What Makes a Man: Lessons Learned

As an unwed, heterosexual woman in her mid-30s, I’ve had my fair share of relationships. Slowly but surely, I’m learning and appreciating what characteristics make up a good man. I’m also beginning to realize how I deserve to be treated. After nearly 20 years of dating experience and witnessing (and quite frankly, putting up with) far too much boyish behaviour, these 13 qualities are increasingly noticeable. This post is dedicated to all of the amazing men out there. I see you.

What makes a man?

1. Emotions. Not only can a man witness your emotions without getting uncomfortable or squirmy, but he can willingly talk about and show you his. He can display his emotions openly and be seen with a graceful ease. (Even tender love and raw sadness.) He knows this is what makes him human.

2. Consistency. He shows up for work every day. He plays sports regularly with his pals. He has weekly phone calls with his brother. He attends to his grooming schedule. So, yes, he can be consistent with you too. A man should never leave you wondering when and if he’s going to see you again or when you might talk. He can be there for you in a consistent and considerate manner. There should be no surprises here.

3. Listens. A man will just sit down with you and listen. No interruptions, no stories, no distractions. He won’t make reference to himself or try to ‘fix’ the situation. Sometimes no words are necessary, just a solid set of ears. A man who can truly listen knows that’s all you need.

4. Interest.  He takes a real and genuine interest in all aspects of your life, the things that attracted him to you in the first place. He’ll take some of these interests on as his own and want to grow as a person based on meeting you. There is a mutual exchanges of skills, talents and hobbies, without intimidation.

5. Ego. A man knows it’s not always about him. He doesn’t hold tightly onto role, title, status, education, wage. He’ll never make you feel inferior or less than him. (No matter what.)


6. Respect. He respects your mind as well as your body. You never feel pressured to act in a way that doesn’t feel right for you. He asks questions, respects your independence and your space.

7. Pride. He wants people important to him to know you exist and he’s proud to call you his own. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s found a wonderful woman. He will display his affection openly. You are worth celebrating to a man.

8. Charitable. He gives of his time and of his skills. This quality is not about giving money, it’s about recognizing that the world can be unfair and unequal. A man seeks opportunity to give back.

Good man

9. Lead. Sometimes you need someone to take charge. To step in and take control when you cannot due to fatigue and life’s relentless grind. A man will step in and cook, clean, shop, organize, make a reservation, plan a night out. Basically, he’ll help you in ways you need to make life a little easier. A man doesn’t need to be asked, he just knows when to be a leader and what to do.

10. Details. A man pays attention to the details. The colour of your eyes, what goes in your coffee, what music you like, your favourite snacks, your friend’s names, what you wore on your dates, what you said off-handedly. He notices the little things about you because really, those are the big things.

11. Silliness. A man can let loose from time-to-time and knows how to just have fun. He’ll be playful with you and crack jokes at himself. He’ll dance, sing, play board games, embrace the outdoors and be open to trying new things that may be out of his comfort zone. He attacks life with enthusiasm.

12. Fears. All men have fears but a true man will courageously own up to what those are. He won’t shy away from exposing his fears and openly bring them up for discussion, even if they may alarm you. A man will want to work through his fears with you and face them head-on.

13. Romance. Yes, a man is romantic. He is gentle, thoughtful and deliberate about creating romantic scenes and courting you over the course of your relationship – holding hands, carrying your bags, reaching for the door, cuddling, slow-dancing, cupping your face when you kiss – all signs of a kind and romantic heart.

Holding hands


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