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What to look for in a guy: 25 good qualities in a man

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 20 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 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. He’s tuned into his emotions.

The perfect guy not only has his finger on the pulse of your relationship, but he is 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, but if you stop looking for external features and start looking for internal qualities, the ones that get you through the tough times and help you feel safe and secure in your relationship, you’ll find him before you know it.

10. 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

11. 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.”

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. He makes you feel protected

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

It’s not like you need him to take a bullet for you, but it would be nice if he did stand up for you when you are bitching about your boss.

A man that respects you gets it when will make you feel welcome, protected and safe at every turn.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. 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.

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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 Twitter or Facebook.

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