27 Essential Things Every Man Needs to Know (and Know How to Do)

This list can apply to men and women, but sometimes guys just need an extra reminder.

1. Keep a durable toolbox stocked with the basics: hammer, screwdrivers, nails, etc. You should be able to fix 90 percent of anything that goes wrong in your home.

2. Know how to change a diaper without whining about it.

3. Take up a hobby and be passionate about it. Work is work, and family time is family time, but you should have one thing that’s yours.

4. Invite your mom out at least every 6 months or so—just you and her. Breakfast, brunch, tea–whatever. Just take her out and listen.

5. Take your dad out to a ball game every now and then. He’s dying to just spend a few hours with you over beer and hot dogs. He regrets he didn’t do this with you more when you were younger.

6. When you can, pick up the tab without being asked and don’t make a big deal out of it.

7. Know basic first aid, not just CPR. Know what to do when someone goes in shock, how to immobilize a broken bone, how to apply pressure or dress simple wounds, how to relay information to a 911 operator.

8. Be able to cook a great meal (an appetizer, a salad, and a main course) and know how to pair it with wine. Spaghetti doesn’t count, aim higher.

9. Learn how to recognize when a woman is venting and shut up. She doesn’t want you to solve her problem. If she does, she’ll ask.

10. Know how to drive a manual transmission. It’ll take you a couple hours to learn and you’ll never forget how to do it.

11. Have one go-to method of knowing how to start a fire without a match or lighter. The Boy Scouts have three.

12. Have a bank account separate from your checking and savings. Every paycheck, put 5 to 10 percent of it in said account. Same thing for your 401k–add to it.

13. Read one great book every month. Take your time with it and understand it.

14. Have one toast ready at a moment’s notice. Similarly, know how to give a great speech. The perfect speech will earn you enormous respect.

15. Be able to dance when asked. You don’t have to be Fred Astaire, just move your arms and legs a bit—the girl you’re on the dance floor with is there to have fun.

16. Know how to change a flat tire. Don’t complain when you have to perform the task.

17. Always compete strongly, and lose graciously—win graciously, too.

18. Own a filing cabinet and keep all important paperwork in there. W-2s, birth certificates, tax stuff—anything you can’t afford to lose.

19. Spend at least 5 minutes a day catching up on current events. Don’t just read the Local and Sports sections—venture into the World and Politics sections, as well.

20. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re about to cheat, know that you’ll feel completely miserable afterwards.

21. Always date your wife, girlfriend—significant other. Get off the couch.

22. When someone you’ve just met asks you a friendly question, answer them. Then ask them one back, and listen.

23. Don’t look for approval from anyone other than you and your own set of moral codes.

24. If you feel like something’s wrong with you physically, go to a doctor. A lot of illnesses can be stopped if caught early enough.

25. Remind yourself that your job doesn’t define you.

26. Always compliment her shoes (or anything you know a woman put a little extra effort into).

27. Confidence is everything. Know yourself and what’s important to you–that’ll get you there. (And if you don’t feel confident, fake it—it’ll happen eventually—don’t be cocky, just hold your head high and show poise.)

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