How to Court a Good Man: What to Do—and What Not to Do

How to Court by Ketu Gajjar

A reader said there were no good guides to courting a good man. So Thomas Fiffer wrote one.


There are millions of good men out there. Millions.

A good man, as the saying goes, is hard to find. Well, not really. There are millions of good men out there. Millions. Good men whose intentions are honorable. Good men whose behavior towards women is kind and respectful. Good men who appreciate love and value commitment. Good men who hew to a code of morality and decent conduct in their personal and professional lives. Good men who don’t need to be bad boys to prove themselves. And these good men are not hiding. They’re everywhere, in plain sight. The young cashier at the supermarket who asks how your day is going. The guy jogging along the bike path who smiles as you pass by. The weary commuter coming home on the late evening train with a bunch of flowers on the empty seat next to him. Some of these good men are already taken. But many are not. Many are available and looking for a good partner—a person who shares their values, appreciates their efforts, and treats them with respect. Recently, a reader wrote in to The Good Men Project and asked if we could provide her with a guide to how to court a good man.

I have known him all my life and had a crush in all the beginning years. And now we actually talk and hang out sometimes. Although I am not sure how to show an interest without being too forward or overbearing. I’m just not sure and never really find any GOOD articles on how to approach a man of genuine interest in an adult context.

So here’s our answer. A list of five attributes and behaviors a good man looks for in his partner, and five he studiously avoids.


What to Do

There’s no greater turn off than his catching you in a lie about something a few weeks or a few months into your relationship.

1. Honesty. This is the absolute deal-breaker for a good man. He doesn’t need to know all your secrets, at least not at the beginning of your relationship. But there’s no greater turn off than his catching you in a lie about something a few weeks or a few months into your relationship. We all have dirty laundry—things we regret in our past, dysfunctional family members, financial issues—and it’s crucial to be truthful about these from the start. A good man is unlikely to ask too many probing questions or interrogate his potential partners, because he wants to see you in the best light. But if he does ask, or if you’re hiding something for fear he won’t want you if you disclose it to him, you’re much better off getting it in the open and clearing the air before your relationship progresses. Good men are genuine, willing to be vulnerable, and open to intimacy with someone they trust. But if you make them feel duped, they’ll turn and walk away.

Deserving something is different from feeling entitled to it. Deserving means he knows his own worth.

2. Respect. It’s not just that a good man likes to be respected, it’s that he knows he deserves it. Deserving something is different from feeling entitled to it. Deserving means he knows his own worth. If he keeps a tidy house or apartment and doesn’t like dishes left on the table or laundry thrown on the floor, don’t make fun of his habits; respect the way he treats his home. If he has activities he values that aren’t your cup of tea, don’t mock him for interests that may seem odd to you. And if he draws a boundary—around his time, his money, his family, or his degree of emotional involvement with you—respect it. Common wisdom says that women test men all the time, but men test women or any potential partner, too, in their own way. A good man doesn’t want someone who’s stepping into his life so that person can walk all over him.

Your time with a good man is valuable, and he wants to use it to create intimacy.

3. Attention. A good man craves your attention, your genuine interest in his personal and professional life, your focus on him, and your eagerness to learn more about who he is and how he got to be that way. And it’s not just your sexual attention or flirting that he desires. When he’s talking or telling a story, he wants you to listen and not be texting a friend or answering emails. If you’re meeting for a date, he wants to be greeted warmly and not feel that you’re distracted. If you’re living together and he’s coming home to you, he wants you to be emotionally available. If you’re not, he may take refuge in watching sports or other distractions, which will make you feel rejected and start a cycle of resentment that can easily kill the relationship. Your time with a good man is valuable, and he wants to use it to create intimacy.

A good man wants to know what you like and don’t like, because—wait for it—he actually wants to make you happy.

4. Your preferences. A good man wants to know what you like and don’t like, because—wait for it—he actually wants to make you happy. Your happiness gives him pleasure. If you’re wishy washy or just go with whatever he likes thinking your accommodating nature will please him, you’re setting yourself up for problems later when you start to feel resentment because your real needs aren’t being met. A good man wants to meet your needs. He needs to meet them. He knows that meeting them is the key to maintaining a successful relationship, and since he can’t read your mind, he needs you to tell him. He’s also not afraid to say no, which means you don’t need to worry about being too needy or demanding. If he can’t do it or doesn’t think it’s wise or appropriate, he won’t do it. He wants to please you, but only in ways that are healthy for each of you and for the relationship.

He wants you to have your psychological act together before he gets serious with you.

5. Emotional health. Chances are a good man has been in one or more relationships with emotionally insecure or dysfunctional partners. These people have radar that shows them all the good men in a hundred-mile radius. They seek out men who are patient and tolerant, who will put up with their crap, who won’t walk away when things get tough because they love strongly and feel responsible for their partner’s welfare and well-being. A good man who has some experience under his belt has learned to spot the warning signals and to be wary of the red flags. He doesn’t want a rescue mission. He doesn’t want be your whipping post as you work through your anger over your shitty childhood. He’ll take care of you when you’re sick, hold your hand when you’re lonely, offer his shoulder and his handkerchief when you’re flooding with tears, and pick you up when you fall to pieces, but he wants you to have your psychological act together before he gets serious with you.


What Not to Do

He doesn’t like drama or the conflict that inevitably accompanies it.

1. No drama. A good man treasures peace. If your life is all about the drama at work with your awful boss and catty colleagues, the drama with your parents or siblings with whom you don’t get along, the person on the subway or in the store who looked at you the wrong way, a good man is not going to have any part of it. He doesn’t like drama or the conflict that inevitably accompanies it. He’s worked hard to achieve a peaceful rhythm in his life. He’s removed toxic people or placed them at arm’s length. He’s taken responsibility for his mistakes and not blamed them on other people. He’s trying to build a future and a legacy, and he doesn’t have time for an endless soap opera. If your cat needs to go to the vet at 2:00 a.m., he’ll show up and drive you. But if your friend the alcoholic or addict needs to be picked up—again—and brought home to detox or taken to the emergency room, you’ll find yourself on your own.

Throw out every single bit of dating advice from the magazine articles. It’s worthless.

2. No games. Who’s going to call first? How long should I wait to answer his text? Should I disappear for a few days to make him want me more? Throw out every single bit of dating advice from the magazine articles. It’s worthless. A good man despises games. He’s forthright and direct. If you like him, let him know. Ask him out for coffee or a drink. It’s really that simple. If you’re dating and he calls you, he expects you to answer if you’re available or call him back promptly if you’re not. If he texts you, he’s looking for a response, not a waiting game. And if you reach out to him and he doesn’t get back to you right away, it’s because he’s busy, not because he’s ignoring you. If you press him on this or pepper him with calls and texts asking where he is or suggesting he doesn’t care about you, he will break it off, delete you from his contacts, and block you on his phone. And if you test him in a dishonest or disingenuous way or try to set a trap for him, he will immediately discern that you’re a game player. Relationships are about trust for him, and while he understands that trust is earned, he also knows that it doesn’t need to be constantly proven.

If your shtick is that you’re always the victim … you can forget snagging a good man right now.

3. No playing the victim. If you’ve survived any type of victimization, a good man will help you heal. But if your shtick is that you’re always the victim in every interaction you have, that everything that happens to you is someone else’s fault, you can forget snagging a good man right now. Because he knows that eventually he’ll be the one you’re blaming. A good man wants a strong partner who is honest about his or her own contribution in every situation, and he will not allow himself to be unfairly accused or criticized. Don’t be surprised if he calls you on your complaining and tries to set you straight. He’ll give you one chance to grow up, and if you don’t take it, he’ll find someone with greater emotional maturity.

Don’t kiss his feet … unless that happens to be his fetish.

4. No worship. A good man actually knows he’s good. He’s secure and confident. He wants you to like and respect him, but he doesn’t want you to worship him or put him on a pedestal from which he can only fall the moment he screws up and lets you down. If you tell him on your first date that he’s the greatest person you’ve ever met or that you’ve been waiting all your life for him, he’ll humbly deflect your praise and reassure you he’s not perfect. And he isn’t. He doesn’t expect you to be, and your portraying him as perfect is a huge red flag. Honor him, respect him, dig him, be into him, but don’t kiss his feet … unless that happens to be his fetish.

A good man is looking for simplicity in a relationship. He doesn’t need grand gestures to be courted. He just wants to know you’re not going to get hold of his heart then crush it and stomp on it.

5. No assumptions. A good man places a high value on direct communication. He doesn’t want to have to guess what you’re thinking or what you mean. If you’re wondering how to let him know you’re interested in pursuing a relationship with him, it’s as simple as asking him out and showing him you’re an enjoyable person to be with, a person he’d like to get together with again. A good man is looking for simplicity in a relationship. He doesn’t need grand gestures to be courted. He just wants to know you’re not going to get hold of his heart then crush it and stomp on it. He just wants to know that you’re an adult and will treat him as an equal. Don’t assume he’ll pay for everything. He’ll be generous but also appreciate your treats and contributions. Don’t assume he just wants sex. He wants it, but he wants it to be meaningful and intimate, to flow from the two of you coming closer together, not to be used as a crutch to achieve closeness. Don’t assume he’s straying if his head turns when an attractive woman walks by. He can’t help it. He can acknowledge her attractiveness without wanting her. And don’t ever assume you can take him for granted. Saying thank you when he does something nice for you, when he shows you kindness and respect, means the world to a good man. He loves to be appreciated.


We hope this guide is helpful—for the reader who wrote in and for anyone who wants to know how to court—and keep—a good man.bottom of post widget GMP community logo

If you’d like to hear Thomas Fiffer discuss this article in a podcast with Family Law Insider host Wendy Hernandez, click here. The role of men is changing in the 21st century.

About Thomas G. Fiffer

Thomas G. Fiffer, Senior Editor, Ethics, at The Good Men Project, is a graduate of Yale University and holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a professional writer, speaker, and storyteller with a focus on diagnosing and healing dysfunctional relationships. You can find out more about his publications and services at Thomas G. Fiffer, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter. His books, Why It Can't Work: Detaching From Dysfunctional Relationships to Make Room for True Love and What Is Love? A Guide for the Perplexed to Matters of the Heart are available on Amazon. He lives in Connecticut and is working on his first novel.


  1. Welcome to the Friend Zone – Population You. Because
    1) He doesn’t find you attractive 2) Doesn’t want to loose you as a friend 3)Doesn’t like you like that 4) Likes someone else 5) Has seen you out on the town and through the way you handle boys – and isn’t interested in being ‘Next’ 6) Has seen his way through your social media – and doesn’t want to be ‘Next’ 7) You are more work, effort, time, money and drama than fun 8) He is more interested in building his own life 9) He is gay 10) He is getting over the last lying, drama, gaming monster trhough his life 11) He prefers his work and hobbies more than you 12) He’s a Gamer – and likes the virtual world better 13) You are not the ‘All that and a Bag of Chips’ you think you are 14) He may be shy 15) He may have aspergers 16) He sees you like his sister. 17) He prefers sluts 19) He prefers another hair color 20) He likes girls of a different ethnicity, height, religion, nationality, age, income level or body shape. 21) His parents are divorced – and he doesn’t want that – so what is the point in dating 22) All of his friends are divorced soo yadda yadda yadda 23) There is a 50% chance of getting a divorce so yadda yadda yadda 24) he is not interested in ‘changing’ for you – at all 25) He likes his car, job, paycheck, house, life as it more than with you in it more than you are now 26) not interested in kids, yours if you have them now – or in the future if they have yet to appear 27) He doesn’t like your friends, family, co-workers 28) He is of a different religion, political party, zodiac sign – and feels you are not a good mix because of it 29) You are too much of a ‘Princess’ and he is not interested in rescuing you – nor playing a ‘knight’. 30) He feels he doesn’t have enough money to date you – cause you are all about your shoes, accessories, etc 31) Is not intested in being the ‘Goog Guy’ that was found by a ‘Good Girl’ and now she is bored with him after a year and ‘forces’ herself to be with him for four more (go see the other orticle) 32) Wants to travel the world – and doesn’t want to take/fund you on the trip 33) He’s ordered a sex bot and is just waiting on shipping 34) He already has a loyal, fun, faithful compagnion in his life – and he likes his dog better than you. 35) He likes his guns/jeep/boat/motorcycle more than you and is not willing to risk them by being with you.

    Or 36) He is MGTOW and just no longer gives a flying f*ck.
    Pick and choose from that list as you will – it could be more than one. The simple consideration of ROE (rules of engagement) vs ROI (Return on Investment) for you is not WORTH it to him…. and maybe all women – but definitely you.
    Remember that last ‘Nice Guy’ you put in the ‘Friend Zone’ ? How did you end it for him? – because Kharma is serving you that dish now.

    PS Happy Valentine’s Day !

  2. Good women are picky, and thank goodness for it. I date a lot of amazing women, but no passion with them. It will come. They are waiting for the same thing.

  3. I really appreciate this post, except the drama bit. I can’t avoid drama because I’m a union steward and I work in a law office! Lol. And gosh darn it, when you become a caregiver to elderly family there’s drama there too. You also can’t do anything about family members with mental illnesses.

    would I make any of that my partner’s problem? No. But if he’s going to high tail it out of there when I have a rough day and need to talk a bit, he’s the opposite of a good man.

    • L, I totally agree. The drama bit really got under my skin. (Most) women – possibly some men (I know my husband did) – have a need to talk things out – to talk through problems and struggles. When the other person doesn’t want to listen – THAT is when the drama starts. But when your partner listens (this does not mean “fix the problem”), you feel cared for. When you feel cared for, you don’t need to create drama in order to be heard. If they don’t want the “toxic” “drama” of your family member – then they are uncaring as far as I’m concerned. It would be like he is saying “pick me or them” and that is unfair and, basically, really really selfish and cruel.

      This good man sounds like a robot to me. Guess I’ll go with the bad guys.

  4. As I understand the question, the woman is asking how to approach her friend and let him know her interest in him. What you said about respect, attention, not playing the victim, etc were terrific, but they didn’t seem to answer the question. Am I wrong?

  5. Hannee Chong says:

    I keep reading these articles, thinking there’ll be something new. Lol. It’s actually nothing we don’t already know. The reality is this: You need to have genuine mutual attraction first and foremost. For that to happen, you need to be your authentic self. He either digs you or he doesn’t. I’ve seen lots of good men put up with drama queens, liars and what have you not… To say that, good men are only attracted to ‘good women’ is a myth. Yes, be honest. Yes, respect him as you would like to be respected. But, don’t feel that if you have drama in your life, or still healing from psychological wounds, that you cannot attract or keep a good man. There are a LOT of good men out there and they’re not all the same. Some will dig you, some will not. Just be your authentic self and know that you are worthy of love.

    • on this planet, there are very few ideas that are actually new. the problem isn’t that we don’t “know”, but that we simply aren’t doing it. and we aren’t doing it because we are not bringing it to conscious thought, which is the purpose of these articles.

  6. Overall a great article. However I would disagree about in What Not To Do, #1 No drama. I’ve always wondered what people meant by this on dating sites. My ex-husband was a diagnosed Borderline, and my oldest son is an actor. Emotions writ large, messy and often incoherent over trivial things is something I have seen frequently. In a mental illness construct ‘drama’ is a destructive thing. But in a normal relationship discussing family interaction, social interaction and other awry emotional connections is not a bad thing. Yes, discussing emotions can make one appropriately emotional. Denial doesn’t make ones life truly peaceful. There are good men who enjoy understanding and problem solving in the interplay of social psychology. In the world of personality theory, good men are not just ‘Thinking’ types, there are good men who are “Feelers’, and I quite frankly prefer the Feelers.

    • Very well said, Lara. There is nothing called “drama” in reality. It is all about whether you have the wherewithal to express the emotion in a healthy manner, release it, learn from it and resolve the situation, or not. I guess most people refer to the recycling of the same old problem and emotion in an unhealthy manner, as drama. Comparable levels of emotional maturity is so important in a relationship.
      Also, as I am traversing a long-ish single run now, I am understanding the importance of spending time away from a primary relationship for a man. I still desire a good partner, but I am not hunting for her, while keeping my options open and also working on myself and doing things that I enjoy. Not putting life on hold. I guess that’s an important lesson for us guys. We wanna get out of the state of needing women to wanting them.

  7. There are many of us good single men that are still available, but many women are Very Picky nowadays.

    • I think what you mean is that you need to review the point in the article about not blaming others for your problems. If you do, that indicates you’re less mature than you think you are.

      • Women are very picky these days, even men in relationships know this and say this.

        • Sabrinna says:

          We have the absolute right to choose well for ourselves. ‘A’ good man may not be ‘my’ good man but he could be my good friend and the best possible man for my best friend. Being picky is a positive trait when it saves two or more people from future hurt.

        • “Picky these days” is not an accurate statement. People are the same as they always have been at any point in history: human, and diverse. Women are people, just female people. We are all very different, and that has been true for all of history. Yes: there was a time when society wasn’t safe for a woman who was unmarried, so she literally couldn’t afford to be picky. Men could, if they wanted — to a point. But marriage was about different things back then, and even today in certain cultures that arrange marriage. What was different back then were the *circumstances*, not the people in those circumstances. Today, we look for soulmates. That *should* be an extremely picky process, for everyone.

          The important thing is never to lump all women into one category (or all men for that matter), and never to presume that it’s any of your business why they’re picky. In our society, finding a partner is an extremely personal process, that differs for each person. We pick our own mates, and in theory we’ll spend the rest of our lives with the right one so … well, it would be incredibly stupid not to be at least a little picky. Neither you nor I have the right to resent that pickiness in another person. If they aren’t interested in you, it doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. It means you aren’t right for each other — and it’s far better for that to be admitted upfront than to fall victim to being led on in a relationship that just wouldn’t last anyway. Please, err on the side of being picky, because your heart AND others’ hearts are too precious to play games with. That goes for us all, guys and girls. Because, before anything else, we’re all people, and we’re not that different from one another at the deepest level. Pickiness is not a bad thing … and for those that are “too” picky, that’s between them and their heart. Not anyone else’s call.

  8. Albert James says:

    Nice article, really. But, women will never go for this.

  9. Great article, this describes me and my experiences to the T. Wish I could’ve shown it to a girl I was talking to this past month. Being a “good guy” is exhausting. Here’s a perfect example of how this recently played out …

    I recently was talking to a woman from one of the dating apps. We matched, she was attractive to me so I initiated the conversation as any man should. She didn’t have anything in her profile so I started with a compliment on her smile and asked if she would like to hear my dirtiest-clean joke. She wrote back, “yes, let’s hear it”. Great, I thought, now I just hope she likes it. So I told her it, she responded the next day that she thought it was cute, but didn’t lead into anything else. So I made some small talk and tried asking her something about herself, a very simple question. She never responded, so a day later I said, “Well, nice to have chatted with you, I’m not seeing much interest here so best of luck to you on your search”. Immediately I get a reply, “Let’s meet!” She asks to meet at a local dog park, which was great because I just got a new puppy and have been trying to get her out more. Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet that day and I asked about the following weekend. She said she was going out of town for almost two weeks. So I say well looks like we have two weeks to kill, maybe in the meantime you can tell me something about yourself? Again, I don’t hear anything back. So the night before she leaves, I send her a funny story and get a reply the next day, that she was laughing out loud at my story and a picture of the terminal sign on where she was going. I understand now that she’s probably been busy getting ready for her trip so no reply is somewhat acceptable. So I reply sounds like a great trip, have a great time and another simple question (for work of vacation?). No reply. Again, she’s going on a trip so let it go and I decide I’ll wait and see if she messages me when she gets back. She gets back and the next day, Monday, I get a msg, “Let’s meet … sometime next week?” Ok, great, she’s interested! I ask if that means possibly this coming Sunday or the next week (it was Halloween weekend)? She replies, “Sunday!” So I reply, “Sunday is perfect, what time works for you?” “How about around noon?” “Perfect, let’s plan on noon Sunday.” She then sends another “Did you send that story to all the girls you are talking to?” Well she obviously liked my story, and I reply “Of course not, it wouldn’t work for them because they weren’t my first pick” and I send a picture of my connections which showed it was just her I was talking to. Then I ask another simple question about her, no response. At this point I’m pretty much done asking her questions as she’s not responding to them, so I just think let just meet and see. I realize some women would like to meet someone before revealing much about themselves (not that I have been digging) so we will just see what happens. So, Friday comes and I get a message saying, “Oh no, I forgot my dog isn’t going to be able to make it, he just had surgery today and he will know if I go”. Ok, so she’s backing out, so I say, “I understand, it’s your call, we will be there if you want to meet us. I’d still like to meet you in person.” She replies, “Ok, I’ll come meet you”. I’m already starting to get nervous she’s gonna flake now, so I just send a smiley face back. Saturday comes around and I get a msg from her, “lets touch base in the morning and confirm the meeting time”. So when I wake up Sunday I msg her first thing, “Good morning, I’ll be there at noon, looking forward to it!” Reply was, “ok, great see you then”. We message back and forth a little and I’m getting ready to leave and she says “Be careful the dog nappers are in the park”. Cute little joke, so I say “Are you already there (it’s 11:35 about this time), I’m leaving now” and dart out the door. I get there at noon and see she sent a message. “No, I’m not going to be able to leave until 12:30. Here’s my number, please don’t be crazy, I don’t give this out to people I haven’t met yet”. So I text her, “ok, let me know when you get here.” and then “Ditto on the crazy.” Keep in mind though, it’s daylight savings time, so that is actually 1:30 and she even said somethings wrong with her phone in an earlier text, “I know it’s 12:00 right now, but my phone keeps saying 11:00”. Uh oh, so my warning lights were now activated. So she finally shows up at 12:45, she’s really pretty, just my type and we do the awkward handshake-hug and start walking and talking. She seems like a really sweet girl, conversation goes ok, but I was also pretty distracted. During the 45 mins I was waiting on her, my large puppy had knocked over one girl who was crouching down, jumped on another and also jumped on a little boy and scratched his face. I was feeling like the guy with “that dog”. After about 20 minutes of walking and talking we had made it back to the front of the park and just as I’m asking her about where she works, my dog starts barking at a family on the river bank. Ugh, now at that point I’m just ready to leave and so we walk to the parking lot and my dog pulls me toward the car, we do the awkward goodbye, I say “hope to see you again” and we head our separate ways. First thought I had was that didn’t go so well because I was so distracted, and damn, I didn’t even walk her to her car. Ugh. So a couple hours later I text her, “thanks for coming to meet us even though your dog couldn’t come, your much prettier in person, enjoy the rest of your weekend”. I get a reply about 2 hours later, “I enjoyed meeting y’all, enjoy the rest of this beautiful day”. I decide a little while later to text her again just a simple text about something I had joked with her about before meeting, she gave a quick reply that evening. Now I’m troubled, she hasn’t answered any of my questions, so why bother asking another, she’s not initiating any texts, but she’s replying to mine, so maybe I should just be patient. So I send another text two days later (Tuesday), about a funny mishap from our meeting, mostly poking fun at myself, another attempt to make her laugh and I also addressed how the bad behavior of my dog had me a bit frustrated and not focused. No response. So Wednesday night I decide enough texting, only one way to really tell if she is interested. I’ll call and ask her out. So I get up the nerve and call her just after 7 p.m. It rings and then goes to voicemail, so I leave a message saying I was calling to see if she would like to get together again sometime? Tick tock, tick tock, no call back. Anxious now, I don’t sleep very well and wake up the next morning kinda early, still no text or call and after much debate I decide, this is too exhausting, she doesn’t respond, doesn’t initiate, ugh, and make the decision that I guess I’m too impatient and maybe I’m not ready to date and I text her. “I have to guess you are not interested. You are a very pretty and should have no problem meeting someone, nice to have met you, keep smiling and best of luck … and if you are interested, then I am an idiot, but I am unfortunately not ready to date”. About 2 hours later I get a reply, “You didn’t give me enough time to respond, I was out last night and didn’t have time. You are very sweet, and though I didn’t feel a romantic connection we always have more room in our lives for friends, awesome blessings, best of luck to you too”. Ok I think, now I know, she wasn’t interested, my initial instinct was correct. Then 6 hours later the same text comes through. Hmmm, that’s odd. Ok, now I’m a little confused. So I decide the next day to reply, what harm is there in being friends. “Cool, yeah I wish our first meeting would have gone better. Hope we bump into you at the park sometime and my dog is in better behavior. Have a great weekend, it’s suppose to be beautiful out!” Immediately I get a reply “Why waste a sec with those thoughts? Be nice to your dog! She’s Perfect!” All I can think now is WTF? She said we could be friends, now all mad, was she interested or wasn’t she, is she just mad cause I called it off? If I was interested in someone and they called me, I would’ve called them back or at least texted them saying I’d call later. Waiting till the next day, to me, seems like playing games. If she wasn’t interested then why all get all mad at me? So all confused now, I decide to send another text the next day, saying how sorry I was for confusing things and her, blame everything on myself, saying I should’ve just waited for a reply, bla, bla, bla. No response, nothing, dead quiet. I know at this point no matter what I do, she is not going to respond, it’s been my experience. Yet, I try again, sending another a few days later, that was straight to the point and honest, one more attempt and let her make the decision. Told her my not being ready to date and wishing our first date had gone better had nothing to do with her, I wouldn’t have asked her out if I wasn’t interested, that I have a lot of stress in my life right now as I’m trying to buy my first home, among other things, which I do and am and because of that I haven’t been sleeping well for the past month and have been getting a lot of headaches, but I would like to see her again. I never mention the showing up 45 min late, not initiating any texts or never responding to any of my simple questions, but now think, should I have? The day goes by and still nothing. Now it’s been a week since that text and still nothing. So confusing and frustrating, because I am certain in her mind, I’m the one to blame now and it’s my loss … so did I do something wrong?

  10. Pretty good article, even though it’s very basic and, atleast for a lot of them, should go for both men and women. It just makes a lot of sense, and seeing it in written form that you should actually just treat your fellow beings with respect is nice, it gives me faith in humanity.

  11. Girls, this may be the best article EVER written about the mythical creature known as the “Good Man”. Maybe you’ll meet one of them, maybe you won’t but at least you have this as a guideline and blue-print. Not to say this THE end all BE ALL ~ but its worth noting that there is a spirit of truth to the words. Though I love being told I am perfect, I know I am NOT. Hearing it makes me think of 100 reasons why I am NOT. But I will state that I believe I am a Good Man in Progress and will continue to be one for the rest of my life through the mistakes pitfalls and errors I know I have another chance 1 second from now to be even better. Best of luck in all your journeys – everyone.

  12. Anonymous says:

    really liked the article…thank you!!

  13. Wow – I thought this was a great article! It summed up exactly how I want to be with a person, and what I hope they would offer me! It all seems like solid stuff – honesty, respect, affection, with someone who’s done some work and looked at their own crap and can be clear about what they want. That’s who I want to be, and what I’m looking for a relationship to support. Most of these things were strong features in my last long-term relationship – it was a good relationship, it simply ran its course. And all of the “don’ts?” All things I work to not to at this point in my life, and that would raise red flags for me, too. I’m going to be bookmarking this!

    That said, the negative responses really surprise me! It doesn’t feel like a crazy laundry list to me – just like common sense.

  14. Wow. First of all, great article: very true, for the good guys out there. But some of the reactions here are, I think, really telling about the psychological state of people. It’s sad, but I don’t blame them, for taking such a positive article and having such a negative reaction. It’s an indication that although there are a lot of nice guys and girls who just want love and respect, and know that means giving the same love and respect in return, there are maybe even many more who are not convinced, who see the whole world of romance as a game. And there’s our culture, which feeds that point of view, that you have to play the game to win, and that you’re fighting everyone in the game for the most perfect prize: the best looking, strongest, most successful lover.

    The problem with this article for these people, is that you can take the advice and drop the game-playing, but they’re certain that doing such a thing will get you nothing but rejection and heartache. I’ve alluded to this before in responses, but there are two matched scenes in the movie “Tootsie.” In the first, Dustin Hoffman’s female character listens to Jessica Lange’s character say that she wishes a man could just be honest and straight-forward, and say “You know, I could lay a big line on you and we could do a lot of role-playing, but the simple truth is, is that I find you very interesting and I’d really like to make love to you.” In the second scene, Dustin Hoffman’s male character hits on her with the exact same line, and she throws a drink in his face.

    When I was single, I was one of the good guys who wasn’t much of a player. I felt like one of the nerdy kids not picked to be in the game, and not sure I really wanted to be picked, because I wasn’t sure I really wanted to play. The few times I got in, the game turned out to be as bad as it seemed from the sidelines. I resented the game, a lot, partially because I could see how f–ked up it was, and partially because it was the only game in town. Why couldn’t there just be a game for “adults” only?

    I wish the internet was around was I was younger: it’s how I met my wife. I think the internet offers a forum for truth. Sure, it doesn’t filter out the BS, and probably offers an even larger forum for BS because of its relative anonymity, but in a way, it lays everything on the table a little clearer than the pre-internet world did. So, you can be the honest, no-game-playin’ player online, and not waste a lot of time and energy with immaturity. Before I met my wife, I had an online prospect who seemed great, until I was honest about my situation. Before we had even met in person, I told her that I was still technically married, but that I had been separated for several months, only remained married for tax purposes, and that the divorce was in progress. She immediately freaked, and said that she wouldn’t even talk to me until my divorce was final. So I wrote back and said that I understood her concern, but that I was being completely honest about my situation, and I wasn’t at all the type of guy who stays married but has a fling on the side. I never heard from her. It occurred to me, then, that she had some serious issues. It’s not like we had even gone out on a date, and yet she would throw a good guy like me aside: for what? Because she was so sure that most guys were scum, and that I couldn’t possibly be telling the truth? As much as I was definite about getting a divorce from my ex-wife, I was certainly not going to get into another relationship where my woman had no trust in me no matter how nice of a guy I was. That, I was done with. It was a shame, since otherwise she seemed smart and interesting and pretty, but in the end it was so much easier than what game-playing and in-person dating would have accomplished. And, it got her out of the way so I could meet my sweet, honest girl.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did u ever think that maybe she had heard that statement before and it wasn’t from an honest man and she was trying to protect her heart and mine from a guy who wants some on the side? You know
      she should be glad that she never “dated ” you.
      the old saying ” if he says I’m seperated, that USUALLY means since this morning”. There are a lot
      of douche bags out there. Especially on-line Seriously you’re only still married for tax purposes, really? Are you that big of a cheaskate. She should be happy

  15. To Erin and Leela especially, but to any women who reads this and get exhausted thinking they need to remember every one of these or be some perfect woman to attract a good man.

    You don’t need to be perfect. The author says this. I think the general tone is simply have your act together and respect him. I would like to hope that I am a good man and I can say that I am not looking for perfection. In fact, a woman who thinks she had to remember and follow all of these rules would probably be living so much in her head, she wouldn’t be allowing her true energies to flow from her heart. This may make her seem distant and cold.

    I found this a great article and as a man who takes responsibilities for how my actions have negatively affected my relationships, I also take away many lessons in how to treat a good woman, who is treating a good man, right. (hope that made sense 😀 )

  16. Very well written, balanced and thoughtful article. I couldn’t help thinking though, that all of these points apply to a good woman too 🙂
    And though you’ve said there are plenty of these “good men” out there…have yet to find one. Or have him find me.
    Thank you, I enjoyed the article very much.

  17. I think these are very well thought out and articulate points. But I consider myself a “good woman” and I don’t think I would live up to all these points in exactly the way they were described.

    There are a few key points I’d like to address. Such as point 1, “Honesty”. We all want honesty in our relationships. But you advocate for a woman to not hide anything from a partner, “clearing the air before your relationships progresses”. Yet in point 2 “Respect”, you ask us to respect whatever boundaries he may draw. Including, “..around his time, his money, his family or his degree of emotional involvement with you.” Shouldn’t he also respect our boundaries and if we are not yet willing to open a certain part of ourselves until we feel that it’s the right time to do so?

    Which brings me to another question about point 2. “Respect”. It’s healthy to have boundaries. But in my experience men sometimes have held back on “emotional involvement” in favor of “just having a good time”. Infact, I know of situations where a man dated a woman for years while she waited patiently for it to progress toward marrige, respecting his boundaries. Only to find it that he was never going to marry her after all. These are the tricky parts about your advice.

    I will admit that I find point 5, “Emotional Health” a touchy subject. I find that sometimes women are upheld to a strict barometer on this score and when a woman is less than perfect with her emotions, a man might be quick to label her a certain way. Such as “emotionally unhealthy”. Yet women are told all the time about how men are less certain and comfortable with their own emotions because of how they are socialized. We are suppose to be understanding of there less then perfect ways when it comes to their feelings yet maintain perfect emotional responses all the time to be thought of as “emotionally healthy”.

    I also find point 1 under “What Not to Do”, cliche. I sincerely know of only one woman in my life that thrives on drama. She’s still a good woman, mother and wife. She is vivacious, loving, passionate and generous with those she loves. Yeah, she likes drama, I’m not even sure she sees that she does, but she has been married for over 10 years now to a man that was diagnosed with MS before they got married. She’s done so much to be by his side and take care of him through some really hard times. She jumped in with two feet when lesser women would have left.

    As for “No game”. I don’t purposely play games with men but sometimes, I simply don’t know what to do! How to respond! When to respond! Sometimes when you think a man is being forthright, he’s not always being forthright. I’ve had some great first dates where I was sure there was going to be another date and that just wasn’t the case. It’s not that your advice is bad. But it’s much easier to apply in the context of a conversation than actual real life events. There is often a lot of miscommunication between men and women.

    So my advice to the guys here is that don’t be so quick to assume the worst of us right away. We won’t be perfect. We will make mistakes. We will do things you don’t understand or that drive you crazy. Some of us honestly aren’t trying to. But I think I’m a pretty good woman and I don’t think I could live up to all these expectations.

    • I don’t read anywhere you should be “perfect” or not have “off-days”, rather the opposite.

      #1 : it does say “unlikely to ask too many probing questions or interrogate his potential partners”. So if you don’t want to talk about something, just directly say so, a good man will respect that. It becomes only a problem when you indefinitely put of or avoid that particular. It can come across as a lack of trust. (And might be because you’re *assuming* he’ll judge / leave you, ergo not giving him enough credit.) For a potential steady or long term relationship, this is crucial.

      #2 : generalisation !! If you assume men only want “a good time”, as society tries to sell us, that’s all you’ll find… Also, not every man you’re attracted to is a good man. And not all people want to get married, a lot prefer living together.

      #3&4 : again, assumption and generalisation. Of course nobody is perfect, shit happens and some days are bad. A good partner will be there, understanding and supporting even. “If your cat needs to go to the vet at 2:00 a.m., he’ll show up and drive you.” The question is proportion.
      (Which is indeed not to say that “drama queens” can’t find and keep a guy. To each their own.)

      #5 : do as you feel. If it works, great. If it doesn’t work, maybe you were NOT a match ? Could you imagine yourself like this an entire relationship long ? And if you find yourself wainting for a second date, try the part of “no games” that reads : “If you like him, let him know. Ask him out for coffee or a drink.”.

      And uhm, don’t assume guys are quick to assume the worst of you right away. 🙂

  18. A great article – going to bear many of the points in mine. If i succeed or fail, at least I’ll do so knowing I’ve been honest and hope he’ll appreciate it.

  19. Jane Doe says:

    I’m married many years to a good man. Almost 50. I must have been smarter in my early 20’s than I thought.

    Anyway this all sounds like great advice. Certainly if something ever happens to me and he is back looking, this would be the way to treat him. Many men – maybe most men – are a lot more vulnerable than they let on. Treating anyone with care and respect is the best way to win their trust.

  20. I was surprised by the amount of negative comments some women made about this article. I, as a woman, thought it made perfect sense and described perfectly decent attributes of a good man I would want to be with.

    All it is really saying is that men and women should both respect EACH OTHER as human beings. If a woman is truly psychologically healthy she will understand that she needs to share things, and communicate, and be honest and decent with a man, without expecting him to read her mind. And a psychologically healthy man will be the same way towards a woman. It’s a two way street. And I think if we all work through our issues and have good emotional health, then men and women aren’t truly as different as some people would like to make them seem. We all just want an honest, respecful, emotionally healthy relationship. And if we don’t, well, then maybe we’re not ready to be in a relationship yet. Male OR female.

    Very good article! Thank you so much for posting!

    • Ernestine Easter says:

      it’s not you, honey. People obviously recognized themselves and went into self hatred mode. I read it and it confirmed what I thought all along—I have a good man. Despite being guilty of a lot of things women do you mentioned. I used to get so mad when he called me on those things. But I thank God he loved and cared enough about me to help me work through them. Nobody should have to raise their partner, and you should be grateful if you have someone that patient. It doesn’t mean they are perfect or don’t have issue, it doesn’t mean you should be demonized. Fact is, people should grow in relationships and as my partner told me before we even became a couple—grow in love. I like to think that we have been blessed enough to do just that.

      • Your post was beautiful, it spoke of a tapestry of love and sacrifice and the journey we call life 🙂 I salute your loving relationship and wish you the best Ernestine!

    • Totally agree with both of you. Having / expecting core values doesn’t mean demanding perfection nor no off-days, because I’m sure that -once and a while- a good partner would be understanding and supporting in these moments.

  21. This seems to be written by a pretty uppity, condescending male. I’ve never experienced any man like him, so just wanted to say, this isn’t ‘most guys’ on some things. Be honest, authentic, real, if it’s really right, you will both know it. Effortless, natural compatability, that’s where it’s at!

    • dmb neicy and asha ~ your welcome to your opinion 🙂 Live good happy lives 🙂

    • “effortless natural compatability”?

      Jesus, wake up. Relationships take actual work to happen and if you haven’t realized that, it makes me suspect the work was all being done by him.

  22. I agree with most of the article, being honest, down to earth, considerate, appreciative, etc. But this quote is pretty crazy “Don’t assume he’s straying if his head turns when an attractive woman walks by. He can’t help it.” Give me a break! I can definitely control my head turning or all my bodily movements…!

    • Seriously! Attractive people are all around us, at any given moment, but I am not scanning the radar nor turning my head to get a better look. I’d expect a respectful, considerate & loving man would be the same.

  23. Theorema Egregium says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I find this article extremely bold. Like, it breaks taboos and unwritten rules. The rule being “You. Do. No. Tell. Women. What. To. Do! EVER!” If it had been published anywhere else but here, we would never see the end of it.

    Although as far as provacations go, it was done in a very measured and level-headed way. There is nothing sexist or unreasonable in these advice. This is the way to go to challenge the status quo. Well done! 😀

  24. One of the best articles I’ve ever read

  25. John Anderson says:

    This is a good list. One thing that tripped up one of my relationships was when things got serious, she asked me what I wanted for my birthday. She assumed it would be sex related. I asked her to make me a couple dozen tamales. I like tamales and she made good tamales, but the reason I asked her was because I knew the effort it took to make them and that’s why she only made them on special occasions. It never occurred to her or maybe she didn’t care that I wanted to know how special this occasion was and how much she valued me. She refused to make them and counter offered sex acts. I got my answer.

    I figure that’s a cross between listening to him and trusting him, but just in case it’s not on the list, I’d say believe what he says.

    • Yup. I was seeing a fellow who asked me where I wanted to go for dinner for my birthday. I wanted to go to this goofy fondue place where every course was some kind of dippable food! He refused, saying the food would be “bad” and took me to a gourmet restaurant instead. It was good, but I had wanted fun, playful – it was clear he didn’t value who I really was. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last very long.

    • Sadly we do live in a society that has the mantra “men only want sex”.
      Too bad she couldn’t be a greater / smarter person and realise men want different things, where gifts with a personal and / or effort touch are truly the best.

  26. Very good advice ! I consider myself a “good man” and I agree with the post. I don’t like dating tricks, it sounds so boring to do. I really prefer being in the relationship and discovering the person.

  27. When I first met my partner, it was after revising my “dream man” list of attributes, on which was the phrase “We come together as whole, heart-led people who have released the past.” Sure enough, without any prompting from me, I noticed that neither of us discussed our past with one another. We stayed present, attentive, and interested in who was in front of us NOW, not who we may have been (with others) in the past. It was the most mind-blowing and refreshing thing I could have imagined. Clearly we both had so-called pasts, but we were, in my humble opinion, wise enough not to drag the past forward with us into our new relationship. We’ve been together nearly a year, and he’s the most phenomenal partner I’ve known. He’s “the one” and what you wrote describes my experience of him to a tee.

    • Anonymous says:

      Love what you wrote Megan. Completely agree. Best wishes for you in love – staying in the present moment.

  28. female perspective says:

    I think this list is fantastic but I think is should be called how to court a good person. This is pretty much what , as a woman, am looking for as well. A mature adult. You hit it out of the park though.

    • Sweetheart says:

      I was just going to post the same thing. This seems like the way a healthy person is most of the time (though none of us is perfect).

  29. I work very hard on being a good man, and I think you’ve nailed it with this article. Thanks.

    My lady (should she want to respond) would probably agree with all your assessments … except she knows well that it is not about … me … its about her (always)..

  30. This is an excellent piece. Short, to the point, fairly complete and most of all: True.

    Especially parts like the “no games” section should be mandatory content in every women’s magazine ever. Sure we will wait for the girl to come at us at her own speed – we don’t need you in our bed after the 2nd date – but we have a radar for when the speed you move at is NOT your own.

  31. Good stuff – the only thing I wonder about – guys don’t seem to react well to being asked out first, or when women take the first steps sexually, in the beginning. Maybe after things are established, okay..but at first, I mean, they THINK they like it, but somehow later down the road, they convince themselves they were shortchanged in the hunt, or maybe in the courting…my new paradigm is, let them do their courting thing at first, and let us both enjoy that, and don’t cut it short, let it ride for awhile!

    • FlyingKal says:

      I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard any friend of mine complain about being approached or courted by a woman. At most they’ve found it awkward or embarrissing to turn her down, after finding out they were not a suitable match and wanting to somehow spare her feelings.

      Perhaps we’re given a bad rap on this becaude the guys who are being approched most often also are the more attractive ones who are used to have success doing their “courting thing” first?

    • FAIL : no assumptions.

  32. Outstanding!

    Toss this one over the wall to (say) Jezebel, XOJane, Everyday Feminism, The Frisky, etc. Send it to the WOMAN section at Huffpo, while you’re at it.

    Does anyone think they’ll share it with their readers? HuffPo and The Frisky might. I’m not confident about the others. It would be an interesting sociological experiment.

    And a word to the young-ish menz: One of the worst life mistakes you can make – one with the most potentially disastrous consequences, is putting up with the kind of crap described in this article in order to get laid, or get ego strokes, or whatever. Like that great bard Paul Simon says:

    Just slip out the back, Jack
    Make a new plan, Stan
    You don’t need to be coy, Roy
    Just listen to me
    Hop on the bus, Gus
    You don’t need to discuss much
    Just drop off the key, Lee
    And get yourself free

  33. I think I met a good man… but it is too soon to tell and I do not want to put him on a pedestal. So I am going to enjoy his presence and let things unfold. I feel that since I have been working on myself and becoming more emotionally healthy, these so called good men suddenly show up more… Every where I go…

    • Best of luck to you! 🙂 And yes it is very true, when you finally start doing the hard work of becoming a mature and mentally/emotionally healthy person, you will find that more good men (and women!) start to appear in your life, almost as if by magic. Chances are they have always been there, but your issues kept you blind to them. At least that was true in my case.

      I had a pretty turbulent childhood and adolescence, and during my teenage and college years I had dysfunctional and screwed-up relationships with guys who were just as dysfunctional and screwed-up as I was, if not more so. I still shudder sometimes when I think of the dangerous situations those relationships put me into. It was not until I landed in therapy that I finally and painfully began to grow up and get healthy. I saw the world and the people around me differently, and what I wanted and what I found attractive in people changed, too. It eventually led me to my husband, a very, very good man I have been happily married to for 20 years. Ours was a friendship that eventually turned romantic as we learned to trust each other and be vulnerable with each other. If you had asked me at 16 if he was the type of man I would marry, I would have laughed at you. But time, maturity and healing have a way of changing what we see as attractive in another person.

      I still have my issues–don’t we all?–but I am privileged to be wed to a man who holds me in a place of respect and love that makes me want to be the best I can be for him, and for myself.

      Again, good luck to you! 🙂

  34. This sounds to me like you’re advising woman to not be themselves and, are trying to get them to adhere to the way “men” think and act. Yes, I think it’s important for men and woman(not excluding homosexual relationships of course) to learn how each other “operates” naturally. However, we can’t say…do this to get a guy or do this to get a girl. Your point about preferences…sounds like you’re telling a woman to be black and white about preferences. That’s not how feminine energy works in my experience. Female energy fluctuates like the weather and it’s our job to embrace and learn how to live with that not, demand our woman have definitive preferences. Being attentive in a relationship will show the woman that you’re trying to please her. Trying to please her has little to do with what her “preferences” are. As far as the drama topic…a mature, self respecting woman or man knows how to keep the drama at bay. Life happens and sometimes it’s dramatic. Yes, men appreciate direct communication but, it’s important to learn how a woman communicates and sometimes…it’s not direct.

  35. I’m exhausted just reading this, like I was holding my breath through the whole piece–being a LOT to remember about his needs.
    I understand this article was about how to find a good man, but it sounds a bit more like a list that I the right woman better not forget–almost like a warning. My eyes were WIDE by the time I finished reading it. Also, it made me want to pass on a date–because unless I am wired to be the perfect good woman, I might not stand a chance. Whew.

    • Every dating advice for guys ever: You are not good enough.
      You are shy or akward, therefore you are a boy
      You can’t read her mind, you are a creep
      You expect HER to read YOUR mind? Entitled!!
      You voice how uncomfortable it is to always approach? MAN UP OR SHUT UP YOU SISSY NICE GUY! NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR SISSY FEELINGS
      You should regulate your emotional level for HER comfort
      You can’t ever ask women if her expectations of men might be unrealistic. ITS HER CHOICE YOU CREEP
      Stop doing and liking stuff women don’t like, or change it so that women feel comfortable about it. It’s icky that you like what you like!!
      Welcome to our world!!

      • Seriously?Cause where I live you will find the same that you wrote, yet its geared towards women.
        As it was said in the article, dating advice is useless most of the time.

        The real issue is some other that was also mentioned – these kind people (both men and women) usually get in relationships with people who undervalue them and stay there for way too long because of their willingness to work on issues instead of walking away form that hopeless place. And after such relationship ends, its way way harder for that kind person to open up for a new one and believe they can find someone who truly values, not just uses them.

    • Totally agree… someone i am seeing for the second time put this up on his f.b today…hummm got me thinking.. like it is a one way highway.. a threat to women we are the problem!.. not paronoid and i understand it can be taken in a different light. for me it is sad this article was not entitled how to have a strong connection from the off start.. MAN OR WOMAN!!. we all have our needs and wants and desires.. The trick is to listen, be prepared to give and take emotionally, spiritual, physically etc… Not about what men want what women want… too sexiest in its contents for me to digest or appreciate …

    • Now you know what the other 95% of dating advice looks like through the eyes of a man.

    • 5 do’s and 5 don’t, rather basic qualities that every good person enjoys. That’s a LOT off course.
      And if you refuse to contribute this for him, but still expect him to give this to you, now THAT sounds like a one way street.

    • You may be missing the point. He doesn’t want you to be perfect. A good man only wants you to be real. No good man wants to date a perfect woman just one that is authentic and genuine.

  36. We all have dirty laundry—things we regret in our past, dysfunctional family members, financial issues—and it’s crucial to be truthful about these from the start. –


    • Luke Davis says:

      You missed the bit where he won’t interrogate you. Believe it or not good men have just as much crap in their history as you do. If he is a good man a simple “I’m not ready to talk about that yet” is a boundary he will respect and he will trust you that one day you will open up, just not today, so just be honest about it.

  37. Disclose EVERYTHING potentially negative in the first few weeks or months? NO! This is not good advice!

    • Christian says:

      There is a difference between telling everything and being truthful. I read the authors advice as “don’t lie”, which i think is perfectly reasonable.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ ME

      The assumption is that after a few weeks or months the relationship has moved to the LTR variety. Although I wouldn’t say that two people with a purely sexual relationship can’t be good people, the probability is that a good man is not using you solely for sex after a few months. If your relationship has changed to the LTR variety, then you should disclose everything negative. If any of them are deal breakers, why would you want to spend the next several months dating him? Wasting his time as well as yours.

    • They only said never lie. If you are not ready for a conversation, say that you need to feel closer before discussing such intimate details.

      Or whatever. Just don’t lie.

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