40 Life Skills Any Self-Respecting Man Should Have

40 Life Skills Any Self-Respecting Man Should Have

As a man (and a person in the world), you need to know how to do stuff. Whether it’s taking care of yourself, fixing things, or looking out for others, here are 40 useful skills every self-respecting man should have. If you can’t do these things, it’s time to start brushing up on your expertise.

1. Give a speech

Throughout your life, you’re going to have to speak publicly. That can be anything from making a presentation at work to standing up at a wedding and delivering your best man’s toast. Whatever the occasion, knowing how to publicly speak gives you more confidence in front of a crowd.

2. Tie a tie

Job interviews, funerals, weddings—those are just some of the things that will require you to wear a tie. Chances are, you’ll probably have to attend the above quite a few times, so it’ll be super handy to know how to tie one. Besides, you don’t want to always have to wait for someone else to do it, do you?

3. Pick out a quality suit

Every man needs at least one nice suit. If you spend the time doing research for the first one you buy, you might not have to buy another for quite some time. That’s why you need to know how to look for quality—how it should be constructed, the right fit, what type of details you want, and what alterations you may need.

4. Negotiate

Whether this is at work asking for a raise, getting a better deal on a used car, or something else, knowing how to haggle will never fail you. Not only is it a huge money saver, but it’s also a confidence booster.

5. Iron your clothes

woman legs out of a pile of clothes on the floor. shopping addiction concept

You spend a lot of money on your clothes, so it only benefits you to not have them all wrinkly. We promise it’s not that hard and it only takes 5-10 minutes. Plus, it really makes all the difference between looking like a well-put-together person and a sloppy person who doesn’t care about their appearance.

6. Make small talk

male friends chatting in stairwell©iStock/PeopleImages

Small talk can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it’s a necessary life skill to have. Whether you’re a plus one at a wedding or you spot an old high school acquaintance in the wild, being able to engage in small talk shows maturity and confidence. Plus, you never know if the person you’re chatting it up with could end up being an important person in your life.

7. Navigate

Everyone can navigate using the apps on their phones, but what happens when you’re stuck with no service or your phone dies? Well, that’s where things like a map or a compass come in handy. Sure, it feels super analog, but knowing where you are and where you’re going is an empowering thing.

8. Unclog a toilet

It’s not the most fun or appetizing life skill, but knowing how to unclog a toilet is a huge help when you get in—well—messy situations. Whether you’re dealing with it in your own house or you’re a guest and need a quick fix, this will get you out of a lot of crappy situations.

9. Hang or mount things

couple hanging lighting in kitchen

It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy or involved, but knowing about studs and what types of nails to use is a helpful thing. It feels good to be able to do things for yourself. Plus, not having to hire someone to do it for you saves a lot of time and money.

10. Change a tire

Black man, fitness and smile with arms crossed in the city for running exercise, workout or training in the outdoors. Portrait of a African American, confident and sporty male smiling in a urban town

Why wait hours for triple-A when you can easily do it yourself? Knowing how to change a flat will save you—whether you’re out on a lonely stretch of highway by yourself or you’re offering a stranger some trouble on the side of the road.

11. Build a fire

Whether you’re in nature and need to build one for actual warmth or you’re just relaxing at home, this is a great skill. Sometimes, the most seemingly basic things are the best things to know.

12. Basic first aid

Knowing the basics like how to clean scrapes and cuts, treat minor burns, or stop bleeding is useful in any situation. Saving yourself or others a trip to the hospital is a good enough reason for us.

13. Fix a leak

Like a few other skills on this list, knowing how to fix a leak is a big-time and money saver. When you know how to do this, you don’t have to wait for someone else to make it all the way to your house to get started.

14. Give a good handshake

There’s a reason they say a firm handshake makes a good first impression. It is an art, after all. Strongly gripping someone’s hand with the right amount of pressure along with good eye contact shows that you’re confident and warm. A dead fish on the other hand, is not so great.

15. Treat frostbite

Let’s hope you’re never in this situation, but in case you are it’s a good thing to know. When you experience the loss of color or feelings in your fingers and toes, then you’ll know what to do. And that is slowly rewarming the frostbitten areas with warm (not hot!) water.

16. Open a bottle without an opener

close-up of man drinking beer

Have you ever been at a party where no one could find the bottle opener? You could be the hero who solves it by knowing how to pop a bottle sans opener. Sure, it’s not a life-or-death skill, but it is a fun little trick.

17. Pick a lock

Portrait of a confident young man standing outside with his arms crossed. Man with bald head and beard wearing eyeglasses staring at camera.

Want to feel like a spy? Learn how to pick a lock. In all seriousness, knowing how to pick a lock saves you money and time! No more knocked down doors that need a replacement or waiting for the locksmith to come get you out of a jam. Plus, you’ll feel really cool.

18. Use a chainsaw

If you have a yard, there will likely be some times you wake up to fallen branches all over. The way to clean them up? Cutting them with a chainsaw. Knowing how to operate one safely allows you to get rid of the mess without cutting off a limb.

19. Change your oil

Photo of good mood charming confident young man wear green windbreaker schoolbag walking city street.

Another time and money saver! You don’t have to drive to the gas station, wait for your car to get worked on, and wait while your car gets worked on. Knowing how to change your oil is great because it can be done in 30 minutes in the comfort of your own garage. A win-win.

20. Shovel snow

No one likes shoveling snow. It’s hard, time-consuming, and just not fun. But if you know how to do it right, it won’t feel as difficult and you’ll get the job done more efficiently.

21. Write a letter

We know that texting and emails exist. But letter writing is a lost art that deserves to be brought back! It’s personal, tangible, and super classy. So write thank you notes to people who give you gifts, write love letters to your significant other, or letters to your (current or future) children. You’ll be happy you did.

22. Jump-start a car

There are a lot of car-related skills on this list but that’s because they’re all important! Let’s say your car battery gets drained—instead of calling up a service, jump-start it yourself. You’ll save time and money and will put you a cut above the rest—you’d be surprised at how many people don’t know this skill.

23. Dance

You’re going to be in more than one situation where you’ll want to know how to dance! Parties, weddings, concerts—these are all places for you to let loose! Don’t be the guy who stands at the corner of the dance floor looking uncomfortable. Be the guy who gets his groove on and has some impressive moves.

24. Calm a crying baby

Whether you’re a new dad, the fun uncle, or you have friends who have kids, knowing how to handle a baby is big. Calming down a baby isn’t just for women, men should know how to do it, too.

25. Hammer a nail

flooring being laid

It sounds so simple, but a lot of people just hammer with reckless abandon and end up with bad results. That’s why it’s helpful to know how to use a hammer safely, effectively, and efficiently.

26. Cook a signature dish

We’re not saying you need to become a Michelin-rated chef but you do need to know how to make something other than ramen or grilled cheese. It can feel scary but knowing how to cook the basics is perfect when you need to whip up something last-minute. Plus, it’ll impress friends, family, and anyone you want to woo.

27. Tell a story

It takes serious skill to be able to tell a story that makes other people want to listen! Whether that’s at work, at home, or somewhere else, being able to captivate your audience is impressive.

28. Parallel park

You don’t want to be the person who holds up traffic because you can’t get parallel parking down, do you? That’s what we thought. You won’t have to spend hours searching for a spot that’s easier to get into or pay astronomical fees at a parking garage.

29. Treat a burn

Burns happen. Whether it’s a spilled cup of coffee, hot oil from cooking, or something else, burns are the worst. That’s why you need to know how to treat it yourself! You’ll want to cool the area with cool (not icy!) water, clean the burn, and apply an antibiotic. No more frazzled trips to the doctor.

30. Perform CPR

If this isn’t the greatest life skill you could know, we don’t know what is. You’d be surprised by how many people say they’ve been in situations where they need to know how to perform CPR. Brush up on the methods so you’re ready in an emergency.

31. Sew a button

When a button pops off do you silently curse the universe and then change what you’re wearing? We get it, but you don’t have to do all of that. If you learn how to sew a button, you can fix your clothing in a pinch. Besides, you won’t have to take an unnecessary trip to the seamstress.

32. Break down a door

Breaking down doors isn’t just for action movies. There are real-life situations like a burning house or being locked out (and the lock picking isn’t working) where you’ll need this kill. You won’t have to use it often, but it certainly comes in handy when you need it.

33. De-escalate a fight

overpopulated world

The thing about crowds is that they sometimes get rowdy, and rowdy crowds lead to fights. Knowing how to diffuse or calm down a situation is a great skill to have. Who wouldn’t want the skill of being able to prevent innocent strangers from getting hurt?

34. Apologize

couple sitting on the couch talking

If you want to build and maintain healthy relationships, then you need to know how to apologize. When you can acknowledge your mistakes and take ownership it cultivates a sense of trust and understanding. Plus, it shows you have a ton of emotional intelligence.

35. Catch a fish

If we’re talking survival skills, then you need to know how to catch a fish. You may not be in many situations in life where you’re stranded without food, but if you were you’d be glad to know this. Other than survival, it’s just a fun and relaxing pastime that you can do with loved ones.

36. Drive in bad weather

Stuck in traffic jam. Stressed driver in his car, view from outside

Knowing how to drive in bad weather is helpful for your own and other people’s safety. It reduces the risk of things like serious accidents and smaller fender benders. Plus, knowing how to navigate in inclement weather can prevent your car from getting seriously damaged.

37. Do your own laundry

Man crouching down to put washing into his washing machine in his kitchen. He is in the Northeast of England.

This one is pretty self-explanatory but it’s a big one. It’s shocking how many people don’t know how to do their laundry because they always had someone to do it for them. But when you’re on your own, you need to know the dos and don’ts of washing clothes. If not for feeling independent, do it for hygiene.

38. Know how to invest

aining money. Excited young man and woman with a lot of cash feeling very rich after earning their paycheck

Fact: One of the most stressful things in life is money. When you learn how to invest safely and efficiently, you increase your chances of being fully financially independent. Plus, you’ll be able to set up your future self in the form of a nice retirement fund.

39. Move heavy stuff

Anyone (well, mostly anyone) can pick up something heavy and move it. But not many people can do it safely. Learning how to lift and move things like dressers, armoires, or tables without hurting yourself is a skill that will serve you well.

40. Laugh at yourself

two men laughing and chatting on city street

Sometimes in life, you just need to laugh it off. Learning how to not take every single thing so seriously shows that you’re humble. Also, who doesn’t love a good chuckle?

Bolde Voices represents writers from around the world who want to share their stories anonymously. While everything you read is based on personal experience, it's the ability to tell their truths without being identified that allows those behind the pieces you read to be so brutally honest.