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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.23 – Why Do girls Like Bad Boys?

Do Girls Like Gangsters

  • David Tian Ph.D. describes the Dark Triad traits which is often associated with bad boys.

  • David Tian Ph.D. explains why women are attracted to men ho has these Dark Trias traits.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. talks about “nice guys” also who aren’t actually nice at all.

In episode 23, I cover the age old question: Do girls like bad boys?

[Intro music]

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up!

[Fade music]

Hi, I’m David Tian and welcome to Man Up, episode 23. I got a doozy for you here, this time. Doozy, haven’t used that word in a long time. The question’s coming from Go, it’s from the private Facebook group. He wrote, “I heard that girls don’t like nice guys, girls like bad boys. How much do you agree with this statement? If it is true, is there any way I can be an ethical bad boy? Why do you think girls like bad boys?”

Okay, there’s actually three different questions in there. It depends on how you define bad boy. But the one thing that there actually is scientific evidence for, it’s pretty well-documented, is what psychologists call the Dark Triad. The Dark Triad is three different traits that you can test for separately. Men who test high on the Dark Triad also have much more sexual partners than average.

What is the Dark Triad? These are three traits of narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. So you can just Google it, I think there’s a Wikipedia entry on this. There’s a lot of research around the Dark Triad. Now if you define the bad boy as a guy who exhibits, to a high degree, those three traits of psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism then, yes, I do think that the evidence is women are more sexually attracted to men who – men who have those traits, do better with women. Women find them more sexually attractive, probably. What are the reasons for this? This is deep, this is actually really deep and it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for years. Why are those three traits evolutionarily adaptive?

You could think about game theory in terms of like Dawkins’ – like a dove and a hawk kind of game theory. If you’re the hawk in an all dove society, you’re going to win the most matches. If you’re always taking and everyone is really innocent then you’re just going to go in there and beat up all the competition. In a good society, the one hawk, like the one aggressive guy is going to win. The way to counteract that is to not be a full-on dove, to counteract the hawk with a hawk strategy. It must have been the case that, overall, evolution must’ve favored societies in which everyone got along. But in a society which everybody gets along in an alliance – that makes it easy for a hawk to take advantage. There’s always going to be this minority. I think our society’s evolved such that there’s a minority of men who are able to get a disproportionate share of sexual encounters or experiences because they’re taking a hawkish strategy.

Their Machiavellianism will of course directly lead to that. Narcissism is helpful in those ways of getting you ahead because you’re always thinking about yourself and putting yourself first. But also there’s a kind of innocence to it because children are narcissistic when they’re growing up, your self-conception is just you, right? And you have to mature out of that. Narcissists have this kind of child-like innocence. It’s not innocent when you pair it with Machiavellianism but then psychopathy makes it so that they also can’t empathize easily or at all, sometimes. It prevents them from losing their narcissism. All those things feed together, feed into each other. That’s the deep answer. There’s a lot of great research on this so if you’re a high-level thinker, you’re going to love that answer.

If you’re not, if you’re the other 99% of the population it probably was too much information for you. Let’s just talk about the reality. For a lot of the world, a bad boy means somebody who’s dangerous. Like he’s got tattoos or piercings or he’s like a gangster or he lies and manipulates women – he’s dishonest. Do women like men who are that way? No, not for those – they like them in so far as they exhibit these three Dark Triad traits because those traits are evolutionarily adaptive and a part of their unconscious response to that. If you’re Machiavellian, you probably get ahead further in the world, as well. You’ll probably make more money than you would’ve otherwise and so on. You know how to take advantage of people and you have no ethical qualms in doing so. So you’ll get ahead and if she pairs with you, if she allies with you, if she marries you and has kids with you, those kids are going to also get ahead and she’s probably going to benefit from the resources that you acquire as a result of your game playing, your Machiavellianism.

In that strict sense of a bad boy, yeah, girls are attracted to bad boys unconsciously. But what most people think of bad boys, aren’t really bad boys. Now the question usually comes from guys who are nice guys. I’ve addressed this many times in previous episodes but it’s such a hard message for nice guys to understand so let me tell it to you again real quick. What you think is a nice guy, isn’t really very nice, at all. A nice guy has an agenda. A nice guy acts nice to a girl in order to get something. He’s actually really mean. A nice guy, a so-called nice guy is actually very manipulative. He’s manipulative to the point where he’s actually doing it unconsciously and he’s manipulating her through kind of emotional blackmail by doing things for her, favors for her, being nice to her in order for her to be nice back to him usually in terms of sexual favors. So he’s actually at a level of just as Machiavellian but he’s just playing a bad strategy. He’s trying to just prime reciprocation in her on its own.

But girls can see right through it. They’re raised – if she’s an attractive girl, she’s probably been hit on since she was in puberty, maybe even earlier. So she’s like, from the age of fourteen, she’s used to guys hitting on her and doing things for her in order to get things from her. The nice guy’s actually a bad guy. So what are the types of guys women are actually attracted to? They’re attracted to guys who don’t emotionally blackmail them.

What’s that look like? He’s a guy who talks to her like a human being, who doesn’t act differently to her just because she’s attractive. In other words, a nice guy – here’s a great litmus test for whether you’re a nice guy – all this stuff you’re doing for this girl that you really like, would you do the same thing for a guy that you’ve met for that amount of time? Like you’re going out of your way to pick her up to send her to this party, would you do that for a dude that you’ve known for that long of a time? – Probably not.

Because I’ve asked this question to a lot of nice guys, a lot of guys who actually respond to nice guy messaging and come to a preview event, a course, a three hour course that is on – it’s called Nice Guys Finish First. They resonate with that.

I’ve been coaching nice guys for years. I know what they’re thinking. They’re going to say no to that. So why are you doing this for her? A good guy, like what you think is a bad boy, is a guy who wouldn’t go out of his way to pick her up because he’s not – he doesn’t have this manipulative agenda that so-called nice guys have.

Women do not respect nice guys because they’re actually not nice, they’re actually manipulative. So let’s replace that – nice guys are manipulative. Nice guys in that context. Bad boys, what nice guys think are bad boys, the guys who don’t do all these favors to get girls to like them are actually just independent, self-esteem, understand their own self-worth men who respect women on an equal basis and want to be in an equal relationship with a woman.

Not so bad, right?

Two answers right, there’s the answer of the Dark Triad and then I answered it from the perspective of the nice guy himself. Cool. So that’s a relatively thorough answer to that deep question. I could go a lot deeper but I’ll leave it at that.

Make sure that you click on the link to join the secret Facebook group. We approve join requests everyday. I’ll see you inside the Facebook group, until next time – man up.