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31 Skills Every Man Should Know: Life Skills For The Modern Man

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Dean founded The Adult Man in 2016 with the simple idea to help men navigate adulthood with more confidence via science and expert-backed content that entertains while it informs. Originally one of the site’s primary content writers, Dean’s day-to-day now lies in leading our talented team on that same collective mission. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Apr 4, 2024
17 min read
List of Life Skills - Things Every Man Should Know

By the age of 30, every man should be able to fly.

Setting the bar too high? Ok, ok. We should at least be able to tie our own shoelaces. Still too high?

I can’t help you, buddy.

What I’m getting at is for certain things in life, there is an expectation that a man knows how to get it done.

It’s an expectation based on the female evolutionary NEED to scrutinize your suitability as a mate.

Now you know what “that look” meant when you were at a complete loss as to how to fix the leaky faucet that time.

In short, this post is all about elevating your overall attractiveness. It’s a list of life skills every guy should have.

31 Life Skills That Will Make You a Better Man

Reading Discipline

model smiling reading book with meundies black hoodies and grey loungwear

Think before you speak. Read before you think. Fran Lebowitz

If I told you there was one thing you can do that:

  • relieves stress
  • improves your memory
  • allows you to get better sleep
  • increases your empathy
  • educates you
  • expands your vocabulary, and
  • entertains you

You’d probably be interested in hearing about it, right?

Well, you already know all about it—that thing is reading.

And you should develop the discipline to do more of it, for all of the above reasons and more.

But, don’t get me wrong. I know it can be hard to find the time.

I’ve adopted my own little hack for this. I listen to audiobooks. It’s not original, but it works.

When I’m working out, driving, or even doing the dishes, I now put on an audiobook instead of music (well almost always, sometimes I just can’t resist the tunes).

And it works. I’ve worked out I now get through about four more books each month than I did previously.

I listen through Audible because it seems to have more audiobooks than any other platform I tried, and it plays nice with my Kindle.

The best part is you can sign up for a free 30-day Audible trial and give it a try for yourself:

Free Trial Available
Audible Plus

Start with a free 30-day trial of our go-to audiobook service, Audible Plus. It's a listen all you want plan with access to audiobooks, audible originals, and podcasts.

Sign Up on Amazon Read Our Review

Learn How to Dress Well

Taylor Stitch chinos and denim shirt

Every piece of clothing you decide to wear transmits something about you.

Wearing an unironed shirt screams that you’re at best carefree, and at worst, lazy.

If you’re here, you probably understand that you don’t want to be either of those things.

First, learn how to dress for your body type. Then, dig into the unstylish things you should stop wearing to unlearn any bad habits. Then for a true hack, understand the affordable luxury basics you can wear that will make you look expensive.

Dress more like this
Collars & Co. Semi-Spread Collar Polo

These guys make my favorite dress collar polo. It's super comfortable with 4-way stretch (feels like a golf shirt) and it offers so much versatility. Throw a sweater or jacket over it and you get a really classy look for or a date or a business casual dress code, without the discomfort of a dress shirt.

Check Price
My favorite watch under $1,000
Baltic MR01 Salmon

Ah, the watch that effectively broke the internet upon its release in January 2022. Yes, it's dressy. But the font, dial texture, and seconds hand placement gives it enough character to wear casually with ease as well. It's elegant and as is the case for most of Baltic's offerings, it packs a lot of punch for its price point.

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Become Better With Women

Attractive woman flirting with a guy on a couch with a coffee cup 3

If you master the majority of the skills described here, chances are that you will, by default, also become much better with women. It’s only natural. When that happens, the last thing you want is to be all spark and no fire.

Developing yourself into a high-value-man with dating skills will very quickly make you coveted by those with two X-chromosomes—that’s women for those of you not scientifically-inclined.

If you want to fast-track years and years of learning and failures, check out my Quick Start Guide to Improving Your Dating Life for Men. it’s jam-packed with all the information you need to be able to attract the women you desire and keep them.

The Quick Start Guide to Improving Your Dating Life for Men

In this 114 page PDF eBook, you’ll get a quick start dive into the Alpha Mentality self-development system that author Joshua K. Sigafus developed to reclaim his life in the wake of a failed marriage, divorce, and subsequent total life reset. This book takes you through all 9 of the vital life domains and teaches you how to become a truly attractive alpha-mentality man in your own life.

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Invest in Your Financial Future

Trees Sprouting Image with Sky in Background

Speaking of reading, one of the best books I’ve read in the last year is Dave Ramsey’s bestseller, The Total Money Makeover.

If you’re in any kind of debt, I strongly suggest you pick it up. It’ll be the best $20 or so that you spend this year. I don’t say this lightly—it totally transformed my approach to money.

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
Check Price

The first few chapters are all about strategies to rid yourself of debt (including the snowball method of paying off your debts from highest interest rate to lowest, which is the one that worked for me). The remainder delves into strategies for investing your money (once debt free) to secure your financial future, including:

  • Invest a sizeable portion of your income in retirement accounts with tax benefits
  • Invest in stock mutual funds with good growth
  • Think long term and keep an eye on fees
  • Seek advice from a financial advisor

And while I think they’re all sound passive investment strategies (my favorite kind for many reasons), I’m also a big believer in diversification. And one of my preferred ways to diversify outside of stocks and bonds is real estate. But that’s just my experience—please seek your own financial advice.

Cook Eggs Multiple Ways

Fancy eggs cooked

Fried, scrambled, poached, or as an omelette, well prepared eggs make a tasty and quick meal. There is no better way to impress the lady in your life than with an impromptu breakfast.

You get extra manliness points if you perfect the art of cracking an egg with one hand.

While you’ll want to know how to make eggs the traditional way, an egg cooker is great to have when you’re short on time. I’ve got this one and it works a treat:

Clean Properly

Man in a messy room finds underwear

Leaving your mark on the world as a man does not imply literally leaving pizza sauce stains on your sofa.

Just as our hunter-gatherer ancestors knew the value of picking up scraps off the ground so as not to attract scavengers or other predators, so too should you be versed in the importance of cleaning properly.

Start by propelling yourself into adulthood and picking up a good quality mop. I like this bestseller by O-Cedar:

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Learn to Budget

Men arm wrestling for money

Okay, you covered your monthly internet service, Netflix subscription, and you even had some change left over for some snacks. Excellent.

But was it all set out in your monthly budget?

In order to live within your means, plan for the future, finance a major purpose (a new home, or that awesome man cave you’ve dreamed about) good money management skills are a must.

And good money management involves that ‘b’ word.

Yep, you need a budget.

Thankfully, these days there are a bunch of online tools out there to help you budget and to get on top of your finances. Find one that works for you and stick with it.

Play An Instrument

Man playing violin with women groupies

Even if you’re not musically inclined, knowing the basics of playing at least one instrument is a handy skill to have. Knocking out some basic chords on a guitar or notes on a piano goes a long way in establishing your “man of the world” mystique.

Playing an instrument also boosts your coordination and concentration levels, among other health benefits.

If you’re just starting out and guitar is your choice, this is a great little starter pack:

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Art of Conversation

Man talking to attractive woman at a bar

Knowing how to hold a conversation can be the difference between being remembered as ‘interesting,’ versus that ‘crazy idiot.’

Believe it or not, women prefer men that are interesting 99.9% of the time.

Drive a Stick

Man in sunglasses driving a stick on sunny day

One of the ultimate acts of manly multi-tasking—driving a stick requires proper coordination of your feet and hands.

It also gives you “full control” over your car’s performance and efficiency. That’s right, YOU dictate when you want power for acceleration or efficiency for speed.

It’s obviously ok to own an automatic car. But if a situation arises where you need to use a stick, you should have the skills to be able to step up to the occasion.

Perform First Aid

Wooden dummy holding another dummy first aid

Be it treating an accident victim for shock, setting a broken limb, or dealing with a rattlesnake bite, knowing how to perform first aid is a fantastic skill to have for any man.

Who knows, you might even save a life.

Know How To Iron

Man concentrating on ironing without a shirt on

No matter how manly you are, there is no room for wrinkles. When was the last time that you saw any man of distinction wearing a wrinkled shirt?

Knowing how to get that perfect crease on a pair of pants, spot press a suit or properly iron shirt cuffs is an absolute must. Besides, it can also save you a lot of money on laundry and dry cleaning bills.

If you don’t have a decent quality iron, you’re making things a lot harder for yourself than you need to.

I’ve got this bad boy:

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It has titanium-infused ceramic soleplate which is on another level compared to my old stainless steel thing. It heats up fast, irons evenly and effectively, and is really easy to clean.

Perform a Massage

Man massaging a woman

There is more to manliness than just doing the rough and tough things. It is also necessary to be versed in the finer aptitudes of life, such as giving a massage.

Nothing will drive a woman wilder than knowing that the same hands that can slay a bear can also soothe and relax her aching muscles after a rough day.

Ability to Diffuse Conflict

Two meerkats facing different directions

Regardless of how strong or masterful you may be in the art of fighting, a real man will always try diplomacy and stern persuasion to calm down an escalating situation. Knowing how to simmer tempers down or break up a fight makes you a leader.

Kind of like when all the the male gorillas stop their shenanigans when the alpha-male gorilla walks in.

Present to a Group

Developing the ability to present well to a group demonstrates that you are confident and someone worth listening to.

Yes, it can take some time to master. But it’s a highly attractive skill to have and it’ll serve you well in many situations. Best man’s speech? No problem.

Brew a Good Cup of Coffee

Coffee cappuccino with a heart shaped froth

Caffeine is the fuel for our society. Knowing how to properly prepare the number one delivery vehicle for caffeine goes a long way in developing your well-rounded manliness.

Get some knowledge about different roasts, and learn how to use a grinder. Master different ways of brewing coffee.

Yes, this means going further than Nespresso, drip brewers and instant coffee.

You don’t need to spend a lot to get started. I’ve got this ELEHOT machine, and for the price, you really can make a great cup of espresso:

No products found.

It’s super easy to use and keep clean, looks great, and I love being able to make guests a coffee shop level cup of espresso when they come over.

Interact With Children

Man at beach with family

Remember that cool uncle that always had an interesting story to tell or that taught you something that you didn’t already know? The reason you remember him so fondly is because he knew how to connect with you when you were a kid.

Now it’s your turn to be that cool uncle—whether it’s your actual nieces or nephews, or your friends’ kids.

Heck, be the cool uncle even if they’re your own kids.

Change a Tire

Man struggling to change tire of car

Much like Bob Dylan, tires have a tendency of going flat from time to time.

Yes, a call to the automotive club might get it fixed for you, but what if you are out in the middle of nowhere?

You should also have something like this in your car:

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Keeping Fit

Fit man and woman hiking

Being fit is a skill. And if you want to live a long and healthy life it’s a skill you need to develop.

Learn how to train different parts of your body, and develop an appreciation and understanding of nutrition. Then prepare or adopt a fitness plan and take action.

Plan a Proper Date

Attractive couple on a date in a restaurant with red wine

Pizza and a movie do nothing for establishing your romance cred. In order to properly impress women, knowing how to plan a proper date is a must.

Ok, Ok. We know that some inspiration could help. We’ve got you covered. Check out our list of 30 unique location ideas for your next date.

Build and Maintain a Relationship

Couple kissing on bed while in a human tower

Being a man does not involve sowing your wild oats into perpetuity. Eventually, you will find the right woman and you will want to settle down.

Yes, it will happen! When it does, knowing the basics of building and maintaining a relationship can make the difference between “happily ever after” and “hell on earth.”

Know How to Sew

Man trying to sew and struggling

What? Sewing is for girls, isn’t it?

Wrong, sewing is, in fact, one of the most practical skills that a man can have. Think about it, ancient mariners, hunters, and warriors were some of the best sewers. It was an essential skill.

So, instead of being at a loss as to what to do when you lose a button, grab that needle and thread and get in tune with your ancient warrior past.

All you need is one of these:

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Basic Household Repairs

Man happy to be repairing kitchen sink

Things around the house break, it’s just a fact of life.

Knowing how to handle some basic repairs will save you time and money.

It will also spare you from the look the handyman will give you when he realizes you called him just to change a light bulb.

In order to make home repairs yourself, you’ll need to have an adequate set of tools on hand. This set from Black+Decker is really well reviewed and has everything you need:

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Set Up a Campsite

Campsite with tents and fire

The great outdoors. There is no better setting to show off your manly prowess than when camping. Knowing how to select and actually set up the site will earn you points among your peers.

It’s also a great excuse to buy a whole bunch of cool camping gear. Speaking of which, here’s our pick for a reliable and affordable tent:

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Build a Good Credit Score

Credit card on laptop

The time will come when a futon and an improvised coffee table made from a piece of plywood and cinder blocks simply will not do.

While we believe you should only have a credit card if you know that you’ll use it responsibly within your limits, there are some benefits to be gained from owning a credit card and from building a good credit score.

For one thing, you can essentially ‘hack’ the credit card system and get a lot of awards points and other benefits, while paying zero interest. It’s simple—choose a credit card with rewards you like and always pay your entire balance down every month within the interest free period.

Doing this will also build an excellent credit score, which is hugely important if you want to take out loans or rentals.

If your credit score is bad, don’t stress, there are things you can do. Paying down your debt and never paying late is a start. You can also enlist the help of a credit repair specialists (Credit Firm is a reputable one we know about).

Use a Barbecue

Tongs on barbecue cooking meat

Barbecue grills involve fire. Out of all of the four classical elements, fire is definitely the manliest. It stands to reason then that knowing how to start and cook on a barbecue grill is essential to being manly. Be it charcoal, gas or wood, mastering the open air grill is a must.

Just remember gentlemen, never barbecue indoors.

Travel in a Foreign Land

Man in the wilderness with a map

Manliness involves worldliness. There is no better way to lose your worldliness credibility than by getting lost during a beach break in Spain or a day trip to Tijuana.

When visiting another country take some time to study up on basic cultural differences. Learn some key navigational terms in the native language, download proper maps for the region, etc.

You know, don’t be a stereotypical tourist.

If you’re single, check out our list of the best places to travel solo as a guy.

Get Service at a Bar

Trying to get service at a bar

Getting served at a bar when it is your turn is akin to claiming a birthright —it should not be a matter for debate.

Eye contact, presence, a strong tone of voice. Knowing how to assert yourself at the bar with proper composure and demeanor is essential for any man.

Parallel Park

Sports car parked on nice street

In the past bringing down your first prey in a hunt was your entry into manhood. In the modern world parallel parking has taken over that role.

This skill should be learned, practiced and perfected as soon as you learn how to drive. There’s nothing worse than having to park blocks from your destination simply because you couldn’t fit your car in between the Fiat and the Ford.

Plant a Garden

Pretty house and garden

Modern civilization has its roots, pardon the pun, in agriculture. What better way to demonstrate your manliness and your connection to the land than by knowing how to start and sustain a successful garden.

Whether it’s to grow vegetables, herbs, or, yes, even flowers; knowing how to garden shows off you earthly manly skills.

This is a great set of garden tools to get you started:

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It includes everything you need and they’re nice and sturdy.

Catch a Fish

Fishing in lake from view of fisherman

By the time you’re 30, you should be aware that fish do not come originally from a can or the frozen food section of your supermarket. They actually have to be caught.

This skill is not only manly but is also a good fall back to have for survivalist reasons. Even if you never have to catch a fish to survive, it will at the very least give you a good reason to spend an entire day with friends drinking beer.


There you have it. The skills every man should know. Master these and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better man.

And simultaneously increasing your attractiveness to the fairer gender.