Last week, Joshua Rogers wrote a blog post called “6 Things That Make Single Ladies Less Attractive”. While he made some good points, his approach had a few flaws. First of all, quite a few of the points applied to both sexes. (Nobody likes people who only talk about themselves or overshare.) Others fell under the category of personal preference. (I’m glad that my now-husband Kevin wasn’t fazed by my Facebook selfies.) And still others could be taken to contradict one another. (Reciprocate, but don’t seem desperate — now that’s a balancing act.) Still, there was some solid, basic wisdom in there for those with ears to hear.
As I thought about how to write the counterpart for the guys, I didn’t want it to turn into one giant stereotype. What makes single guys less attractive? Playing video games? Living in Mom’s basement? Not holding down a decent job? These things are sometimes indicative of other problems, but not always. In addition, any list I could come up with would be at least somewhat subjective. For example, I’m not drawn to guys who are overly frugal, but another woman might appreciate that characteristic. One of our readers did a good job of pointing out what might be wrong with this kind of list. Katie Lei wrote:
I am usually a big fan of Joshua’s writings. However, I have to say that this particular one gives off a “religious vibe” (i.e., it focuses a lot on our outward behaviours rather than our inward attitude, which is really where the Lord wants to cultivate). Unfortunately, the latter way of transformation takes longer time and more effort than focusing on behaviours, but once the change is made, it tends to be more lasting.
I agree. A person’s behaviors are symptoms of what’s going on in the heart. Is a woman who takes a selfie a narcissist? Maybe. But not necessarily. As one friend pointed out, “As a single, I often don’t have someone with me to take my picture, so I take a selfie to capture the moment.” Similarly, just because a guy is working a humble job doesn’t mean that he’s unmotivated or aimless. My husband was a barista when we met. Some of the coolest people I know are baristas — voluntarily — because they love the culture of getting into people’s lives on a daily basis and building relationships.
So instead of focusing on bad behavior (you can ask your accountability partners to help you with that), let’s talk about ways a guy can be more attractive. Here are a few characteristics that make guys stand out from the crowd:
I’ve had women repeatedly tell me that one of the first things they noticed about their boyfriend or spouse was his generosity. Maybe she noticed him volunteer his time to help someone move or tip the server at the restaurant a little extra. “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7, ESV), and so do most women. We notice generosity, guys. It lets us know that if you and I end up together, you will be generous toward me and those we serve together.
2. Asking questions
Related to Joshua’s point about overtalking, something women consistently find attractive in men is good listening skills. A good listener is someone who doesn’t interrupt as the other person talks and asks follow-up questions to show that he heard and understood what she just said. (For more details about being a good listener, check out “Are You a Conversational Narcissist?”)
3. Loving God
This may sound like a Christian dating cliché, but women who are serious about their faith are looking for a guy who loves Jesus. During my first date with Kevin, he began to talk about how a trip to Israel influenced his understanding of Jesus. I still remember how his eyes lit up when he talked about his Savior. It was evident to me that Kevin was connected to the Spirit, and that excited me.
4. Honoring all women
Again, this one sounds like a no-brainer, but women notice how you treat other women. You may think you only need to be kind and generous to the woman you’re interested in, but I guarantee she’s noticing how you treat her friends, your mom and the woman behind the counter at Starbucks. When you are consistently kind, respectful and friendly to the women you encounter — regardless of whether you’re interested in them romantically — you show that you value women. (For tips on how to avoid objectifying women, I recommend reading “Where Have All the Beautiful Women Gone?” by Joshua Rogers.)
I know some guys reading this have been brave. Thank you for asking women out on dates (even when you got shot down)! We need more guys like you. Here’s a little secret, guys: Courage is a very attractive quality in a man. That knight in shining armor thing didn’t come from nothing. I think God wired women to respond to courage in men. And while confidence is a bonus, you don’t have to be totally self-assured to impress us. Show courage by doing the right thing or by taking a risk.
In a generation that suffers from FOMO (fear of missing out), a man stands out when he does what he says he will and isn’t afraid to commit to something. Many of my married girlfriends claim that the dependability factor is what drew them to their husbands. I have discovered that this is one of the more important qualities in a husband. Even before we were dating, I noticed how Kevin fulfilled his work, ministry and family commitments. I knew he was a person I could trust and count on who wouldn’t bail when a better offer came along.
The beauty of the above list is that you can pursue each of these characteristics whether you live with your parents or make a six-figure salary (or both!). And although striving to live out these qualities won’t guarantee the ladies will begin flocking to you, it will make you more marriageable, while also making you a better follower of Jesus.