Manly Traits: 13 Characteristics of a Real Man

Over the years, the definition of manhood has undergone changes and evolved as society has grown and evolved. Men were once the centers of power in all facets of society, from the smallest roles as sole breadwinner all the way up to the ruling class. Most women were relegated to the background and held in a lower regard.

Thankfully, the world has evolved much since then. Instead of existing in dominant and subservient roles, men and women most often function in cooperative, coexisting ones.

Despite the evolution of gender roles, however, many of the traits that define a real man have remained the same. The following is a list of many attributes men can aspire to, as these are the characteristics of a real man’s man.

Without further adieu, here are the 13 characteristics of a real man:

1. Knows How To Treat Women

Men are not better than women simply by virtue of being men, and any man that acts like it is not a real man. Real men respect women and show it in how they treat them. The rumors of the death of chivalry have been greatly exaggerated, and a real man knows that opening the door for a woman and following behind her, or pulling her chair out, or carrying her bags for her are all small chivalric acts.

A real man also knows the difference between pulling a lady’s chair out for her and ordering her meal for her. The former implies deference and respect, while the latter implies domination and control.

2. Is A Grown-Up

Maturity is not dependent on age, though it often accompanies it. It is hard to come up with an accurate, all-encompassing definition of maturity, though everyone recognizes it when they see it. A grown-up man is reliable and dependable and has his priorities in life in order. He doesn’t show up to work late and hungover because he stayed out all night partying with his friends. He doesn’t use creepy, juvenile, or offensive pick-up lines to try and get laid.

His diet consists of more than just pizza and beer. And he is never late paying the rent or mortgage because he spent all his money on a new Playstation. He may like to party, eat pizza, and play video games, but he is adult enough to practice moderation and know when to call it quits.

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3. Takes Care Of Himself

Real men put their faded band t-shirts and ripped jeans in storage when they graduate from college and only put them back on again when it’s time to paint the garage or mow the lawn. They know how to dress themselves well to emphasize their physical characteristics without overdoing it. They take care of their bodies, working out and exercising on a regular basis. They have conscientious, healthy, and regular eating habits, and they know how to prepare a good meal without using the microwave.

Real men don’t look like Grizzly Adams with wild, unkempt facial hair, yellowed, claw-like fingernails, and gross looking teeth. Instead, they keep any facial hair neat and evenly trimmed, practice self care and brush their teeth regularly. They may smoke, but they don’t smell like cigarettes, and they may drink, but they don’t reek of booze.

4. Takes Care Of His Surroundings

If you can look around and see empty beer and soda cans on the desk, empty pizza boxes on the floor, a sink filled with dirty dishes, a faded and ripped Playboy poster on the wall, dirty clothes in a pile in the corner, chipped paint on the walls, and a thick layer of dust coating every visible surface, sorry, you’re still a boy.

Real men aren’t slobs. They give their surroundings the same care and attention they give themselves. This means that they do their own laundry before they completely run out of clean clothes to wear. They do dishes often and on a regular basis, and those dishes are actually clean afterwards. Instead of ripped movie, porn, or car posters on the wall, they hang actual art, and if they do have posters, they are high quality and in a frame. They put trash in the garbage can, and then they take that trash out to the curb when it’s full.

5. Is Emotionally Healthy And Secure In His Masculinity

The short version of this is that real men aren’t afraid to cry. They aren’t afraid to display a full range of emotions besides just macho bravado. A real man is as comfortable watching The Notebook as he is watching the entire Die Hard series back to back, and if he cries during The Notebook, he isn’t ashamed to admit it.

Sorrow and fear are both necessary, unavoidable elements of the human experience, and the real man knows this and knows that displays of either don’t diminish his masculinity or make him less of a man. He isn’t afraid to admit to feeling fear, but he also doesn’t let it control him. A real man is strong and brave when the need arises, and he is able to tell when that is.

Above all else, though, he knows that big, loud trucks, flashy jewelry, scantily clad women, and a superior attitude don’t make him more of a man.

6. Knows The Difference Between Pride And Arrogance

A real man is proud when he has justifiable reason to be, but he knows the importance of being humble. He isn’t afraid to ask for help if he needs it, and knows that stubborn arrogance actually works against him. He doesn’t take pride in things he had no control of, and certainly doesn’t try to steal glory for work he didn’t do.

7. Knows That Violence Should Only Be Used As A Last Resort

Some situations just call for physical intervention (though it goes without saying that real men never hit women). Most situations, however, never even come close to needing that type of response. A real man is able to tell the difference, knows when to back off, and doesn’t let his darker emotions fly out of control and take him to a place he can’t handle.

He knows that his most powerful weapons are his mind and words, and he skillfully utilizes both to resolve conflicts. Only when those methods fail, he knows that he is capable of defending himself.

8. Is Trustworthy And A Man Of His Word

Real men tell the truth and keep their promises, and only extraneous situations change that. They know it’s permissible to tell a white lie in order to spare someone needless pain, but they feel guilty about it, nonetheless. If something’s bothering them, they’ll be honest and open about the cause and won’t try to hide or lie about it. If they promise to keep something to themselves, they’ll take the secret to their graves.

9. Has Goals And Is Motivated To Achieve Them

Money and material wealth don’t necessarily make the man (though they certainly don’t hurt). A real man may not even be financially stable yet, but he has a definite plan of action to reach it. His living situation may not be ideal, but he is working to improve it. He may not have the car, woman, job, or status he wants yet, but he knows how to achieve all of them and never loses sight of the prize.

10. Has A Sense Of Humor

Real men are able to let loose, laugh, and have a good time without being juvenile. If sorrow and fear are necessary and unavoidable aspects of the human experience, humor and joy are even more important. Nobody likes a Mr. Serious, and real men are able to relax and have fun.

11. Is Cultured And Educated

If you think you’re a scholar of German culture because you drank a Heineken, you need to broaden your horizons. Similarly, if you think Portugal is in South America, or the Revolutionary War took place in the 1800s, you need to hit the books and educate yourself. Real men aren’t stupid.

They may not be historians or scientists, but they do have a basic knowledge on fundamental subjects. And they may not have traveled the world, but they do have a good grasp on other cultures and current international events.

12. Is Always Open To Learn

Real men aren’t afraid to acknowledge ignorance on a topic, but they certainly aren’t satisfied with that. They recognize ignorance is the default state of everyone before acquiring knowledge, and they work to rectify that ignorance whenever they can.

Similarly, real men aren’t offended by constructive criticism but instead welcome it because they know it helps them improve. They recognize that nobody knows everything, but they constantly work to change that.

13. Is Generous And Helpful

A real man is selfless and wouldn’t hesitate to inconvenience himself to help someone in need. He doesn’t judge people who are worse off than him because he doesn’t know their circumstances. Instead, he does what he can to help them. A real man would stop and help anyone change a tire on the side of the road, and not just a good looking woman.

The above list is just a few of the attributes real men possess, and there are many others. Real men don’t mold their behavior based on what they read in lists, though. Lists can help guide the way, but change in becoming a real man must, without exception, come from within.