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What to look for in a guy: 37 good qualities in a man

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Finding the perfect guy can be a tall order. After all, tall, dark and handsome seems to be what women claim to want.

But when it comes down to living with Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome, some women find that they prefer a man to have certain qualities over looks.

Pining after men who can make them laugh, who cares about their family and friends, and who supports them through the ups and downs in life is actually more important to women than looks.

It’s why so many women find themselves falling for guys that wouldn’t normally be on their radar: these guys have got it going on in terms of boyfriend qualities and even husband qualities that women secretly look for, and often are disappointed about, in Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.

Here are 37 great qualities to look for in a man:

1. He’s got a head on his shoulders.

The perfect guy is smart. There are no two ways about it. Guys who have a head on their shoulders, as the saying goes, are quick thinkers and problem solvers.

They see the big picture and don’t get caught up in the details that can slow them down.

In a relationship, this quality can go a long way because he can figure things out and is not afraid to fall down a few times on his way to finding the right answers.

Also, a study has found that the smarter the man is, the less likely he is to be unfaithful.

2. He has the same values as you.

An important part of any relationship is the compatibility of values. If your guy isn’t aligned with what you want in life, no matter how good-looking he may be, the relationship won’t last long.

Men and women have different opinions about a lot of things, but if you can find someone who thinks the same way you do about the big things: life, marriage, money, travel, charity.

When you meet someone who has the same outlook and wants to focus on the same things, your relationship is much easier.

3. He’s a positive person

Your life together will be filled with ups and downs. One of the most underrated qualities in a guy is positivity.

Now, positivity isn’t about ignoring your feelings and marching forward all the time with a goofy smile on your face.

Positivity isn’t about peppiness. It’s about choosing to see the brighter side of things and staying resilient in the face of adversity.

Looking for positivity in a partner makes it easier to stand through the test of time together.

Whether you’re dealing with personal issues or shared relationship problems, having a positive guy by your side means you have a partner who is willing to make things work.

It makes it easier to preserve your mental health and maintain a good outlook on life.

4. He’s emotionally mature

Emotional maturity is crucial for long-term relationships. Working with an emotionally mature adult means you get respect and understanding instead of jabs and snipes.

You want someone who can talk to you and tell you when something’s bugging him about the relationship, without him resorting to verbal or physical attacks.

When someone’s emotionally mature, he has the ability to think about you and how his actions may be affecting you instead of automatically going on the defense.

People who don’t have a well-rounded sense of self and relationships tend to put themselves first before anything else.

This can cause the relationship to break down before it’s even had the chance to truly flourish.

If you’re looking for a partner who can listen to you and work through issues with you amicably, find someone who’s emotionally mature.

5. He has integrity

When it comes to finding a good guy, sometimes it’s less about his likes and dislikes and more about what he truly believes in.

Everyone has their own moral code–a personal code of ethics they follow in their day-to-day interactions.

Being with a guy who follows his own moral standards and upholds them is a sign that this person has a basic respect for things.

He doesn’t have to be a firefighter or an activist to have a great sense of integrity.

Just being able to stand up for what he believes in and draw the line when necessary is admirable.

In a world where people seem to go with anything and that morals are very ambiguous, integrity stands out because it shows that you’re not just apathetic and mindless about what’s going on around you.

When you find someone who has integrity, you find someone who has the capacity to think outside of himself and extend that care to others.

6. He protects you.

A real man always makes his partner feel safe, both physically or emotionally.

Because men should naturally feel protective over women. A study published in the Physiology & Behavior journal shows that male’s testosterone makes them feel protective over their mate’s safety and wellbeing.

So, does your man protect you? Not just from physical harm, but does he make sure you’re protected when any negative situation arises?

Then you’ve found yourself a good man.

There’s actually a fascinating new concept in relationship psychology that’s getting a lot of buzz at the moment. It goes to the heart of the riddle about why men fall in love—and who they fall in love with.

And it has everything to do with why men want to protect women and the woman’s role in enabling him to do so. Because if he wants to protect you, then you need to let him.

The theory claims that men want to step up to the plate for the women in their lives and provide and protect her. In other words, men want to be your hero.

This is deeply rooted in male biology.

People are calling it the hero instinct. I wrote a detailed primer about the concept which you can read here.

He wants to see himself as a protector. As someone you genuinely want and need to have around. Not as an accessory, ‘best friend’, or ‘partner in crime’.

I know this might sound a bit silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives.

And I couldn’t agree more.

But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to be a hero. Because it’s built into our DNA to seek out relationships that allow us to feel like a protector.

If you would like to learn more about the hero instinct, check out this free online video by the relationship psychologist who coined the term. He provides a fascinating insight into this new concept.

Some ideas really are game changes. And for relationships I think this is one of them.

Here’s a link to the video again.

7. He can break the tension with a joke.

The perfect guy can break the tension with a well-placed joke. He might not be overly funny, but he can make you laugh when you need it most.

A sense of humor is high on a woman’s wish-list for her perfect guy. And it’s no wonder: guys who can make you laugh are worth keeping around.

In fact, a study has found that humor ability reveals intelligence and predicts “mating success”.

Life is hard and if someone can break the ice, release the tension, and make you see things from a different perspective, he’s a keeper.

8. He cares about your friends and family.

Guys aren’t known for their empathy or communication skills. If your guy is tuned into your friends and family and asks about them, cares about them, and treats them with the same respect he treats you, that’s a good thing.

When you are dating a guy who can get along with your dad or your best friend, that says a lot about him.

It’s hard to bring new people into our lives, but if he fits right in, that’s good news for you.

9. He gets that your career is important to you.

Some men are intimidated by an independent woman, but not your guy. If he gets you and what you are all about, he’ll get that your job is important to you.

Whether you work for someone else or run your own company, he gets that you don’t just need to work, you want to work. It’s an important part of who you are.

The perfect guy will be able to give you all the space you need to make things happen in your life.

10. He respects you and what you bring to the table.

Sometimes, it’s hard to find someone who sees the best in you. If you’ve had a string of failed relationships, you may be feeling vulnerable to allow this guy into your life to see what you are all about. But don’t worry, he already knows.

He can see what makes you special from a mile away and he wants you to celebrate how awesome you are. He knows how smart you are and what you can bring to his life as well as your own.

And this is a good thing, according to Dr. John Gottman, author of The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work.

He says that if a man rejects his female’s partner’s influence, it may be a sign he has power issues.

11. He understands that love requires work.

No relationship is perfect, even with the perfect guy. But that’s what makes him so perfect: he knows that he is going to have to show up and work at this relationship so that it will last.

He isn’t taking anything for granted. Understanding that you’ll have ups and downs in your relationship means he’s ready to do the work and make things work between the two of you.

12. He is your biggest fan.

He loves how you are a rockstar in your own life. He doesn’t feel put out by your success and he wants you to show up and shine as often as possible.

He knows how great success feels and he cheers you on in your own work and life. The perfect guy knows you have things you want to do in life and he wants them for you as well.

A study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that couples who celebrated each other’s achievements were more satisfied with their relationships than those who reacted negatively or were indifferent.

13. He’s tuned into his emotions.

The perfect guy not only has his finger on the pulse of your relationship, he’s also tuned into his own emotions.

Understanding where his thoughts and feelings come from helps him stay in the moment and not get upset by what is happening around him.

He’s grounded and can help keep you grounded too. He also understands that you aren’t responsible for making him happy and just being with you makes him happy.

The perfect guy isn’t easy to find — in fact, most men aren’t tuned into their own emotions.

What you need to understand though that this isn’t necessarily their fault.

Male and female brains are biologically different. For instance, the limbic system is the emotional processing center of the brain and it’s much larger in the female brain than in a man’s.

That’s why women are more in touch with their emotions. And why guys can struggle to process and understand their feelings.

Have you ever been with an emotionally unavailable man before? Blame his biology rather than him.

The thing is, to stimulate the emotional part of a man’s brain, you have to communicate with him in a way that he’ll actually understand.

Because there are certain things you can say to him that will supercharge his interest in you.

I learned this from relationship guru Michael Fiore. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on male psychology and what men want from relationships.

Watch this excellent free video to learn about Michael’s life-changing solution for dealing with men who won’t open up to you.

Michael Fiore reveals what you need to do to make your man commit to a passionate relationship. His techniques work surprisingly well on even the coldest and most commitment-phobic men.

If you want science-based techniques to make a man fall in love with you and STAY in love with you, check out this free video here.

14. He knows what he brings to the table

Confidence really is everything. In the context of relationships, this is less about knowing how awesome he is and more about being aware of his strengths and weaknesses.

Having that awareness ensures that he is secure in his identity and that he won’t feel threatened when you step up and do something for the relationship.

Having a clear idea of what he can bring to the table also immediately sets the expectation for everybody.

Someone who’s confident and secure in his identity is also more receptive to criticism.

Because they know the good they’re good at, along with the things that need improvement, improving the relationship becomes a matter of optimization.

Instead of wondering who has to do what, you two can divvy up tasks according to your strengths and weaknesses.

It makes the compatibility games so much easier because he knows exactly how he can fit in your life.

15. He’s kind-hearted

Look for a guy who’s just genuinely, generally nice and not just outstanding when he’s in a good mood.

He could have had the crappiest day and he’d still make the time to make sure you’re feeling good.

There are different ways to spot kind-heartedness in a person.

What’s his relationship with his family like? How does he treat the people at work? How does he interact with strangers? What does he do when bad things happen to him?

Kindness is one of the most timeless qualities to look for in a guy.

Being with a kind guy can help build up your self-esteem and impact the way you perceive the world.

Because you’re receiving kindness, you’re also more open to giving out kindness. It’s just a win-win situation for everybody.

16. He’s thoughtful and thinks about you

Spending time with you means actually spending time with you. Too many relationships fail because either party don’t know how to talk to each other.

Thoughtfulness isn’t always about grand gestures and surprises; sometimes it’s the little things like listening to each other and responding thoughtfully during conversations that really make a relationship stronger.

Thoughtfulness comes in many forms and all depends on your guy’s love language. He might squeeze your knee on the car ride home or send you little texts throughout the day.

He might offer to make dinner because he knows how tired you’ve been or help you out with work just to ease the load.

There are many ways to show thoughtfulness and affection and this mostly differs from person to person.

17. He knows how to use his manners.

It’s not that men are rude, but when guys have proper manners, they really stand out.

Guys who hold doors, pull out chairs, say thank you, ask how you are doing, introduce you to other people in a way that makes you feel important.

Manners imply that a guy is putting you before himself. It implies that he is thinking about you and the other people around him.

You might not put a lot of stock in someone who has manners, but it says a lot about his upbringing and what he values in other people, as well as himself.

RELATED: 18 things mature men will never do

18. He doesn’t mess around.

You want a guy who is kind and thoughtful, but also someone who tells it like it is. You don’t have time for games and any guy who is into playing games is not worth keeping around.

Sometimes you need to learn this lesson the hard way, but the rules are still the same: you want a guy who is honest and real with you.

It might be strange at first, especially if you aren’t used to a guy being honest with you, but it really is the best way to be. You can trust someone who is upfront with you.

That’s important because according to Andrea Bonior Ph.D. in Psychology Today, trust is arguably the most important trait in a healthy relationship:

“Without trust, there is the lack of a solid foundation on which to build emotional intimacy, and your potential for hurt — over and over again — grows ever bigger.”

19. He knows what he brings to the table.

Guys who are confident, without being arrogant, are the best kind. Confident men know how to treat a woman and don’t feel threatened by your success.

Guys how have confidence issues don’t gain confidence by being with a strong woman. They typically recoil even more when they are around women who don’t need them.

Being with a confident man means that you don’t have to worry about how you show up and you can both be yourselves.

20. He knows what integrity is all about.

Integrity is about doing the right thing, even when nobody is looking. If you question whether or not you can trust him when you are around, you will have a hard time trusting him when you aren’t there to watch what he is doing. But how can you tell if a guy has integrity?

Listen to how he speaks about other people. What kind of actions does he approve of and what are his values?

What does he talk about with you and are there things you feel are being left out of the conversation?

How do other people treat him and what do others say about him? You can learn a lot about a person by what others think of him.

21. He acts his age.

There’s nothing worse than a man-child. If you feel like you need to take care of this guy or he’s going to crumble and fall apart, he’s not the man for you.

You can’t fix that kind of issue, no matter how hard you want to. Guys who act their age don’t need you to look after them. They won’t ask you for things or put you in uncomfortable circumstances.

22. He reminds you to be positive.

If there’s one quality that you should look for in a man, it’s positivity. Guys who are a drag won’t make you feel good about yourself.

If your guy is negative, that won’t get better unless he wants it to get better. If your guy is always helping you see on the bright side, you’ll want to keep him around.

After all, according to Whall Health Center at the University of Washington, “a healthy relationship should bring more happiness than stress into your life.”

Pretty simple, right?

Any guy who can look on the bright side is going to be great to have around when things get tough.

And if you are in a relationship for any length of time you can count on tough times.

A good sense of humor and some positive insight can go a long way to help you both through those times.

23. He is kind.

Good men are not just kind to you, but they are kind to others. If you are still on the fence about being with a man, watch how he treats other people.

For eons, women have looked to how a man treats his mother, but pay attention to how he treats co-workers, how he treats wait staff at the local restaurant, and how he interacts with strangers.

Kind men see people; they don’t just glaze over them in passing. If he does this to other people, he is likely to do it to you.

24. He is grateful for who you are.

When a man is comfortable in his skin, he won’t try to get you to change who you are.

He’ll not only make room for your awesomeness in his life, but he will encourage you at every turn to do what feels right for you.

Your strong, independent nature is not going to scare him off.

25. He is happy to lead or follow.

A man with integrity is not threatened by a strong woman, and so if you feel the need to take charge of what is going on around you, he’ll give you space to that.

But he’s perfectly happy to take charge if the situation calls for you.

There are no scorned feelings here because he knows you two are partners; it’s not a competition.

26. He will always take responsibility for what he does.

If he messes up, you better believe a respectful man is going to own up to it fast.

It might be said and done, and he’ll be at your doorstep telling you all about it because he doesn’t want you to find out from someone else that he dropped the ball.

If he starts a fight, he’ll admit it. If he shows up late, he won’t make excuses. He’ll just say he is sorry for keeping you waiting.

27. He pays attention to you.

In the age of cellphones and social media, it can be hard to get and hold someone’s attention.

When someone is staring at their phone, what they are saying to you is that anything on the internet is more interesting that you are right now. Ouch. That hurts. But everyone does it to everyone else.

However, when a man is really interested in being with a woman, he’ll put his phone down and give you all of his attention.

He’ll hear you when you talk, and he’ll actually be able to carry on a conversation with you because he was listening. If he’s always scrolling through Facebook seeing what his friends are up to, he doesn’t respect you.

Women are stronger than ever and are living independent lives of their own accord. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to be in meaningful relationships, and that doesn’t mean that they don’t need someone’s shoulder to cry on once in a while.

Strong women need strong men to be by their side, and in today’s society, it can be hard to find someone who will stand beside you when the going gets tough.

You’ll know your guy is special and respects you if he picks up the phone when you call, and he gives you space when you need it.

Support doesn’t always come in the form of hand-holding: sometimes women need their space, and a good man knows when to let you have it.

29. He maintains open lines of communication.

Women often roll their eyes at the communication styles of men. It seems that men and women have different communication styles, yet women continually expect men to adopt the communication styles of women.

Instead of waiting around for your guy to become a woman, pay attention to how he does communicate his wants, needs, and feelings to you regularly. If he isn’t a talker, does he listen to you when you talk?

If he isn’t much of a phone person, does he send you text messages to let you know he is thinking about you? If he doesn’t like crowds, does he give you all of his attention when it’s just the two of you?

Rather than criticize his communication styles, look for ways he maintains open lines of communication. If he respects you, he’ll show you by saying the right things, but also by showing you he cares.

30. He makes you and your relationship a priority in his life.

Women sometimes find themselves taking a backseat to a man’s job or friends. If you have experienced this, you know that it can lead to a lot of resentment and distrust.

When you are in a relationship with a man, he should be able to express his interest in your relationship by showing you that you are a priority for him.

This doesn’t mean that he needs to bail on a meeting in the middle of the afternoon to bring you ice cream and you’d be a jerk to think it does.

It means that he makes time for you and doesn’t let other areas of his life interfere with your alone time.

31. He is honest.

A man who respects you will always tell you the truth, even if it is hard to do. There’s a big difference between being a jerk and being candid.

Sometimes hard conversations need to be had in relationships, and if he respects you, he’ll be able to have those conversations with you.

If he doesn’t, you’ll find him drinking beer with his buddies trying to avoid the situation.

A real man will step up even when it’s uncomfortable because he knows the relationship, and you, are worth it.

32. He’s a positive influence in your life

Here’s the cold, hard truth: You won’t always make the best decisions in your life.

None of us do, because none of us are perfect and it’s harder to see our own life when we’re so personally involved.

This is why you need to find a partner who can look at your situation objectively — in a way you can’t — and help you discover the answers and directions that are sometimes impossible to find for yourself.

Find someone who wants the best for you in all areas of your life, not someone who pulls you down with their own bad habits.

You want someone who wants a lifelong partner they can be proud of — someone who has achieved her dreams and passions and become the best version of herself she can be, so he can be your forever cheerleader in everything you pursue.

33. He’s courteous to you and others

You know what they say: chivalry is a lost art.

But this isn’t exactly true — there are still many people out there who understand and respect the value of basic common decency, and why it’s so important to be kind and courteous to everyone you come across.

You want a man who isn’t just nice when he wants something from you, or when he’s courting you in that pre-relationship stage.

But how can you tell the difference between a man who’s just putting on a temporary show, versus a man who actually is as nice and kind as he acts?

Simple: look at the way he treats others. Is he polite, patient, and kind to people who work with him or for him, to people who serve him, to animals? Or does he seem to relish taking advantage of people and making people feel bad?

34. He cares about your loved ones

A good man doesn’t just love you. He loves your heart, and that means he loves everyone who is important to you.

He understands that a serious, committed relationship isn’t just about bringing one new person into his life; it’s about bringing an entire community into his life, the community involving you and everyone who matters to you.

So he cares for your tribe as if they were his own parents, his own friends, or his own siblings.

And he doesn’t do it because he wants something in return from you; he does it because he cares about your happiness and your feelings, and he knows that if anything bad were to happen to them, your emotions would be greatly affected.

35. He’s committed

There’s nothing worse than a flaky partner because he’s barely a partner, to begin with.

While some guys have natural “relationship-phobia”, you don’t want someone who has given you zero assurance or commitment.

So think about it: has he done things that make you doubt his level of commitment? Does he bail on you when you try to introduce him to your friends or family? Does he have several parts of his life that are hidden from you?

These are all huge red flags, and not worth your time at all.

36. He’s romantic

At the end of the day, when all is said is done and you just want to come home to the man of your dreams, that man needs to be a romantic.

And this doesn’t come so naturally for most men, who might prefer to leave the romance in the hands of their partner.

But any man should see that you’re worth the romance and worth the effort, and if that makes stepping out of their comfort zone every now and then to give you a memory you’ll never forget, that’s something he needs to be able to do.

And remember: not everyone has the same idea or level of what it means to be romantic.

His version of romance might not be what you expect, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t trying.

37. He shares the same beliefs about life as you

When you first start dating someone, you won’t necessarily try to ask them about their deepest religious, political, and moral beliefs.

You’re still just trying to get to know them and whether they “vibe” with you or not, which at this point means whether they’re fun to be with.

But when you want to settle down with a partner, you need someone who is more than just “fun”. It’s necessary that you find someone who has the same important beliefs that you do — someone who won’t disagree with you on a spiritual level when it comes to raising your kids, building your home, or making crucial life choices.

These are things that need to be addressed before you go steady with someone, or else you’ll end up facing these problems somewhere down the road, long after your lives have become too entangled.

Does he feel the same way about you?

If you’ve met a good man who ticks most of the 37 boxes I outlined above, then you need to know whether he feels the same way about you.

The truth is that he may not even know the answer…

Men are wired differently to women. We’re driven by different things when it comes to relationships. And most of the time, we’re not even consciously aware of the things that drive us.

I’ve recently been introduced to a fascinating new concept in relationship psychology that explains so much about men: the hero instinct.

What is it?

As I touched upon earlier in this article, the hero instinct is the basic biological urge men have to provide for and protect women.

Simply put, men want to be your hero. Not necessarily an action hero like Thor, but he does want to step up to the plate for the woman in his life. And to be appreciated for his efforts.

For many women, learning about the hero instinct was their “aha moment”. It was for Hack Spirit writer Pearl Nash. You can read her story here about how her love life was a train wreck before she discovered the hero instinct.

How do you trigger instinct instinct?

James Bauer is one of the world’s leading relationship experts.

In his new video, he explains exactly what the hero instinct is and how you can trigger it in your man.

You can watch the video here.

The hero instinct is probably the best kept secret in relationship psychology. And I think it holds the key to a man’s love and devotion for life.

Because triggering it in your man will not only provide him a sense of meaning and purpose, but it will rocket your relationship to the next level.

Here’s a link to the video again.

 

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook.

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