At a recent Melbourne Romance Writers Guild retreat, I played…
I have two reasons for writing this post today. One, because there are a lot of confused guys out there who can’t decide if it’s worthwhile being ‘nice’. And two, because there are a lot of women expressing their annoyance at men being ‘jerks’, or at themselves for being attracted to jerks. Moreover I want to address the common saying ‘nice guys finish last’…
Before I get to the reason why I believe nice guys don’t finish last, I think it’s important that I distinguish the two groups of nice guys out there. The first group is the genuine type. I’ll just refer to him as a nice guy, because he genuinely is a nice guy, simple as that. But for the purposes of this article I’ll refer to the next type as the “Nice Guy” (notice my use of quotation marks). He’s not really a nice guy, though he’d like to think he is, and this type of guy always manages to ruin it for the others.
There are usually two reasons women don’t react well to “Nice Guys”:
1) They are pushovers and passive.
They finish last because they haven’t worked on their insecurities enough to act or make a move on the woman they are attracted to. They make nice guys in general look weak.
2) They are just as bad or manipulative as the ‘bad boys’.
A pretty good analogy I’ve heard is that “Nice Guys” treat women like vending machines. They think that by inserting kindness, they can rightfully expect sex or a relationship to be dispensed in return. When this does not happen you get a slew of abuse from these guys, and thus women start to associate ‘niceness’ with disingenuous behavior.
The big red flag for a “Nice Guy” is that he’ll usually feel the need to tell a woman he’s nice. Because of the reasons I’ve listed above, I find “Nice Guys” usually display unspoken dislike for women, even though their goal is to get one. They carry a big chip on their shoulder, and everyone can see it except for them. Where as a TRUE nice guy usually doesn’t feel the need to advertise his ‘niceness’. He’s just being who he is, take it or leave it. The difference here is one is ‘acting’ nice and the other is ‘being’ nice.
But women have their own issues too, and sometimes genuine nice guys end up paying the price:
If a guy is really nice, women discard him into the friend pile with the word ‘nice’ cropping up repeatedly. He’s also often completely disregarded as boring and some women will wonder if he’s gay because he’s being so nice… It is frightening to think that we would take a guy walking all over us and treating us like shit any day over a man that wants to be nice to us…
The reason why women chase bad boys is because of the thrill of the chase, the occasional hints of a better character, and the twisted notion that these guys are ‘men’. – source
The thing is not all women are ‘there’ yet when it comes to being able to love a nice guy. While some guys struggle over why women don’t ‘want’ nice; a lot of women are still trying to figure out why they keep going for the same mean men. I discuss the reasons for this in other posts, but to the guys reading this, keep this fact in mind when you feel that familiar rise of angst at the good old “women only want losers” argument. The woman you’re interested in may well be wresting her own demons, which you don’t know about.
This brings me to my next point…
Nice guys don’t finish last, because while they might lose a few female interests here and there, true nice guys are usually in it for the long haul. In other words, most nice guys end up winning in the end via the quality of the relationships in their lives.
As mentioned above, sometimes it takes a woman having to go through some self discovery, and a bad relationship or two, to realize that a) they don’t in fact want to spend eternity with a jerk, and b) maybe they have a few issues and self-beliefs they need to work through so that they can accept ‘nice’ as an attractive trait.
That doesn’t mean a man should wait around for a particular woman – for some, these realizations and discoveries will never happen. But I do find that as women mature (usually late twenties/ early thirties), they generally steer away from jerky behavior and start aiming for men who don’t equate their masculinity with dominance over their partner. I’ve gone through this transition myself and I’ve seen many other women go through it too. Nice guys do win, it sometimes takes a while is all.
But there are wider reasons why a man should not stop being a nice guy, and why women need to work on themselves to accept kind deeds.
I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who honestly believes the world needs more crap people, and the fact is, being a ‘bad boy’ is a lazy man’s game. It takes more work to be nice. You can go out there and be an ass, it’ll probably work for you sometimes, but you won’t be getting much by way of value.
Personally, I make the point of trying to be kind and empathetic, to an extent, for selfish reasons. I don’t want those ‘bad boys’ and ‘mean girls’ to win. By this I mean that while I am more vulnerable to rejection by revealing my true self, I am completely unwilling to cave to my rejecters who might seek to beat the ‘niceness’ out of me via their own crap behavior. Yes, they might see me as weak by showing vulnerability, but I know the truth of who I am, and their opinions don’t matter enough to make me stop.
My honest to god/ female opinion is that nice guys are the real ‘men’ out there. They are stronger and more ‘masculine’ than any of those ‘bad boys’. They aren’t parading their ‘niceness’ so they can get something out of it. They aren’t parading confrontational behavior in order to assert their ‘manliness’. They are there everyday, putting themselves on the line by being good and loving human beings. They have the heart and strength to show those they love that they care, even if that means getting knocked back from time to time. And more than anything, they are consistent with the good things they do.
So to the genuine nice guys out there, please don’t stop and don’t lose heart; but at the same time don’t use your gentle nature as an excuse to be passive. Love the women who want you to be kind. They ARE out there. You just need to keep looking and appreciate them when you find them.
To the ladies struggling to be ‘attracted’ to nice guys. My best advice is that if a man isn’t giving you any reason to dismiss him from your life, don’t. Give this new (and nice) guy time to grow on you, and while you’re at it, challenge yourself to push through the self-doubts that will undoubtedly arise as a result. Ask yourself why you allow bad behavior from some, but reject kind deeds from others. Reevaluate the traits you associate with masculinity, and ask yourself which type of guy is likely to stick around when times get tough, and which will be a better father to your children one day (assuming you want any). Because I can assure you if you can ask yourself these questions, the resulting answers will be worth the effort of change.
Hope you enjoyed today’s post. I love reading and responding to everyone’s comments, so feel free to leave a comment of your own.
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