What *Really* Matters To Men

This is the eleventh piece to be published on the Get The Guy blog from my brother Stephen. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

Today’s piece dispels the myth that looks are all that matters, and provides a comprehensive breakdown of what a High Value Woman is. This is the key to getting guys to put you in the ‘Girlfriend Category’ and to have them chasing you for commitment. Enjoy!

Enter Stephen

It’s no secret that men place women into categories. Or maybe it is (in which case, sorry guys!).

When we identify these categories we see what separates the woman who only gets attention for one night from the woman who is constantly batting away marriage proposals.

To begin with, let’s look at two common stereotypes about men and women.

Male stereotype: Men are dogs. They will overlook any personality flaw in a woman if she has a pretty face and the body of a Victoria’s Secret model.

Female stereotype: Women are superficial. They are seduced by money and power and will compromise on any other desired qualities if they can pin down a man who has both.

Both of these stereotypes exist for a reason. The male stereotype exists because it’s plain to see that attractive women can receive a ton of attention for their looks.

And here’s the false conclusion most people draw from this: Men just want a pretty face.

The problem with this conclusion though is that it confuses attention with attraction. Pretty women will always get attention from a certain percentage of guys. Just like rich and powerful guys will always get attention from a certain percentage of women.

But we have to see this for what it is: Initial attention.

Why Initial Attention Is Only The Beginning

Initial attention is like having a great résumé for a job.

It catches someone’s eye and distinguishes you from other people. But only for a short window. If you screw up the interview or turn out to be useless on the job (not a euphemism, promise!), then the résumé won’t help.

It’s the same with visual attraction. All it does (on its own) is turn heads.

There are many things we can all do to improve our visual attraction. The beauty industry likes to make this seem like a labyrinth of complexity, but really it comes down to: working out regularly, eating well, taking care of our skin, grooming well, dressing to compliment our best assets, being fashionable and coordinated, having good posture and a warm smile. These things are all under our control. But though we can improve them it’s a big mistake to make looks our sole obsession.

Even if you put all this work into your looks and become the most radiant, sexy woman in the room and he’s totally into your type – all that does on it’s own is trigger a basic male response in his head: I would have sex with her.

She has physical attraction, which means this: as long as she doesn’t do something horrific in his presence, like murder a fellow human being in cold blood, or tell him to “call me maybe” when they exchange numbers, he’s going to want to sleep with her.

But even with visual attraction, there’s no guarantee a guy will even approach in the first place.

Most guys never approach women. They only approach if the risk seems low i.e. if she seems open, warm, fun, approachable and friendly. Guys rarely approach the most attractive girl in the place; they approach the girl who is attractive AND approachable.

One woman could look like Scarlett Johansson, but if he’s scared of getting a cocktail thrown in his face he could be in the room with her for ten hours and never strike up a conversation.

The Three Boxes, Or: What Keeps Him For Longer Than One Night

All this is to make an obvious point: Looks aren’t everything. They are something, but we tend to over-assume their importance. Like the impressive résumé, the most they do is open a door.

Yet it’s so bizarre how we assume people with good looks must have breezy love lives and just fall into relationships. Good looks just help with one part of the process, and even then they don’t guarantee much more than a few sleazy come-ons at a bar.

When a woman is just physically attractive and nothing else, a guy places that woman into the Sex Category, or what we can call Box No. 1.

There are three boxes guys place women in, the order of which is as follows:

Box No. 1: Girl I would sleep with (Sex Category)

Box No. 2: Girl I would casually date/have sex with and introduce to my friends (Casual Dating Category).

Box No. 3: Girl I would have long-term relationship with and introduce to my family (Girlfriend/Marriage Category).

Box No. 1 is usually visual and based on lust. It doesn’t mean a girl has to be the hottest woman he’s ever seen by any stretch of the imagination – it just means he has to feel some base tug of sexual chemistry.

Box No. 2 is the woman for whom he feels attraction, but she will also possess a few other key qualities that make her fun for more than one night, such as being:

  • Good company
  • Fun to hang out with
  • Easy or intelligent conversation
  • Able to charm his friends
  • Not embarrassing/nasty/bitchy in public
  • Good natured and has a sense of humour

Box No. 3 has far greater criteria, and requires a man to see evidence of specific high value traits, such as:

  • A strong sense of purpose and direction in life
  • Independence and interests/pursuits that give her fulfillment
  • A commitment to growth and ability to improve
  • Looking after her health and treating her body with respect
  • Strong standards for how she should be treated that she sticks to
  • A feeling of self-worth and internal validation
  • Sexual confidence and ability to be adventurous in bed
  • Ability to turn him on emotionally and sexually
  • Absence of neediness
  • Willingness to love him for who he is and encourage him
  • A lifestyle that she loves living and good relationships with people around her
  • Absence of drama

These are just some of the major traits that men are unconsciously seeking out when they begin dating someone. The more high value traits a woman shows, the quicker he puts her straight into the Girlfriend Category. This is why some guys claim they ‘just know’ that a girl is a keeper – because early on they see evidence that the girl they are dating is high value and thus irreplaceable (providing he’s in the right time in his life for a commitment of course).

All of this might seem obvious. It’s obvious that people are more choosy about who they have relationships with compared to potential sex partners.

But people forget this obvious truth.

Moreover, the broader purpose of this piece is to highlight that everyone struggles with different parts of the process when it comes to dating.

Just because someone is physically appealing, it doesn’t mean that they have the high value traits that make a guy want to call them for a second and third date, or get into a relationship with them (and the same goes for men).

Equally, just because someone is high value and would make an incredible partner does not mean that they are good at getting that initial attention in the first ten minutes. To go back to our job analogy earlier – it’s as though they are perfect for the role but don’t know how to write an eye-catching résumé that shows their qualities early on, leaving them overlooked for the wrong reasons.

Everyone has their own weaknesses. Take a look through the qualities mentioned in this piece and identify one or two areas that you think are your weakest areas. There is huge power in identifying what we need to work on, or else we stumble blind for months or years working on the wrong things.

And remember – most of the time our dating life isn’t a total disaster. Most of us are getting it mostly right in most areas. Sometimes just fixing one missing link in the chain can bring the whole thing together.

What links do you need to tighten up? Let me know in the comments below. If I notice a pattern in the responses I’ll direct a future article to that specific topic.


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Photo credit: André Benedix

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221 Replies to “What *Really* Matters To Men”

  • I am fully a high value woman, according to the list. I’ve been one for years, and continue growing and self-reflecting. (The only unknown with a particular guy is if he has emotional or sexual attraction.) I have high standards (values and boundaries on how to be treated), yet extreme openness to types of men.

    I attract people like magnets and have no lack of close relationships with people. I am kind, intelligent, empathetic and successful in all areas of my life, except romantic relationships. I am also pretty (perhaps an 8). And, I am out there going to all sorts of groups that would attract quality men. I meet men all the time. I smile, I flirt, yet rarely get a date.

    I want to know what I’m doing wrong, because it is not about who I am. I am happy with who I am. I am happy with life. I want a man to enhance my life; someone to love, someone to share with, sex, friendship, fun, etc. I feel that I’m this great combination of independence, femininity, and vulnerability. I have so much to offer, yet why isn’t anyone buying? Are they not seeing me? Are they afraid? Do I seem too good to be true?

    It is something I am doing or maybe there are so few men at this level that it’s near impossible? I’m at my wits end and in my early 50’s, so I’m just wanting to experience the ease and fulfillment of a romantic connection and partnership say for the next 5 years, 20 if we’re really right together.

    I allow myself to be vulnerable and many men I’m interested in open up to me (as do many people) and they are reciprocally emotionally supportive. I am not needy, yet I am open and allow vulnerability. I feel sexual attraction from these men. It seems it’s all there, but I don’t get why they don’t allow themselves to move forward. This applies to men who also seem high value — that is men who are self-aware, kind, empathetic.

    I am told by many people that they cannot understand it at all, that I radiate joy and exude confidence (non-narcissistic) and that I am a wonderful person. I feel I am a wonderful person. I am low drama, emotionally stable, insightful, fun, interesting. Yet, I’m ready to scream in frustration over this lack of being able to create a mutual connection with a man. Why do they not go for it? Again, what am I doing wrong?

    Why oh why is it so damn hard?!

    1. Hi Dee,

      I don’t have answers for you but I completely resonate with this! Matt and Stephen please help! All my life I’ve been told how pretty I am but I feel so frustrated and isolated! I sometimes live in my own world particularly when I don’t feel valued. My story is similar to Dee’s difference is that I can be quite shy and introverted in crowded or public places and around the men I want. I’m 25, (far from established but putting in the effort) all about the self-improvement, building a business, and (dare I say it) turning heads but with that focus comes detachment from things that don’t serve my purpose. Matt and Stephen do you have a conversation script for shy women who just want to get direct with finding a guy worth the effort? Perhaps a list of questions to ask? It has been come abundantly clear to me that I’m going to initiate contact with the men I’m interested in. It just takes a LOT of energy and certain mindset which I’m currently programming into my mind.

  • I have no problems getting decent men (although I do get a lot of a**holes). I also have no problem dating someone for long term. However, I can’t seem to get a man to commit to marriage! They all run and display push/pull behaviors and that is even with a man I dated for twelve years! I’m always in category #2 but can stay in #2 for two months to twelve years. I have been told I’m stunningly gorgeous and sexy by men and women (I personally think I look pretty but not knock out status). I’m into fashion and always like to dress nice and do my hair and makeup. I workout and take care of myself. I have a healthy average self-esteem and I’m extremely friendly, sociable and always laughing/smiling. I’m college educated and quite popular but love being alone too.

    However, guys always say how attracted they are with me, some even confess their love, some want to live together, some really like hanging out with me because I’m fun. But, not one has ever wanted to get married. It has made me incredibly needy over time and I that is my one very big flaw that consumes me every time I get involved with a man and they can’t seem to take the relationship to the next level. It takes my otherwise healthy self-esteem to a very low point and I blame myself for their issues.

    I’m realizing that I have a bad habit of seeking men that are emotionally unavailable and trying to “fix” or force love on them. Idk why I do this but it ALWAYS brings my self-worth down by begging for them to commit. I should be kicking these dudes to the curb once I find out they are afraid or refuse to commit…but I stay. I stay and try to fix them. I need to fix my own self as to why I need validation from this specific type of man and why I can’t find a man that is emotionally stable who wants to commit on his own. Whenever I catch myself begging a man to commit, I always say to myself “You are so much more than this. Why do you do this?” It’s almost like I can’t stop my need for validation.

  • Interesting article. I’ve very literally never been in any category; I’ve been single for seventeen years and haven’t been on a date in about six years. It has been, pathetically, because nobody has wanted me back. I’ve liked guys, and I’ve tried all kinds of different ways of handling myself around them. Straightforward. Subtly flirty. They just never want me, the closest I ever get is being “led on.” There has to be something about me that is just inherently unattractive. I think it’s probably my weight; I’m a little bit curvy and have sort of wide hips.

  • Amongst all the links in box No.3 the one that resonates with me is this one
    – A feeling of self-worth and internal validation
    Especially the second part of it. I would usually (as a default) seek for external validation but I am sure that internal validation is more powerful. I would love to know how to practice it. Any tips?

  • How to keep conversations interesting?
    Have you ever felt that sometimes you just run out of things to say. Not everyone has an entertaining lifestyle or love to read books or have many friends.
    How do we handle when we get stuck in situations where there’s nothing to say and the silence becomes uncomfortable?

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