(Photo: Brandon Warren)
If you can’t find a great man, can you make one?
It’s an ancient question, a recurring puzzle among women who are frustrated at wasting time on guys who turn out to be lazy, selfish, or unfaithful.
Now I know you don’t want to be dragging your guy along on a leash like a dog who has to be trained into good behaviour (or maybe you do, in which case, many enjoyable age-restricted websites are available).
But what if you could influence a guy to be his best self around you?
What if you could shortcut all that frustration and wasted time and energy, and quickly find a guy who lives up to your standards so you don’t feel let down later on?
This isn’t about changing a man’s personality.
It’s about being the kind of woman who inspires a guy to reach his highest potential, and knowing the smart way to communicate your standards so that he knows what is expected of him if he wants to be with you.
About 80% of that battle is choosing the right guy in the first place. The other 20% depends on how you act once you have him in your life.
So here are 10 quick points to help you get the best out of him:
1. Forget ‘opposites attract’
Choose guys who already want the kind of life you want.
It sounds obvious but too many people spend entire relationships bemoaning the fact that their partner doesn’t want to join them on an adventuring trip in the jungles of Machu Picchu, or cook with them on weekends, or spend an afternoon wandering art galleries in Paris.
You don’t have to love everything in the same measure, but you do need to be able to see yourself at least indulging in each others hobbies and passions to build a life together.
When people say ‘opposites attract’ they either have no clue what they are talking about, or what they mean to say is that great couple have differences that are complementary, rather than clashing.
Maybe he’s the quiet, thoughtful guy at the party and you’re more socially gregarious, which you both like in each other. Maybe he’s strong-willed and assertive, while you’re more nurturing and gentle, and you’re both attracted to these traits in the other.
But what you can’t have are opposing values.
If you care about loyalty, warmth, and closeness, whereas he is secretive, cold and distant, that’s a clash of values and bound to erupt in arguments later on.
Start with mutual values and you have a guy who at least you know wants the same standards as you do, even if he doesn’t fulfil them all yet!
2. Listen to what a guy tells you early on
I’ve had relationships that if I were truly honest about, I knew were incompatible within the first couple of weeks of being together (sometimes even the first date).
Like Don Draper says in Mad Men: “People are always telling you who they are”.
Pay attention and ask the right questions to elicit whether a guy is worth investing time in:
- If you need a guy who stimulates his mind and loves learning, ask him: “What books have you read lately?”
- If you need a guy who loves adventure, ask him: “Where’s somewhere you’d love to see most in the world?”
- If you need a guy who values family, ask him if he’s going home for Christmas to see them and how often he spends times with them.
All of a guy’s answers are going to give you hints about what he finds important, and how he likes to spend his time.
3. Don’t give him your demands too early
I gave the example a few weeks ago of the woman who freaks a guy out on the first date by unloading all of her idealistic dreams about love and her desire for a soulmate.
This scares guys because it sounds like you’re building a role for him that he hasn’t decided he wants to fulfill yet.
It’s like telling a prospective applicant for a job that he should expect to sacrifice his life for his work, shouldn’t expect to be home until 10pm every day and ought to be prepared to forgo holidays to complete big projects, before he even knows what the job is!
People are only willing to live up to standards for things they already want. Which is why you INVEST first, then TEST. Then you invest a little more, then test a little more.
4. INDIRECTLY talk about the behaviour you expect from others
You want to communicate that you need him to treat you well, but without sounding like you’re giving a job interview.
The easiest way to do this is indirectly. For example, you could demonstrate a standard for neatness by saying, “I have to keep things tidy. I don’t get why people would have a nice house and not look after it. That’s always seemed crazy.”
This is much better than asking: “Are you tidy? I can’t stand guys who aren’t tidy!” because now you’re not making it about him. You’re calling other people crazy for being messy and disorganised, which makes him realise, “If I want to be with this girl, I need to get my shit together”.
5. Call him out when he’s a jerk
Don’t be afraid to break rapport when a guy does something with which you disagree.
One of the worst traits people can have is when they are overly agreeable and apologise for everything a guy does simply because they are attracted to him.
In recent behavioural studies, it has been repeatedly shown that all of us are more likely to show good behaviour and act morally if those around us expect us to behave in these ways.
If you show a guy immediately when he acts that you won’t stand for disloyalty, unkindness, or him taking you for granted, it makes his brain notice “Ah, this is the standard I have to reach”.
Now the test for you is to see if he strives to reach this bar you’ve set, or if he simply doesn’t care. If it’s the latter, you don’t need to invest emotionally in this guy any further.
6. Give him a second chance
If a guy does apologise for breaking your code, give him a second chance to be better.
Sometimes a guy just needs a quiet conversation with himself to realise that he was being a jerk, after which he’ll come around and want to be better next time.
So it goes: Step 1 – Break rapport (i.e. tell him he was wrong), Step 2 – Communicate the standard, Step 3 – Give him a second chance to live up to that standard.
Unless of course, he violates one of those standards so crucial that to even transgress once makes it worth you ditching him immediately, without contact or explanation. I can’t say what this standard is for you, but you’ll know it when it happens.
7. Educate him in the art of turning you on
This technique is a little sneaky and dangerous. Sneaky because it harnesses a guy’s strongest desire (to turn you on) and dangerous because it really works.
Simply do this: Tell a guy that either:
(a) You find something sexy
(b) Something turns you on
e.g. “I find it really sexy when a guy makes me feel protected and safe.”
“I find it really sexy when a guy behaves like a gentleman and has good manners”
Or, as an extra sneaky one (careful, this actually works!): “For some reason it really turns me on when I watch you doing the washing up. Can you take your shirt off and do it next time?”
If you tell a guy something is sexy to you or turns you on, whether it’s him wearing that jumper, watching him vaccuum, or having him give you a back massage, he’ll note it in his brain and remember it forever.
This is unlimited power here. Be careful.
The reason this works is because guys really do secretly live to please the women they love.
But what doesn’t work is when a guy feels like everything he does isn’t good enough for you. He wants to know that him going that extra mile makes you see him as more sexy, more of the man that you’re attracted to.
8. Always give positive reinforcement and tell him what you need
Men don’t often know when they get it right, which is why you have to tell them!
Mr. Right will want to spend his life fulfilling your needs, but he has to know what they are first.
It’s easy to take for granted the generous or kind things our partner does well, but the better you are at praising his best attributes, the more you’re going to see them amplified.
One great phrase for this is “I love it when you do (x)”
So, for example, “I love it when we help each other with work problems. You always know how to calm me down when I’m stressed. It really makes it feel like we’re a great team”.
If you kiss him and tell him how special he is whenever he does something you love, it’s like giving him the cheat code to make him feel adored at any moment.
This works even if it’s as small as him making you a cup of coffee and you telling him how much you appreciate it and how you love spending the morning with him.
Praise is severely underrated and depressingly underused. A recent article in The Atlantic showed that one of the two essential traits to a long-term relationship is generosity. Be generous with your praise and he’ll know exactly how to be the man you want.
9. Make it about your happiness, not his failure
Many guys react badly to nagging. It causes them to get defensive, become ignorant or retreat into a shell because they feel like a failure.
If you call him names like “lazy” or “hopeless”, he’ll feel like you’ve given him a label that he can’t change and won’t feel motivated to be any better. You’ll just make him feel like a failure.
What’s better is if you frame the conversation in terms of your own needs, and being happy together: e.g. “Babe, it would make me feel so happy if we could be organised this year and plan our holidays together. I’m so looking forward to having some fun trips with you. Can we take an hour to do this tomorrow?”
It’s much easier for him to see the benefit of taking an hour or two in the evening to make you happy than it is for him to hear that he’s useless for not having done it yet.
10. Show you expect the best in every area of your life
Remember, people are always showing you who they are.
And you can show a guy who you are through the way you act in every area of your life. If you show you are assertive, expect a lot, don’t take bullshit and only surround yourself with great people, he’s going to realise that he has to step up to be a part of the world you’ve created for yourself.
If you want your guy to get healthier, show him you’re committed to looking after yourself. Ask him to join a gym with you so you can both get healthy, or go for runs together and cook healthy meals with him. The more you make it a joint activity, the more he’s going to subconsciously embed your standard and stick to it.
To attract extraordinary you have to be extraordinary. Extraordinary doesn’t mean having-it-all or being perfect, it just means living in accordance with the values and behaviours of someone who expects the best in her life.
This works much better than teasing him about his failure to be tidy or calling him names when his waistline expands.
Ok, that’s it for the primer on getting a guy to meet your standards.
Follow the above, and you’ll have the tools for attracting a guy who shares your values, and who strives to please you and fulfill your needs.
Lest I be accused of ambiguity in any way, I have an obligation to say something that might sound patronising and obvious, but just for the record: You can’t change who a guy is. A guy can change himself, but not because you want him to. But what you can do is influence a guy to want be his best self around you.
Men can reach their highest potential or be the most mediocre version of themselves depending on what inspires them.
So once more, this post is not about turning a bad boy into a heroic model of manhood.
Nor does this guarantee that a guy is going to become the right man for you. It simply gives you the best chance of finding that guy, and let’s you find out what kind of man he is so that you can decide whether to invest more in the relationship.
Postscript: Are Your Standards Too High?
One thing I haven’t covered in this post though is how to know if your standards are too high, or too low.
Luckily, I have a talented and moderately handsome brother who has already filled this gap for me!
Check out Matt’s video below in which he outlines three key questions to ask yourself when assessing your own standards for the men in your world:
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If you’re ready to FINALLY stop giving up, love the journey, and get the unshakeable confidence you deserve, come and join us for 3 life-changing days at MHVirtualRetreat.com. (Don’t miss out! Retreat begins March 19-21st – claim your spot here)
(EARLY BIRD SPECIAL OFFER – book your spot before April 30th and get 25% off + special exclusive bonuses! Grab your 25% off ticket here)