For the longest time I’ve been convinced that women are attracted to confident men because they’re not nice, a sort of the polar opposite of feminine. But how can women want sensitive men? If this isn’t masculine, is this a contradiction?

I just had an “Ah Ha!” moment where I realized that this isn’t some kind of special behavior that only special men can have. They’re not cruelly withholding their love for you because you’re sensitive and not aggressive. This isn’t some kind of macho aggressive alpha male bullshit. If you look at the perspective of women there are two things they need to feel comfortable around other people.

The first is transparency, which usually requires confidence. If you can truly bear what you are, flaws and all, not just women but all people will not need to fear that you’ll spontaneously become defensive and angry when they say something that might conflict with your identity or values. People that have nothing to hide make everyone around them more comfortable. And to truly be this, not act like this, it requires developing the ability to have people express things that conflict with you, without taking it personally and needing to tell them they are wrong, or explaining why you’re not wrong (needing them to approve of you).

Second is confidence, which requires more than just transparency. It requires being not only transparent, but accepting of what you are, having accepted your flaws, and acknowledging them and working towards resolving them (if the flaws are really a problem), or accepting them as your nature if they can’t be changed.

Obviously you can’t just become confident overnight. It’s best to start with practicing your vulnerability with friends, and if you’re trying to become comfortable around women, female friends. For me personally, I found myself more willing to be vulnerable around women because I associate them with motherly caring energy that is prone to be more compassionate than my male counterparts. In the context of a friendship, start to notice your neediness, yet work towards self acceptance and transparency. You’ll still be worried about how people react to you, but over time work towards unveiling your shame and you’ll find that you gain respect, and not judgement if you work with healthy individuals. Having support from women like this in a friendship can be very helpful, and they’ll appreciate your honesty. This is a great first step.

But to truly be attractive to them, you need to actually be fine with what you are, show vulnerability, show some flexibility, but still respect who and what you are.

For instance this kind of response to some sort of criticism - “Yeah, maybe you’re right. I should look at that. I might be wrong in saying/doing that”. This is not defensive, nor is it the words of a what some would call a “doormat”. This doesn’t completely bend to the point of view of the person talking to them, but it shows some respect in that you’re willing to consider their input. It still shows that you’re confident in standing up for yourself, shows that you respect your current point of view and will not necessarily just believe or switch to their orientation just because they brought up a conflict. This isn’t dominance, but confidence.

People that can be this way are not blocked by needing people to approve of them. They’re secure even in their insecurities. They wear them on their sleeves, and since they’re no longer hiding them, there is nothing left to hide… and they’ve found that people respect them more for it. It sounds like a contradiction, but it resolves the paradox of how a man can be sensitive and humble, yet confident and not arrogant. Through vulnerability, you can let go of shame and find confidence. People who have developed this in themselves are able to be fun and carefree, without trying to be that way.

Go towards this, and develop vulnerability and confidence for yourself, not just to impress anyone. Learn to accept the things you are ashamed of, and to be comfortable admitting those things to others.

I have to give credit for what is inspiring this insight, and more, to Models: Attract Women Through Honesty by Mark Manson. It’s not just some new pickup artist bullshit that tells you how to win the girl, but not how to be to keep her.