I’m sure you’ve heard of the hero instinct by now. The theory goes that if a woman can trigger it in a man, he’s bound to fall head over heels for her for life.
But is the hero instinct real? And if so, how does it work?
If you want to learn how to trigger a man’s hero instinct, you’re in the right place.
Let’s dive into what the hero instinct is, how it works, and 19 proven strategies to help you unveil the hero instinct in your man and win his heart.
What Is the Hero Instinct in Men?
The hero instinct is an innate quality that all men share. Relationship psychologist James Bauer coined the term “hero instinct,” and claims that any woman who wants to make a man fall in love with her should tap into his hero instinct.
Hero Instinct Psychology
Bauer describes the hero instinct as a man’s biological drive to:
- Live a meaningful life
- Provide for those he loves
- And earn respect from others.
The simple truth is that men want to feel like the hero of their lives. That doesn’t mean they want to don a cape and save a damsel in distress, and it has nothing to do with being an Alpha male. The hero instinct is something that all men share.
So what does this mean for you, as a woman? Well, it means there are certain psychological triggers that will make his hero instinct kick in when he’s around you.
And triggering his hero instinct won’t just make him fall for you. It will help you keep him, too.
I know women who trigger their partners’ hero instincts on a daily basis simply by letting them do things around the house — think opening jars, getting things off high shelves, and taking out the garbage (yes, really!).
These simple, everyday acts can make a man feel useful and needed — essential to triggering his hero instinct and maintaining a happy equilibrium in the relationship.
How Does the Hero Instinct Work?
In James Bauer’s book His Secret Obsession, he explains that the need to feel like a hero is amplified when a man is in a relationship.
When a man is in love, he wants to protect his woman and earn her love by treating her the way she deserves. That’s why men fall for women who make them work for it.
If you’ve ever chased after a man, you may have noticed that it generally doesn’t work. That’s because men don’t want things handed to them on a plate — and that includes you.
A man needs to feel he has earned a woman’s love, trust, and respect — and the harder he has to work, the greater the reward.
What Makes a Man Feel Like a Hero?
Men want to feel useful, needed, and respected by those around them — but especially by their women.
So to trigger his hero instinct, all you have to do is do and say things that make him feel like he has your appreciation and respect. That will make him feel like he’s your hero.
And it doesn’t just work for winning him over — if you want to keep him, you’ll have to keep triggering the hero instinct. It’s the secret to maintaining a long-lasting relationship.
How Do You Trigger the Hero Instinct in Your Man?
Triggering the hero instinct in your man is simple when you know how. At the end of the day, men are simple creatures — you just have to know how to push our buttons the right way.
According to Bauer, one of the best ways to trigger the hero instinct in your man is to use a mysterious 12-word sentence which, Bauer claims, can make a man fall helplessly in love with you.
What Is the Hero Instinct 12 Words?
I personally believe human relationships are a little more complex than Bauer claims. Men may be simple, but we’re not idiots. Twelve words might work at first, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to work to win our affection, too.
Bauer is pretty cagey about these mysterious 12 words (basically, you have to buy his book to find out), but he does share the following 12 phrases, designed to appeal to different aspects of a man’s hero instinct.
Some of these might not suit your personal communication style. Feel free to use (or adapt) the ones that feel natural and avoid the ones that don’t — if you don’t feel genuine saying it, he won’t perceive it as genuine, either.
1. You looked great today while changing my flat tire. I got the urge to jump on you right there, in the middle of the street.
2. You’re my Prince Charming and my own personal hero.
3. What else could a girl ever want next to a man like you?
4. Could you please help me with this lightbulb? I’ve been struggling to change it.
5. Thanks, my love. I would have never made it without you.
6. Never mind that you didn’t succeed. It matters that you tried and I’m sure that next time, you’ll rock it!
7. You’re irreplaceable! I don’t know what I would do without you in my life.
8. Hey, big man! I’m your biggest fan.
9. I would be totally lost without you.
10. You’re the toughest guy I’ve ever known.
11. Hey, I could really use your advice on this one.
12. You know I value your opinion over everyone else’s.
How to Unlock Your Man’s Hero Instinct
As you know by now, triggering the hero instinct in a man is all about making him feel wanted and needed.
But what does that mean for you as a strong, independent woman? Do you have to play the damsel in distress or dim your light to let him shine brighter?
No! Fortunately, that’s not the way the hero instinct works. If a man is interested in you, he admires you for those things.
The hero instinct is all about him feeling needed. So if you’re so independent that he feels unneeded, you won’t trigger the hero instinct in him. Therefore, you must find the balance between being your own hero and letting him be yours.
It might all sound a bit old-fashioned — after all, men and women are equals now (in theory). However, what drives us on a biological level is different. It’s ancient and primal. And for men, we need to feel like the hero of our woman’s life.
But that doesn’t mean you have to assume traditional gender roles, either. I know women who are the main breadwinners in their families yet still trigger the hero instinct in their men every day.
So how do they do it? Here are 19 strategies for triggering the hero instinct in a man — whether he’s a crush or your long-term partner.
1. Show Your Appreciation
In the movies, everyone loves the hero, and they make sure he knows it. The characters show their appreciation by thanking him for his heroic deeds and giving him public recognition.
You don’t need to put on a song and dance to make your man feel appreciated, though. Just make sure he knows that you notice the little things he does for you, his skill and talent, his kindness, or anything else you appreciate about him!
Men love to hear words of appreciation, and it’s a sure-fire way to trigger the hero instinct in your man.
2. Ask for His Help
Men want to feel useful, and what better way to do that than by asking him for help?
It could be as simple as changing a light bulb or lifting something heavy. Or perhaps you need help making an important decision, solving a problem at work, or dealing with a difficult situation with a friend or family member.
Whatever it is, asking for his help will show him not only that he’s needed but also that you value and respect his opinion — two essential components of the hero instinct.
3. Make Sure He Knows You Need Him
In case you hadn’t got that by now, men like to feel needed. It gives us a sense of purpose and makes us feel, well, like heroes.
But most of all, we love to hear it from you. A simple “I couldn’t have done it without you” when you achieve something fills us with pride — both of your achievement and our role in helping you reach it.
4. Let Him Protect You
Men want to protect our loved ones. We just can’t help it. And the person we want to protect most in the world is the woman we love.
That doesn’t mean we want to fight your battles for you. We know you can stick up for yourself.
We just want you to know we’ve got your back, and when you need someone on your team — we’ll be there for you.
5. Praise Him Publicly
The hero instinct gives men the need for public recognition. We don’t need to be the center of attention all the time, but when we do something well, we don’t want it to go unnoticed.
And there’s nothing that makes a man bask in glory more than being praised in public by his woman — especially in front of his friends or colleagues. So when they’re around, make a point of singing his praises.
6. Let Him Know He Makes You Happy
The hero instinct is about more than just providing for and protecting you. After all, you’re not a pet or a pot plant.
What a man really wants is to make his woman happy. Perhaps there is no other feeling that satisfies us more in a relationship.
So if he makes you happy, make sure he knows it!
7. Boost His Confidence
We all need our own personal cheerleader to lift us up when we’re feeling down, and your man is no exception.
Make him feel more confident by reminding him of his positive qualities and all the things you love about him.
8. Show Your Gratitude
Similarly, if you’re grateful for your man, make sure he knows it! Thank him for helping you, for loving you, or simply for being himself!
Expressing your gratitude daily can have a positive influence on your relationship and strengthen the bond between you.
9. Don’t Be Clingy
Men need space, and some men need lots of space. This is especially true in the early phases of a relationship.
Don’t make yourself too available, as this will not trigger his hero instinct but instead drive him away. Remember, he needs to feel he’s earned your love, so you have to make him work for it.
10. Support Him in His Achievements
Sometimes, your man might play the supporting role in your life, offering strength and advice to help you reach your goals. Make sure you do the same for him!
11. Challenge Him
When people are challenged, we grow. Staying in our comfort zones might make us feel safe, but it also makes us stagnate.
This is just as true for your man as it is for anyone else. So if you challenge him to grow and help him achieve things he never thought possible, he’ll feel like a hero.
12. Make Him Earn Your Admiration
Most men fight to win a woman over but, once they’ve got her, they give up. This can lead to the relationship stagnating and even ending.
If you continue to keep him on his toes by demanding the best from him no matter how long you’ve been together, it will keep him emotionally fulfilled by triggering his hero instinct.
13. Be There for Him
Unfortunately, men are conditioned to believe we should be strong and silent and deal with our problems by ourselves.
If you can show him that you’re there for him when times are tough, he will step up to the plate and do the same for you.
14. Anticipate His Needs
This doesn’t mean you have to be a fifties housewife with dinner on the table when he gets home. Anticipating his needs just means doing little things that make his day a little easier.
This shows him that you care about him just as much as he cares about you — and that will make him feel appreciated.
15. Surprise Him
Men love novelty, so if you’ve been together for a while, you might want to shake things up to prevent your relationship from becoming stagnant.
Take him away on a surprise trip, or come home with a new look to keep things interesting.
16. Pay Him Compliments
A few words of affirmation go a long way, so look for ways to compliment him every day.
Comment on his physical appearance, his achievements, his most positive qualities, or even his prowess as a lover.
17. Don’t Go Overboard
This might seem contrary to the other tips in this list, but you can have too much of a good thing.
In fact, giving him too many compliments might come across as overbearing and will have the opposite of the intended effect. The key here is to find the balance.
18. Support His Passions and Interests
Okay, maybe you don’t share his love of stamp collecting or his passion for ultramarathon running. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support him.
Show him that you respect his passions and interests by giving him the space to pursue them and praising him when he does.
19. Make Him Feel Desired
One of the things men love about movie heroes is that they always get the girl.
When you show him that you feel attracted to him, you make him feel like the hero of his own personal movie.
Triggering the hero instinct in a man is one of the smartest moves a woman can make in the game of love.
Not only is it the secret to making a man fall for you, but it can also help you have a long and happy relationship.
20. Understand His Love Language
One of the best books out there around relationships refers to ‘The Five Love Languages.
Make sure you know the love language of your man and use it a lot!
21. Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable
Be strong beside your man and dare to show vulnerability. It shows him, that he can feel safe with you and do the same.
Doing the first step is hard, but can tear down the biggest emotional walls.
So, now you know how to trigger the hero instinct in your man, which of these strategies are you going to try? Do you have any others you would add? Let me know in the comments.