Well, here’s the deal – no two women are alike. For every Veronica, there’s a Betty, and for every Rachael, there’ll always be a Monica (with snatches of the oddball Phoebe thrown in). However, beneath the myriad shades of moods, temperaments, whims and fancies that set them apart, there runs a common strand that joins the whole lot of women. At the end of the day, all women crave more or less the same qualities in men.

So what is it that the Venus dwellers seek in a man, really? Here’s the baffled guy’s guide to finding what makes women tick!

1. Honesty

It’s a no-brainer that women value trust and understanding in a relationship. When you lie, you run the risk of breaking that trust. Much as she would like to hear that she looks great in that dress, in her heart of hearts, she knows the answer and wants you to spell it out for her, loud and clear. Don’t fool around with her feelings under the pretext of “not wanting to hurt her”. Be honest with her, she can handle it. Tell her the truth, and as long as you take care not to hurt her feelings, she’ll be happy, even grateful for it.

2. Sense of humor

Blame it on our hormones, but we women tend to sweat the small stuff and be upset at the drop of a hat. Cue for you to work that boyish charm, make her laugh and drive her blues away! A cocky sense of humour and flattering one-liners can also work in your favour. A word of caution – avoid juvenile pranks and crass jokes. Be your natural, genial self and you’ll definitely win her heart!

3. The ability to protect

Women can stand up for themselves very well, but deep down, all of them want to be protected.  Nothing pleases them more than the “you’re safe with me” assurance.  Offer to walk her home; if it’s late in the night, put an arm around her protectively if you sense other men making advances, and inspire confidence that she is safe with you. Do not hesitate if you have to take a stand for her. The safer a woman feels with you, the more she’ll respect you.

4. Intelligence

Women are attracted to men who are smart and can hold an intelligent conversation. When it comes to making important decisions, women expect men to be in charge and to make the right moves. Being with an intelligent partner, affords them a certain reassurance that their needs and demands will be well satisfied with better communication and understanding. Try and understand her needs and appreciate her point of view.

5. Loyalty

So you are commitment-phobic. That’s no big deal, and unless you are in a serious, long-term relationship, you are not bound to make the ‘till death do us part’ promise. However, a casual relationship doesn’t mean you can have a harem mentality. Be loyal to the woman you are dating. It’s insulting for her, if the man she’s with hits on other women. When out on a date with her, give her your all – pay attention to what she’s saying and make her feel like she’s the only one you care about, right there, right then.

6. Chivalry

Who says manners are for wimps? Truth is, it makes women feel special when guys go that extra mile. You don’t have to hire goons so you can do the rescue act to impress her. Even precious little gestures like holding doors, reaching for her hand to help her out of the car and offering to fix things around her apartment work like magic. Unless your date insists on going dutch, pick up the tab while dining out, and do it quietly, without making a big deal of it.

7. Manners and hygiene

While your rock star dreams, unruly hair and bohemian lifestyle might make school-girls drool, women prefer men who are well-groomed and…well, clean. Sloppy is not sexy. A filthy apartment and a junk-yard of a car is a big turn-off. Take trouble to dress smart and smell well. And please, do not leave the loo messy! Mind your language in front of women. Swearing ain’t cool. Not returning calls, and hanging up on her, is downright rude. If you are going to be late for a date, call her in advance and apologize. A word of caution – do not bad-mouth your ex and never, ever, break up over an SMS.

8. Respecting her space

While you might have serenaded her with “I’ll be watching you…” trust me, chances are, you’ll scare her off with your constant vigil. Your attempts at invading her space will only scare her and make her run for cover. Encourage her to spend time with her girl friends, or to do her own thing. Let her be moody and cranky once in a while and suppress the urge to ask her – ‘Are you PMSing?’ You’ll only infuriate her further. Give her time…and space. Let her be.

9. Being a friend first

“Part-time lover and a full-time friend…” goes the popular song by Moldy Peaches. Well, that best sums up what women want in a man. Express your affection through simple gestures and small gifts – an impromptu massage, a heartfelt note and hand-picked flowers may cost little, but they can make a woman fall in love with you all over again. Be a friend, talk to her without judging her and let her know you’re there for her, come what may.

10. Not being clingy and desperate

Take it from a woman – guys who try too hard to impress a girl, end up putting her off. Do not look too needy or act desperate. Women have special sensory powers to sniff out men who try too hard. The last thing a woman wants, is to have a clingy guy hanging outside her door. Be cool and confident, and trust me, she’ll want you even more!

Follow these basic rules and let your intuition guide you through the rest. Good luck!