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Masculine Traits: 21 Healthy and Unhealthy Manly Characteristics

masculine traits

Men want to be men, and women want to be with “a man.” But what does this really mean? What are the healthy masculine traits men should have?

When it comes to men and women, they’re extremely divided. This isn’t to say men and women are the same and require the same needs. We are different. We’re raised differently and have different challenges to face. But at the end of the day, what we don’t realize is that every woman and man have both feminine and masculine traits. This is something we can’t fight; the only difference is everyone leans to one side more than the other.

Women are constantly pushed to be nurturers – emotional and feminine individuals. Whereas men are constantly challenged to be more ‘manly,’ whether that be through confrontation, aggression, or competitiveness. 

[Read: Masculinity vs femininity: Which side do you think is stronger?]

Feminine vs masculine traits

Now, you probably have a stereotypical idea of what feminine traits are. Femininity, in women, is seen as nurturing, emotional, and creative. But in a man, it’s viewed as needy, overemotional, and weak. To combat those negative misconceptions, most men choose wounded masculine traits such as competitiveness, dominance, and abuse.

Instead of understanding their feminine side, processing, and embracing it, their fear and insecurities push them to choose unhealthy masculine traits. This doesn’t mean he’s a bad person, but it does show that he struggles to understand himself and is avoiding to deal with his internal issues. But knowing the healthy and unhealthy masculine traits is the first step is working towards having them. 

[Read: Why we should all embrace the sex positive feminism movement]

The 11 healthy masculine traits that men should improve on

What makes a man?

#1 Confidence. Self-love and confidence are basics. You’ve probably read tons of articles saying how important confidence and self-esteem is. Yet, it’s extremely hard to achieve. When you grow in an environment that pushes you to fit a specific norm, it’s hard to stay true to yourself. And this is why confidence is a constant struggle in maintaining. [Read: 18 qualities of a good man that sets him apart from lesser men]

#2 Self-assuredness. You know who you are. I’m serious. You know who you are. The only thing is you haven’t sat down and answered that question truthfully. You have an anchor in you that keeps you grounded and secure in yourself. Self-assuredness only comes once you’ve identified yourself. 

#3 Responsibility. No, you don’t need to become this super serious man who thinks three steps ahead at all times. Responsibility is more than about making smart choices. It’s also taking accountability for when you make mistakes. You will make mistakes, but hiding or shifting the blame isn’t a healthy trait.

#4 Supportive. People want to surround themselves around others who care. And one way to show you care is by being supportive. It shows that you’re genuinely interested in the relationship you have with this person, and you care. People want to know someone cares about them. [Read: How to become a better person in a relationship and be happier too]

#5 Boundaries. A healthy masculine trait is knowing where your personal boundaries are. For example, a boundary could be having two beers when you go out because you know after the second beer you get sleepy and pass out. It’s a simple boundary but significantly impacts your life for the better. 

#6 Stability. I’m not talking about money because let’s face it, who is financially stable right now? Exactly. What I’m talking about is emotional and mental stability. And though it sounds like a walk in the park, finding your inner balance is a huge challenge. To become stable, you must go through your internal fears and challenges. [Read: These are the traits that make men attractive to women]

#7 Courage. We all have our fears, the things that hold us back from going forward. And being courageous isn’t easy. It’s really difficult and challenging. But by facing your fears and pushing through them, you strengthen who you are as a person. 

#8  Reasoning. This trait will certainly help you out in life. Reasoning is being able to think about something with logic. You can put your emotions aside and look at the situation as it is. When you do that, you can understand all sides and come to a logical conclusion. 

#9 Ambitious. A positive trait of masculinity is wanting to do something with your life. Again, that doesn’t mean your ambitions need to impact the world. If you want to write a comic book or lose ten pounds, these are ambitious goals. [Read: 18 powerful ways to build self esteem and start winning at life]

#10 Independent. This doesn’t mean a man cannot depend on anyone else. You can ask for help and still be a man. You don’t need to be moved out of your parent’s house to be independent either. Independence means to be able to take care of your own basic needs and make responsible decisions.

#11 Innovative. No, you don’t need to suddenly become Steve Jobs or open a multi-million dollar start-up company. Innovation doesn’t always mean you need to invent something for the world. Being innovative can mean finding a creative way to save money on gas or create more storage space in your closet. 

10 unhealthy masculine traits

What about unhealthy masculine traits? Here are the traits to need to learn to let go of, even if you’ve been forced to hone them all your life.

#1 Control. When someone is highly insecure about themselves or their surroundings, they’ll do their best to try to control the people and situations around them. Control is a huge red flag for both men and women that there are deep unresolved issues within them. [Read: Controlling vs caring: A thin line controlling men love to cross]

#2 Dominance. Because he’s not comfortable with who he is as a person, maybe he doesn’t feel respect in certain aspects of his life, he feels the need to be dominant towards his partner. Though it’s normal for one person to be more dominant than the other, there’s a limit. Dominance can turn into a form of control. 

#3 Abuse. There’s a lot of pressure for men to “be men.” If a man doesn’t have a positive example of healthy masculine traits, then they struggle to understand what masculinity really is. Their insecurities and frustration can lead to explosive and abusive behavior. 

#4 Confrontational. There’s nothing wrong with raising your opinion when you feel something isn’t right. We all do that, and most of the time, the issue is resolved. But when you’re confrontational, you show dominance, but in an aggressive way. That, again, is because you’re insecure.

#5 Unsupportive. You’ll always see in movies the “cool” guy never really caring about anyone else around him. He’ll nod his head and say, “oh cool,” while scrolling through his phone, but he’s not listening. This doesn’t show that he’s cool; all it shows is that he’s indifferent and egotistical. [Read: 15 things guys do that are big turn offs to girls]

#6 Unstable. Now, I’m not talking about financial stability. Listen, there are many people who are working full-time and yet are struggling to pay the bills. That doesn’t mean they’re displaying unhealthy masculine traits. Instability, whether it’s emotional or mental, comes from childhood and the pressure of meeting cultural norms of masculinity.

#7 Competitive. We’re all a little competitive. It’s also how our society is built; it’s designed for us to compete to the top *whatever that means*. But there’s a point where healthy competition becomes an obsession, the only thing you can think about. This also stems from insecurities and the belief that you’re not worthy unless you win it all. 

#8 Aggression. This is a tough one. Most people use aggression when trying to make up for something they feel they lack. It may not be as big of an issue as you assume. It could be someone feels they’re not tall enough. They use aggression to feel more secure about their size. [Read: 10 things to do to become manlier… but not aggressive]

#9 Egotistical. Now, we all have egos. Maybe if you’re a monk, you learn to control and lose your ego. But for the rest of us, our egos are very much alive and thriving. On the one hand, our egos can be a positive trait, but once an ego gets out of hand, you lose touch with reality and inflate yourself. 

#10 Vanity. As we all know, it’s one of the deadly sins, and that’s for a good reason. Now, self-love and confidence are positive and healthy traits to have if they’re coming from a stable and empowering place. However, vanity comes from insecurity and isn’t genuine. 

[Read: What makes a man a man? 13 traditional defying manly characteristics]

What many people get confused about is that being a man has nothing to do with large muscles or sleeping with tons of chicks. And if you value your masculinity based on superficial things, you have yet to become a man.

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Natasha_Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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