15 Ways To Trigger The 'Hero Instinct' In Men

At the end of the day, men just want to feel needed.

man and woman Sjale / Shutterstock

Who doesn’t want a knight in shining armor to show up and save them from life’s troubles? That is what the "hero instinct" is all about.

What is the hero instinct?

The hero instinct is a form of relationship psychology introduced in the book, "His Secret Obsession" by James Bauer.

The idea is that men have a primitive drive to feel needed by women. A man wants to feel as if you are a damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued in your time of need.


The book warns that if a man does not believe he is needed by his woman, he can feel emasculated and devalued. That, of course, can be disastrous for a relationship.

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Per the book, men have a natural instinct to love and care for their families. If he does not feel essential, it is hard to emotionally bond with you. Without activating his hero instinct, he will lose interest in the relationship quickly.


This explains why women who are educated, earn enough money to take care of themselves, and are successful marry less. Men don’t feel needed financially, so may be intimidated by women who have it all.

Relationship experts have said that learning how to trigger a man’s hero instinct is the best way of getting him to commit to you long-term.

A man cannot activate the hero instinct on his own. He needs a woman’s involvement in making him feel he is a necessary addition to the relationship.

Triggering the hero instinct can be as easy as texting. As a matter of fact, a 12-word text that has been known to work miracles in boosting his ego is, “I love you. I need you. Thank you for being my hero.”


Because 12 words is enough to express your feelings, but not too much to lose his attention, Bauer deemed it the optimal text length to get results. There are several other 12-word phrases that can be used as well.

But how can you trigger the hero instinct in him?

How to Trigger the Hero Instinct in Men

1. Ask for help when you need it.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the task is. Asking your man for help will boost his confidence and show that you appreciate him.

2. Let him protect you.

Men are hardwired to protect those that they love. They have a biological drive to look after you. If he sticks up for you or accompanies you late at night, let him. It’s easy for a man to fall in love with a woman he feels protective of.


3. Praise him.

Men and women like to be appreciated. When you have something nice about him on your mind, share it with him. A great way to trigger a man’s hero instinct is to make him feel good.

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4. Show gratitude.

Showing that you are thankful for little things that your mate does in everyday life will also trigger the hero instinct. Show gratitude for the things he does for you and express how much they mean to you.

5. Speak life into him.

Support is so important when it comes to bringing out the hero instinct in your man. Offer help or advice and celebrate his wins with him. Be encouraging in times of challenge so he knows you believe in him.


6. Give him your undivided attention.

The world is full of distractions. Many of those can trigger a man in a negative way. But bolstering the hero instinct in men requires that you pay attention to his words and body language to let him know that what he is saying is important.

7. Respect him.

It’s okay to have disagreements, but putting down someone’s point of view and being inconsiderate of their feelings is detrimental to the relationship. Let him express himself honestly and openly.

8. Tell him what your needs are.

You man is not able to read your mind. You may expect him to proactively know exactly what you need but that is not realistic. Be transparent and forthcoming with your needs so you are both on the same page.

9. Share your happiness with him.

People are quick to share their dislikes, but it is rare for them to express their feelings in times of happiness. Tell your man when he does something that makes you feel good. It will trigger his hero instinct and prompt him to do more of what you like.


10. Learn his love language.

Everyone loves and wants to be loved differently. Understanding your partner’s love language is key to accessing his hero instinct. Whether it’s gifts, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, or acts of service, do things that lift his spirits.

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11. Let him be a man.

Sure, you may be able to open that jar on your own or change a flat tire, but if he offers to do it for you, accept the assistance. He wants to be your hero — and you want him to be. It’s a win-win.

12. Ask for his input.

What better way is there to show a man you value his input than to ask his opinion? Doing so can make you more collaborative as a couple and increase his participation in future decisions.


13. Be vulnerable.

Femininity is strongly attached to the ability to be vulnerable. Putting aside the need to be strong at all times and leaning on him gives him the chance to act as a hero for you.

14. Allow him to be vulnerable.

The hero instinct is not all about extreme masculinity. It’s also about having a soft place to land where he can be nurtured, heal, and come back ready to save the world again. Be his place of peace.

15. Drop the neediness.

There’s a difference between letting him be your hero and just being needy. The desire to be saved by your man has to be tempered with your own independence.

He should want to help you because it makes him feel good, not because you can’t survive without him. Pick the right opportunities to let him shine.


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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.