When you're trying to decide if a man has good character, look at his life as a whole and at how he conducts himself in different contexts. A young man may not yet have fully developed his character, but you should still be able to see what direction he's going in.

Qualities of Character

A man with good character will show certain qualities in his personal life and how he treats others. According to the "Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools," these qualities or "virtues" include wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. Most people are stronger in some areas than others. For instance, if the man you're interested in is committed to political activism but shows poor judgment then he has a character strength in the area of justice but a character flaw in the area of temperance. Of course, a flaw in one area doesn't mean his character is bad.

Courage and Humanity

Courage includes more than bravery in the face of physical danger. Moral courage is arguably more important. A man who stands up for what's right even when it isn't easy, who tells the truth and who keeps struggling after hardship or defeat has courage. However, courage without humanity can be cruel. Some young men feel the need to prove their courage by acting aggressive and getting in fights with other men. If your man displays personal courage, also look for compassion, gentleness and love.

Justice and Temperance

The quality of justice includes the ability to work well with others, to lead others effectively when called to do so and to treat everyone with fairness and equality. Temperance is the ability to avoid all forms of excessive behavior, including excesses of the other virtues. For instance, if the man you're interested in has excessive courage but not enough wisdom he might become a reckless thrill-seeker. Temperance is the discernment that tells a person when enough is enough. A man who seems strong, determined and smart but who is self-indulgent about drugs, alcohol or sex has a lack of temperance.

Transcendence and Spirituality

Transcendence includes the spiritual side of life, but a man can have the quality of transcendence without necessarily holding any religious beliefs. Transcendence is the ability to think of the big picture, have a sense of beauty and joy and to be guided by some form of higher principle. Even if a man had all of the other virtues, he would seem incomplete without a sense of purpose and meaning in his life. If you've always had a hard time finding a good man, cultivate these qualities in yourself and look for them in the men you meet. However, don't expect to find perfection. A man who has most of these qualities but is weak in one area might still make a great partner.