How to Be More Attractive (Regardless of Your Height)

Guys like you and me try to dress well because we want a few different things, from respect at work to increased social confidence.

I think we can both agree that one major reason we want to improve our style is to be more attractive.

How to be more attractiveAfter all, who doesn't want to be considered HOT? I know I do!

Now, while I'd like to think that I'm not too hard on the eyes, I'm not exactly a dating and attraction expert.

That's why I asked my friend Rick from Date School to write a in-depth guide on attraction for short men.

Rick is an expert, and he has a ton of experience coaching other men who want more romance in their lives.

The information in this guide is solid, so be sure to read it carefully. You can even bookmark this page to revisit in the future.

More importantly, try to implement Rick's advice in the real world. Nothing will change if you don't take action.

Take it away, Rick!

The dating game is different for short guys.

Women look at us differently. And judge us accordingly.

Therefore, we need alternative approaches to overcome women’s instinctive bias and earn their attention and affection.

To show you what I mean, I’ll share three things in this article: some good news, some bad news, and an action plan to help you level the playing field.

Let’s start with the good news…

Short guys are HOT!

Short(er) men really do make the best boyfriends.

OK, I’m 5’6” and likely a wee bit biased. But, increasingly, science supports my view. Compared to tall guys, shorter guys:

Basically, short guys are slaying it across the crucial measures of being an awesome life partner.

But there's a catch, and I bet you can guess it…

It's overcoming the hurdle of getting women to notice us and date us in the first place.

Women naturally prefer taller men.

As a short man on the dating scene, you’ve probably felt at times that the odds are stacked against you.

Well, in actual fact, you're right. They are.

OKC message by height

Unsolicted message by height (from the OK Cupid blog)

If you look carefully, you'll see that every single day women decide and act in ways that rule out short men as potential sexual partners. This usually happens subconsciously, but at other times it’s deliberate and by design, especially when dating online. For example:

  • In a classic 1984 study, taller guys received significantly more responses to their lonely hearts adverts than shorter guys.
  • Online dating site found that of the 50,000 women sampled, less than 5% of women based in New York City initiated contact with a guy that was less than 5’9”.
  • Research from OK Cupid shows a clear relationship between a man’s height and the number of messages he receives from women.

Dr. Jill Shapiro, an evolutionary biologist at Columbia University says:

“Cross-culturally, women show a preference for taller mates. Most people think it’s related to sexual selection. Taller men are perceived to be healthier, and better providers.”

The travesty here is that a lot of us short guys, especially Modest Man readers, have their act together! We make awesome partners too, if only we can overcome the inherent height bias of the ‘fairer’ sex.

Attraction is a natural selection process

So why do women shun us shorter fellas? Research suggests this tendency is instinctively driven, and women are naturally attracted to taller men. Let’s look at what I mean by, “naturally attracted.”

A primer on attraction

Hot girl with glassesPicture the scene. When a pretty woman with sexy curves walks by and flashes you a look, your body reacts.

Your heart beats faster, you feel immediately excited and perhaps even a little self-conscious. Whoah!

Your reaction happens in milliseconds and without conscious thought. This bodily response is a classic example of natural attraction processes in action. It’s your neurobiological attraction circuitry firing and instantly hijacking your thoughts, feelings and actions for a moment.

Men’s attraction triggers

Women often describe men as simple creatures. When we compare our attraction circuitry to theirs, it’s easy to understand why they think this.

As men, evolutionary research shows that first and foremost, we’re instinctively drawn to women for sex and reproduction. Our attraction circuits are fired by youthful, but sexually mature features in women, such as smooth skin, full lips and large eyes.

In fact, one of our strongest instinctive attraction triggers is towards woman with a 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio, regardless of their overall body weight.

5 WHR chart and beach body

Photo Credits: Devendra Singh and AdobeStock

Our natural preference for the ‘hourglass figure’ is thought to arise from reproductive survival trends.

For the centuries pre-dating modern medicine, child-birth was a life-threatening undertaking. For a mother to have the best chance of surviving delivery, it helped to have ‘good child-bearing hips’, i.e. that magic 0.7 waist to hip ratio.

So for guys, it’s straightforward. We’re all naturally attracted to healthy, pretty, sexy women who’ll likely reproduce well. Simple.

Women’s attraction triggers

Women’s attraction circuitry isn’t as basic as men’s, and it’s for good reason.

Sex is potentially costlier for females than it is for males. In the past, intercourse invariably led to months of pregnancy and years of child-rearing.

That’s a hell of an investment for one night of passion. Understandably women evolved to become very choosy when picking out the right baby daddy.

What exactly do women look for when picking Mr. Right?

The lazy answer is to say that women are naturally attracted to ‘alpha’ guys, but it helps to further break that term down and clarify it.

Extensive research and hundreds of thousands of seduction community field tests have helped us to better understand the specific traits of alpha males and what makes them so innately attractive.

These efforts show that women naturally and subconsciously assess a man’s attractiveness across aspects of his:

  • Physical presence
  • Personality
  • Social value
  • Sexual potential

This is GREAT news for us shorter lads! In fact, it’s a game changer.

It means that despite our height there are many OTHER aspects of ourselves and our lifestyle which we can control, and which can make us more naturally attractive to women.

For over a decade, I’ve translated this solid attraction theory into practical step-by-step guidance for my coaching clients, using my 8 Attractive Traits framework. This approach has changed my life and without exception, the lives of everyone that’s used it.

As a fellow modest man, it’s my duty and honor to share this insightful gift of knowledge with you, so that it may too change your life for the better. You’re welcome.

The eight traits that naturally attract women

If knowledge is power, then the 8 Attractive Traits framework is the JET ENGINE of dating advice.

It will help you become more aware of individual levers that make up your own natural attractiveness, and the push and pull of attraction in every romantic interaction around you. It’s like being able to see dark matter and its impact on the universe.

It will also help you to better understand, develop and convey your own attractive qualities, i.e. the things that women are going to naturally notice and like most about you.

The 8 Attractive Traits Framework Summary Table

Attractiveness AreaAttractive TraitWhat this trait isWhat this tells her about you (instinctively)
Physical PresenceAppearanceYour height, looks, physical fitness, how you dress and personal grooming.Height and fitness suggest your ability to physically protect and provide for her.
Good looks indicate good genes and your desirability to other women. Dress and grooming indicate self-respect, self-care and cleanliness.
Body LanguageHow you move, look at her and talk.Your level of comfort, calmness, self-esteem and overall confidence.
PersonalitySense of HumorHow fun you are and that you don’t take yourself too seriously.How much she’ll enjoy your company and that you’ll be less angry, aggressive and cruel towards her and your offspring.
AmbitionYour drive and achievements in continuously improving yourself and your life prospects.Your ability to provide for her and your offspring.
Social ValueLeadershipYour respect and social status within your group.The amount of social support and protective community that you have around you, to look after her.
Social IntelligenceYour ability to read social situations and influence others through your words and actions.Your ability to impress, build strong relationships and turn social situations to your advantage, to benefit her and your offspring.
Sexual PotentialDesirabilityThe quantity and quality of other women that want to be in a relationship with you.How in demand you are with other women and therefore how worthy of a mate you are.
Sexual ConfidenceYour capability and comfort in initiating sexual contact.Whether or not your relationship will lead to sex.

How to be an alpha male, in a short man’s body

The 8 Attractive Traits Framework is the perfect toolkit for guys who want to naturally get noticed by women. It will guide you in how to best work with what you’ve got and make the most of it.

The framework is especially relevant to shorter guys, because it explains how to counter-balance women’s aversion to our height, by bolstering our other naturally attractive qualities.

I’ll warn you now, I’m going to generalize a bit in this section. In doing so, I can better illustrate how and where to apply the 8 Attractive Traits framework through real-life examples.


Women instinctively associate a smaller frame with a lesser ability to protect from attack. In more primitive days, this would have been helpful logic, but it’s not so relevant in modern times.  Nevertheless, this bias does exist and there are a couple of simple ways to counter it.

Appearance Quick Fix #1 – Dress Taller

As a Modest Man reader, you’ll already know that the right ensemble can seemingly add a few inches, in the same way that the wrong outfit will subtract a few.

If you aren’t already familiar with The Modest Man style advice, the 5 style principles for shorter men is a great place to start.

And don't neglect your grooming. Make sure you have a solid skin care routine.

Appearance Quick Fix #2 – Hit the Gym (Dojo or Climbing Wall)

Make up for your limited stature with strength.  Better still, combine strength with utility. This means picking a physical activity or sport that involves some degree of skill, dexterity, or courage e.g. football, dance, martial arts or rock climbing.

Why? Because when you’re able to show your strength in context, or put that strength to good use, it amplifies the value of your physical fitness. This explains why women dig athletes and firefighters.

I once went on a double date to a climbing gym with a married couple. As my friend was scrambling across the underside of a ceiling, his wife turned to me and literally said, “In my whole life, I've never felt as attracted to John as I do right now.”

Body Language

Whether you know it or not, your body language is a window into your thoughts, feelings and confidence levels. It subtly communicates your self-esteem and perceived self-worth to women.

And women are naturally very good at reading the emotional undertones in body language.

So here’s a great tip for smaller gents to use body language in a way that makes them come across as being more confident and larger than life.

Body Language Quick Fix – Take up Space

A lot of shorter fellas are used to playing it small physically, and their body language reflects this.  In a group setting, you can often spot the leader of the group, as the guy that looks the most comfortable and has the greatest physical presence.

Taking up more space

A simple hack for short guys is to get comfortable and take up more space in a social setting, by leaning back, stretching out your arms, or spreading your legs more.


Women often associate shorter men with lower earnings, and sadly there are some statistics to support this point of view.

Short men are significantly under-represented amongst Fortune 500 CEOs; other researchers have even calculated that every inch of height adds an average of 1.8% to your salary.

Ambition Quick Fix – Show your Worth (Indirectly)

As a modest man, it’s helpful to show that you’ve done well for yourself, or that you’re on route to doing so. But I warn you this has to be done subtly and indirectly, in order for it to work, otherwise this strategy will absolutely backfire.

Blurting out your job title, income bracket or the brand of sportscar you drive is a garish, obvious and generally repulsive way to convey your achievements. Instead let her see and discover these things by herself, albeit with just a little help from you.

As a successful international business traveler, I let women figure out my career success through things like:

  • The fit and quality of my business attire and accessories.
  • My social media images and status updates.
  • The subtle references to international clients and frequent travel as the context of my anecdotes (not the subject!).

Social Leadership

Smaller men are seldom looked up to in a group setting, even metaphorically. People tend to assume that the larger guys lead the group. US Presidents are almost always above average height.

For short guys though, social leadership presents a huge opportunity because this quality is an essential alpha male trait and a very strong attraction trigger for women. Here are a couple of great tips for developing the status, presence and reputation of a leader amongst your nearest and dearest.

Social Leadership Quick Fix #1 Be the Host of your Friends and Family

A good host takes responsibility for the wellbeing and happiness of those in their care.

Host your friends in your homeTaking on this role naturally elevates the host’s status within that group from being a participant to being a leader.

Think of the social status that you naturally associate with the host of a cool party, or the manager or a cool bar or restaurant.

Having a ‘host mentality’ with respect to your friends and family means being the guy who creates an atmosphere in which everyone’s having a good time and feeling well taken care of. In practice, this means you’ll want to take initiative, take action and make decisions on behalf of your friends and family, for example:

  • Organize nights out dining, drinking or partying.
  • Plan days out, road trips and epic mini-getaways.
  • Host dinners, BBQs movie nights or games nights at your house.
  • Buy the first round of drinks and keep an eye out to ensure that everyone in your group is taken care of.
  • Check in with friends or family members regularly, especially if they’re going through hard times.

Over time, you’ll see that being a host has a tremendous impact on your reputation, and your attractiveness to the women around you. Moreover you’ll become a more thoughtful and considerate man towards your loved ones, which is reason enough to pursue this strategy.

Social Leadership Quick Fix #2 – Be the Hugger not the Hugged

Here’s another quick fix for your online profile and social media pictures that will make a subtle, but powerful difference in how women perceive your social leadership. When you’re in a photo with other guys and girls, be the guy who’s doing the hugging, not the one who’s being hugged.

Being hugged

Be the hugger

I appreciate this sounds a little crazy, but it TOTALLY works. On a very primal, subconscious level, the hugger always comes across as being more protective and dominant than the hugged. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate.


Sex partners by height

Sex partners by height (from the OK Cupid blog)

Statistically short guys have less sexual partners than tall guys.

However, when women see us being desired by other women, this increases our overall attractiveness in a BIG way.

Think of it like having 5 gold stars and lots of positive reviews on Amazon. It’s your endorsements that close the sale.

In the dating world, the seal of approval from other women, especially other beautiful and smart women, helps show you’re a desirable guy who’s in high demand.

Desirability Quick Fix #1 – Spice up your Photo Albums

A powerful strategy to convey your desirability to females of interest is by having pictures of yourself with other women on your phone and social media pages.

Take photos with beautiful female friends, your sister, aunt, mom etc. These will make you seem more emotionally mature and like boyfriend material. Also, remember to be the hugger!

I’ll share an example to show how this works; here’s one of my clients that’s 5’7” and pretty average looking. You’d barely pick him out from a regular bunch of guys.

Guy with his male friends

Now, here’s the same guy with a few women around him, looking instantly more attractive.

Guy surrounded by women

I’ve shared these photos with my female friends before and their first response is always, “Is he still single?!”

One warning that I will give you is to not overdo this strategy, otherwise it will look too unnatural or deliberate and disingenuous.

Desirability Quick Fix #2 Drop the Desperation

The opposite of being desirable is being desperate or needy. Desperation is indeed a stinky cologne. Women can smell it from miles away.

Acting in this way implies you don’t see yourself having options with other women, which explains why you’re over-valuing or clinging to your current relationship in an unhealthy manner.

Acting desperately tells a woman that you need her, probably more than she needs you.  It makes you seem like less of a prize catch. This imbalance is a huge attraction killer.  It makes her feel she could do better than you.

Desperation is particularly harmful in relationships because a lot of guys don’t even realize they’re doing it until it’s too late. Lads at all costs, don’t:

  • Message or call her too often.
  • Drop other plans at a moment’s notice, just to hang out with her.
  • Behave in a jealous way.

These are classic displays of desperation, which will send her running for the nearest exit.

Sexual Confidence

Being comfortable showing your sexual interest and communicating this appropriately is attractive to women. It shows that you’re sexually mature and that you know how to handle a woman.

Most women can gauge your sexual confidence within the first minute of meeting you through the strength and intensity of your eye contact.

Vintage Wonderbra advertisement

“Look me in the eyes and tell me that you love me.”

Typically, due to our limited experience or the late start to our sex lives, shorter fellas often lack sexual confidence. We tend to telegraph this to women by being too nervous or too quick to break away from looking women in the eye.

If this sounds like the kind of thing you do, even sometimes, here’s the perfect quick fix for you…

Sexual Confidence Quick Fix – Note her Eye Color

You can practice this simple exercise anywhere, even with men. The next time you’re in a conversation with someone, look them in the eye, (pick one eye, not both) and simply make a mental note of the person’s eye color.

That’s it. That’s all you have to do. But by the time you’ve done it a dozen times, you’ll be SIGNIFICANTLY more confident at naturally holding eye contact, even with the most beautiful women.

Finding your own attractive qualities

You already have it in you to naturally attract women.

It’s just a matter of identifying your most attractive qualities and then better accentuating or conveying them deliberately, when making a first impression.

You’ll also find that when you layer a few attractive qualities and strategies on top of each other into a unique and personalized combination, you significantly reduce the amount of comparable competition against you. You’ll become truly peerless. Game. Changer.

Scott Adams, author of the infamous comic, Dilbert, explains this concept beautifully:

 “Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist.

And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes.

It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.”

So I ask you: what are a few qualities or skills with which you excel?

Your attraction challenge starts today

I challenge you to be(come) your most attractive version of yourself. You can start this journey right now by asking yourself these questions:

  • What exactly does your reputation say about you?
  • Within the first two minutes of meeting you, what do women think about you?
  • How do you stand out against your peers? In what ways are you peerless?
  • At the end of your life, what do you most want to be known for?

Taking a deliberate approach to crafting your lifestyle and the impression that you make on people is not common practice. But this is precisely what makes it such an effective strategy for standing out and getting noticed.

Once you travel the extra mile, there’s no traffic.

– Paula Abdul

Change the things that you can control, in a focused and sustained way. As a result,  you’ll overcome the cultural biases and stand head and shoulders above other men. Then you’ll earn the attention from women that you so rightly deserve.

Bonus: Enjoyed the Post?

To help boost your natural appeal with women, I’ve prepared a special bonus gift, just for Modest Man readers. It’s called the Modest Man’s Guide to Making an Irresistible First Impression.

This guide covers 10 simple social skills and hacks that you can do in the first 10 minutes of meeting a woman (or on a first date) to quickly and powerfully demonstrate your most attractive qualities.

This bonus also serves as a handy recap of the 8 Attractive Traits framework and you can keep it in your phone to access anytime you need it.

Download the guide 

Rick is a new school romantic, dating strategist and the founder of DateSchool. He’s passionate about helping nice guys attract awesome women.

Got questions? Leave a comment below!

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  1. Really good Brock – When I was single I used to love the phycology of dating! It has led into an obsession with the phycology of humans! Great read.

  2. Hey The Shorter Guy, glad you enjoyed and thanks for the comment. Just checked out your dating posts from October too, and they’re spot on!

  3. Enlighten me. Phycology is the study of algae. Is there some other, social use of this word?

  4. This was so interesting! As a girl, I can attest that it’s really not about the height per se. It’s about the attributes that commonly come with height (confidence, alpha, etc) but shorter guys can just as well have these attributes! Confidence is the most attractive thing. Someone who embraces their height and is comfortable in their own skin – people that have confidence are often times ambitious and have a sense of humor. Look at so many celebrities that are of modest height – Tupac, Mick Jagger, Prince, Tom Cruise etc. I’ve dated 2 guys over 6’3 and they had very little confidence and I would be more attracted to a dude under 5’5 that was comfortable with himself and confident. Brock says, “focus on what you can change! Not what you can’t!” (At least I think he’s said that…)

    • Thanks Carli, great comment and always helpful to have a feminine perspective on these things! Of course, I agree with you whole-heartedly. From my own personal experience; once I become better at identifying my uniquely attractive qualities and seeing the effect that they had on people, I became a lot more at ease with myself, confident and able to be more present and fun-loving in my social interactions. PS Carli, please feel free to follow me and comment on all my posts like this 😉

  5. You mentioned hitting the gym, and I’d add that when in the gym, to focus on compound lifts like deadlifts, squats and presses where you have access to a power rack and bench. You can save doing curls and lateral raises for home. Check out the amazing benefits of deadlifts here where you can really transform your body. I speak from experience, going from 250 pounds and 50 inch waist to 175lbs and 32 waist in a bit over 6 months, and deadlifts and squats were key components!


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