Non-Neediness: The Key to Getting Women Fall for You

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Models" by Mark Manson . Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What does Mark Manson mean by “non-neediness”? Why are women repulsed by needy, desperate men?

According to Mark Manson, non-neediness is the key to getting women to fall for you. You embody non-neediness when you judge your self-worth based on how you feel about yourself, as opposed to what other people think of you.

Here’s what it means to embody non-neediness and how you can cultivate it.

Understanding Non-Neediness

According to Manson, women desire men who embody “non-neediness,” or inner confidence—in other words, a man whose sense of self-worth depends on how he judges himself, rather than how others judge him. 

Manson emphasizes that inner confidence doesn’t mean that you totally disregard others’ judgments. Rather, it means that you care more about your own opinion than that of others. When dating, this manifests in a willingness to adjust your behavior as much as the woman does—but no more. You’re focused on how you feel about a woman, so you’re not willing to change your behavior excessively to accommodate her. In contrast, an unconfident man bends over backward for the woman he desires because he needs her approval in order to feel good about himself. 

Another Reason You Shouldn’t Adjust Your Behavior 

In The Unplugged Alpha, Richard Cooper also warns against adjusting your behavior too much to match a woman’s desires—but for different reasons. Like Manson, Cooper contends that women desire men who express confidence. However, Cooper specifies that women intensely desire “alpha” men, who are able to support and lead their woman in the relationship. 

Cooper explains that, throughout your relationship, your woman will subconsciously and regularly test you to see whether you’ll assert your power. If you do, she’ll continue seeing you as a high-status “alpha.” But if you adjust your behavior too often and acquiesce to her whims, she’ll start to see you as a lower-status “beta”—and eventually, she’ll lose her attraction to you.

That said, Manson emphasizes that you must actually be confident—you can’t fake it. Most modern dating advice teaches men to portray themselves as confident. For example, they might recommend waiting three days before texting a woman back to give her the impression that you’re busy (even though you’re not). However, this advice usually backfires in the long run. Initially, you might successfully convince a woman that you don’t care that much about her opinion and thus attract her. But eventually, you’ll inevitably express behavior that demonstrates that you actually care much more about her opinion than you’ve let on—which will lead her to lose her attraction to you.  

Another Reason Faking Confidence Could Backfire

In The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, Nathaniel Branden suggests an alternate reason you shouldn’t fake confidence: doing so can actually make you less confident. Like Manson, Branden contends that if you have self-esteem (or confidence), you believe in your own capability and have a strong sense of self-worth that doesn’t depend on the judgment of others. Branden adds that your self-esteem depends on your behavior: Behaving in ways that reflect capability and a sense of worth improves your self-esteem; behaving in ways that don’t reflect either lowers your self-esteem. 

Branden implies that acting in a manner incongruous with your beliefs lowers your self-esteem because it demonstrates poor judgment: You aren’t acting in a way that reflects what you believe, which suggests that you don’t trust your own capability. So if you fake confidence with a woman, you risk not only losing her (once she discovers that you’re unconfident) but also missing chances with future women because you develop even lower self-esteem.
Non-Neediness: The Key to Getting Women Fall for You

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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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