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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”

  • Great article! You two are awesome!

    I feel that we attract the guys we need right now to teach us what we need to learn before we get the relationship we want, I am nowadays more focused on the person I am and who I want to become instead of dating.
    Being happy is what life is about and I need to find a good balance.

    I still need to work on the lifestyle that will make me happy and and interests/pursuits that are fulfilling,and strong standards of how I want to be treated.

    I like these articles mostly so I can work on me, I already know how to attract men,just maybe not the best, everything is a work in progress though.

  • What a great article Stephen!

    In my opinion, ever since I started reading/listening to Matthew and you I feel like what you say empowers me in so many ways. It makes me realize that I was already strong, but you just confirmed that I should not fear my strength. But I should affirm myself and defend my value, towards myself and stand up for the things which make me be me. A million “thank you” ‘s for that!

  • I suppose this works when also the Guy in this article is a man of high value, right? If he isn’t hè would also fail to appreciate a woman of high value

    And a high value woman is appreciated by a high value man.
    I consider myself to be a woman of high value and i have been single for 10 years.
    Certain core values and character traits i won’t compromise on and it seems to be very difficult to meet somebody who has the same moral code and also practises what they preach like a sense of loyalty, empathy, nurturing, interested in Personal growth

  • I always get lumped in the first category on nights out men often approach me and want sex but it never want to take my number or go on dates..

  • There is a commercial on youtube: Be more dog. The cat in the video could represent women and dog could represent men. Be more dog: be more man. Catch the Frisbee, chase the stick, in other words, go out there and enjoy your life without worrying about cliché. Joke aside, women need to be more men.

    When I go out with ladies, all they talk about is either men (boy friend, husband, a guy at work) or themselves. When I go out with male friends, we talk about movies, work, some politics, and sometimes we just shoot the sh*t. They don’t talk about women or themselves non-stop. They don’t revolve their lives around women. Why do women revolve their lives around “finding” a man? That is where women fail. You should revolve your life around yourself first before anything else. I dislike the phrase “finding a man”, I prefer “meeting a man”, or even better “meeting people”. Of course we all want that special person that raise our heart beat, but that shouldn’t be a priority.

    I do revolve my life around improving myself. I have similar boxes for men. Not all men are serious relationship material.

    If I may add one thing to the list in Box 3: Be a private person. Don’t put all your life on social media. You are killing all the mystery. People don’t need to know you shaved your leg or you had stomach problems. They don’t need to know you are getting drunk every weekend. I keep my private life private. I mainly share ideas on social media.

    I don’t believe that most men approach women for sex. We are same in that way. They want sex as much as we want sex. But men are hunters. That is how they are wired. It is up to women to maneuver it to a more mental level. If the guy is an idiot, then just let him go.

    Hugh Jackman’s wife is not that pretty and she is 13 years older than him. That guy can get any woman he wants on earth, but he never left his wife. In one interview, the journalist asked what bonded their relationship so strong. She said that they always had a great sex life and she encouraged him to grow. There you go! Dirty sex life and growing together is everything. It is not immature, it is true.


    1. Enlightening comment! Matt I would love to see a video on sexual confidence and satisfying a man in the bedroom! How can women keep a guy sexually satisfied?

  • I for sure need to work on what my purpose or should I say professional purpose in life is. A guy I’m into recently asked me when gets my kitten to purr, and I had an idea but was I set on one no.

  • thanks Steve, love the article as usual. You are amazing, I will let you know which ones I need to work on.

    Love you and Matt
    keep up the great work

    xx Freshy

  • Good writing and some interesting ideas – thank you for sharing! (My amazing friend RAVES about you so I had to check you out further.)

    So, I find this particular phrase quite fascinating:

    “When a woman is just physically attractive and nothing else”

    You say this like this is a fairly common type of woman – at least common enough to write about –

    Do you think that you draw attention to this to perhaps (even if subconsciously so) ease the anxieties that most women have about not being good looking enough?

    There are so very very many beautiful and gorgeous women. There seems to be a plethora (which makes your business model quite genius). And they’re more accomplished, successful and free than ever before in history.

    I myself come across MANY stunning drop-dead gorgeous women everyday (I photograph a wide variety of women in different industries in a few big cities) I’m sure you have commented at your events just how BEAUTIFUL your attendees are – and I would agree. Beautiful women are a plenty.

    But I think the notion that there are a lot of beautiful women with nothing else to offer, may be a false notion. I think posing the idea that (let’s say) average looking women can compete by offering something that other more beautiful women cannot offer, may be giving false hope (again, genius business model).

    IF highly beautiful women, when you get to know them, also have a rich variety of deeper things to offer – or even more than “nothing else” as you suggest – than how possibly could an average looking woman with depth and gifts compete?

    There is tons of information on How to Get the Guy – than how come we haven’t all Gotten Him? Maybe we are doing it wrong, and just need to work harder, buy more products, and attend more seminars. The fault that we are alone is ours. Or is it?

    I really am curious, if you think that there is an imbalance in our culture. Do you think there is an emotionally/physically/financially/spiritually healthy man for each healthy woman?

    I wonder if this imbalance may actually be for the better… “The world will be saved by the Western Woman” says the Dalai Lama. We amazing women, without a romantic partnership, have more time and energy to shifting and improving this world. The imbalance grows, the global shift grows…

    Of course we are still human, and get lonely here and there, and go on dates with Mr. Wrongs, and we wonder what WE are doing wrong, and we click on brilliantly marketed ads and throw a few of our dollars (of which we have plenty) at our frustration.

    But maybe we are doing NOTHING wrong. Maybe our goofy way of flirting is perfect. Maybe we have the perfect balance of open and busy – but the perfect guy for us is just already taken, and the leftovers are underwhelming.

    Oh wait, I forgot about my to-do list for a second. Ah yes, Change the World. Ah yes, that is important, isn’t it? Maybe I’ll go back to that for a while, and see you in another few months when World Changing has me burning out, and I once again wish I had a mister to give me a back massage and a good long rogering.

    1. This was a really cool Post Caroline, and your Picture is Gorgeous by the way. Your Smile is so full of Life and Vibrance it’s Infectious, I can’t imagine a better Western SuperWoman Batgirl Signal than this one :0)

      I totally feel where you are coming from with that ¨Super Gorgeous Women who just have their looks and nothing else to bring to the Table¨ line giving off a weird Spiritual Deflating Vibe. I don’t believe that Type Exists and that lots of Super Stunning people can have beautiful Amazing Qualities if the right type of People bring it out in them. They just often get lumped into that Category because it’s easy for People to hate or judge them because of the Mean Girls Trend, or because Society has conditioned these Hot and Beautiful Women to get the recognition they crave this way so that’s why they’re focused on nurturing the Superficial Areas above all else. Nonetheless though, I truly believe in the ¨We Eat with our Eyes First¨ Attraction Philosophy so what you said about Average looking People having a hard time Competing even with Overcompensating totally makes sense. I don’t like to consider myself as a Superficial Bitch but I find Fit Well Dressed Men a Thrilling Turn On, just like how I prefer my Meals looking Highly Finessed a certain Way. I think a lot of Men can feel that way too, it may not mean that they’re COMPLETELY satisfied with their Stunning Partners but it can just be a personal Preference thing.

    2. I agree, there is definitely no shortage of beautiful, successful, well-educated, awesome women out there in today’s world. I read an article recently there more women are getting their college degrees over men. So, for those of us hoping to attract our “equal” (someone who as obtained a college degree, success, etc…), we may not be finding that.

      While I appreciate reading these articles. I really think there needs to be a “How to Get the Girl.” This article reads men rarely approach women. That’s a problem. I know many woman that won’t approach men. Some women only want to date the kind of man that would be confident enough to make the first move (regardless of having needed a “signal” sent to him.) Some women want a man that will take risks and challenges. I think men need to be more “in the know” as to how to strike up a convo first with women, anywhere and any time and not come off as being creepy. That is what men need to learn, IMO!

  • I can attract guys and sometimes get into the early stages where dating/relationship is on the cards, but I think I slip too quickly out of high value mode where they’re trying to earn me and make it too easy for them, then I get dumped. It’s heartbreaking. I need to know more precisely how to go through that transition. Do I keep dating other people (definitely not sleeping with more than one person, though!) and remain ‘single’ in my mindset, until he’s made it absolutely clear he wants a relationship? Then what? Do I become more available to him or carry on with my busy life? I find this area so confusing. Thanks for all your advice!

  • I love this article. Really speaks to two complete individuals coming together to complement the other, in turn creating something amazing. But, what I struggle with is the “all elusive spark” that so many people seem to put too much emphasis on in choosing a partner. How much importance is too much? Not feeling any physical attraction for another is one thing, but what about the anxiety that people feel when suddenly the butterflies that existed in the beginning don’t last past the fourth, fifth date? Generation Y’s obsession with the all elusive spark is a real connection killer in my opinion.

  • Box number 3 is interesting and i struggle sometimes not to be needy id say its something that i need to work on as i know thats where ive went wrong in the past. I also need to have more interests outside relationships as i seem to invest all my time into a guy instead of investing mote timevon myself. This isnt the first one ive read but watching your YouTube videos its beginning to become an eye opener and i can see the mistakes ive made before and quite recently. I wish i found you years ago!

  • Neediness, that’s my biggest one. I am a girl that’s independent in a way that I can and like to do things myself, but I have a big need for someone to be around me. I love having someone to hug with, kiss with, laugh and talk with. But in my relationship now (having a boyfriend who works his butt off and therefor is tired most of the time and therefor only can see me once a week) I feel like it really is something I have to change, for my own good.

  • What I need help on is jealousy when I catch my partner checking other women out constantly … I can’t help getting so annoyed but I need somebody to help me get over it because I can’t seem to except it and he doesn’t seem to be stopping I seriously do need help because it’s causing too many arguments in our relationship please

    1. Hei Lauren,

      what really helped me to overcome jealousy was understanding my own uniqueness and embracing who I am. No perfectionism, just authentic me. I understand, that no matter how I react , he will find someone else if he wants to and it’s ok, because that means that he doesn’t see how special I am or how special you are in your case.

      Try to spare the energy for fun and understand that jealousy will not bring you the result, but self improvement a.k.a. self love will. Appreciate yourself enough to know that you are perfectly fine without him as well. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you and appreciate you ,YOU are the one who doesn’t appreciate her self and see the uniqueness within. Understanding how special you are will free you from comparisement.

      Look yourself in to the mirror and genuinely tell yourself how great and beautiful you are.

  • I struggle with catching a guy’s attention. I am not at all the model type, and like you mentioned I too thought that men only go by looks. I feel that I posses great qualities as a person and I think I have integrity and values but men don’t approach me at all. I think this is due to the whole analogy of not being able to sell myself or put myself out there in the right way.

  • I know Christmas is a time for giving – which I love doing. But this year I’m going to be good to myself (which I very rarely do!) and buy the ‘Get the Guy’ book (no-one else will and no-one has ever given such good advice as Matt and Stephen Hussey) and make an early New Years’ resolution to go to one of Matt’s retreats next time he is in the UK.

  • In my experience, when you meet a “good guy” – there are no questions of “is he into me?” or “when is he going to call?” or “is he wanting anything with me?” THESE QUESTIONS WILL NOT EVEN BE IN YOUR HEAD because you will know. So, from personal experience, if you’re with a guy, where you’re asking yourself these questions – he’s not the right guy. If a dude is looking at other women often over you – he’s not the right guy. It’s really simple actually. IF you have those questions – move on. Seriously. Do not waste months and years on someone if these are lingering questions in your head. HE IS NOT THE ONE THEN.

  • Thank you for this article. I am constantly checking myself on the neediness issue because that’s not who I want to be as I view myself as a highly independent person. However a huge issue that I am working on right now is my confidence and ability to uphold my standards in a drama free way. Currently that is being challenged and I would love to talk to Matthew about this on his podcast.

    My insecurities are being exposed by my teammates (guys I know at the gym). I do jiujitsu and for a long time I was the only girl in the class. I am not seeking a relationship with any of these guys but I can see that working on these insecurities will help me become a more High Value woman in life. So getting back to my point. I find myself in the middle of a lot of locker room talk about other girls (And these are women I know or have met). At first it was funny but lately it has been making me feel very uncomfortable. It makes me feel bad about myself because it makes me feel that because I don’t look like that I’m not getting as much attention or I’m not good enough to train with these higher level guys who are spending their time helping out these girls. When I first got to the gym the higher belts would live train with me but for the past few months I’ve been left out of this type of training. I’ve double checked my hygiene and also separated the idea that there is something wrong with me. But still it makes me feel bad because I see it’s in their behavior and has nothing to do with me. More over I do not want someone giving me extra attention because they want to have sex with me because I view myself as a serious athlete and I want to be taken seriously. I just want to know how to clearly express how their behavior makes me feel and have some backbone and let them know they can’t act like horny dogs every time a cute girl wants to come train at our gym because they won’t want to stay and girls who do play that game will just cause drama in the gym. Mind you most of these guys are married or in long term relationships. And most of them don’t act that way. And other than their stupidity they are really great training partners and have really helped me grow as an athlete.

  • Not sure if sure if my earlier comment went through so I apologize for the redundancy and forcing you to read such a long comment yet again. But thank you for this article as it talks about certain issues I am working on.

    I constantly check myself to not be needy as I see myself as a highly independent person. However, currently I am working on my self confidence and ability to uphold my standards esp when I’m feeling low. Currently those insecurities of mine are being tested esp when it comes to my teammates. For a long time I was the only female in my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu class. When I first showed up to my new school I would have the opportunity to live train with the higher belts (brown & black) but for the past few months I have not been granted that opportunity. I see all of the guys and pretty new girls being granted that opportunity yet I feel left out. I’m sure you are not putting together my concern at this point. I am doing my best to keep this comment as condensed as possible. But I would really like some advice.

    The reason why this behavior makes me feel insecure and bad about myself is because I have found myself as a fly on the wall of a men’s locker room. It’s obvious by the way these guys approach these girls and talk about them when they are not there that they are thinking with their *****. This all makes me feel bad because it makes me feel like I’m not good enough to receive this advanced training. Most of the guys at the school do not act this way and they are my main training partners. But they are also at the same level or not as experienced as me (I’ve been training 6 years and a purple belt) and they also are granted the opportunity to train with the higher level guys (brown and black).

    Even though I haven’t been training with the higher level guys lately, I have noticed that my skill has improved drastically in just a short period of time than it has compared to the other schools I have been at. There haven’t been any girls before me who have stayed at this school and trained as consistently there as I have. I don’t want to change schools. I want to assert myself and my issues in a way where I am respected and not seen as a drama queen or insecure about myself. I have separated from the idea that there is something wrong with me and now clearly see that they are not behaving in a very mature way. Mind you most of these guys are married or in long term relationships.

    Putting my personal feelings aside the issues that I see going forward are: 1) Retention of new girls that come to the school. 2) Girls who do play into that behavior and use sex as a way to get ahead will only create drama and resentment between the students at the school. 3) Creating this type of sexual favoritism for specific women creates an unhealthy catty and competitive environment among women which makes it harder for us to be a team.

    I want to make it clear that I do not want to be the only female at my gym. Jiujitsu is really hard training and getting beatup by nothing but dudes is truly humbling. So getting another girl to train with esp if she is at your level or more experienced is a blessing. It is my mission to continuously work on myself so that I am not jealous when there is another more beautiful more talented girl who walks through the door. I just don’t believe the behavior of the higher ranked guys at the gym who are in a leadership position will help facilitate that same comradery that is already present with the guys with a new group of women.

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