8 subtle signs a man has a good heart under his tough exterior

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Navigating the complexities of human nature can be a challenging task.

Often, we meet individuals who carry themselves with a tough, unapproachable exterior which can be intimidating.

However, beneath this hard shell often lies a heart of gold.

These individuals are usually the ones who care deeply, love sincerely and protect fiercely, albeit subtly.

Identifying these subtle signs is key to understanding the true character of such individuals.

Here are eight tell-tale signs to look out for in a man that hint at his kind and caring soul beneath his tough exterior.

1) He’s respectful, even when angry

Beneath a tough exterior, a man of integrity doesn’t shy away from anger or frustration.

However, it’s in how he channels these emotions that sets him apart.

In moments of distress, he doesn’t resort to disrespect or hostility.

Instead, he articulates his feelings assertively and courteously.

This respect isn’t selective—it extends to all, from the waiter at a diner to his colleagues at work.

His ability to uphold respect amid adversity speaks volumes of his empathy and decency.

It reflects his esteem for human dignity and personal boundaries, even in trying circumstances.

Now, this trait isn’t about stifling emotions but rather about handling them with grace and integrity. 

2) He’s observant and attentive

In our whirlwind world, true attentiveness is a rare gem, but it shines bright in a man with a good heart, even under a tough exterior.

He’s the one who catches the nuances—the flicker in your mood, your fresh haircut, or the unspoken worries.

And it’s not just for his inner circle; he’s equally tuned in to strangers’ needs, whether it’s giving up his seat on a crowded bus or guiding a lost tourist.

I remember a friend of mine who embodied this trait.

Despite his tough demeanor, he had an uncanny ability to pick up on the smallest details.

He once noticed that I seemed distracted during our conversation and gently asked if everything was alright.

His observation was spot-on and his concern was very comforting.

As author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle wisely said, “Wherever you are, be there totally.”

This quote encapsulates the essence of being observant and present — qualities that are subtle yet significant indicators of a caring heart beneath a tough exterior.

3) He takes responsibility for his actions

A man with a good heart under his tough exterior recognizes that he, like everyone else, is fallible.

He understands that mistakes are an integral part of being human and learning.

But what sets him apart is his willingness to take responsibility for his actions.

He doesn’t shy away from admitting his mistakes or owning up to his missteps.

Instead of blaming others or making excuses, he accepts the consequences of his decisions and takes steps to make amends where necessary.

In my video on the importance of giving up on the idea of constantly being a “good person”, I delve deeper into this topic.

While it may seem counterintuitive, letting go of the need to always be ‘good’ can actually lead to a more authentic and fulfilling life.


Owning our flaws and mistakes isn’t easy, but it’s a vital step towards personal growth and meaningful relationships.

If you’re interested in exploring more topics around living life with authenticity and purpose, consider joining over 20,000 others who have subscribed to my YouTube channel.

Click here to subscribe and embark on this journey of self-discovery with us.

4) He values authenticity over impressing others

In a world that often prioritizes surface-level impressions, a man with a good heart beneath his tough exterior chooses to tread a different path.

He values authenticity over the need to impress or please others.

This man isn’t swayed by societal pressures to conform or pretend.

He is comfortable in his own skin and isn’t afraid to show his vulnerabilities.

He understands that being true to himself and expressing his genuine emotions, thoughts, and beliefs is the essence of living an authentic life.

He’s not interested in playing mind games or wearing masks to fit in or appear ‘cool’.

His actions align with his words, and his heart aligns with his actions.

He may not always be popular or liked by everyone, but he’s at peace with this because he knows he’s being true to himself.

5) He appreciates the simple things in life

Even with his tough exterior, a man with a good heart finds bliss in life’s simple joys.

He’s not after flashy experiences or pricey possessions.

Instead, he finds solace in a mesmerizing sunset, the embrace of a captivating story, or the warmth of a genuine chat.

This love for simplicity isn’t about settling—it’s about cherishing the magic in everyday moments.

He’s all about living in the now, soaking up each instant instead of chasing the next big thing.

6) He embraces failure as a stepping stone

In a world that often praises success and shuns failure, a man with a good heart beneath his tough exterior sees things through a different lens.

He views failure not as a roadblock, but as a necessary part of the journey toward success and personal growth.

He doesn’t dodge challenges or avoid risks for fear of failure.

Instead, he boldly embraces the unknown, knowing that each setback carries valuable lessons and opportunities for development.

This mindset reflects his deep belief in the power of self-awareness and continuous improvement.

By facing fears head-on, challenging his own limitations, and embracing failure as a natural part of life, he becomes more adept at shaping his own destiny.

7) He practices empathy and kindness

A man with a good heart beneath his tough exterior has a profound capacity for empathy and kindness.

He understands that everyone is fighting their own battles, many of which are invisible to the outside world.

He listens with an open heart, seeks to understand before being understood, and treats others with kindness and respect.

He doesn’t need to agree with someone to empathize with their feelings or perspective.

This capacity for empathy extends beyond his immediate circle.

He’s equally sensitive to the struggles of strangers and willing to lend a helping hand.  

8) He nurtures authentic relationships

Beneath a rugged exterior lies a man of substance who treasures genuine connections.

He knows that superficial interactions offer convenience but pale in comparison to the richness of authentic relationships.

For him, investing in meaningful bonds is non-negotiable.

He embraces vulnerability as the bridge to profound connections built on mutual respect and trust.

Moreover, he acknowledges the power of supportive communities.

Understanding that our ties with others fuel our aspirations, fortify our resilience, and amplify our joys, he cherishes these connections as lifelines in the journey of life.

Understanding the heart beneath the exterior

Beneath that tough exterior, there might just be a heart of gold.

You’ve probably seen the signs – the way he handles conflict with respect, listens attentively, takes responsibility for his actions, finds joy in life’s little moments, isn’t afraid to fail, shows empathy, and values genuine connections.

These signs reveal a man of true strength, emotionally and mentally.

But hey, remember, everyone’s different. It’s about embracing those differences that make us who we are.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more insights into living life with authenticity and embracing our unique selves.

As you reflect on this article, ask yourself – have you noticed these signs in anyone around you? Or perhaps, have you recognized them within yourself?

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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