Women falling for the “bad boys” of the world is not just a myth or an excuse, there’s some real truth to it. Even women who “know better” since they’ve already been there and done that can be highly attracted to narcissists…but there is a specific reason why that can actually be of some help to you, even if you’re not that type of guy at all.

One study that was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that women were more likely to be attracted to narcissist traits in men the more they wanted to get married, and the more people they had dated in the past. This sounds backwards but it is suggesting exactly what it sounds like. The more experience women have dating (and of therefore the more experience they have of things not working out), they become increasingly interested in more narcissistic traits. Especially when they’re looking to find the one.

What’s happening here, is that many of the traits that narcissists embody are also seen as powerful ones. The researchers pointed out that narcissists generally are appealing at least at the beginning because they have “the ability to acquire resources, and that they are entertaining and self-assured. These traits are attractive to females in relationship contexts.”

The women certain qualities higher than others, such as confidence over modesty, and also that vanity and being the center of attention were good things. The problem with this of course, is that along with all of these powerful and confident qualities, narcissists also tend to be self-involved and follow through on shorter-term goals, which is why they’re also breaking hearts left and right. They’re not necessarily looking to be “the one” that the women are looking for, and they are more likely to be cheaters and unsupportive of their ladies in general.

I can attest to this personally, more than a few times over. I’d be more likely to refer to some of my exes as arrogant rather than narcissistic, but then when I think about it that word often applies too. There are a lot of things appealing about that guy. He thinks he’s hot which is always appealing, and therefore he has a lot of women after him confirming his hotness. He’s not only driven but he’s successful, and often in somewhat showy ways. (Enter the athletes and TV stars.) He embodies himself completely, which often means acting pretty manly, and he isn’t afraid to make his presence known. He just believes that he belongs and that he should have what he wants, and people tend to agree.

But sometimes when that guy assumes that he’s owed something that he isn’t, getting it requires manipulation and lying, and sometimes that comes back to bite him in the butt. That guy can be so arrogant that he’s willing to toss women aside with the assumption that a whole bunch more are just waiting to spill forth, and they might be. But that’s a quantity over quality perspective and it isn’t an outlook that anyone should employ when they’re looking for substance of any kind in relationships or life in general.

The takeaway from these ideas however is not that you should become a total jerk and stop caring about other people, but rather that adopting some of those “good” narcissism qualities and leaving the rest out can be a huge social booster in general.

Confidence not Cockiness

“Confidence” might be the key word here, because it’s the base quality that allows all the other powerful things to follow. You can’t be a leader if you aren’t confident in what you’re doing. The word confident is used so often that it’s almost watered down, like yeah, we know that we’re supposed to be confident. But really thinking about what that means and how to cultivate more of it might be the key. Confidence is essentially your own belief in your ability to succeed. Without it, you don’t take enough risks because you already predict failure, but often you would be wrong about that so you don’t give life the opportunity to offer anything interesting to pan out.

Maybe one of the things to keep in mind about increasing confidence is that no one really cares if you fail at something if you’re really trying. (Or they forget about it once you do.) Some would even say that failure holds all the keys you need for your next success, because after all how are we supposed to learn anything if we don’t have the freedom to explore? No one can hand you confidence, you have to give yourself permission to cultivate it on your own. The most confident people aren’t better than anyone else, they’re just willing to accept that who they are is enough, and to enjoy being that person.

You wouldn’t decline to get behind the wheel of a car at the age 15 to learn how to drive because of the possibility that the car might crash, and that’s actually a real concern. At that age you were probably confident that you could learn to drive because you really wanted it. Which brings us to the next point of injecting some healthy passion into life as well. If you really want something, there’s nothing that can stand in your way of getting it.

You should never be afraid of women or of your own desires for whatever type of relationship you might want. Sure if you try to hit on every girl in a bar many of them will reject you, and some of them in not very nice ways. Who cares? Sometimes it works, and it doesn’t take many people saying yes to have some seriously life changing relationships. Sometimes it just takes one. You could think of it an odds thing. Everyone in the world faces rejection, but many of us don’t showcase that because we don’t care, it doesn’t mean anything. Let it bounce off the surface, not rock you to your core. Listen Brad Pitt just got dumped, so know that no one is immune to the fickle mind of a woman…or to being able to get away with crappy behavior forever. Keep that in mind.

Often when people first meet a narcissist it is easy to spot the awesome things about them and a bit harder to see their bad qualities, but not having those bad qualities is where you can ultimately come out on top. Know that you have options and deserve the best, but don’t assume them to be expendable. If you attract a woman with your confidence and comfort being in the world, you can also keep her with her loyalty and actually being a good guy.

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