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How to Look Tough

Updated on December 25, 2009

Have you ever watched a ‘tough’ man? I mean, have you ever observed him to determine why he strikes you as a tough man? If not, it’s high time you do it. Appearing tough is all about body language. Here are some helpful hints to make you appear tougher.

Hold your shoulders up.

Holding your shoulders up will not only make you appear tougher it will make you feel better. People who slouch their shoulders are looked upon as being meek or shy. Slouching shoulders is associated with a subservient posture. The king stands straight as a rod, all his minions walk with their shoulders and head low. Walk like royalty. Shoulders up, chest out. You don’t have to overdo it, just make sure you use proper posture and hold your shoulders up.

Look people in the eyes

Timid people are afraid to make eye contact, everyone knows that.  Making eye contact can be viewed as confrontational.  Timid people are afraid of confrontations so they avoid looking people in the eyes.  Get used to looking at people in the eyes. Don’t stare at them like you’re a maniac, but hold their eyes for a few seconds then look away.  It tells them you are listening to them, that you are paying attention, that you’re not afraid, and if you hold your gaze a little too long, when talking with a woman, it tells her you find her attractive and are confident enough to let her know.

Don’t fidget

If you fidget and keep moving around without being able to sit still people will view you as being nervous.  Nervous people do not come across as being tough. Why do some men look so manly?  Why do some men look so tough even though they’re just sitting there?  Economy of movement.  Tough men don’t waste energy fidgeting around. 

They sit calmly in a relaxed manner, as if they have every right to sit there for ever. Don’t fidget.  As soon as you notice a repetitive unconscious movement, stop it and prevent it from reappearing.  Not fidgeting will also prevent you from knocking things over or banging into things.

Control your eyes.

We spoke about eye contact before but this is a bit different.  Tough men have a certain look in their eyes.  In the Marines we used to call it ‘the thousand yard stare’  or simply ‘the stare’ and a Marine got it after being in combat for a while.  Moving your eyes constantly from side to side makes you appear nervous or worse, untrustworthy. ‘Shifty eyes’ is an expression we all know.  Keep your gaze steady.  Tough men blink less frequently than the average person, (economy of movement) that’s why their gaze is so unnerving.

Learn From These Classic Tough Guys

Have an opinion.

Timid men are afraid to voice their opinion because others might disapprove of them.  You can’t please everybody.  Some people will like you, some people won’t.  Sometimes some people will like you for a while, and then not like you at all, and still some people will not like you, and then turn around an like you after they know you for a while.  If you try to please others to gain their approval you will be a very busy and very unhappy man.  Tough men are never yes men.

Make a decision.

Don’t spend an hour trying to decide the perfect thing to order. It is better to decide quickly than to make the perfect decision. Don’t waffle or waver. Don’t vacillate or qualify your decision. Making a decision is one of the most highly visible points of being tough. Patricide, Homicide, Suicide.  Decide.  These words all have the same latin root: cide, to kill. Once you’ve ‘decided’ you have killed all your other options, there is no going back. That’s why it takes a tough man to do it.

Value yourself

Having self respect and self esteem are qualities of being confident and being tough.  Perhaps this section should be call don’t be needy.  Keep your dignity and self respect.  Don’t whine, complain or beg for affection.  A tough guy is plenty comfortable with himself.  And if there is something he doesn’t like, he is man enough to change it.


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      7 years ago

      This smacks of an insecure guy trying to appear tough. The kind of person I avoid if possible, cringe through if I Have to deal with them for whatever reason.


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