How to Be Manly

Three Parts:Becoming the Manly MaleMaintaining Your ManlinessLiving as a Man in the World

Manliness is something many aspire to, but few achieve. Unfortunately, manliness isn't a single skill you can practice. Rather, it's a spectrum of traits that should be developed over a lifetime. By honing your manly traits, you're making the most of your physical, mental, and emotional potential. Be warned - being manly isn't easy, nor should it be - real men relish challenges.

Part 1
Becoming the Manly Male

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    Get fit. Manly men don't have to look to look like Conan the Barbarian, but they do need to take care of their bodies. Fellow men and women alike admire strength and athleticism. If you're not already in good shape, immediately set aside some time in your schedule to exercise every day. Exercise will make you look and feel better. It can also help thwart depression, making you much better-suited for pursuing your other manly goals.[1]Here are some steps you can take to develop your own manly physicality.
    • Lift weights. Strength-training exercises help build manly muscles and burn fat. Use proper technique and proceed slowly if you're new to weightlifting - you can hurt yourself with bad form.
      • If you're unsure of how to proceed and you can afford it, hire a personal trainer. S/he will help you craft an exercise routine that fits your precise needs.
    • Manly men are aware of the image they project - stand up straight and walk with purpose. An erect posture makes you look confident and may even make you feel more confident. A slumped posture appears beaten or submissive.
    • If you have high body fat, consider dieting. Dieting isn't womanly. It's responsible. Losing weight can decrease your risk for heart disease and other common health issues later in life.[2]
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    Relish responsibility. Real men don't run from challenges or try to shirk their obligations. Rather, they take pride in being reliable and responsible. If other people feel like they can trust you, you'll quickly learn to trust yourself, which will bring increased confidence. Responsibility comes in many forms, depending on the roles you take on. Here are just a few aspects of life that may require you to take on new responsibility:
    • If you're a husband or father, become a leader in your family. Take an active role in child-raising and/or balance the household budget, for instance.
    • If you're a boyfriend, be a mature, reliable one. Plan dates and outings without being asked. Be emotionally available for your significant other when s/he needs it.
    • If you have a career, commit yourself to it. Take on challenging projects, even if it occasionally means staying late or working overtime. Be the one person your boss can trust - you'll earn much respect (and also job security!)
    • Emulate manly role models who excel in their careers and home life, whether they're familiar friends or famous heroes.
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    Be a sexual dynamo. Now for the fun stuff! Manly men are sexually confident - they know they're the most attractive person in the room, so they don't make idiots of themselves by trying too hard. Instead, they coolly and confidently approach people they find attractive and allow their charming, friendly personality to naturally steer conversations toward flirtation. Manly men are direct about what they want, but they're not boorish or arrogant. They like to have fun, but they always remember that their sexual prospects are human beings with their own needs and wants.
    • If you're single, work on your sexual confidence. Try to be dominant in your flirtatious conversations and in the bedroom. Don't get emotionally invested in relationships that don't exist yet!
    • If you're inexperienced, begin simply by getting out more.Talk to attractive people you meet without fear - if there's a mutual attraction, you might hit it off, and if not, you'll still get better at talking confidently.
    • Apply these principals to any committed relationships you find yourself in. Keep your confidence around your wife or girlfriend - surprise her by seducing her like you'd seduce someone you're meeting for the first time.
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    Improve your emotional health. A common misconception is that manly men have no emotions other than anger. Nothing could be further from the truth. Manly men experience a full spectrum of emotions - joy, sadness, regret, contentment, and every shade in between. However, a man never loses control of his emotions. He never allows himself to get so angry that he does something stupid. He never allows himself to get so sad that he ignores his responsibilities. He does what he needs to do to ensure he's emotionally ready to take charge of his life.
    • Honestly critique your emotional state - do your experience certain emotions illogically? Tackle your weaknesses head-on. Talk to friends or a counselor to put your emotional state in a new perspective.
    • Men and women both experience clinical depression, but depressed men are more likely to commit suicide.[3] Depression can also lead men to neglect their family and career. If you are depressed, seek medical help. It's not manly to pretend nothing's wrong.
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    Sharpen your intellect. Manly men aren't just sexy, strong brutes - they're clever as well. They don't have to be "book-smart," but they do have to be open to learning throughout their whole life. A manly man has an opinion about almost everything, but his opinions won't be well-informed if he's not open to learning. Whatever your level of education, be as smart as you can be - it'll help you negotiate business deals, defuse arguments at home, make better decisions, and, most importantly, live a full, well-rounded life.
    • Take up a hobby! It's never too late to learn a musical instrument or a new language.
    • Join a debate team! Learning how to effectively argue is an important skill in almost all aspects of life.
    • Take classes at your local community college. You'll find new passions.
    • If you're ever proven wrong about something, admit it and move on. You gain nothing by obstinately refusing to change your mind.
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    Develop rewarding interpersonal relationships. Manly men should be confident on their own, but they shouldn't be loners. Cultivating an active social life is great for your career aspirations (networking is a great way to get job referrals), but it's also a great way to meet single people. Plus, it's just plain fun. Get out there and meet people today!
    • Seek leadership roles in organizations. You'll meet plenty of people and earn their respect.
    • Join sports teams. Sports are a great way to improve your social life and your health at the same time.
    • Save your tenderest, most intimate emotions for your relationships, but be a rock on whom the more emotional can lean on.
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    Be distinct. Manly men may prize certain people as role models, but they aspire to be no one but themselves. Be unique - don't buy in to fads or trends. Cultivate your own style and you'll never be mistaken for anyone else.The way you dress, speak, and carry yourself makes a lasting impression on people. Make sure it's an unforgettable one.
    • Never agree with someone just to fit in. Real men are self-assured, comfortable respectfully disagreeing with others when it's needed.
    • Do things that you like to do, without considering what other people will think. Do you like knitting, for instance? Then work at becoming the world's manliest knitter.

Part 2
Maintaining Your Manliness

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    Stay at your physical peak. Don't rest on your laurels - continue to work out every day, even if it's just to maintain the progress you've already made. A strong, healthy body makes every other aspect of life easier. You'll have more energy to work, play, and love like a man.
    • Enjoy your new strength and athleticism, but don't let it go to your head. Don't boast or show off unless it's in good humor - doing so is a sign of desperation for others' approval, not of confidence.
    • Pay attention to what you put into your body. Count your calories and avoid unhealthy foods.
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    Foster your curiosity. Stubborn close-mindedness often gets mistaken for manliness. In fact, it's far manlier to actively seek out new experiences - you can't strive for personal growth if you never step out of your comfort zone. Always try new things, provided you do so safely. It will broaden your horizons. You'll begin to learn what you like and what you don't like. You'll discover skills you didn't know you had. You'll be more interesting to your friends and sexier to women.
    • Be open to relationships with new kinds of people. Talk to everyone - you may find that people with different perspectives on life can inform your own opinions.
    • Take on new responsibilities at work and at home. Even if, for instance, you discover that you're not the best at paying your household's bills, you'll learn the process, which is a gift in itself.
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    Challenge yourself every day. "Manly" isn't an easy thing to be. It's a quality marked by hard work and struggle. Teddy Roosevelt, one of the manliest men to ever live, had to work hard for years to overcome his poor health and achieve manliness.[4] By overcoming obstacles, you move closer to the manly ideal. Tackle life's difficulties head-on!
    • Often, the biggest challenges can come with the day-in, day-out grinds of sustaining a career and a home life. In this case, the challenge may be something as simple as going to bed earlier so that you can wake up to take your child to school. Just because these challenges aren't glamorous doesn't mean they're not hard!
    • Seek new challenges out. If your career and home life aren't challenging, make new challenges for yourself! Sign up for a marathon
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    Enjoy competition. You're not the only manly man in the world - eventually, you'll find yourself in competition with someone who's also confident, strong, and self-assured. Give it all you've got - a genuine competition is a great chance to test the manly skills you've worked hard to develop. Even if you don't win, you'll learn, and you'll be better-prepared to succeed the next time you find yourself locking horns with another alpha male.
    • If you win, be a gracious winner. Shake his hand, look him in the eye, and never gloat. Reflect on the qualities you possess that led you to victory, as well as the ones that made victory more difficult.
    • If you lose, lose like a man. Never give up before the competition is over, even if your odds seem slim. Don't whine or make excuse for yourself. Instead, try to find out why you lost so that you can devote extra practice to these areas,
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    Above all, be the best man you can be in every aspect of your life. No man is perfect - even the manliest men make mistakes and experience great difficulty. Adversity is no reason to quit. Strive for the confident, strong manly ideal even when it eludes you. Remember, no one is born manly. It's something that must be eked out through hard work, struggle and sacrifice. When in doubt, remember that some of the manliest people ever had their own periods of darkness. Here are just a few examples:
    • John Wayne, once the epitome of American Masculinity, struggled through three marriages and a cigarette addiction that gave him cancer. Still, he kept his manliness to the end.[5]
    • Long before he was Rocky, Sylvester Stallone was a desperate, struggling young actor. For three weeks, he was homeless, sleeping in the New York Port Authority bus station until he got his first starring role - in a porno.[6] He didn't become well-known until years later.
    • Mr. T. had a very rough life before he found fame. Raised in one of Chicago's roughest housing projects and expelled from college after only one year, he worked as a bouncer and bodyguard for years before landing his first film role.[7]

Part 3
Living as a Man in the World

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    Treat women with respect. Whether you're dating a woman or not, you should treat her like a gentleman would. This doesn't mean subscribing to outdated ideas of chivalry (like, for instance, pushing in her chair for her). Rather, it means that you should extend her the respect and goodwill you would give a serious colleague. Listen to her when she talks. Respect her opinions, even if you disagree with them. Most importantly, treat her like an equal - she is.
    • No need to handle women with kid gloves. Many women love raunchy humor as much as men do. Making jokes (even lewd ones) with women isn't treating them disrespectfully - it's showing that you consider her enough of an equal to let your emotional guard down. Get a sense of a woman's personality first, then, if she seems game, joke away.
    • On the other hand, avoid the use of gendered insults like "bitch," even if you're just joking. It's easy to make a bad habit of using these words and even easier to have your intentions be misunderstood. Manly men don't hurt peoples' feelings on the basis of their biological sex.
    • Never, ever commit an act of violence against a woman - it's one of the least-manly things you can do. That of course does not mean that you have to allow to a woman (or anybody else) to be violent, abusive or disrespectful toward you or anybody. Strength and violence are different things. To stop an abuse is a must, but does not necessarily need violence; use your brain power, instead.
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    Treat men with respect as well. It's easy to respect your guy friends. It's much harder to respect the creep in the office who always breathes over your shoulder. A manly man does both. Manly men never bully or humiliate people. They also avoid participating in gossip. Anything you would scold your son for doing on the playground, you should avoid doing in the adult world.
    • Many times, annoying men won't even know they're annoying. If someone at the office has really bad breath, take them aside quietly and recommend some breath mints. Don't tease them in front of everyone at lunch. There's no reason to make someone suffer for something they're unaware of.
    • Life will sometimes require you to compete with other men. Compete as hard as you can, but remember that these men aren't evil just because they're in competition with you. They deserve your respect even as you work against them.
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    Be ambitious (but not greedy.) Pursue excellence in your career and enjoy the rewards that you earn through your hard work, but never compromise your integrity or your family life for material wealth. The happiness you get from money is a fraction compared to what a happy home and family can offer. Act ethically in all your business dealings. Be competitive, but don't be a backstabber - a manly man never throws someone else under the bus for his own advancement.
    • Being honorable at work is its own reward. Coworkers and supervisors will notice your hard work. You'll earn the respect of your workplace and, more importantly, job security.
    • Seek out new responsibilities at work, but don't become so invested in your career that you neglect yourself or your family. If taking on a new duty means you won't ever be able to see your children before they go to sleep, pass it up.
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    Be a family man. Your family should come first - before your career and even before yourself. This responsibility becomes even bigger if you have children. Make sure to spend time with your family, even if you're already working very hard. They'll return your love. Take your children to visit their grandparents. Spend an occasional weekend at the beach. Attend your children's sports games and school plays. The time you spend fostering love in your family is the time you'll remember most fondly in your old age.
    • A survey of over 1,000 UK parents showed they overwhelmingly valued time with their family over material wealth.[8] If given the chance between working the whole weekend to put money away for a new car and spending the weekend with your family, opt for the one that will make you happier.


  • Speak up for yourself and your fellow men.
  • Don't let anyone walk over you; read "The Manipulated Man" and "The Myth of Manpower".
  • Be moral, loyal, honest, humble, charitable, strong, supportive, helpful, and caring.
  • Hurting or abusing a woman or child is cowardly and unspeakably damaging, be it physically, morally or sexually. Manly men know how to differentiate strength from abuse, and have a feel for limits. If you are being told that you don't, work it out: this line differentiates the most respected men from the most despised.
  • Stand up for those you love.
  • The scout morals are good to follow: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Be prepared. To help others at all times. To keep myself physically strong mentally awake and morally straight."
  • Emulate manly role models and heroes, famous or familiar friends.
  • A strong man stands up for himself, but a stronger man stands up for others.
  • Respect yourself and lose the ego. See the world and yourself for what it really is and you really are. Let go of the things you can't control. Control yourself because you are the only thing that is constant in your world.
  • Remember to avoid nonsense and immaturity do things right like a man would show up for himself and do what is right not what is wrong.


  • Don't use steroids.
  • Be a man, and don't become a Neanderthal: remind yourself constantly that a man is sophisticated and thinks of others.
  • Some cultures and value systems recognize behaviors as manly that many others would consider unacceptable or even illegal. When engaging in manly behavior, always ask yourself if you personally find your actions acceptable. It is OK to be less manly if it makes you a better human being.

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Categories: Personality Traits and Attributes