9 Differences Between A Real Man and A Man Child

By Lauren Leonhardt | Puckermob


Have you ever been so blinded by a guy’s hotness or charm that you completely ignored the fact that he’s actually a total loser? Do your friends raise an eyebrow when you describe how “cute” he is? Is he a walking advertisement for Ralph Lauren Polo and #laxbro life?


As charming as you may think he is for the cute things he says or does, you might actually be in a relationship with an overgrown five-year-old. Here’s how you can tell if your guy is a real man or still needs to hit puberty.


1. Your Conversations


The Man Child: A man child is simply an overgrown pubescent boy who acts on pleasure and avoids responsibility. When you’re talking, does he actually pay attention to what you’re saying? Honestly, he’s just pretending to listen to you. Eventually he will try to circle the conversation back to himself when he gets the chance to butt in. Ultimately, he’s trying to compensate for his lack of substance by puffing himself up to seem like an attractive partner. If the conversations are all one sided, are all about him, his interests, or revolve around sex, then it’s easy to say that he’s a total man child.


The Real Man: A real man is interested in your life, experiences, interests, and how upset you were when the barista intentionally spelled your name wrong this morning just to piss you off. Well, he might not totally be interested in that last one, but he’ll make an effort to show you that he cares about your daily concerns and your lifelong dreams. Your conversations with him will be exciting, mutually stimulating, and you can talk to him about anything.


2. Your Dynamic


The Man Child: A defining aspect of a man child is how he interacts with you. He’ll be manipulative, make you feel like you’re in the wrong, and you’ll feel like you’re the “loser” if you care more about the relationship than he does. He’ll create a dynamic in which you’re always guessing, you’re not really sure of where you guys are going, and he’ll always sneakily avoid talking about defining the relationship. Even if you’re just friends, he’ll make you feel like he’s interested in something more, but if you act on it, he’ll retract. The man child always wants to be in control and leave you in the dark. He’s not really sure of what he wants himself, but he’ll manage to keep you hooked.


Example behavior: He will be ALLLL about you for a few days, make you feel like the most amazing girl he’s ever met, and then go awol for a few weeks without any explanation.


The Real Man: A real man will always tell it like it is. When he wants something he’ll make that clear. A date is a date, a couple is in a relationship, friends are just friends. There’s no crazy chase, you can speak honestly and openly with him, and you know that he will respect your feelings and attitudes towards the relationship. Whether he’s just your friend or something more, you’ll know exactly what that is, and you always feel assured around him because there’s no guessing game about his intentions.


3. His Maturity Level

The Man Child: In a word, he’s insecure. The man child isn’t interested in improving himself and being a productive member of society. He wants to watch Fantasy Factory and eat tacos on his couch. He still laughs at stupid jokes, watches junk TV, and doesn’t try to improve his body or mind. He surrounds himself with like-minded dudes to feel like he’s apart of something because he’s not confident enough to stand on his own. (Note: don’t confuse confidence with cockiness).

The Real Man: A real man is secure with himself. He doesn’t need reassurance from a group of friends, and he’s not fishing for compliments or looking for an ego boost. He’s very humble, and does not brag or talk himsef up. His interests match his age, and maybe he’s even ahead of his time. You won’t be used as a crutch to make him feel better about himself; he’s interested in you because he sees you as a person he can learn from and share experiences with as his equal.

4. His Friends

The Man Child: Once you get involved with a man child, you’ll be quickly introduced to his massive group of bros. They will make misogynistic jokes and laugh at belches and farts. Keep in mind that once you meet them, they’re going to start talking about you the second you leave. You’re value will be chalked up to your physical attractiveness, period. A man child won’t value your intelligence or personality, he’s just trying to prove to his boys that he can get a hot girl in bed. The friends of the man child will bond over xbox, drinking beer at almost any hour of the day, gettin hot bitches on Tinder, and just bro-ing out 24/7.

The Real Man: A great thing about the real man is that he surrounds himself with a group of people who interest him. He doesn’t need an ego boost by trying to one-up his friends, and doesn’t need to share the same hobbies and interests as his friends. You’ll meet a few interesting characters in a real man’s friend group because they will all have eclectic and stimulating careers and interests. The real man is secure and confident in himself, so he’ll naturally choose friends who feel the same way about themselves.

5. How He Interacts with Your Friends

The Man Child: Pay close attention when you watch the man child interact with your friends. Is he engaging them in conversation? Does he make an effort to get to know them? A man child will probably try to avoid meeting your friends in the first place because he doesn’t want to get in too deep. And he probably knows that your friends will decide in a second that he’s definitely not deserving of you. When interacting with your friends he’ll try to play it cool, he’ll be on his phone most of the time, and he won’t know how to communicate.

The Real Man: A real man will show you that he cares about you so much that he takes an interest in the people you surround yourself with. He’ll talk openly and honestly about himself, and he’ll take a genuine interest in learning about your friends. He won’t try to show off or talk about himself all that much, because he values learning about your friends for who they are, and not just as another means to impress you by making himself look good.

6. How He Spends His Free Time

The Man Child: What does this dude do on the weekends? A man child’s interests include sleeping, drinking lots of beer, eating food ordered from seamless (because he doesn’t know how to cook), partying, and talking to lots of questionable girls. He goes to way too many concerts, takes a lot of vacations, and recklessly spends his money on toys. Perhaps he frequents college bars even though he’s definitely not a college student anymore, or he enjoys spending his Saturday nights at strip clubs. Think over sexualized child set loose in a city with a credit card. He doesn’t have a conception of responsibility and he’s detached from reality.

The Real Man: This guy will likely invest his time in something he is passionate about. He’s interested in hobbies that stimulate his mind and make him feel good about himself. He might be into developing his photography skills, exercising, exploring nature, visiting art galleries, or even studying on his own to learn more about his profession. Maybe he likes to go out for drinks every once in a while, but getting wasted in a club is the farthest thing from how he’d like to spend a Saturday night.

7. His Aspirations

The Man Child: A man child doesn’t have a sense of urgency. Whether he’s in his 20s or 30s (or god forbid even older), he still believes in his delusional fantasies of getting drafted to a professional team. Maybe he’s still trying to live out his high school varsity years, or thinks he can prolong his status as a college kid on a D-III team. Basically, his goals are ridiculous and he doesn’t really have his future figured out. Be forewarned, because unless he comes from money and can bullshit around at his dad’s hedge fund, he’s going to end up working for an hourly wage in his hometown.

The Real Man: He’s got a strong sense of urgency, he’s financially stable (or working towards stability), and he has long term goals. This guy knows what he wants from life and how he’s going to get it. Whether he’s already pursing his dream career or putting time in at a so-so job to support himself, he’s ambitious, driven, and has his feet on the ground. He knows how to balance his dreams with reality, and he works hard to achieve his goals.


8. Food and Alcohol

The Man Child: A telling factor of a man child is his eating habits. Pay attention to what he consumes and at what time of day. Does he take shots at lunchtime in a bar? Is day drinking a regular thing for him? Can he even cook a proper meal? A man child likes to drink and will make up any excuse to do so. He’s a frequent patron of Hooters and lives by the motto, “It tastes better when someone else makes it.”

The Real Man: This guy wants to look and feel good about himself. He’s not a big fan of drinking, but when he does, he’ll drink in an age appropriate bar or have a beer at dinner. He’s too busy during his day to drink, and he’s definitely over those college years getting f**ed up every weekend. He knows how to cook, and maybe he’ll even treat you with a home-cooked dinner date.

9. His Phone

The Man Child: Don’t look through his phone and snoop around (that’s just shady and basic), but pay attention to how he uses his phone. How often is he texting? When you glance over, do you always see random names popping up? Does he text a lot of girls who are just “friends” ? Observe to whom he gives his attention when you’re with him. A man child needs to talk to a lot of girls all the time because he’s always onto the next. If you realize that he’s a serious man-child, hopefully you’ll ditch him, and he’ll have the next girl lined up. A man child doesn’t like to be on his own, and he feels better about himself when he has another girl on deck. Oh, and he’ll always be talking to his friends, too. He values his friends’ lives over yours.

The Real Man: He really doesn’t care for his phone. To him, it’s just a piece of plastic he uses to keep in touch, set up appointments, and occasionally send you a cute message or update about his day. He doesn’t depend on his phone to have a constant conversation going, and he enjoys spending some time disconnected from technology.