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The way you relate to others can mean all the difference between a relationship flourishing or falling apart. Not sure what attachment style—secure, avoidant, or anxious—you or your partner has? Let these well-known dudes from TV and movies be your guides.
Jake Ryan from “16 Candles” – Secure
Oh, Jake. The mere mention of his name sends girls swooning. When the most popular boy in school repeatedly tries to connect with sophomore-wallflower Samantha, she nervously pushes him away. But Jake doesn’t dismiss her or demand to know why she isn’t falling all over him. He quietly bides his time (and gets her underwear back from Farmer Ted!) until she’s ready to accept that Jake does in fact like her.
Ryan Bingham from “Up in the Air” – Avoidant
George Clooney plays a businessman who constantly travels all over the country and cares more about making connecting flights than making a connection with an actual human being. Although he gave a great performance in the film, some might say playing an emotionally unavailable man wasn’t exactly a stretch for Clooney, who is a perpetual bachelor.
Lloyd Dobler from “Say Anything” - Secure
Despite the fact that high schoolers Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court come from different sides of the tracks and that Court is more focused on going off to college in England than getting romantically involved, the confident Dobler isn’t dissuaded.
He’s supportive of and patient with Court and doesn’t come unglued when his love keeps him at arm's length. Instead, he shows up at her house, lifts his boombox above his head and blasts Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” to win her over—and eventually succeeds. When Court says to him, “Nobody thinks this will work, do they?” Dobler responds: “No. You just described every great success story.”
Eric Taylor from “Friday Night Lights” – Secure
Being a small-town football coach comes with the kind of stress that can ruin marriages, but while dealing with all the politics, trips to the state championships, alcoholic parents messing with his star players and a loose cannon of a daughter, Eric found strength in his marriage to Tami and turned to her when he needed support.
Batman - Avoidant
Talk about avoidant—the Dark Knight always hides behind a mask, never showing his true self (billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne). He’d rather be out fighting crime and protecting Gotham than curling up by the fire in his massive mansion with a love interest. And while he’s an ace at rescuing damsels in distress, the Caped Crusader quickly abandons them as soon as he’s brought them to safety.
Don Draper from “Mad Men” – Avoidant
The epitome of the strong and silent type, Don Draper is no easy man to love. Between his fake name, secret past and repeated affairs, Don resists getting close at all costs. When we last saw him, he’d just left the one woman who really challenged him for a secretary he barely knows—who doesn’t seem to care that she barely knows him too. He’s dreamy from a distance, but we wouldn’t want to be Mrs. Draper.
Mr. Big from “Sex and the City” – Avoidant
If you look up “unavailable” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Mr. Big. We don't even learn his real name until the very last episode, when Carrie gets a call on her cell from "John," symbolizing that he's finally starting to open up to her.
From the moment he first bumps into Carrie on the street, Mr. Big proves to be an ever-elusive commitment-phobe and takes six full seasons to tell Carrie she’s the one. He might not be marriage material, but are we still swooning over that last scene in Paris? Abso-f---ing-lutely.
Woody from “Toy Story” – Anxious
Woody, the lovable talking cowboy from Pixar’s Toy Story series, might be heroically daring in his owner Andy’s games, but he’s a bit of a worrywart when Andy leaves the room. Terrified that he’ll be replaced as Andy’s favorite toy, he panics when Andy unwraps Buzz Lightyear. In his efforts to get Buzz out of the picture, he accidentally pushes him out the window before finally learning that Andy’s games are more fun when both of them get to play (it is a children’s movie, after all).
Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione from “Harry Potter” – Avoidant, Anxious, Secure
Despite endlessly devoted friends and fans, Harry Potter pushes everyone away. He tries to run away in the night, protests when anyone protects him and faces his scariest battles solo (or tries to, at least). What can you expect after 11 years in the Dursley’s stair closet?
Known to storm off in a huff, Ron Weasley is classically anxious. He worries that Harry doesn’t need him, that Hermione loves Harry more than him and that he’s the all-around runt of the litter. But somewhere between smashing the Horcrux and snogging Hermione, Ron finally grows a pair.
Hermione Granger is the rock holding the trio together. Raised in a stable, loving family, the brilliant overachiever is secure and confident. She supports Harry even when he pushes her away and calms Ron when he’s feeling insecure. Without Hermione, the Dark Lord would still be lurking.
George Costanza from “Seinfeld” – Fearful
George is the short, bald and portly guy you never want to bring to meet your parents. Fortunately, you won’t have to because he’ll probably break up with you first. George tries to break up with one woman by telling her he’s gay, dates another to get an extension on his unemployment and inadvertently kills his fiancé with cheap invitations after repeatedly trying to break up with her. Terrified of direct confrontation, George lies and cheats his way through pretty much every interaction. He wants approval as desperately as he wants freedom. We’re guessing Mr. and Mrs. Costanza had something to do with that.
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