The 6 Qualities an Ideal Man Must Have

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Robert Glover. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What does the ideal man look like? What qualities does he possess?

Dr. Robert Glover and David Deida have both written books about what makes a fully realized, successful, and attractive man. Although their opinions differ in some ways, they both agree on six important qualities the ideal man must have.

Here’s a look at their theories about the ideal man.

An Overview of the Ideal Man

Two texts pop up again and again as required reading for men seeking to improve themselves by fully embracing themselves and their masculinity: Dr. Robert Glover’s No More Mr. Nice Guy and David Deida’s 1997 The Way of the Superior Man. Both authors end up at similar conclusions: To be the ideal man, you must wholeheartedly accept yourself as you are.

In Dr. Robert Glover’s book No More Mr. Nice Guy Overall, the main distinction between the Nice Guy and the Ideal Man is self-acceptance. Glover notes that while the Ideal Man is secure in his self-image, masculinity, and sexuality, the Nice Guy represses his true self (including his masculinity and sexuality).

Glover further defines these types of men via the following traits:

Avoids conflict and struggles with boundariesHandles conflict and establishes boundaries
Prioritizes other’s needs and desires over his ownHolds himself accountable for his own needs and desires
Ignores his flaws and mistakesAddresses and learns from his flaws and mistakes
Fixes people and situations without promptingTakes charge and genuinely cares for his loved ones
Withholds his thoughts and emotions out of a fear of disapprovalCommunicates his thoughts and emotions openly and honestly
Isolated and lonely, even among family and friendsBuilds healthy, worthwhile relationships with everyone (women and men)

The 6 Qualities of the Ideal Man

According to Glover and Deida, the Ideal Man:

1) Accepts Himself Wholeheartedly

When it comes to Glover’s Ideal Man and Deida’s Superior Man, both authors end up at similar conclusions: To be a real man, you must wholeheartedly accept yourself as you are.

The Superior Man shares many traits with the Ideal Man, such as the ability to face his fears, release shame and self-doubt, and accept life’s challenges as opportunities for growth. However, Deida’s male archetype differs slightly from Glover’s in his spiritual connection to the world at large. For example, Deida believes the Superior Man is in touch with both masculine and feminine energy—within himself, in those around him, and in the push and pull of the universe. He also notes that the Superior Man knows how to be present and approach every situation with an open and loving heart.

While No More Mr. Nice Guy never implies these traits are not part of the Ideal Man, the spiritual aspects of Deida’s Superior Man aren’t a focus for the psychoanalytical Glover. And while Deida doesn’t explicitly define an “Inferior Man” equal to the “Nice Guy,” he does hint at undesirable male qualities that are similar to Glover’s Nice Guy attributes. For instance, Glover’s Nice Guy withholds his true thoughts and emotions; likewise, Deida criticizes men who don’t wholeheartedly share their true self and life purpose with others.

2) Takes Responsibility for Himself

 According to Glover, when you prioritize yourself, you assert new, productive beliefs about yourself, your needs, and how to meet them. Understand that everyone has needs and prioritizing yourself is the only mature, direct, and honest means of satisfying yours. 

Although Deida agrees that the Superior Man is responsible for himself, his interpretation of what this responsibility is differs from Glover’s. Deida believes that in his intimate relationships, the Superior Man is responsible not necessarily for his needs, but for knowing his purpose in life and using it to set goals to keep himself and his woman on track. As a man, Deida says it’s your responsibility to cut through female moods and emotions—as well as your own preoccupations with your duties—and provide you both with a clear direction.)

3) Welcomes Fear

Glover asserts the only way to overcome vicious anxiety and fear is to acknowledge it and face what currently scares you. You create new beliefs each time you push through fear.

Facing your fears is easier said than done, but we can look again to The Way of the Superior Man for advice on how to approach these situations. When you’re feeling uncomfortable, anxious, or afraid, Deida recommends you let go and open yourself to uncertainty by:

  • Focusing on your breath. Release the tension in your body by standing up straight and breathing deep into your belly. Allow yourself to be physically and mentally open to what you’re experiencing.
  • Speaking your fears. By acknowledging and describing your fears and how they affect you, you allow yourself to be emotionally open to your present feelings. 

Once you’re fully open to whatever life may throw at you, Deida agrees there’s only one thing left to do: Face it head-on.  

4) Embraces His Masculinity

According to Glover, if a man wishes to feel empowered and get a handle on his relationships with men, women, and life in general, he must reclaim his masculinity. This reclamation means embracing your manhood and all its traits. To get back in touch with and draw on the power of your masculine self, Glover recommends you bond with other men and find positive male role models. 

While Glover’s understanding of masculinity is largely based on what a man is capable of, Deida’s concept lies more in what it feels like to be a man and how this specific energy positively contributes to his relationships and the overall balance of the universe.

While Glover stresses Nice Guys find male role models to help guide them, Deida asks the Superior Man to turn to the wisdom of older women as well. As women age, they tend to embrace their masculine energy more, which according to Deida, decreases their capacity to tolerate bullshit. This—combined with their ability for deep emotional understanding as a mature female—makes older women worthy companions on your self-improvement journey.

While Glover and Deida both believe men will benefit from embracing their masculinity, their definitions of the concept differ extensively.

As the more overtly spiritual of the two, Deida doesn’t simply discuss masculinity, but masculine energy. According to him, we all have the capacity for masculine and feminine energy. He breaks these energies into two simple categories: those who ravish (masculine) and those who desire to be ravished (feminine). Deida believes it’s up to you to decide which energy you align most with. That being said, he specifies that The Way of the Superior Man is intended for men who align with the masculine.

Deida stresses the importance of the polar attraction between the masculine and the feminine, so he further defines both energies through what they can give the other. He sees the following as masculine “gifts” to the opposing feminine:

  • Unconditional love
  • Stability
  • Security
  • Decisiveness 
  • An analytical perspective

5) Has Addressed His Relationship With His Father

To get at the root of his masculinity issues, Glover explains that a recovering Nice Guy must overcome the childhood impression of his father and view him through fresh eyes. Even if the relationship was exactly as you remember, Glover demonstrates that when you reflect as an adult, you’re likely to see your dad for who he was: human.

In Superior Man, Deida agrees that in order to live as a free man, you must release yourself from your father’s expectations. To help you do this, he suggests taking three days to live as if your father had died. Follow your own path. What would you pursue if his judgment was lifted from your shoulders?

6) Doesn’t Settle For Bad Sex

According to Glover, Nice Guys who settle for bad (incongruous, passionless) sex will likely keep having bad sex. If a Nice Guy continues to accept lazy, passive lovemaking, it will become the default.

Nice Guys won’t have good sex until they can say “no” to bad sex. But what does “good sex” look like to Glover?

  • Both partners are responsible for ensuring their own needs are met.
  • There are no prior expectations or objectives (no “She has to orgasm 3 times or I’ve failed”).
  • It’s a natural, intimate, and vulnerable expression of sexual energy with unpredictable potential—not a reenacted performance

Despite the similarities between Glover’s Ideal Man and Deida’s Superior Man, these authors’ approaches to sex are quite different. While Glover discourages the Ideal Man from partner-focused sex—so he can focus on his own needs—Deida suggests the Superior Man turn his focus outward by prioritizing connection with his woman over his own pleasure. He believes the complete union of masculine and feminine energy is the ultimate goal of sex. Glover, on the other hand, believes pleasure is the main objective.)

The 6 Qualities an Ideal Man Must Have

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Robert Glover's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full No More Mr. Nice Guy summary :

  • Why being a "Nice Guy" isn't actually a good thing
  • Why Nice Guys miss out on a life of self-acceptance, empowerment, and satisfaction
  • How to know if you are a Nice Guy and how to become an "Ideal Man" instead

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in English Literature. Growing up, she enjoyed reading fairy tales, Beatrix Potter stories, and The Wind in the Willows. As of today, her all-time favorite book is Wuthering Heights, with Jane Eyre as a close second. Elizabeth has branched out to non-fiction since graduating and particularly enjoys books relating to mindfulness, self-improvement, history, and philosophy.

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