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What truly defines a man? I’m sure everyone has their perspective about this topic. 

Some might point to physical attributes. Others might say it’s about roles and responsibilities. Some might also argue that it’s about character and virtues.

You see, being a man isn’t just about being tough, or strong, or powerful. It’s not just about fulfilling certain societal expectations or fitting into a predefined mold. 

Being a man is so much more. It’s about embodying certain qualities, living by certain principles, and behaving in a way that reflects respect, honor, and integrity.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the things that make a man a man. We’re going to focus on the major qualities that truly define men that make the world around them a better place.

1. Emotional Intelligence 

What separates boys from men? At the top of the list is emotional intelligence. 

The ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions is not just crucial, it is a hallmark of true manhood. 

Men who possess emotional intelligence understand their feelings and those of others. They navigate social complexities with tact and harness emotions to facilitate thought.

Awareness of emotions doesn’t just occur on a personal level. Men with emotional intelligence possess a remarkable ability to empathize, to step into the shoes of others. 

They intuitively grasp the emotions that underpin the actions and reactions of those around them. This understanding aids in fostering relationships, resolving conflicts, and building bridges.

Let’s not forget the value of self-regulation. Men skilled in this aspect of emotional intelligence are not slaves to their feelings. For instance, they won’t waste their time on social media or play video games for hours on end. 

[Read: 5 Defining Traits of a High-Value Man]

2. Accountability 

What makes a man a man

Men are not infallible; they stumble, they falter, they make mistakes. 

What sets a man apart is his willingness to take responsibility for his actions, to acknowledge his mistakes and learn from them.

When a man values accountability, he cultivates a culture of trust and respect around him. 

He doesn’t shy away from admitting his errors, even when they result in negative outcomes. It’s not a show of weakness but of strength, to say “I was wrong, and I will make it right.”

Taking responsibility also means being reliable. Men who embody accountability ensure they are dependable in their personal and professional lives. 

They show up when needed, fulfill their obligations and never make commitments they cannot keep.

It’s easy to dodge responsibility when the going gets tough. But a man of true grit faces the music, acknowledging his actions’ consequences without trying to pass the buck. This brand of accountability, mixed with courage, defines a man of character.

3. Integrity 

Speaking of character, nothing defines it more than integrity. It’s the backbone of manhood, the moral compass that guides every decision. 

A man with integrity walks his talk. He doesn’t compromise his values, not for convenience, not for short-term gains, not for anything.

Such a man honors his commitments. His word is his bond. If he says he will do something, he will move mountains to do it. His consistency in words and deeds earns him the respect and trust of those around him.

But integrity is more than just being honest. It’s about standing up for what’s right, even when it’s uncomfortable. 

A man of integrity doesn’t turn a blind eye to injustice. He stands up against it, regardless of the personal cost.

[Related: 10 Manly Hobbies That Make Men More Attractive]

4. Sense of Purpose 

Real men have a sense of purpose

At the heart of every man is his sense of purpose. It’s that driving force that motivates him, that keeps him going against all odds. 

A man with a purpose lives with intention. He doesn’t just drift through life; he navigates it with clear goals and a vision.

His purpose can stem from his career, his family, his passion, or his desire to make a difference. Regardless of the source, it provides him with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. It’s his North Star, guiding him through life’s stormy seas.

It also reflects his values and priorities. A man’s purpose gives a glimpse into his soul, revealing what truly matters to him. 

His sense of purpose also inspires others. It radiates an energy that’s contagious, encouraging those around him to find their purpose. By living a life of purpose, he not only enriches his life but also makes a positive impact on others.

5. Hard Work 

Hard work, perseverance, grit – these aren’t mere buzzwords. They’re the building blocks of a man’s life. 

Men who embody these qualities don’t shy away from challenges or adversity. Instead, they roll up their sleeves and dive in, confident in their ability to persevere and succeed.

The value of hard work is not about clocking in countless hours or sacrificing health and happiness. 

It’s about dedication, commitment, and the will to overcome obstacles. It’s about pushing boundaries and constantly striving to be better.

A man who understands the value of hard work appreciates the journey as much as the destination. He celebrates small victories and learns from setbacks. 

He understands that success isn’t handed on a silver platter; it’s earned through blood, sweat, and tears.

[Read: When Is A Man In His Prime?]

6. Self-Confidence 

What’s a man without self-confidence? Confidence is the fuel that powers a man’s journey. 

It gives him the courage to step out of his comfort zone, take risks, and face challenges head-on. It’s his inner compass, guiding him through life’s ups and downs.

A confident man believes in his abilities. He knows his strengths and is not afraid to leverage them. He’s not deterred by failures or setbacks; instead, he sees them as opportunities to learn and grow.

But remember, true confidence doesn’t morph into arrogance. A confident man respects others and values their opinions. He listens and learns, recognizing that he doesn’t have all the answers.

And most importantly, a confident man loves himself. He embraces his imperfections, celebrates his achievements, and strives to be the best version of himself. It’s this blend of self-belief and self-love that defines a truly confident man.

7. Humility 

Paradoxically, alongside confidence sits humility. A man’s strength lies not just in his abilities but also in his humility. It’s a quality that endears him to others and keeps his ego in check.

A humble man recognizes that he doesn’t know everything. He’s open to learning, willing to listen, and ready to accept that he can be wrong. His humility is a sign of his strength, not weakness.

Humility also means acknowledging the contributions of others. A humble man values teamwork and collaboration. He recognizes the efforts of others and appreciates their roles in his life.

In essence, humility is about staying grounded. Despite his achievements or success, a humble man remains down-to-earth. He never forgets where he came from, and this humility forms the bedrock of his character.

[Interesting: The Top 10 Manliest Jobs In The World]

8. Respect for Others 

Man

Respect is a cornerstone of manhood. A real man respects others, regardless of their status, race, gender, or beliefs. He understands that respect is not a privilege but a fundamental right.

A respectful man treats others with kindness and compassion. He listens when others speak, values their opinions, and respects their boundaries. His actions reflect his belief in equality and fairness.

Respect also extends to relationships. A respectful man treats his partner with love and honor. He appreciates their individuality, supports their dreams, and shares their burdens.

This respect reflects a man’s humanity. His respect for others mirrors his understanding of the world, his empathy, and his compassion. 

9. Self-Control 

Another significant aspect of manhood is self-control. It’s the ability to manage impulses, emotions, and behaviors effectively. 

A man who possesses self-control exudes calm and composure, even in trying situations.

Self-control plays a crucial role in decision-making. A man with self-control weighs his options carefully before making decisions. 

He doesn’t let impulses or emotions cloud his judgment, ensuring his actions align with his values and goals.

It also influences a man’s relationship with others. A man who can control his emotions is more likely to manage conflicts effectively. He listens, empathizes, and responds with respect.

[Read: The Top 10 Most Attractive Jobs For A Man]

10. Taking Care of Himself 

A real man takes care of himself. Why? He understands that he cannot pour from an empty cup. His physical, mental, and emotional well-being are top priorities.

He pays attention to his diet, exercise, and rest. He doesn’t view these as luxuries but as necessities. His body is his temple, and he treats it with respect.

Similarly, a man values his mental and emotional health. He’s not afraid to seek help when needed, to talk about his feelings, or to take a break when overwhelmed. 

He acknowledges that strength is not just physical but also mental and emotional.


What makes a man a man in a relationship?

There’s more to being a man in a relationship than just being a partner. A man in a relationship demonstrates attributes such as respect, understanding, and patience

He treats his partner with dignity, listens attentively to their thoughts and feelings, and gives them the space and time they need to express themselves. 

It’s about treating your partner as an equal, not as a possession or an accessory.

On top of this, a man in a relationship is honest, loyal, and supportive. He’s someone who communicates openly, sticks by his partner through thick and thin, and offers support and encouragement. 

He understands that a relationship isn’t just about the good times, but also about weathering the storms together. It’s about growing as individuals, and more importantly, growing together.

[Also read: How to be More Masculine in a Relationship]

How do you let a man be a man in a relationship?

How do you let a man be a man in a relationship?

First and foremost, respect his individuality. Every man is unique, with his own strengths, weaknesses, dreams, and fears. 

Appreciate who he is, acknowledge his efforts, and support his ambitions. It’s about valuing his perspective, even when it’s different from yours. It’s about understanding that you’re partners, not clones.

Next, allow him space. Everyone needs some ‘me time’, and men are no different. Whether it’s time for hobbies, hanging out with friends, or just unwinding alone, it’s essential to have that personal space. 

It’s not about distancing but about respecting personal boundaries. Remember, being in a relationship doesn’t mean losing one’s individuality.

What makes a man feel like a man?

What makes a man feel like a man varies from person to person, as it’s closely tied to individual perceptions and societal norms. 

However, several qualities tend to stand out, including strength, courage, responsibility, and integrity.

Feeling like a man often comes from living according to one’s values, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and making a positive impact on the lives of others. 

It’s about knowing who you are, being comfortable in your skin, and standing up for what you believe in. The bottom line is, what makes a man feel like a man is his actions and the way he treats others, more than any external validation.


  • All photos from freepik.com

Destiny Femi

Destiny Femi is a dating coach whose work has helped transform the love lives of countless people. With a writing style that is both insightful and relatable, Destiny has amassed a following of hundreds of thousands of readers who turn to him for advice on everything from finding the perfect partner to maintaining a healthy relationship. Through his articles he has inspired people around the world to become more confident, authentic, and successful in their dating life.

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