Why Men Are More Chicken Than You Think

Make yourself comfortable and let’s talk about men.

You know that muscular guy in the gym, who spends so much time lifting weights you don’t know how he manages to hold down a full-time job? Or that guy at the bar with the perfectly quaffed hair, who dresses like a GQ model and constantly has that narrow-eyed James Bond look on his face? Or the guy in the Wall Street business suit, who shouts too loudly on his phone because he thinks he’s a modern-day Gordon Gecko?

Do these guys ever intimidate you? Because they shouldn’t.

Photo: Vicki’s Nature

Look, I know men can be brash and arrogant. Some men just love the sound of their own voice, or being the loudest, most obnoxious person in the room. But don’t mistake all of this posturing for confidence.

I’ve noticed a recurring mindset from my coaching: Most women completely over-estimate the confidence of men.

All of those guys above have insecurities. And even though some men of course are genuinely confident, and maybe even over-confident, we have to be careful of assuming that all guys have the same high opinion of themselves.

Because truthfully, they don’t.

Ask 95% of men to approach a woman and ask for her phone number, and they’ll sweat nervously at the very suggestion. They’ll wonder “what should I say?” “what if her friends laugh at me?” “what if she tells me to go away?”

These things all run through guys heads. Because we men are desperate to be accepted by you women.

I used to joke on my early seminars that if women ever realised the power they truly have over us men, we would be doomed as a gender. And I still mean it.

Men’s self-esteem is so wrapped up in their ability to attract women it’s crazy. It’s why guys lie and brag to their buddies about how many women they’ve slept with. It’s a way of trying to fit in, to be accepted, to be VALIDATED AS A MAN!

Look, I know men and women aren’t totally different species. We are all insecure at times and we all want to be accepted. But male acceptance is heavily built on being attractive to the opposite sex. This is why rejection for a man is so damn painful. Being shot down by a woman is the one thing that can destroy his masculinity.

So what you’ll often find is those loud guys who try and over-compensate by being cocky or too-cool-for-school, do so so that he can feel superior to women….because he’s scared of their power over him.

Unfortunately there’s a real downside to the way that so many women are completely over-estimating male confidence: it’s killing their chances of meeting great guys!

The problem is, women see the few loudest guys in the room, and they assume that all guys are the same. And then they forget about all those great guys in the background that they could have met.

When women over-estimate male confidence it can lead to two responses:


(a) She tries to be cold and aloof, or combat all that male posturing by playing super hard-to-get. She’ll repel his approaches, be cold towards his jokes, or try to be overly-aggressive so that she can combat his ego.

The problem is, there are only a tiny handful of guys who can take that kind of pressure. Meanwhile, all the great guys who would have spoken to this woman are completely intimidated by her coldness or aggressiveness


(b) She becomes timid and intimidated, and decides that she’ll simply avoid men altogether.

And as you can guess, both responses don’t work. What we need are some changes in our mindset…

1) Never judge all men based on the loudest guy in the room

Loud guys are desperate for attention and have all kinds of insecurities. Make sure you don’t extrapolate facts about all men on those few guys (imagine if men judged all women based on a few glammed-up, vacuous party girls he sees in nightclubs every week!).

2) Careful about icy exterior

It’s losing you guys and you don’t even know about. Guys who would approach a woman if she was warm and open enough, but are terrified of the ice-queen look.

3) Make men part of your social group

If you want men to seem less alien, start hanging around with more men. Get to know their hang-ups and insecurities; you’ll be amazed at how even great looking guys melt when they see the women they want to approach.

Till next time,


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61 Replies to “Why Men Are More Chicken Than You Think”

  • Thank you Mat!
    I’ve always had issues with being intimated, to the point that I become so shy. I feared that they will ‘find out’ that I’m not cool enough for them so I became extremely self-conscious.
    This article really put it into perspective for me.
    I know I have a long way to go in regards to my self-confidence, but you and your team have been a big help along the way. Thank you!!

  • Wow.. This makes so much sense to me .. In fact i’d like to add here Matthew, you do understand both the sexes perfectly!!! That comment about “glammed-up, vacuous party girls” really spoke to me because i have a couple of male friends who have made the mistake of actually generalizing their opinion of women based on certain experiences!!!

    And this whole article about women feeling intimidated by men who are loud, arrogant and aggressive, well that is totally me !!!

    And i do tend to shut myself down and have even been told so. But its not my fault that most men around me have been super aggressive, loud and extremely arrogant and ruthless.. (sigh)

    Anyhow, as a maturing person i have learnt to spot the nice guys and they are often the ones who are least likely to get noticed…

    I have never been close to any men in my life actually, but now i have decided to give it a go !!! It is helpful to read stuff like that, gets me moving in the right direction !!!


  • Men would sometimes show that they’re of stronger sex…I’m sorry but I abhor! There are some who are more nervous when it comes to courting. For those who wanted to test their strength, wish you luck guys! But as for me, I still believe in gender equality and some women are stronger than you!

  • Mat i love your articles!

    I think what im about to tell you can be related to this..

    First of all i love men, i have great male friends and i had two great boyfriends!

    These two previous years i went out a lot and started meeting a lot of new people. At somepoint i stopped recognizing myself because i was becoming agressive, my vulnerability was put aside and i just felt the need to fight men even when attracted to them. It just didnt felt like me. Also i was always feeling insecure so that was driving me nuts. The bad thing about all this is that it made me DOUGHT myself! Grrrr

    The good thing…. i am now in a relationship with one of those “backstage” guys and the minute i started talking to him i felt the difference.. i was not agressive, i was shy but never feeling insecure about his interest in me, and i waited for the right timing for things to happen.

    I just wanted to say i know pretty well those super-confident guys and for me and for a while, before i knew better that led me into wrong behaviors, so yes it is important to look further. Its like a beautiful shinny piece of fruit.. if its too inviting it will probably taste like nothing :)

  • This blog is so timely! My friend disclosed recently that this guy we know told her he thought I was attractive and asked for my number from her. I was quite surprised as he seemed like the confident one of the room who could pull anyone he fancies! Nonetheless, he hasn’t contacted me or anything. I do quite like him though, so how can I encourage him to talk to me without letting on that I know what he did?

  • Matthew, what a coincidence. I got your blog post e-mail this morning — I had just realized a few days ago that the guy I’m very much interested in needs a lot of encouragement and positive signals from me (laughing, smiling, positive responses, not playing too hard to get), and is very discouraged by challenging signals (frustration, the possibility of competition from other guys). I’ve also pulled back a little and let him initiate texts and set him up to respond in a flirtatious way. What a difference! He is now texting me every morning (he initiates) and is being very responsive to my texts. :) Yes, guys can definitely be chicken (especially if they are younger than you, which is the guy I’m interested in). Don’t play too hard to get or make them jump through too many hoops. (Little hoops are okay though!) Good luck everyone! :)


    1. That’s so wonderful! I’m very happy to hear that you both grew together! I’ve been in a similar situation. But, because I’m in a far distance relationship it’s a bit difficult to text and see the body language. Unfortunately, we haven’t video chatted or voice chatted, but we do chat every night. It took so much out of us but we do our very best to be honest about our feelings and what goes on in our life such as stress, silly everyday things that happen, and such. Our relationship has been growing more everyday! I would also like to thank Matt and his team for such amazing tips and their fantastic openness to a the mind of a man. I’ve been able to effectively communicate with my boyfriend and I love it!

  • oh my! i just realized this is true! now i’m having regrets..i should’ve not avoided that guy..everything is nice about him except for what i thought was his overconfidence… thanks for the realization, Matt :)

  • I have a number of male friends (step 3, totally covered), and they are RIFE with insecurities!

    Unfortunately I’m so open, friendly, approachable (step 2, not an issue) that I only seem to attract guys who NEED their confidence boosting/issues heard! Sometimes it’s blatant from the start (and I make a sharp exit), but often they seem fun and happy when I first encounter them (and not at step 1 Loudest Guy level), I get sucked in, they open up and .. bless their hearts.

    I end up as counsellor, flirting honey (they tell me I’m beautiful, and hot), best friend, confidante etc, all while they’re telling me they’re not in the right ‘place’ for a relationship. It’s fine on one level, as it means I’m gathering a LOT of great male friends (back to step 3), but .. I’d quite like something different for a change, lol!

    *Awaits for you to tell me how badly I’m going wrong*

    :) xx

    1. All I have to say is I’m going through the same thing that you are and I agree with the points you’ve made. I know I’m not helping, because I’m wondering the same thing you are, “What can I do to change this?” I hope there’s an answer to this. lol

    2. I have the same problem with guys. And it frustrates me too. I also love having more guy pals but I would love someone too like me again in that other way.

      I do agree with the blog but I also started being a bit more assertive about my own needs with guys. And you know what? Now it is almost the other way round. When you are clear about what you would like from a guy and it’s not an impossible thing to do they really want to be the one to be able to give that to you :)

      So I guess that’s my solution. Yes, make compliments and realize they have insecurities too but don’t make yourself this perfect version of a woman cause that will also make them insecure about approaching you on a different level. It’s all a balance of things.

  • Thanks, you are giving me light, im 37 and my love life has been the result of my response to the loudest guys, in my country there are plenty of chauvinist men. But today Im beginning my weekend thinking about background great guys, who would appreciate the tenderness I have erased in order to be “strong”. I do hope, I can be sweet, and warm as once I was…
    Thanks for the energy you give through your articles, conferences… and everything you do…

  • Hello Matthew: I am seeing a guy right now, and I’m confused about him. He states we’re just friends, and for me not to expect a lot from (he said this at the beginning) hasn’t said it since. But he acts possessive, wondering who’s calling, at times who’s texting. He likes me to stay over weekends, wants to go on trips and everything’s great when we’re together. But he rarely calls, he does text. And every once in a while he initiates contact. We’ve been seeing each other regularly for 5 months now, weekends are set aside for us. But I still feel a disconnect, should I ask him? I’ve been told by many I can’t confront him, what should I do? Any advice?

    1. It is a fact that many men just look for casual sex, don’t confuse their interest to fuck with their interest to pursue a romantic relationship. They are worlds apart. Allow him to develop emotional intimacy and feelings for you before you become sexually involved with him. When a guy is in love he wants to make the first love experience magical, special, and beautiful f
      or you. Lead the way by appreciating him; if he truly likes you he will wait and enjoy every second with you, the kisses, the hugs, the caressing, etc. If he just wants easy sex, he will soon disappear. If he wants to be
      your friend with benefits or he has other women, walk away from him because he has enormous love just for himself, and you are just one more of his conquests! Women are the jewels and men have to prove that they have what it takes to be the one for you before you even give them sexual gratification. He has to earn it.

  • Never judge all men based on the loudest guy in the room …. i don’t but unfortunately they are all the same

    icy exterior… i only use it when I attract the wrong guy to push him away

    Make men part of your social group …. interesting but it coz a lot off problems

  • Hey Matt,

    It’s crazy how both men and women overestimate the confidence of one another! And I totally agree with every word you said! =D

    Thanks a lot, take care!

  • Hi Matt,

    This is really insightful and helpful. I guess I always assume that it seems like a Mans world and they have it easy. So, it is us who have to be the careful one’s out there. There are so many different messages from the various dating guru’s and it can get confusing. There is even a book out there regarding Why men marry Bitches. Some say be strong and play hard to get and you say be inviting and open. What you are saying makes more psychological sense. Why wouldn’t anyone regardless of the sex want someone who is friendly. Anyway, I have decided to just enjoy my life and what will be will be. As long as we ourselves are confident and comfortable with who we are, life will present itself. thanks for the insight regarding insecurities of men. It has definitely opened my eyes to a new perspective.

  • This is so true. You know there is this guy, he is director of one hotel where I’m organizing coaching events for my company. He is obviously on high post, so looking confident is somehow part of his role. Plus, he is young, very good looking. You would def.call him a great catch! But, I see a big amount of modesty in his behavior, which really attracts me, I think he is simply good person.

    Anyway, although he looks confident, I believe deep inside he might hesitate approaching me a bit differently:
    First, it can be about that what you mention above – men are desperate about being accepted by women, I guess especially if they are good looking and being on respected posts, because they have so much to loose.
    Second, it might be that I’m basically his client giving him business and he would never cross that line because he is very professional.

    I don’t know. We had some nice chats, I see some chemistry, and I would like to get him know better, that’s it, but he is really a challenge for me :). We keep meeting in business environment, he obviously ‘behaves’ in front of his subordinates, so it is hard to feel casual. Any advice on how to approach such ‘confident’ well respected good looking manager, who is busy all the time and partly looking at me as client?

    Thanks :)

    1. I never post replies usually, but this happened to me and I have some great advice to help you unlock that dilemma right now! I am a senior professional and bumped into this lovely man in my local coffee shop – sensed mutual attraction built up over several months just through a glance, but 5 weeks ago was the first time we struck up a conversation. Turns out he runs his own business and in the course of our discussion I suggested he might like to pitch for services my team are looking for. Which he did. But work stuff started to muddy the waters really quickly. Our emails got more and more professional. He got more and more clipped and courteous being mindful also of me as a client. I could sense our ‘social’ opportunity just slipping away and was mortified. After a couple of weeks,a brainwave. With encouragement from friends, and a lot of courage (as I hate chasing men), I fired him an email on a Sunday afternoon from my PERSONAL (not work) email address – telling him I was keen to make a separation between work and social, and was he round for coffee sometime! I got an immediate reaction (like he was relieved) and, whilst things are happening very slowly, we’ve been on 2 x 2 hour coffee dates since and it resolved that whole thing between us. STOP the work email (unless you have to deal with work specifically) and then switch immediately to personal email to follow up informally on anything NON WORK related. NEVER bring work into your personal email chats……
      It’ll work. Just be brave taking that first step.
      Write – I never like to mix work with social, so am sending you a personal email. Would be nice to grab an informal coffee when I’m next at the hotel. What do you think! Have a great day! :)

  • thanks for the information..SMH(shaking my head) can’t figure out why guys seems to be so complicated. picky yes,at that age,(over 40) when I know what I like and what I DON’T. i’m attracted to this guy at work who seems outgoing and quiet at the same time?? he feeds the homeless,participates in breast cancer fund raiser, united way etc etc..but seems quiet so I’m a little confused. i am really attracted to this guy and he seems to be my type, now I need to know how to approach him..we work together and he just recently moved on the same isle as me at work, please tell me how to approach this man????

  • I don’t understand how a guy’s mind works ??

    He was the one to said we need to talk now seriously, about to know how we can move forward? However, he was not free, so will give a call when he is free. After a week, still never get a single call nor some text from him. What he actually think? And what he actually want?

    I was so confused why he asked for a discussion and just get himself lost after for more than one week now. Does he really so busy until can’t spend a short time to discuss on our relationship? Or he just want to run away from the problem?

    I’d really appreciate if you can tell me what’s in his mind?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Wow i realy enjoyed reading that. Us woman hold great powers over men then .
    So if you like a guy should you just go over and say ask him a question or ask for help say if you were at a gym to get chatting. is that the best thing to do ?
    Please reply Matt.

  • I completely disagree that male confidence is only ever met by your two options. As a woman thats dated a lot i could suggest at least 4 alternative options. I often meet confident men and neither act cold or feel intimidated. I’m intrigued by confidence in anyone but understand that we all have our insecurities. In fact I think this is pretty generic bland advice that people should apply everyone, not just the opposite sex. The loudest man in the room may also be genuinely confident and not simply desperate for attention as you put it and that’s okay. Surely you’re not saying all the loud confident men are an insecure facade seeking female validation and if we just take the time to explore their insecurities we will live happily ever after? I would encourage women to respect his self confidence rather than pick away to find the ‘faults’ in order to respond to his attention.

  • Well, this makes not so much sense for me. I’ve never ever judged all men based on one guys behaviour. I think I am open, I like to smile, and lot of men say I am “cool” (haha). I also tried some flirt tips recently like touching someone, being flirty, being a good listener, etc but nothing!!! happens. I think if I am open and friendly they just see their buddy in me and not the woman. sigh

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