7 Flaws Every Woman Should Look For In A Good Boyfriend

By Stephen Hussey

Not all flaws are made equal.

When you think of the bad habits of your previous boyfriend, you probably remember all the things he did that added to your stock of daily frustrations: his laziness, his lack of commitment, his indifference to your friends and family, his increasingly unhealthy attachment to the women who live in his computer screen.

But an interesting article I recently read by Mark Manson argues that a few flaws, when examined more closely, actually make your partner more desirable.

In his blog Mark talks about the 7 flaws he would secretly want in his ideal girlfriend, and it made me wonder what the same topic would look like if applied to men.

{Edit: I don’t link to Mark’s post to either endorse or criticise any of the points he makes, but rather to give credit to its role in inspiring this article. I leave readers to make up their own mind on the content of that post, which is, in the author’s own words, written from the perspective a guy who is particularly inclined against commitment or relationships, so perhaps take it with a generous pinch of salt, rather than as prescriptive advice}. 

We all think we want perfection, but some minor character flaws have unexpected virtues that make a guy an ideal long-term partner.

Here are 7 flaws you should definitely consider keeping in a keeper:

1. He’s a pretty boy

Grooming eyebrows? Plucking his nostril hairs? He’s considering getting a facial and worries about how much beer he drinks? Good. Guys who aren’t image-conscious by the age of 25-30 should come with a warning sign.

So maybe he does spend a lavish proportion of his income on shoes, and freaks out about wrinkles too much for someone his age, but if he’s not worried about being aesthetically pleasing now, it’s only going to get worse later on.

Besides, at least he’s cranking out those extra press-ups just to look good for you.

2. He’s a bit entitled

You don’t want the guy who coasts by on “good enough”.

You don’t want the guy who puts up with asshole friends who he can’t stand, or who settles for a mediocre career that makes him miserable and corrodes his soul.

You want the guy who defiantly refuses to tolerate jobs, people, or situations that make him unhappyYou want a guy who won’t put up with second-best and expects to achieve something more.

As George Bernard Shaw once said “all progress depends on the unreasonable man”.

Of course, there are limits to this attitude. Take this mentality too far and you end up with a delusional narcissist who thinks the world owes his fame and riches, so make sure you don’t end up with a self-obsessed maniac.

3. He doubts himself

He should have the ability to ask himself: Did I do the right thing?

You want a man who after an argument will question how he screwed up and have the capacity for self-criticism. He’s never quite 100% certain that he’s correct.

Don’t get me wrong: confidence and certainty are always sexy qualities, and a healthy dose of ego goes a long way to making a guy attractive.

We all feel drawn to people who seem to glide through the world and give off the appearance of instinctively knowing exactly what the plan is.

But too much of this misplaced certainty and you have a guy who never thinks he is the problem: it’s always someone else’s fault, and it’s the world’s job to get in line with his desires.

Look instead for the guy who is likely to think “maybe I dropped the ball on this one”, or “maybe I’m the one who needs to be better”. 

This is the guy who is going to accept responsibility and work through problems like an adult.

4. He takes his work too seriously

You want the guy who has a vocation that matters to him, something that motivates him further than just acquiring more money or buying a faster car. Something that keeps him fascinated long into the night and occasionally on weekends.

The guy who cares a a bit too much his work shows he has a level of pride and determination, which also means he takes other parts of his life seriously.

I’m not saying he should be a workaholic. But he should be willing to sweat and stay up later than necessary to achieve something extraordinary.

Just make sure he never takes phone calls at the movies, in which case, may the relationship gods curse him and all his descendants with bad sex for a thousand lifetimes.

5. He needs time away from you

It’s easy to be offended when he expresses a desire to be alone, or just with his friends or his family without you, but any sign a guy is interested in having a life outside of you is a good thing.

A guy needing time away means he values both his and your independence and separation as a couple.

It’s a much bigger mistake to have a guy who depends on you for his entire social and family life. You don’t need the responsibility of being his mother, his best buddy, his lover, his coach, his gym partner, his therapist. Let other people fill at least some of these roles!

6. He puts his friends before you (sometimes)

I know, it’s romantic to have a guy who makes you his No.1 priority all day, every day.

But the truth is, you should ideally be first in his priorities list about 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time, it’s more important that he blows off your plans to help out his best friend from college, or that he ignores your phone call to coach his roommate through his devastating breakup.

You want the guy who has friends that mean something to him. You want the guy who cares about strong ties with people other than you and tries to nurture those relationships. It means he cares about the bonds he makes with others (and therefore, with you too).

7. He’s an over-sharer

It’s better to have a guy who spills a little too much about what he’s thinking than way too little.

That might mean you occasionally hear a difficult truth about his feeling, a blunt opinion, or find out more about his porn habits than you ever would have wanted to know, but in their own way these honest conversations make you closer, make you understand him better, and they mean he trusts you enough to share parts of himself he doesn’t with other people in his life.

At leas tif he’s too honest, he doesn’t feel he has anything to hide.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I’m not saying all of the above vices taken to an extreme can’t be a recipe for an incredibly frustrating relationship, but in the right doses, what initially looks like a troubling flaw can be a sparkling virtue in disguise.

What are some perceived flaws you secretly love in a boyfriend? Let me know in the comments below.

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Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

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(Photo: Yanni Raftakis)

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29 Responses to 7 Flaws Every Woman Should Look For In A Good Boyfriend

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  1. L says:

    This was really interesting & I enjoyed thinking about this from a different perspective. I have every “flaw” on this list… I’m the farthest thing from perfect. I’ve never struggled dating and I couldn’t even tell you why, honestly, but a few of those were good refreshers. I was a bit disappointed when I found out my bf is going to bring his dad to the Ryder Cup this year and not me, but he also knows you aren’t allowed to run at those elitist golf events and the tempatation for me to break rules may be too great lol. I may need to mature a bit before I get an invite.

    He also has all the “flaws” but I see them as strengths – except that he doesn’t share too much. We are getting there… possibly. It’ll come.

    Great article. I love seeing strength in what are thought of as flaws ❤️

    Xx

    • L says:

      *temptation. His dad is probably his best friend … but he’s up there on my list too. He’s so awesome, which is a good sign for the guy I date in 20 years. I always look at this Xx

  2. Janell says:

    I’m not so keen on the over sharer part. Over sharing can work in two ways ( in my opinion) 1) For the person to get closer to you 2) For there to be a perception of closeness that is not real . Or am I just paranoid. … either way, great article!

  3. Emily says:

    Interesting! I like that you include both #2 and #3; they would balance each other out nicely. Someone who always believes he’s right about everything does not leave much room for growth or discussion, and someone who is always willing to put up with whatever gets thrown at him is not going to come close to reaching his potential. And that Shaw quotation reminds me of another, about self-denial being “the effect of prudence on rascality.” I have mixed feelings about self-denial (depending how you interpret it), but I am in favour of both prudence and rascality! Together, they might sort of straddle the hedge between #2 and #3. :)

    I think #5, #6 and #7 are good companions, and it’s helpful for him to have #7 if he has the other two. You want a guy who will TELL YOU that he needs time alone, or time alone with his friends, instead of making up excuses or outright lying about it, assuming you won’t understand. (Yeah, there’s probably more wrong with that relationship! And if he’s sheepish about telling you, then maybe he won’t be on board with it when *you* need those things.)

    Maybe as another flaw I would add a counterpart to #1: if he’s neat in his person, he can be messy in other ways. Meaning, for example, you don’t want someone who is obsessive about keeping his kitchen spic and span at all times; it’s great to be able to make dinner together, get creative, get messy, have fun, and not worry about it. (Like, you’ll get the dishes done, but maybe other things come first.) And I’m not sure I could get serious about anyone who doesn’t have at least one pile of books on the floor somewhere.

    • Shawnna says:

      Emily! We should be friends LOL, I think exactly like you on that stuff. I am sometimes judged by friends/family because they claim that I’m “too picky” when in reality, it’s just that I’m looking for a different set of values. For example, a large expensive car would not have impressed me either. I would gladly take a tent underneath the stars over a fancy house or a handwritten love letter over a huge diamond ring. To me passion is one of the most important qualities I’m looking for whereas with someone else, security would be the priority. It doesn’t mean that either one of them is wrong, it’s just that we value different things :) I’m in the process right now of selling my house because I wasn’t living an authentic life true to what I really want deep down. Some people would say I’m crazy because a house is a good investment, a good economical choice. But I don’t care about any of that, I want to be able to live my life and experience people and the world and give to others less fortunate. I’m done struggling for things ;)

      • Emily Shepard says:

        Sounds amazing, Shawnna! Do you have plans to travel? Good luck with your house sale. What you said put me in mind of this song by Jason Robert Brown called ‘Stars and the Moon.’ If you don’t know it, you should look it up; I bet it’s on YouTube. Sad but beautiful.

        • Shawnna Stiver says:

          Emily – thank you! I’m taking life as it comes these days and living true to my heart :) The house sale seems like it may take some time and that’s ok! Gives me more of an excuse to ponder what I really want and where I go from here. It’s unbelievably exciting to tell you the truth! I LOVED that song and those lyrics. Thank you for sharing, it gets to the heart of exactly what I’m looking for with love (and that I WON’T be the person in the song!) :)

          • Emily says:

            Yay, I’m glad you liked it! I hope you have a great time planning what’s next for you…and I’m sure you’ll find the moon! :) See you around. xo

  4. Taty says:

    Great article! Wow!! Loved it, those are nice “imperfections” of a man. In all the moments he is off doing his things, I will be off doing mine. We will miss each other during these times and be glad to be around each other again. Lovely agreement ;-)

  5. Alexia says:

    Hey Stephen,

    Liked your article, sound advice. But if I could just call you out on one thing: in terms of the Mark Manson piece you refer to, shouldn’t you also be issuing that one with a warning for it not to be taken too seriously by any High Value woman?

    I’m just saying, ‘cos it’s easy to read MM’s ‘7 Flaws I Like In a Woman’ and to automatically take those as traits us girls should be aiming for (and as some of the women commenting on this page seem to be doing). But, by his own admission, this is a guy who classes himself as an Avoidant attachment-type – the ‘Avoidant attachment-type’ being defined on MM’s own website as people ‘uncomfortable with intimacy’ who ‘in every relationship, always have an exit strategy. Always.’

    In other words: exactly the kind of man from whom Matt has told us to Run A Mile.

    Hey, we’re none of us perfect and I’m sure Mark Manson’s a very nice guy ;) But, I feel that his very personal article shouldn’t be considered on the same level as the balanced advice given on the Get The Guy blog (ie an ideal relationship is based on Secure attachments). When MM claims that what does it for him is a girl with incredibly intense emotions who just ‘lets her emotions flow’ and blurts out every thought in her head (contrary to Matt’s advice NOT to let your emotions rule interactions such as trying to get your ex back); or a girl who will chase him when he starts to ignore her; or even a girl who’s a bit neurotic – maybe we should bear in mind that this is a self-confessed commitment-phobe who (very possibly) is not exactly talking about what works for a long-lasting relationship.

    But still… looking forward to your next article Stephen!

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Yes, good point Alexia.

      It’s something I wasn’t sure about myself either. I was thinking of mentioning when I linked to MM’s article that I’m not necessarily endorsing or disagreeing with the content itself. I only linked to it because it inspired me to write the article and I wanted to give credit where credit is due. But as you say, he does add the disclaimer that he is an “avoidant-attachment type”, so I would tell anyone to take what he says in there with a big pinch of salt and not take it as advice to necessarily follow. Perhaps I’ll add a note to the body of the text just to be sure.

      Thanks for letting me know your thoughts,

      Steve

  6. Neethu says:

    Loved this one dear:) I too have thought about the same and got confused even of he’s so serious about his job. 10 on 10:D
    I haven’t read something of this sort till date..keep writing ..u r unique;)

  7. Ellie says:

    Hi Stephen
    I enjoyed both articles, but one thing bothered me and I’m not sure what yours and Matt’s advice would be… In flaw 6, Mark says he would let himself drift away if his girlfriend wasn’t pushy and calling him up on not seeing her. At what point in a relationship is it OK to become like that? I have a tendency to get to about 3 months in and they drift/leave/break up with me. In the early stages it’s hard to be pushy without seeming needy and pushing him away, and if he’s drifting early on I feel that he maybe isn’t interested or needs an incentive to chase you again. But it sounds like some guys just need a kick to get them back on track and I don’t know how to do that.

    I guess advice generally on being more assertive, knowing how and when to raise issues, would be great. I have really improved my positivity and praise of the things I like in a guy, thanks to the advice on here, but calling someone out on bad behaviour or drifting away is really hard.

    Thanks!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Hey Stephen!

    Thanks for another wonderful and well written blog! I agree with most of the information, however, I disagree with one aspect in #6 He puts his friends before you (sometimes). I don’t disagree with the basic premise–I do believe he needs to maintain friendships and invest time in people and areas other than just you. Too often people suffocate each other by closing themselves off into just spending all their time together. If /when the relationship dissolves, they then find themselves without a support system and have to rebuild relationships neglected. However, the wording of “he blows off your plans” and “ignores your phone call” would definitely not win any points with me. In fact those would be real game changers for me. Perhaps it is just the wording but blowing off plans sounds as if he made plans with you and then just doesn’t follow through by even letting you know he is changing plans. I would understand and have no problem if he contacted me and informed me that he was going to help a friend in need, etc. but just not showing up would not work for me. Ignoring my phone call would also not endear him to me. He could easily explain he would not be available that evening and then I would not call so he would not have to ignore my call. I think communication is of great importance in any relationship an especially in circumstances where his intent for spending time away from you could become misconstrued if not communicated appropriately. Thanks again for a great thought provoking article!

  9. Shawnna Stiver says:

    Stephen – this post made me think of a concept and I’m wondering your take on it?

    Sometimes I think we are drawn to people who share similar characteristics we possess in ourselves but may not yet realize or be living true to those traits. For example, I was attracted to a guy recently because he was adventurous, compassionate, and was living a very meaningful life rather than putting thousands of money away in a retirement fund (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but call me crazy that it’s a little backwards to WAIT until retirement age to really live your life?). And what I realized after spending some time talking with him, was that I was drawn to the characteristics that mirrored those within my own self. I too, am compassionate, ambitious, adventurous, live life on my own terms, etc. but at the time I was falling into the trap of being JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IS EXPECTED OF YOU :) Essentially, he inspired me to pursue a life that was MORE authentically me (I’d love to tell him this but haven’t yet figured out a way…). So my point is that I think in some relationships, we are given an opportunity to see our own selves a little more clearly, good traits AND flaws, and isn’t that the worst-case scenario of any good relationship? :)

    See you all in June at the Florida retreat!

    Shawnna

    • Emily says:

      Shawnna, I totally relate to this!

      And this is a wee bit of a tangent, but your post made me think of how people have different priorities regarding value. I know for a lot of women the fancy job/house/car triumvirate rules, and they would consider a lack in any of those areas a major flaw. But some of us don’t! I once went on a date with a guy who picked me up in a hulking black SUV, even though the place we were going was in walking distance. He was clearly expecting me to be impressed and like him more because of the car. (…Hmm, substitute for something?) Poor guy; this was a second date but if he had been paying more attention on the first one, he would’ve known that the way to impress me was to show up on a bicycle! Not that he would’ve, and not that it mattered; we were totally incompatible and this just proved it :).

      But yeah, my point is that some things perceived as flaws by some are seen as assets by others!

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      I totally agree Shawnna, some people live their values at very different levels, and this is something Matt talks about in the GTG book (if you haven’t got a copy already, go grab one!) – And you’re right, partners can inspire us to live our values at a higher level and bring out our best qualities (especially if they show us how attracted they are to those qualities). It’s one the most beautiful things about relationships – they help us discover ourselves more than we ever could alone.

      Thanks for sharing,

      Stephen x

  10. Brittany says:

    I loved the article Stephen! It’s a compelling topic to think about. I believe that if you were dating someone absolutely perfect, it would be rather boring ….. or at least a little annoying ;)

    One of my favorite flaws is that he can be a bit of a mommy’s boy. Of course, not to the extend that he can’t be an adult and make his own decisions. But, in a way that he cares and considers her happiness. I think it can really show how he treats important women in his life. :)

  11. Amber says:

    Thank you Stephen for sharing! I absolutely loved this line here:

    “Just so long as he never takes phone calls at the movies, in which case, may the relationship gods curse him and all his descendants with bad sex for a thousand lifetimes.”

    It had me laughing but there’s also an element of truth to it. You have a clever way of writing that makes me smile and engages your readers both intellectually and emotionally.

  12. Lauren says:

    I knew this article was going to be interesting based on the title ;)
    I really like that you shed light on these “flaws”. To be completely honest they ended up describing me lol. But it was cool or switch my perspective and imagine these traits on a man!

  13. Egle says:

    Wow, seems like I am 6/7 perfect for Mark.
    Good article, as per usual.

  14. Kathryn says:

    I read some of Mark’s blog, out of interest, when I am supposed to be participating in my MOOC, which I love having a debate with like minded people. Well now I know why I like your blog so much. These poor scientists who do genuinely interesting and useful work to find it condensed and over-simplified for generic dating sites must want to weep. And I’m so fed up with the cultural and sexual stereotypes constantly perpetuated. You take what’s out there and add your own slant and thoughts to the subject matter. It helps that you are very clever, sensitive and lovely. All of which are seen to be slightly feminine qualities. Which leads me onto my point, I do have one! I agree with all your points here, very well thought out and incisive. But I also think it’s the mix of flaws and strengths that really balances out to make a person, boyfriend or girlfriend very special. Someone can do the most dangerous job, be macho in every sense, brave, buff, but still be able to cry at movies, have sensitivity and be in touch with his feminine side in every sense of the word. This mix is super special and any perceived flaws of being addicted to the gym, or being super sexed no longer become flaws.
    It’s always written that men are always looking and lobbying for sex, they have more testosterone and so this is the male way. But women can similarly have a high sex drive and have kinky fantasies just as much as men. We don’t all want to be swept off our feet and wear a tiara at our fairy princess wedding and take an hour to get ready as these other blogs state.
    I’m sorry if this sounds like a rant Stephen, your article is great, as ever. xx

    • Kathryn says:

      Seriously, a perceived flaw I secretly love is a kind of nerdiness. Like they know all the words to every song of their favourite artist and the dates every song came out. Or all the films and dates of a particular film director’s work. For no other use in life apart from having a deep seated love for this, often rooted in childhood, that they quite endearingly would like to keep secret. When you realise or are let in on this secret it’s very touching and strangely intimate.

  15. carla says:

    Another quality that i think is good in small doses is the possessive/territorial/jealous one.

    In too big doses its not only a turn off, but can be dangerous.

    Just a touch of it, however, can be endearing and go a long way to letting a girl know she matters.

  16. Arianna says:

    Hi Steve,

    Another fun article to read, bright and early! :)

    I love it when a guy is sensitive. There are a lot of mixed feelings about men who share their emotions freely, but I find it endearing when a man can do so. That has probably been clear throughout my comments. I would have trouble with a man who has difficulty emoting and expressing. I am in it for a guy who is not ashamed of shedding a few tears during a touching film, or one who is comfortable with writing a sappy note or letter… This is the kind of man who I want to be the father of my children. Someone who understands the breadth and depth of emotional experience… of the human conditon. This would also prove that to some extent, they do not care what others think of them. Balance in that trait could be tricky.

    Finding a guy who falls nicely onto the spectrum of these traits may be a tough one! :) Regardless, I am up for the challenge.

    Thanks Steve!

    Warmly
    Arianna

  17. charlotte summers says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I love this post! You are so right about it all. So many people look for their idea of “perfection” in a mate (or even their friends) and will blatantly reject or try to change the people who don’t meet this expectation.

    Personally, I feel that you should love someone for who they are not who you want them to be. This includes loving their imperfections too.

    Your writing is very insightful and your theories are well founded and researched. I’m a trainee teacher of 16-19 year olds with very low self esteem and confidence. My learners have little to no previous education and I must say that I have used a lot of the advice and skills that both yourself and Matt have published to assist with getting my learners to accept and start to care about the person they are and build their confidence up. Thank you both so much.
    Charlotte x

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