How to socially be more masculine is another foundational thing you need to take into consideration when trying to increase others perception of your masculinity. There are many complex aspects to how you integrate with society and how others acknowledge and respect you.
How you act socially can be changed by putting on an act, but I prefer to encourage people to do the internal work that influences you in so that these changes come naturally and are long term.
The importance of how you act socially influences many areas of your life. Your professions, friends, family, and when you are out in public. Working on this will help you better understand other humans and yourself. Why do I think this? I like what the author Heider, F. states in his study, "Social perception and phenomenal causality."
"People with bad reputations are accused and convicted on the basis of evidence which one would consider insufficient if an unfavorable prejudice did not relate them to the crime in advance. On the contrary, if the accused has won our favor we demand irrefutable proof before we impute to him the crime."
What Heider is highlighting here is the amount of influence social likeability has in a more serious context. This example showcases the negative effect this can have on your life, but there is also the other side of this spectrum. For example, say you build a social reputation of being happy, hardworking, and honest. This can have a strong influence on your business, relationships, and life in general.
We are social creatures who do not exist on our own. Learning the skills on how to control or influence what others think about you will assist you greatly if you want to be perceived as more masculine and respected. Whether you like it or not your actions are influencing how others perceive you on a daily basis. Unless you live in the woods alone. Then it's just you and the squirrels. HAHA!
In the conclusion of the study "Perseverance in self-perception and social perception," the authors state, "Whether formed through stereotype, logical error, communication, or other processes, initial social impressions may stubbornly survive the onslaught of contrary evidence and argument." In light of this information giving people positive influence on their perception can and will have an impact on your life.
I have boiled down how to be socially more masculine into a few practical points. The thing is this is a vast subject and I will not be able to touch on everything. So, try out the information listed below and if this is something you want to continue to master there is plenty more information out there.
Friendships And Why They Matter
"A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth." —Charles Darwin
Friendships play a critical role in our lives. They influence our emotional stability, length of life, social status, and just general happiness. In, "Social Relationships and Mortality Risk," the authors discuss the following.
"Cumulative empirical evidence across 148 independent studies indicates that individuals' experiences within social relationships significantly predict mortality. The overall effect size corresponds with a 50% increase in odds of survival as a function of social relationships. Multidimensional assessments of social integration yielded an even stronger association: a 91% increase in odds of survival."
Isn't that incredible? I honestly did not know how crucial of a role my friends played in just my health alone. Then this made me think about the emotional impact. So after doing some digging, I came across this statement from, "The Development of Adolescents' Emotional Stability and General Self-Concept,"
"...both same-sex and opposite-sex peer friendships were more inﬂuential in the formation of females’ and males’ emotional stability than parent relations. This is consistent with the belief that as adolescents develop they increasingly transfer their emotional attachment from parents to peers in a process called individuation..."
Early on in our lives friendships are already shaping and molding us into who we will become. It is never too late to start cognitively taking this area of life seriously and finding friends who are worthwhile.
You might be asking what does this have to do with being socially masculine? Well, let me explain. You see generally to be perceived as masculine in a western society you need to be respected and viewed as being strong. This is a bit oversimplified but the point I am trying to make is this.
Having friends directly impacts your emotional health, physical health, and social status. These are all contributing factors to your internal strength and stability which directly affects your external actions and personification. So, in essence, your friends impact your internal world which in turn changes your external world.
How to find good friends.
Finding a good friend seems to be a large hurdle for many men. Lack of friendships can send some men into a downward spiral of loneliness, depression, and sometimes suicide. I hope I can help prevent this by bringing some clarity and tools to this topic.
Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to find new friends and transform acquaintances into friendships.
+ Finding new friends. The following is a list of ideas to take into consideration if you want to find and make new friends.
- Start a new hobby that includes other people. Like rock climbing or racing motorcycles. This will allow you to do something that you like and find people who have a similar interest.
- Volunteer at a local non-profit. If you are someone who likes to give back to the community this is a great way to find other men who are the same.
- Going to social events. Most cities have events going on often. Check them out even if you think they are lame. Find something interesting there and hang out and talk with other people.
- Find a place to become a regular at. This could be a restaurant, coffee shop, or even a food truck haha. Every time you go just be intentional and engage with the staff and the people there in a polite conversation.
- Go to some meetups or other group activities. There are plenty of apps and online resources to find groups that meet up for board games and random adventures around your area. Just take some time and check them out.
+ Simple ways to create deeper friendships with other men. There are many men out there who have friends but are still lonely and depressed. The thing is their closest friends probably do not know this about them. Why is that? Because they have not cultivated relationships that go beyond shallow conversation. This takes intentional hard work but is well worth the return on investment. Here is a list of simple ideas and ways you can take your current friendships to a deeper level.
- Communicate your appreciation and value for your friend. Don't just say I like you, go further than that. Take some time to think about things you like and deeply appreciate about your friend. Then communicate it to them. Tell them how important they are to you.
- Talk about things that make you a bit uncomfortable. This one needs to be done with some sense of social awareness, but if you have a friend that you want to have a deeper relationship with telling them some things that make you a bit uncomfortable to share with them. Like, the time your dad told you a failure, or when your past best friend betrayed you. Sharing things that you do not often talk about with others will most likely provoke your friendship to be more valuable.
- Share adversity together. There are few things that I have observed which build bonds between men stronger than adversity. Whether it is going through the same struggle or walking alongside each other as the other faces adversity and being there for them. The more adversity you face together the strong your friendship most likely will be.
- Have fun with each other. When you find someone to enjoy life with this will help create a history and bond that can be shared for the years to come.
- Go on a road trip. This is a great way to learn who you really like. Trap yourself in a car with a friend for more than eight hours and you will quickly learn how much you either love or hate them. HA! Seriously though, going on adventures together is a great way to bond.
+ Making space for new and better friends. An important part of finding new friends can also be letting old friends go. Sure you might have grown up together but life has separated you now. This is a totally normal part of life and growing up. Some friends are only in your life for a season and others are there for a while. Allowing old friends go and new friends to come into your life is a great skill to have.
If you ever move to another city or state you are forced to do this because friendships usually fade with distance but in general say you have lived in one place for a long time and you want to make some new friends but you feel weighed down or held back by your current friends. Or maybe you just don't have enough capacity for new friends so you want to make room for this.
Here are some simple ways to assess if you should let a friendship die. If you answer "no" to these questions then it may be time to let those friendships go.
- Do they ask you how you are doing?
- Is it a two-way street? Are you equally invested in each other?
- Do you do new things together? Or do you only talk about what you did in the past?
- If you were to be faced with a hard time in life would they be there for you?
- After hanging out do you feel drained or energized?
- Do they inspire you?
- Do they push you to be a better human being?
These are all great questions to ask yourself about your friends. If you find yourself realizing you want to let go of some friends but are not sure how I have compiled a couple tips to help you with that. You may want to wean off of them or just cut them out completely. That is up to you. Anyway, here are some tips on moving on from some old friends.
- Stop initiating meeting up or hanging out.
- Learn how to say no. This can be initially hard but necessary. Just tell them you are busy or do not want to hang out in that capacity.
- Start doing more things that you like to do. If your schedule is full with other things it makes it easier to tell people you do not want to make time for that you are busy.
- Just be upfront and tell them. Depending on the friend this could be a wakeup call to them. Telling them that they are not a good friend and you are moving on may be necessary.
+One last resource on friendship. If you want to learn more about male friendships and its importance head over to this article, "Male friendships, their importance, and how to develop them." It dives in deep into the topic of male friendships.
Your body language plays a MASSIVE role in how others perceive and experience you as a man. If you are wanting to develop being more masculine, body language needs to be taking into consideration. Observing what is perceived as masculine body language in your culture and then learning how to mimic it is a good place to start, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
What is body language? Here is a more classic definition, "it is the conscious and unconscious movements and postures by which attitudes and feelings are communicated." So in more simpler terms, let's see how urban dictionary defines it, "Body language is how you communicate with your body."
So now that we all can agree on what body language is, let's get into its impact on your life and how to develop and tune this skill.
The impact of body language in your life.
Body language not only influences how others perceive you it also impacts how you perceive yourself. You see when you see yourself slouched over and looking at the ground, you have judgments about yourself just as much as the stranger walking by. So when working on improving your body language this will not only affect what others think it will also improve your personal self-image.
The study, "Do Bodily Expressions Compete with Facial Expressions" also brings light to the impact of body language in a more articulate way.
"The decoding of social signals from nonverbal cues plays a vital role in the social interactions of socially gregarious animals such as humans. Because nonverbal emotional signals from the face and body are normally seen together, it is important to investigate the mechanism underlying the integration of emotional signals from these two sources."
The authors continue, "As a highly social species, it is of great significance for humans to comprehend and interpret others' emotions, intentions, and actions. Nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, bodily posture and gesticulation, and vocal prosody constitute a rich source of social signals. The ability to decode these signals contributes to successful social interactions."
Did you catch that last part? The ability to decode is something that assists us to have successful interactions and I would add that it helps us succeed in building a positive image for others to perceive.
I now want to reference the study, "Emotion Recognition across Cultures: The Influence of Ethnicity on Empathic Accuracy and Physiological Linkage." It states the following...
"An important part of our interpersonal lives is the production, perception, interpretation, and response to emotional signals. Being able to perceive these signals accurately carries clear advantages for predicting behavior, as well as forming and maintaining social bonds."
Body language often times is a physical display of the emotions a human is having. So honoring this part of our humanity and recognizing and developing it can greatly set you up for a more successful path than choosing ignorance. Mastering one's own body and being able to interpret what others are saying non-verbally has the potential to literally save your life.
For example, say a man has been emotionally triggered in a social setting. You see him clench his fists and breath heavily. Then a vein pops on his head. What is his body telling you? That he is pissed or in love with you? Well if you recognize the obvious signs that he is about to beat the shit out of you, you might be able to talk him down, or physically run from the situation.
Lastly, I felt it would be foolish for me to write about body language without referring to the "7%-38%-55% Rule" by Albert Mehrabian. Essentially the rule is this, "words account for 7%, your tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55% of social interactions."
This rule has been grossly misused and misrepresented. Many refer to it as a plumb line for all human interactions. But when looking into the research this just is not true and its limitations are often ignored when being used in talks and writings. This formula is mainly focused on the communication of emotions.
So, I appreciate Alberts observations and think they help bring light to the subject. Yet, it is not a scientific fact for all social situations but much can still be learned from his studies.
How to develop and grow your body language skills.
Now, in order to develop and grow your body language skills, I have accumulated some foundational things you can take into consideration if you should choose to do this. Take your time and give yourself practical goals as you do the following steps.
- Be realistic. This is one of the most important ones. You need to know your culture and your surroundings. Look into and research your society. This can allow you to know what will and will not work when it comes to improving your body language. What works in Asia may not work in Europe. So, be realistic and know what to and not to apply to your life. This may take trial and error for some.
- Practice a genuine smile. Smiling is a great way to help positively impact peoples perception of you. Here is a great guide on how to do this if you suck at smiling.
- Learn and use hand gestures. Hand gestures are an impactful way to use body language to your advantage to communicate a point. Check out, "20 Hand Gestures You Should Be Using" or "3 Things to Do With Your Hands When You Speak" for ideas and ways to become a ninja level hand gesture master.
- Master the handshake. In western culture, the handshake is highly valued in representing your strength or confidence. Sure you are more than your handshake but that does not mean you should not improve it. Over at Art of Manliness their article, "The Complete Guide to Giving a Great Handshake" is a great resource and you should check it out for mastering your handshake.
INSERT AOM IMAGE HERE(https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/manly-handshake/)
- Learn about eye contact. In all instances, we use our eyes as a level of communication with other people. When we are shy, scared, lying, or confident our eyes often communicate this to others around us. "How to Make Eye Contact the Right Way in Life, Business, and Love" is a great in-depth article on this topic.
- Research and study body language. This is a vast topic that you could read up on for a long time. If you feel that you are weak in the area of body language I encourage you to take some time and read up on it. There are many books and articles out there to help you navigate this journey. Here is the last article I would recommend on this topic, "How to Communicate With Body Language."
Be A Leader
"The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office." — Dwight D. Eisenhower
On your journey to becoming a more masculine individual, learning to be a leader is a must! In western societies, the amount of choices we have to make is constantly growing. Things as simple as what ketchup to choose or what pair of jeans to wear, these may seem simple but our culture has made them more complicated than they used to be.
Some masculine figures of history are those who lead by making decisions no one else would. Abraham Lincon, for example, chose to be a leader when it came to slavery. Or Gandhi when it came to helping those who felt powerless and were poor. Men of history chose to be leaders when others chose to cower. This is a trait that many respect and will improve your image of being perceived as masculine.
They changed the trajectory of history by being leaders and their impact continues to this day. Not only will being a leader most likely have a positive influence on your surroundings, it will also influence how others perceive you for better or worse.
When you read the word leader I want you to stop and think about the image in your head that pops up. The chances are it probably is something super unrealistic and non-human.
Here is a short list of things that people usually subconsciously believe a leader possesses. Start each point out with, "A leader is..."
- Knowing every possible situation that can happen so decision making is easy.
- Not being scared or afraid of making the wrong decision.
- Is fearless.
- Does not care what others think.
- Is perfect in every aspect of life.
- Cannot be wrong.
Now, these may seem arbitrary to you, but in reality, many people have these perceptions of leadership. An important part of becoming a leader in your immediate surroundings is realizing that those who presently are leaders and those who were leaders before you were human.
If we can agree that leaders are humans then before going any further, let us define what a leader is so we can all be on the same page. First, let us start off with the dictionary definitions.
- Leader: the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.
- Leadership: the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this.
Now here is my personal definition or image in my head that I will be writing about. That way you can better understand where I am coming from.
- A leader is someone who is willing to take action on a vision or value. They learn from their mistakes and do not allow fear to hold them back. They live with conviction.
I could write for a long time purely on the definition of leadership so I am trying to keep this short for you. So, now that we have done this let us move to further discussions.
The impact of leadership.
The perception of leadership is often skewed by the fantasy of perfection and desire of a messiah-like figure. So, when someone fills a leadership role and does not fulfill 100% the expectations of the followers they become the focus of ridicule.
Being the President of the United States is a great example. This role is an impossible task in many respects. You are essentially signing up to have a chunk of humanity hate you and another part strongly dislikes you.
In order to be a leader, you have to come to terms with the impact you will have the positive and negative. Even on a small scale for example, within a friend group, say you make a decision to choose where everyone should meet up. There will be someone who does not like this, YET they do not want to be the one doing making choices.
The direct impact leadership will have on your life though is this. IF you choose to take on more responsibility and be a decision maker as the opportunities arise, if done correctly people will begin to respect and look up to you. This will give you a subtle presence of being more masculine in western cultures.
Now, let us dive into practical steps in becoming a leader.
How to become a leader.
The following points are practical ways that you can start practicing and becoming a leader. Like anything in life you need to critically consider each of these points and ask yourself which applies best to you. Then implement them and see what does and does not work.
Alright, time to jump in!
- Find leaders who inspire you.
Fire Nation has a great piece on this the write.
"There’s no better way to learn how to do something than to find someone else who you admire and who does that thing really well.
There’s an endless number of amazing leaders out there, but it comes down to what type of leader you want to be. So while I could share a list of leaders who I might follow, your list is likely going to look different.
Take Action: Pick out 2, 3 or even 4 leaders who you admire – either for their speaking abilities, their expertise in a particular industry or niche, their ability to teach others who can learn from their mistakes – and read their articles, follow their speaking engagements, and check out their presence on social media and within online communities.
As you start to follow these leaders, notice how they present themselves, how they teach, and how they communicate."
Being decisive is a quality you will need to develop and practice. Times will arise when you need to make decisions when no one else will. Doing this will help push you in the direction of being a leader more and more. Here is an excerpt from, "Thinking like a leader." I find it very useful for this topic.
"You're standing in a circle of a group of friends, debating on what to do that night. Everyone is dilly-dallying, complaining, nixing everyone else's ideas until one person finally steps up and says, "Guys, we're doing this." That person rose to the top, saw the situation needed direction, and took charge. Leader, leader, leader.
That being said, you have to know your place. There will be times when you have to make the decision yourself and times when you have to give the team time to form a consensus. Respect your followers -- what might happen if you veto their opinions?"
If you struggle being decisive go read this article, "Being Decisive."
Become an expert.
Professionally if you want to become a leader being an expert will highly increase your ability to become a leader in your industry. This means constantly improving yourself through reading, listening to podcasts, going through information no one else wants to sift through, and just the willingness to push yourself through tasks others avoid.
The best way to become an expert is summed up in this quote that I absolutely love.
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” ― Stephen McCranie
Have healthy expectations.
Working hard on knowing your expectations. If you expect to become a leader overnight this will only set you up for failure and frustration.
Ask yourself and think through many questions about what you want and why you want to be a leader.
Ask yourself what will you do when someone disagrees with you or what to do when you lack motivation.
Ask yourself how badly do you really want this.
The more you articulate and are aware of your expectations will empower you to know how realistic and healthy they are.
Take on responsibility.
Learning how to take on and navigate responsibility will empower you to become a strong leader. If responsibility is something you stray away from chances are leadership is not something you will just stumble into. I mean anything can happen, but to set yourself up for success start practicing how to be responsible.
Here are five basic tips on how to become more responsible.
- 1. Stop making excuses for yourself.
- 2. Stop complaining.
- 3. Learn how to manage your finances.
- 4. Avoid procrastination.
- 5. Be consistent and keep to your schedule.
Reflect and adapt.
Lastly, as you start this journey it is important to reflect on where you have come from, what you have learned, and how you can appropriately adjust for the future.
You need to be able to learn from your mistakes and successes. This is a crucial skill needed as a leader. Also learning how to apply this to other leaders around you and the ones you look up to will help you avoid mistakes or navigate hard situations that may arise.
Become a ninja at observing your life and those around you.
Being a leader takes time and persistence. Make sure to read the section on how to Mentally Be More Masculine for more help in setting yourself up to be a leader.
Etiquette & Manners
If you think etiquette and manners are things of the past and you do not need to have them, then you and I have very little in common. Even though these terms are associated with past times and more traditional views on etiquette and manners play a huge role in every culture and time period. They evolve and morph as time goes on and they are a powerful tool that should be used to control and build a positive masculine image in your culture.
Encyclopedia.com's definition: "Manners and etiquette go hand in hand, but are not the same. Etiquette is a set of rules for dealing with exterior form. Manners are an expression of inner character. According to Emily Post, perhaps the most influential American writer on etiquette in the twentieth century, "manners are made up of trivialities of deportment which can be easily learned if one does not happen to know them; manner is personality—the outward manifestation of one's innate character and attitude toward life." Manners are common sense, a combination of generosity of spirit and specific know-how. Rules of etiquette are the guiding codes that enable us to practice manners.
Most commentators would agree with Emily Post and add that rather than being stiff, rigid rules, proper etiquette is meant to help people get along with each other and avoid conflict. Respect, kindness, and consideration form the basis of good manners and good citizenship. Etiquette becomes the language of manners. Rules of etiquette cover behavior in talking, acting, living, and moving; in other words, every type of interaction and every situation."
This dictionary defines them as such: "Etiquette is defined as the formal manners and rules that are followed in social or professional settings."
Now that we have a good baseline for discussion and a definition to work with you may be wondering what type of impact having good manners and etiquette can have on your life.
Think about it this way, practicing what your culture perceives as good etiquette and manners are the opposite of being offensive or socially repulsive. For example, say if you intentionally fart in a business meeting, this will make you perceived as unprofessional and not worth working with. This is a humorous yet realistic example.
This study states, "Teaching trainees about manners and etiquette can help them to identify and manage their own offensive behaviors and can be an essential step in leading them to provide more effective and ethical care."
To be efficient on this topic knowing what is rude or distasteful in your surrounding culture will expose to you that without etiquette and manners those behaviors will infect more of society. In behaving with skill and thought in this area you will do multiple things.
- Your actions will expose those who do not have these tools.
- You will create an image that you are a more refined individual who possesses self-control.
- These types of actions will set an example for those who lack in this area and hopefully create a desire to change.
I could continue but I feel those three points are sufficient for setting a premise for this discussion. How you act in society has a direct impact on how you are perceived and also influences how others act around you.
Developing Manners and Etiquette
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." —Thomas A. Edison
Now like any skill it takes time and persistence to learn something. So, if this is an area of life that you want to excel in give yourself time and just keep at it. The following is a list created to help someone start from the ground up. There are many resources and books out there though, so if this is something you really want to dig into you can.
- Know what not to do. If it is in business, social settings, or just out in public, find out and think about all the things that if you did would be considered the opposite of being polite.
For example, talking loudly on your phone in an elevator with other people, chewing with your mouth open loudly, looking at your phone while someone is talking to you, or during a conversation never letting the other person speak.
If you are able to identify what is socially unacceptable this will help you realize what you are doing that pushes people away or negatively impacts your persona.
- Start today. Learning how to have better manners and etiquette should not be put off. You can read all you want but you will need to put it into action to see the results. I can guarantee that the more respectful and polite you are to others the more often you will receive that back.
There have been plenty of times that when I chose to show respect to a co-worker or customer mutual respect was created. Growing in these skills will grow your social reputation. It will make you more respectable and trustworthy to others.
So, do not wait until tomorrow to start changing your ways. Today is the day! "The time for action is now. It's never too late to do something." —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Start with the basics. There are many aspects of manners and etiquette but I would suggest starting off with the basics. You probably are asking what the basics are!? Good!!! Let's see!
+ Table Manners Basics.
Mind the little details -- you've heard them all before. Respond to invitations in a timely manner; remember that it's always better to be overdressed; be fashionably on time; bring a hostess gift, and remember to silence your phone and keep it tucked away and out of sight. For more basic table manners tips check out this link.
+ Business Etiquette Basics.
When in doubt, introduce others. Always introduce people to others whenever the opportunity arises, unless you know that they’re already acquainted. It makes people feel valued, regardless of their status or position.
A handshake is still the professional standard. Not only does this simple gesture demonstrate that you’re polite, confident and approachable, it also sets the tone for any potential future professional relationship. In a very casual work atmosphere, you might be able to get away with a nod or a hello, but it’s worth it to make the extra effort to offer your hand. For more basic business etiquette ideas check out this link.
+ Social Etiquette Basics.
Easy to have good manners – These basic rules of proper etiquette are mostly common sense with a healthy dose of the Golden Rule thrown in for good measure.
Be on time – No one likes to wait for others who are chronically late.
Personal space – When you see someone squirming as you step closer back off a bit.
Every culture has different comfort levels of personal space, so before you travel, find out how close you can get to people without being rude.
Men’s manners – This one is simple: All you have to do is be a gentleman. Rudeness is never manly. For more basic social etiquette ideas check out this link.
I hope you take this section to heart. It could heavily influence how your boss, in-laws, and potential clients percieve you. The long term benefits of being a pleasant respectful person will often go unseen, but are still an evident presence.
I do want to be clear though, being polite does not mean being a passive man. There are times social protocal needs to be disturbed or contradicted in order to send a message to society. As a whole though learning how your culture opperates and participating in that which is respectable will benefit you and those in your immediate surroundings.