfriend’s loyal and generous nature from his army friends. “They told me that he was a real team player who would always help them carry their extra load during route marches and field exercises, even though he wasn’t the strongest person physically. So I know he’s definitely someone I can depend on in times of need.”


What they can tell you: If he’ll make a good husband and father 


Blood is thicker than water, and siblings can provide valuable insider information on what he’s like around family. Sharon Tay, 28, was reassured that her boyfriend would be a great husband and dad after speaking to his brother. “His brother told me that he works hard to take care of his family, even though they live overseas. He contributes towards investments made by his brothers, and he sends money to and buys presents for his parents. He also showers his nephews with lots of toys. On top of that, he stays in touch with them regularly through phone calls and web chats,” she says.

His siblings can also show you a different side of your man. “Although my boyfriend acts nonchalant about his family, his sister tells me that he actually cares a lot for them. Even though she lives abroad, they’re very close and she’s the first person he’ll talk to whenever something good or bad happens in his life,” says Allyson Neo, 30.


What she can tell you: If he’s a player or a keeper 


While among other men, men tend to talk about soccer or the latest IT gadgets. So it’s his female pal who’ll be more likely to pry out secrets about his personal life, like details about his exes or why he’s afraid to settle down. Women are also more intuitive and can tell you whether he’s boyfriend and husband material. For instance, she’ll know if he’s the sensitive type who won’t ignore your whining, a real gentleman who will give a woman a ride home when it’s late, or whether he’s a stubborn fellow who always insists that he’s right – a trait his male pals might see as being macho and confident.

After making friends with one of his female pals, Kelly Ang, 25, found out that her boyfriend had been single for many years before they met. “She told me he’s very selective when it comes to committing to a relationship. This shows me that he’s never been a player, and that he’s serious about me.” Kelly also learnt that most of her boyfriend’s close friends are currently in committed relationships and have plans to settle down. “That gives me hope that we’ll follow in their footsteps soon!”


What he can tell you: The challenges your man faces at work


He may not always talk about work when you’re out on dates. So who better to tell you about his difficult clients and impossible deadlines than the guy who has a front-row view of your man’s work-time angst? His colleague can fill you in on what your man has on his plate, so you can be a better, more supportive partner.

“My fiance’s colleague told me that he tends to be busier during April and May because it’s the end of the financial year – something I never knew before – so I try to give him space on the weekdays during those months,” says Amanda Loh, 26. “This allows him to focus on his work, so he’s in a better mood when we go on weekend dates.”


*Names have been changed

Expert sources: Celestine Chua, founder of personal coaching website, Personal Excellence, and Karen Khng, founder of dating agency Love Script 


This story was originally published in the October 2013 issue of Her World. 

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