A rant against "Nice Guy Rants," and some advice for Nice Guys

On Monday, I read a "Nice Guy Rant" on the myspace page of a friend. It was one of those charming missives that are posted and reposted by bitter young men, ending with the instructions, "If you agree with this, repost it as 'I'm Sorry.'"

To paraphrase the entry (which was unfortunately very long and rendered in clumsy verse):

"I'm sorry I've always been there for you, always been a good friend to you, stood quietly by while you dated assholes who weren't me. Since you can't see what a diamond in the rough I am, which would necessarily result in your immediate giving up of the pussy, I am no longer going to be your friend."

Of course it was more delicately worded than that; although I am about to lay into them with a vengeance, I do think that most Nice Guys honestly believe they are being wronged and taken advantage of by the women they fancy. They see themselves as the Duckie character in a real-life "Pretty in Pink," the lovesick best friend whose devotion and uniqueness are ignored or dismissed by the object of his affection, who would rather date the bland (but much better-looking) popular guy who doesn't worship the ground she walks on the way her best friend does. His bitterness at this implicit rejection-- because rarely do Nice Guys make their true feelings explicit-- grows and grows until, in a fit of impotent rage, he channels his pent-up emotions into a passive-aggressive rant casting her as the one with the problem. This passive-aggression is at the heart of what most women find so distasteful about Nice Guys: despite their persistent "niceness," they are fundamentally dishonest about their intentions.

For the record, Nice Guys, if you are only being nice to a woman because you want to get into her pants, you aren't actually nice. If you are uncomfortable with being just friends, then don't be friends at all; pretending to be a woman's friend is lying, and insinuating yourself into her life under false pretenses makes you no better than the asshole boyfriends whom you decry for hurting her over and over. Being a good friend to a woman does not entitle you to her romantic affection.

Let's repeat that one, because it might be the most important:
Being a good friend to a woman does not entitle you to her romantic affection.

This is where the Nice Guy logic gets all screwy. Everyone knows what it's like to have a bad friend; we've all had relationships with people who take more than they give, and nothing sucks more than being the one who's always putting forth the effort. For most people, the impulse to continue making an effort switches off at some point and we recognize that the friend is not worth it. Nice Guys, however, often add the extra expectation of sexual interest to the list of Good Friend criteria, and even women who are good platonic friends get cast as Bad Friends for not giving it up. This is patently unfair. You cannot expect things of a person who has not agreed to the ruleset by which you'd like to be playing.

Again, for the record, Nice Guys, you need to recognize your own responsibility for your situation. If she is not a good friend to you, you are free at any time to end the friendship. If, on the other hand, she is a good friend but you want more from the relationship, you don't get to hold that against her. If you make your wishes known and she rejects you, you can either get over it and continue to be a friend, or you can move on and end the friendship entirely; what you should NEVER do is fake being her friend, hoping she'll change her mind, while silently nursing a grudge over the fact that she doesn't share your attraction. That is passive-aggressive, dishonest, and perhaps most importantly (to the Nice Guys) unattractive.

Contrary to popular belief, women don't actually like dating assholes.

Now, before you go throwing all your anecdotal evidence at me, let me elaborate.

People (not just women, but people) are attracted to confidence. It's no fun spending time with a person who needs constant reassurance-- ask any guy who's dated a woman who constantly demands, "Do I look fat in this?" Assholes of the variety that has great success picking up women in bars are not attractive for the fact that they are assholes, but because their cockiness comes across to many women as self-assurance. We are social animals, and it pleases us on a very base level to be chosen by a popular and charismatic peer, so those assholes who stand us up and treat us disrespectfully are sometimes attractive because the assholish behavior can be mistaken for desirable traits. We like people who have lives of their own and interests outside our immediate relationship; it can be difficult to distinguish between the returned phone call that was late because a person was geniunely busy and the one that was late because the person was playing head games and being rude. While some women have learned to tell the difference between the genuinely well-rounded, socially active man and the carefully-crafted act of an asshole, younger women especially often lack this social savvy and can fall prey to men whose seemingly busy lives are an illusion specifically crafted to lure in a potential easy lay.

Nice Guys, women don't date assholes just to spite you!

The constructive response to this is not, as many Nice Guys posit, to become an asshole yourself. Unless your goal is only to have meaningless sex, becoming one of the bad guys is not going to help your case with the ladies. If you really want that girl to notice you as more than a friend, you have to actually get a life. I mean it. Get yourself some interests that don't revolve around her, some other friends, hobbies to occupy your time. You have to be an actual person with an actual life of his own; don't just "play" hard to get, cultivate a life in which your time is really filled with activities and people you enjoy, and your resulting fulfillment will make you infinitely more attractive than any worshipful sniveling ever could. She shouldn't be the center of your life unless you are also the center of hers, and to put her in that position without her consent is an unfair burden. Should you make that mistake, your resulting misery is your fault, not hers.

I'm not sure why Nice Guys are so intent on blaming others for the awkward positions they've created for themselves, but one thing is for sure: they will never get out of those one-sided relationships as long as they keep avoiding reality. Nice Guys of the world, I challenge you to examine the roots of your "niceness" and honestly assess whether it is as genuine as you would have us believe. If you have fallen into the trap of worshipping an unwilling goddess, then step up and own your actions, and move forward with the resolution to be more forthright in your future dealings with women. Every person wants to be appreciated; no healthy person will expect your worship. It's a long fall from the pedestal, and most women would prefer not to be boosted up there in the first place.

Posted byMJ at 1:04 PM  


Anonymous said... 7/03/2007 6:36 PM  

You tell 'em, sister! Honestly, after you get your MLS, you have to moonlight as an advice columnist for a really upscale newspaper or magazine. This talent cannot be wasted!!

Anonymous said... 1/16/2008 12:21 AM  

Thank You. Enlightening to hear the female side (without the usual equally bitter or hate filled vitriol). You made a point and made it very well. It brought clarity and focus in a manner far kinder than a slap to the head, but equally refreshing and enlightening in its ability to cause one to pull oneself together, refocus and see things as they really are.

One thing that puzzles me though and I am being sincere here, is whether a woman would be more upset/offended to discover that her "Nice Guy" friend WAS only out to get into her pants, OR if she would be more upset/offended to discover that her "Nice Guy" friend did NOT want to get into her pants (and wasn't gay - i.e. was getting into other women's pants, just not hers).

All the women I've known seem to be awfully offended/resentful by the latter option if it arises when push comes to shove, as it were, and several friendships ended in that manner for me. Actually I can't think of an exception to that although in one case that I'm thinking of, it took quite a while before I was aware of the hatred/resentment towards me and even longer before she finally shared the cause of it with me (indirectly mind you, via her sister).

Anonymous said... 10/27/2009 7:03 AM  

Hey anonymous at 12:21 AM,

"One thing that puzzles me though and I am being sincere here, is whether a woman would be more upset/offended to discover that her "Nice Guy" friend WAS only out to get into her pants, OR if she would be more upset/offended to discover that her "Nice Guy" friend did NOT want to get into her pants (and wasn't gay - i.e. was getting into other women's pants, just not hers)."

This is another one of the problems that Nice Guys have. By asking that question, you assume that all women will act/think the same. If you start to accept that all women are different, are individuals with their own desires, beliefs, viewpoints, and reactions to situations, that there is no formula that ALL women will follow, you will do yourself a huge favor.

CaliGirlReviews said... 2/08/2012 3:05 PM  

"Nice guys" are insidious and dangerous at times. When I was much younger and very naive I politely turned down the offer of a date from someone I was genuinely not interested in. This "Nice Guy" said ok lets be friends and went on a systematic campaign of knocking down my barriers. Unfortunately I was extremely submissive and found it very difficult to say no. I had barely been able to say no to the date, but when he came from the nice guy I am just being friends here, all my defenses were gone and I found myself in a relationship with someone I wasnt attracted to. I just didnt know how to say NO. Bfore I knew it I was in an abusive relationship with "The Nice Guy" who was adept at manipulation. Luckily for me the first time he beat me was the day I was able to find my voice and say NO. It was a lesson well learned and I now have a very firm voice.

Anonymous said... 2/08/2012 4:16 PM  

Well said!

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