Is It True That Women Aren’t Attracted to “Nice Guys”?

How does God feel about “nice guys” /”beta males” and does my being an alpha or beta male carry any spiritual consequences?
I was watching a video done by Teal Swan, a very popular spiritual teacher, which focused on why women aren’t attracted to “nice guys.” She asserts that a “nice guy” is essentially an emasculated and vulnerable man (beta male) who lacks the qualities women need to feel content in a relationship. “Nice guys” possess the following undesirable traits:
  • “passive, submissive, inactive and retreating”
  • “are much more likely to follow instead of lead”
  • “can be codependent and insecure”
  • “usually always agreeable to the degree that they lack boundaries and a sense of what’s actually beneficial and safe”
  • “tendency to feel energetically small and, therefore, unable to contain and protect a woman”
Conversely, masculine men (alpha males) are desirable as they possess the following :
  • “tendency to take the leadership role”
  • “are protective and encouraging”
  • “have direction and drive in life”
  • “are creative and charismatic”
  • “are strong, confident, and can provide”
  • “good social skills and high energy levels”
  • “ability to act in the best interests of the woman in his life”
Unfortunately, I’m a man that identifies – completely – with the former set of characteristics and I need to have a better understanding as to why my God — whom I want to be able to trust — would design me, and people like me, as such an undesirable example of a man while also designing me to need a healthy relationship with a woman?

First, great job having the courage to write in! It’s very hard to ask “Am I not good enough as I am?” yet many people feel haunted by this question. The reason I invite people to use anonymous code names is so that these very important concerns can be voiced.

Before we work through the specific aspects of your question, I want to discuss the general concept of counselors for a moment, to help you in your future pursuit of useful advisors. People who choose psychological counseling as a career path all have self-serving motivations for doing so. Those motivations can be positive or negative, depending on the counselor’s personal baggage. If you’re going to try to specialize in trauma counseling, as Swan does, then you could really use to have some personal experience with being traumatized. Personal experiences are the starting foundation that all counselors use to try to understand and guide their clients. Over time, the goal is to expand on that platform until you are able to deeply understand a broad range of issues that you haven’t personally experienced. To achieve this goal, you have to be working very hard at your own personal maturity while doing your career work. If you do not keep working on yourself, then you will rely too much on your own limited experiences, and this will cause your advice to be very biased and inappropriate in many situations.

Now there are basic principles about how traumatic experiences impact humans. Traumas also differ in severity, with more severe traumatic experiences taking much longer to recover from. Swan claims to have personally experienced a very high volume of extremely severe traumatic experiences. The likelihood that she has been able to work through all of that fallout and mature to the point that she is in a good headspace to function as a wise counselor at her age is highly unlikely. Things like bestselling books and a super popular YouTube channel are major hindrances to both self-development and trauma recovery, as social fame introduces massive stresses into the famous person’s life that cause a severe increase in mental stress load. Swan is also choosing the popular path of flaunting her personal traumatic experiences as a means of attracting a greater audience. I personally feel that it is very unprofessional for counselors to turn the focus onto their personal backstories. Counseling is supposed to be a client focused activity, not “look at me” time. I also feel that behaving as a professional requires being aware of your audience’s sensitivities and adjusting your behavior in a way that encourages them to think critically about the advice you’re giving without being distracted by irrelevant things. Swan is targeting both genders, yet in her videos, she frequently wears provocative attire that is going to be nothing but a manipulative distraction to her audience. In my opinion, flaunting your own juicy backstory and trying to doll yourself up to look like your culture’s idea of “sexy” is very unprofessional behavior which attracts people towards you for the wrong reasons.

You should be assessing the value of advisers that you come across by the quality of advice they are giving you, not by their personal horror stories, personal finances, social popularity, or physical appearance. When I see people promoting themselves as brilliant psychological advisers, yet at the same time using cheap manipulation tactics in their delivery styles, I’m not a fan. I believe that is very inappropriate to tell the whole earth about your personal history when you are functioning as a professional counselor, because it is impossible to avoid having that information negatively bias your clients. When people feel they can identify with you personally because you’ve had some experiences in common, they will automatically become more receptive to the advice you give them and stop using the critical thinking skills which are so important to protecting themselves from abuse. When instead people learn you have had a personal experience that they don’t identify with, they often react just as badly to that news, and once again focus too much on details of your personal history when they should be focusing on the kind of advice you’re giving them.

The kinds of traumatic experiences Swan claims to have suffered will have a very strong impact on the way she views her fellow humans. Extra caution is called for when you’re taking relationship advice from someone who claims to have a long history of being horrifically abused by other humans. Since we can’t be abused by other people without having our view of humans negatively warped, it’s quite natural for abuse victims to form some very extreme and narrow definitions of an “ideal” relationship partner. All of this guff about alpha males is simply telling you what kind of man Swan personally wants. The fact that she is unable to see value in “beta” males demonstrates that she is still too steeped in her own unresolved issues to offer balanced advice.

As I said earlier, all counselors start off using their own life experiences as a platform to draw understanding from. But over time, they are supposed to expand beyond that limited base. Mature counselors are able to see life through the eyes of clients who they have no personal identity with simply by listening and focusing on what the client is saying. You can’t do this until you’ve first gotten your own baggage sorted enough so that it can be temporarily set aside while you are focusing on a client. The more baggage you have, the more work you’ll have to put into sorting yourself out so that you don’t see all of your clients through the warped lens of your own issues.

The fact that Swan is writing off all “beta” males as essentially useless to women, combined with the kinds of qualities that she assigns to “betas” demonstrates she is still far too steeped in her own issues to offer quality advice on this subject. I haven’t listened to any of this woman’s speeches at length, but from what I’ve seen, I would caution you against counting her as a safe source of advice in the future.

It’s always a red flag when a counselor’s advice affects you the way that hers has. Wise advice has a way of pointing out our issues without also driving us into despair. You really should not keep listening to sources that make you feel a like a general failure, either as a man or as a human. The fact that Swan’s advice is also causing you to doubt God as a reliable Guide in your life tells you that she is also an unsafe spiritual advisor (she promotes herself as offering advice in both psychological and spiritual matters). A good spiritual counselor will push you towards God and encourage you to view your relationship with Him as supremely important and worth investing in. Bad spiritual counselors will drive you away from God by undermining your confidence in Him and encouraging you to replace Him with human advisers (usually themselves). Whenever you are trying to judge the quality of spiritual advice, always consider the impact that advice is having on your soul’s view of God. (For more about how spiritual advice impacts soul attitudes, see Deliverance, Tongues & Healing… Am I Being Led Astray?).

Now that we understand that counselors are imperfect people and that trauma counselors are especially vulnerable to giving out lousy advice due to their own psychological baggage, let’s go through your question in detail.

How does God feel about “nice guys” /”beta males” and does my being an alpha or beta male carry any spiritual consequences?

God loves variety. God would also disagree with Swan’s definitions of “alpha” versus “beta.” She’s trying to stuff all males into these two personality packages, and that just doesn’t work. By God’s design, males are far more varied than Swan is acknowledging and every personality package has positive and negative aspects to it. Rather than seeing negative qualities as useless flaws, God sees them as having a lot of value, which is why He just isn’t in a flaming hurry to “perfect” any of us.

It’s worth noting that many of the qualities we admire in others are technically “bad” from a mental health standpoint. Take the fellow who is stellar at doing search and rescue missions in some arctic wilderness. To the people who he saves, the man is a hero. But from a mental health standpoint, he’s a mess of unresolved trauma. Functional, well balanced people simply don’t attract towards jobs that involve constantly revving their bodies with an overdose of adrenaline, barely sleeping, barely eating, constantly putting themselves in physical danger, and being so obsessed with their jobs that they have no time for healthy relationships with other people.

In His brilliance, God has designed even the worst aspects of human nature to have some very positive uses. He has also woven a very strong theme of redemption into human development, meaning that it is our negative experiences that lay the foundation for the greatest personal advancement. The person who has had their heart broken ends up able to love more deeply and functionally than the person who has never experienced that kind of loss. The person who behaves like a major jerk for many years has the ability to morph into a far more kind, gracious, and compassionate person than the fellow who considers himself to have always been morally good.

Once you realize God’s passion for bringing good out of bad, and for using bad to enhance good, you stop seeing “flaws” as just shortcomings, and instead see them as a foundation that some beautiful new qualities can be built on. For humans, pain and stress are like the fertilizers that equip plants in a garden with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. It doesn’t mean we can’t develop without pain, nor does it mean we should always seek out misery. Just as you can kill your flowers by over fertilizing them, humans can become crushed by too much pain. But as the ultimate Gardener, God knows the right amount of issues and challenges to sprinkle into each of our lives to give us the resources we need to truly thrive.

But then Swan comes along and tells you that all guys who think like you are basically flawed losers, while “alpha” males are perfect heroes. What a bunch of malarkey. Within the two camps of “alphas” and “betas”, there is plenty of room to thrive or wither, depending on how you are responding to the life lessons God is arranging for you. And let’s remember that human females are your equals, not your superiors. So when someone tries to get you to rate your success as a human being based on how some of your fellow humans view you, that’s complete rubbish. It is God’s opinion of you that matters. Even if every woman on the planet thinks you’re a clod, if God thinks you’re doing great, then why should you give a toss what those women say? Of course such an extreme situation will never occur, because female personalities are as varied as male personalities, and that means no matter what kind of guy you are, there will be a bunch of women who like you, a bunch of women who don’t like you, and a bunch of women who are too caught up in their own drama to notice you at all.

Since I haven’t watched this video by Swan (and I have no desire to), I’m going to base my advice on the list of characteristics you’ve provided. You’ve asked how having one of these personality packages impacts your spiritual development. Well, there are certain soul attitudes that God teaches all of us to have. When He introduces these concepts to you, how hard He pushes you to develop the various attitudes, and which attitudes He prioritizes with you will vary from what He does with other men. Spiritual growth is like sitting down in God’s classroom with a million other guys, only each of you are hearing God teach a different lesson. When God passes out a test in the class, you each receive a test that is only based on what you personally heard God teach. This is a highly personalized experience, which is why it’s so useless to try to assess your spiritual progress by comparing yourself to other men.

To help people understand the concept of soul attitudes, I try to keep it simple by focusing on four essential soul attitudes which are foundational to your relationship with God, and which will eventually become the main focus between the two of you. Those four essential soul attitudes are reverence, submission, dependency and trust. While we will all end up working on these same four attitudes at some point in our spiritual journeys, we will differ in how we view these attitudes. For some of us, trusting God will seem like a breeze, while revering Him will feel like quite a struggle. For some of us, reverence will come easily, but dependency will feel very challenging. Here is where your personality can come into play. If you’re a born leader and the sort of person who always wants to feel in control of the situations you are in, those qualities will likely cause you to find submitting to God quite challenging. Humans naturally try to relate to God the same way that they relate to their fellow humans. It takes a lot of time and maturity to figure out how to treat God like God. In the meantime, we try to get comfortable with Him using the same tactics we use with humans. For “beta” males who try to reduce conflict in their relationships by placating others, submitting to God will likely seem much easier to do than it is for “alpha” males. This isn’t a case of a “good” camp versus a “bad” camp. Every personality package makes some soul attitudes come easier than others. No personality package finds all of the soul attitudes easy because there are certain aspects of the whole Creator-creature dynamic that are universally distressing.

So then, is being a “beta” a spiritual detriment? Not at all. Being a “beta” has major advantages, as it sets you up well in the area of submission. Submission is vital in your relationship with God. As a very dominant and independent Creator who never shares His power or Authority, God demands that we fully submit to Him as the Supreme Authority in our lives. For many people, the idea of submitting to God even a little bit is very threatening and they find it extremely difficult to stop trying to boss God about all the time. As a male who already prefers the “follower” role in your human relationships, you’re well-positioned to find following God attractive as well. Given what a huge issue submission is in the Creator-creature dynamic, having any qualities that help you in this area is a major benefit.

Leading vs. Following

It sounds like Swan wants all the males on the planet to morph into strong “alphas”. Take a moment to imagine the chaos that would occur if that actually happened. Welcome to World War 3…and 4…and 5. If every male on the planet was insisting on leading and refusing to follow, and if they were all super driven (which is a form of obsession) and charismatic in their communication style (which is typically quite overbearing and only enjoyable in small doses), then yikes what a loud, chaotic nightmare that would be.

God has intentionally designed this world to work only when a whole host of opposite forces exist at the same time and perpetually balance each other out. Leaders need followers as much as followers need leaders. Both are equally important, and if you take one away, you end up with a mess.

Now according to Swan, women are only attracted to leaders. Think about that for a moment. To say that all women are hankering for a leader in their lives, is like saying all women are followers by nature. Well, no, that’s ridiculous. Women are as varied as men. Some women are wired to lead, others are wired to follow. Some women are internally driven, others are not. By insisting that there is only one kind of “Mr. Right,” Swan is saying that there is only one kind of woman. But no, that’s utterly absurd.

So think about this: you’re a guy who likes to follow. There are a bunch of women in the world who like to lead. Why can’t that be a positive combination? Who are the female leaders supposed to pair up with if they can’t be with you? Do you know what happens when two strong willed leaders pair up? They fight. A lot. The old saying “there are too many chefs in the kitchen” is a wise observation that natural leaders usually have a hard time working with each other.

Strong leaders instinctively try to seize the role of “boss” as soon as they are in a group of other humans. When two leaders end up in the same group, you end up with two people constantly competing for the “boss” title while the rest of the group feels stressed and abandoned. If all men took Swan’s bad advice and tried to morph into leader types, they would become so obsessed with fighting each other for the top rank that they wouldn’t have time for women or anything else.

Functional Leadership

A common problem with teachers like Swan is that she turns a neutral word into a bad word by attaching a false definition to it. Take this business of being a “leader.” By the time you think you’re a loser because you feel more comfortable following, you’ve probably started to view yourself as some brainless guy who is devoid of any personal opinions in life. But is that really who you are? Of course not. Every human has a very long list of personal beliefs and opinions, many of which they feel quite strongly about. So being a “follower” doesn’t mean “having no thoughts.”

Read through Swan’s list of characteristics and notice how much she is focusing on the issues of power and protection. Swan claims that she was a victim of horrific torture as a child. She also claims to have been bullied by other kids. A child undergoing those kinds of trauma is going to feel completely abandoned by the folks who are supposed to be her protectors in life–parents, teachers, etc.. When we don’t have a chance to resolve our traumatic beliefs, they grow worse over time, not better. Today you find Swan railing on about how her “ideal” man is a powerful protector type who will swoop in to save his woman without having to be prodded into action. He is physically able to shelter her from harm and drive off the baddies. He is someone she can count on to anticipate problems. He is someone she can lean on and hide behind without feeling like he has to be propped up by her. Can you see how this definition of an “ideal” man would be shaped by a history of feeling horrifically abandoned and physically trampled on?

Now because humans are so varied, they respond to torture traumas in very different ways. Some victims try to regain a sense of power by becoming torturers themselves. Others seek out additional torture experiences so they can try to acclimate to that kind of pain. Still others try to avoid any kind of real life torture experience while they obsess over how to protect themselves from future abuse. Given her past experiences, Swan likely feels a desperate need for a protector who she can actually count on after so many other people have failed her in that role. This is a very valid response to trauma, and Swan’s feelings on this issue would be very intense given her history. It sounds like she has simply carried those feelings into her counseling career and is now telling everyone that there is only one “ideal” man–her ideal man. She is also falsely assuming that every other woman on the planet wants what she wants. Well, no, they really don’t. All of those female leaders I mentioned really aren’t interested in pairing up with a man who will constantly try to block their efforts to lead. Many quiet, calm women would find it incredibly draining to be trapped in the same house as a charismatic, driven man. But the kind of projecting that Swan is doing is something all humans do to a point, and something that traumatized people do to an extreme. My point is that Swan has very valid reasons for wanting the kind of man she wants, but she is also too blinded by her own trauma issues to offer good advice on this topic. Her own fears are blinding her from seeing the value in non-alpha men. Given how bitterly she has likely been disappointed by “weak” men in her own life, I would imagine her disgust of “beta” men is quite intense and likely came through in the video you watched. You’ve obviously picked up a clear message of “I suck” from listening to Swan, and it’s likely that she conveyed this to you in many indirect ways (tone, expression, choice of words, etc.). As I said before, until trauma counselors get their own mental issues under control, they simply aren’t able to provide useful advice because they see everything through the warped lens of their personal fears and struggles.

To get a more balanced view on this issue, imagine human personalities as decks of cards. The natural desire to lead is just one card in that deck. That single card can come paired with a whole variety of other cards. There is no rule that having a leader card means you must also have an obnoxious social manner card, and a career driven card. In the same way, having a follower card, doesn’t mean you also have to have a no personal goals card or an uncreative card. You can be a skilled artist and be a follower. You can be a leader and have no use for climbing the corporate ladder. So when Swan starts pairing concepts of natural leader with traits like creative and encouraging, she’s suggesting that these things always come packaged together. She’s also implying that they only exist together, therefore if you’re a follower, you must be some unimaginative rain cloud who sits around giving your wife no support at all. Really? So if you aren’t the kind of guy who leaps in front of your wife to face off the mugger in the alley, then that means you’re a complete zero in the emotional support department as well? Can you see how a lot of false pairing is being implied by Swan’s list?

The Follower Mentality

Let’s set the gender issue aside for a moment and talk about this idea of being a follower. What is that really about? When we talk about leaders versus followers we’re talking about your subconscious mind’s preferred style for managing your human relationships. Human minds are like brilliant war generals who have different opinions on the best way to manage battlefield operations. As is so often the case, there is no single “right” way to deal with conflict. One general’s style is just as valid as another, and each style works best in different situations. The same is true with the leader vs. follower strategies that minds use. These strategies are focused on several different goals, two of which are managing power and minimizing conflict.

In every human relationship, there is an element of power. In healthy peer relationships (which include friendship and marriage), the two partners try to keep power balanced equally between them. The main way this is done is by rotating which partner gets their way in a situation. When you go along with what your friend Joe wants, even though you’re not thrilled with the idea, Joe gains power. When Joe later goes along with something that you want, you gain power. It’s as if the two of you are passing a ball back and forth between you. When you want to receive the ball, you need Joe to cooperate by tossing it to you, and vice versa. If you call out “Toss me the ball!” and Joe ignores you or refuses to, then you get upset. The ball represents power in the relationship. By refusing to give you a turn to hold the ball, Joe is hoarding power. If he does this for too long, you’ll walk away mad and the game will end.

Now among those who have personal reasons for disliking followers, it’s often assumed that followers are spineless doormats who just stand their grinning while their partners walk all over them. But, no, this is a false view of followers. There are many ways to exchange power with your relationship partner that don’t require you trying to lead all the time.

Every human wants to feel safe and secure in their relationships. Minimizing conflict is one of the ways humans try to avoid harm. By instantly seizing the alpha position in groups, leaders are trying to keep conflict at a minimum. Once the group accepts you their boss, they are more likely to follow your orders with minimal protest, so rushing to grab the position of top dog feels like a very clever way to instantly trim down the list of your potential antagonists. But while leaders are busy lunging for the throne, followers have their own strategy which they feel is even smarter. Sure, being the boss comes with some perks, but it also comes with a heavy load of having to make constant decisions. Who needs all of that hassle? Not followers. They use what they feel is a much wiser strategy of coasting along with whatever the leader wants to do, provided that he doesn’t get too obnoxious.

Minds that favor the leader strategy tend to have much stronger opinions about trivial details. They believe that caring about details is essential to staying in power. Leaders often fear that if they start letting their followers make a lot of decisions, they might be seen as irrelevant and be given the boot. Leaders often also feel deep down that they really aren’t that necessary (because who can’t make up their own minds about where to have lunch?), so they tend to exaggerate how much they care about certain details just to keep everyone else acting subservient.

Minds that favor the follower strategy tend to feel neutral about a lot of issues that leaders are strongly opinionated about. This lack of strong opinions in many areas can make followers come across as less intelligent or less self-aware, but these are false assumptions. Far from being devoid of opinions, followers feel very strongly about how much they dislike the hassle of having to constantly direct everyone. So they are being true to themselves and avoiding a bunch of unpleasant arguments by simply coasting along with what the leader wants. Until an important issue arises, followers don’t feel like they’re missing out on anything by coasting. They only look unimaginative and non-opinionated next to leaders who are exaggerating these two qualities in order to keep a firm grip on their positions of power.

Now in both camps, things can become unhealthy. Leaders can become tyrannical and start dishing out nasty punishments to anyone who tries to disagree with them. Followers can become too afraid to cut ties with a bad leader and end up getting mistreated. But this leader-follower dynamic is like a dance: just because two dance partners can stomp on each other’s feet doesn’t mean that they will. Another option is for the two partners to move in a smooth rhythm with each other, and this can happen in leader-follower dynamics as well.

Since you strongly identify as a follower, you probably find the idea of trying to constantly lead in your marriage very draining. It would likely be a refreshing relief to you to find a woman who wants to lead, because she would happily carry the main burden of decision making on a lot of issues that you simply don’t care about. Do you think pink frosting is okay for the wedding cake? Go for it, Dear. What pattern should we get on our dinner plates? Anything you like, Sweetheart. Followers are more than happy to sit back and let their leader spouses fuss over these kinds of trivial details. And the leaders are very happy to get to fuss because they genuinely feel these details are important. A leader-follower pairing can be a very happy thing, provided that the following spouse gets his fair share of power.

A key thing to understand about balancing power is that your wife only has a chance to give you power when 1) you genuinely care about something, and 2) the two of you have a difference of opinion. If your wife insists that you choose where to go for lunch when you couldn’t care less, then instead of feeling powerful, you’ll feel hassled, like she’s dumping a chore on you. When you finally pick a place just to make her happy, she will be the one receiving the power, because you did something for her that you didn’t want to do. Later on, when you want some romance in the bedroom and she just wants to zone out on the couch watching a movie, she finally has the chance to give you some power by doing something for you that she’d rather skip. This is how couples balance power between them: by rotating who gets their way in a given situation. While the details of those situations change drastically from couple to couple, the underlying principles are the same.

Humans instinctively know when they have given or received power in a relationship. In healthy relationships, both situations bring pleasure because spouses want the power to remain balanced. But the key point I want you to grasp is that it’s quite possible to balance power well when you are a follower and your wife is a leader. Having a leader wife does not automatically prevent power from being balanced, nor does it mean she always leads or that she is an abusive leader. At bottom, both the leader and follower strategies are attempts to minimize conflict with human partners when working as a team. They are both based on sound logic, and they can be very effective in reducing social tension.

Now what won’t work is you trying to fake that you like being a leader. If you do that, you’ll personally feel miserable because your soul will be trying to force your mind to use a strategy that your mind doesn’t believe in. Just as a military general isn’t going to take battle advice from some inexperienced cadet, your mind does not like having your soul try to boss it in areas that your mind feels superior in. Protecting you from harm is your mind’s top priority, and an area that it feels very skilled in. Your soul specializes in other areas and isn’t great at negotiating social tensions. Since there is nothing morally wrong about being a follower, you shouldn’t try to change this aspect of yourself. Instead, you should ask God to help you appreciate the many benefits that come with having a mind that favors this kind of strategy.

The Passive Temperament

Those who are familiar with my material will know that one of my personal pet peeves is when people use the term “passive” like it’s an insult. This is what Swan does when she includes the following traits on her bad “beta” list:

passive, submissive, inactive and retreating

What’s being described here is another kind of mental strategy, only this time the focus is on protecting you from harm in the midst of an attack. Minds split into two camps here: aggressive versus passive. As is the case with the leader vs. follower strategies, both of these strategies are logical, clever, and can be highly effective.

This world is a rather violent place, and it’s guaranteed that you’ll find yourself under attack by hostile parties at some point. Happily, God has pre-programmed you with an array of emergency response strategies which your ever loyal subconscious will apply with gusto the moment it detects a threat. Your mind is born favoring either a passive or aggressive defense, and you are what you are for life. There are cases in which passives can feel forced to act aggressive and vice versa, but I won’t delve into that complicated subject here. The key thing for you to understand is that we’re talking about a built in psychological defense strategy that cannot be changed, and that exists to protect you. This is a good thing, and ripping on the fact that your mind is passive is like saying it’s a flaw that you have a set of working lungs. You need a defense strategy, and it would be quite nice if said strategy was smart instead of stupid. Since you are born with no understanding of human nature, it’s quite handy that God (who is an Expert on all things human) chose a very fine strategy for you and equipped your mind with it right from the start.

So how do these strategies work? Suppose a random dog runs up to you and stands there snarling viciously. This is a direct threat to your safety, and your mind instantly sizes up the situation and employs a strategy that it feels has the best chance of minimizing how much injury you will acquire in this dicey situation. If you are an aggressive, then your focus will be on trying to seize the power in the situation. You might try giving the dog a hard kick or whack it with some kind of weapon to scare it off. When threatened, aggressives instinctively lash out at their antagonist and try to seize the dominant position. A man who charges at his mugger is an aggressive. A man who ventures out of the bedroom, gun in hand, to confront a nighttime robber is an aggressive.

If you’re a passive in that dog situation, striking the dog is going to seem like the stupidest thing you could do. Passives focus on calming their antagonists for the purpose of ending conflicts as soon as possible. A passive man will freeze, back away, or perhaps try to pet the snarling dog. All of these behaviors will have the same goal of trying to calm the dog, so the dog will no longer want to attack. The man who immediately hands his mugger his wallet is a passive. The man who hears a robber in his house and so he sneaks out of his bed, hides in his closet, and calls the police is a passive. Passives think the aggressive style of responding to threats is reckless and stupid. Aggressives think the passive style is cowardly and useless. But while both sides struggle to understand how the other team is thinking, both strategies are very clever and can really save the day in the right circumstances. (For more about this topic, see I’m Afraid Of Ending Up In Hell For Being So Cowardly.)

Now once again, Swan’s advice that all men should strive to use the same strategy is utter foolishness. The passive and aggressive strategies have different strengths. Neither one works in all situations, but where one fails, the other tends to shine. If you were to turn all passives into aggressives we would see an epic spike in global violence. Since aggressives are wired not to back down in conflict, things would quickly escalate out of control until the earth was nothing more than a pile of smoking rubble. The fact that Swan does not see the immense value of passives and the vital role they play in balancing out aggressives demonstrates once again that the woman is too blinded by her own issues to function as a counselor.

God is not some halfwit who tossed the world together without thinking and then sat back and said, “Whoops, I think I overdid it in some areas.” This place is an extremely intricate balancing act with a wide array of parts and pieces which all look different from each other, yet play an important role in making this place function well. To then come along and say that there is no value in passive males or in males who prefer to follow is as absurd as saying, “Water? Nah, it’s just in the way. We’d be much better off without all of those big clunky oceans.”

Setting Impossible Goals

A very common trait of shady leaders is that they demand the impossible from their followers. Usually this trait comes paired with leaders arrogantly claiming to have met their own impossible standards. If they don’t claim success directly, it’s heavily implied by their wealth and fame. It’s like when Christian prosperity preachers wave their wealth in your face and say that you can also find joy in life (and loads of cash) if you just morph into some perfect, sinless being.

In the case of Swan, she’s using this classic tactic by teaching that any man who “can be codependent and insecure” is a loser. Can be, not even is. Well, we all can be, and we all are both of these things at different points in life. There’s no such thing as a human who has no insecurities. Insecurity is a form of fear that is based on logical concerns. Humans are very fearful creatures. Our insecurities range from mild to life-stopping, but we all have some. So when Swan says you’re a failure if you are capable of feeling insecure, that’s like saying “Any of you oxygen breathing men can just forget ever finding a woman who is into you, because we women, we’re above all of that.” Utter nonsense. Men are insecure. Women are insecure. Then we seek each other out in part to try to reduce some of those insecurities. Let’s stop making good things out to be bad things.

Who Is Bigger, Energetically Speaking…?

According to Swan, you’re undesirable to the ladies if you have a “tendency to feel energetically small and, therefore, unable to contain and protect a woman”. Here she’s back to ripping on passives. But remember who’s talking: a woman who believes she has been the victim of horrific physical torture. You should expect someone with that background to be quite obsessed with the issue of physical protection. The fact that Swan seems comfortable with women keeping the helpless role while men are supposed to do all of the physical protecting suggests that she views men as failing her the most in her personal traumas. It’s very common to form hostile views of a certain gender after severe trauma, and given that there isn’t a man on the planet who could hope to live up to Swan’s ideal, I would expect that she probably has a deep core hatred of men, which is fueled by her terror of what certain males did to her in the past. While this is a very common response to feeling assaulted by males, it’s clearly crippling Swan’s ability to help a male audience. She will have to resolve her own issues with men before she will be able to give them useful relationship advice.

In a physical confrontation, passive minds instantly assess the situation and almost always conclude that physically engaging with their attacker is guaranteed to result in far greater harm than if they just tried to placate the jerk. It is due to this logical and detailed assessment of the situation that passive men behave in the way that Swan clearly loathes. Now let’s be honest: it is very upsetting when you expect a guy to sacrifice himself to save you and instead he just stands there. But this isn’t a male-female issue. This is an issue of unreasonable expectations. What exactly is a man supposed to do when he’s not armed and his attacker is? Many modern men were never taught how to hold their own in a street fight, so it is quite reasonable for them to feel unequipped to handle a fight that they know they don’t have the skills for. And while physical defense is a topic that many men never receive any guidance on, ladies are having their heads crammed full of absurd expectations about what “real men” are capable of.

The passive response to being attacked is to try to increase your chances of living to see tomorrow by not doing something really stupid today. A husband who died leaping between his wife and a knife is still dead. Most women would prefer to have their men keep living, but few take the time to appreciate how the passive response to confrontation greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll still have a man to yell at when they wake up tomorrow.

Men are not God, and expecting them to pull off superhuman feats in the midst of a crisis is just not reasonable. That said, God has given men anatomy that is far superior to women’s anatomy when it comes to handling physical tasks. If you’re trapped under a pile of rubble, you’d much rather a group of men come to your aid than a group of ladies, because the men will bring a lot more muscle with them. It’s undeniable that men are anatomically better built for physical conflict and exertion. God also wired men with a very powerful protective instinct as well as some key psychological skills that give them a big advantage over women when it comes to dealing with certain kinds of crises. An important caution for passive men is don’t underestimate what you’re capable of in a crisis. When the right factors come together, you can find yourself quite shocked at the roaring lion you suddenly morph into. For passives, that tipping point comes much later than it does for aggressives, but it still exists.

Summarizing Swan

Swan’s main case against passive males is that they use an emergency response strategy she doesn’t personally approve of. Well, too bad. The passive response is as brilliant as the aggressive one, and God likes them both, so why should you care what Swan thinks?

Swan also has a beef because some men like to follow instead of lead. That’s just ridiculous when you consider the disaster that would occur if all men behaved the way she wanted them to.

Swan also takes issue with the fact that you can be insecure sometimes. The whole human race is insecure. Swan herself is so full of fear that she can’t hear how absurd her own theories are. Oh, and you can also be codependent sometimes. Well, all humans go through periods of being too dependent on the wrong things. So what? We are creatures who are designed to continuously mature, but Swan wants us to be perfect from day one. This woman is useless as an adviser.

Her last big beef is that guys like you are “usually always agreeable to the degree that they lack boundaries and a sense of what’s actually beneficial and safe.” Sure, followers struggle with boundaries because they’re always trying to weigh the cost of starting a fight against the cost of just quietly enduring a jerky leader. Meanwhile passives look like they have boundary issues when they’re actually being very strategic. But guess what? Leaders are notorious boundary violators and aggressives charge into all kinds of conflicts that could have been avoided. So while Swan paints your lot as a bunch of losers, she fails to point out that the other team has an equal amount of hangups.

So what should you conclude from all of this? There is no such thing as a perfect human being. We’re all works in progress. Swan has cooked up some teensy little mold that she wants all men to try to cram into, and if they don’t, she says no woman will ever want them. Well, no, Swan is hardly authorized to speak for every female on the planet. I’m a woman, and I think Swan’s idea of the “ideal” man is delusional. I see a lot of value in the traits that she can’t stand. I also see a lot of problems with the traits she idolizes. So the next time you hear some woman speaking for us all, take what she says for what it is: her own opinion. Swan isn’t your wife, so you don’t need to concern yourself with how she wants her spouse to perform. God is your Creator, and if you ask Him, He’s going to say you’re not the loser Swan thinks you are. Obviously God trumps Swan.

This post was written in response to Para9ine1.

For in-depth help on how to maintain functional relationships regardless of your personality traits, see my book What’s Wrong With My Relationships?

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