Photo: Flickr / Jake Stimpson

No More Mr Nice Guy

Dan Mountain on the ‘Nice Guy’ phenomenon

I like to think of myself as a nice guy, a lot of guys do. A lot of guys are also aware that the world of love and dating can be very fickle and that it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes things will click right away, sometimes you’ll be waiting for years.

But then we have the Nice Guys. Nice Guys are not simply guys that are nice, but a specific type of person. What unifies this type is the fact that they “finish last”.

Now I can truly sympathise with this idea. I get where  it comes from, I understand how there can be so many guys that can feel this way, but I also understand that it’s a harmful crock of shit. The overwhelming sense you get from the Nice Guy is entitlement. “I deserve to be liked by that girl,” they cry, “I’m nice, I’ll treat her well!” And then this is followed by pointing fingers at the other guy, the guy that gets the girl.

But they fail to realise that dating is not a transaction. You can’t insert Nice tokens into a girl and receive sex or affection as your reward. Girls don’t owe you anything in return for being nice – it’s simply a quality of a decent human being. And what’s more, this thinking mistakes being nice for genuine affection – there is more to attraction than simply being friendly.

This thinking doesn’t at any point consider what the girl wants. Maybe she’s not sleeping with you because she doesn’t want to? Maybe she’s more interested in another guy because he’s more interesting to her than you are? And maybe she’s not interested in a relationship at all. Maybe girls do just want to have fun.

My advice for all the Nice Guys out there would be to stop mistaking confidence for being a douchebag.

Start talking to girls like the three-dimensional human beings that they are. Stop lingering at the fringes of your current obsession’s life, hoping that one day your “boyfriend material” vibes will trick them into falling in love with you.

If you want to get the girl, then go get her, and if it doesn’t work out then move on and don’t bitch about it. Nice Guys only finish last because they don’t even try putting themselves in the race.

Comments (4)

  • Dieudonne Munyabarenzi

    I think this article in honest, but it missing one thing.
    Love and romance. Whether you belieive it to simple brain chemistry, or metaphysical. there is no reason to not believe in love at first sigh, and soul mates. It may be irrational but so is religion…

  • Chris McGregor

    When I first read this I got pretty fired up. But I’ve let things cool down a bit. I’m going to do two things: 1. support what I think you have right and 2. Counter what I think you have very wrong about Nice Guys.

    I am a Nice Guy. Through and through. And I’m not going to shut up, sit down, or apologize for that fact.

    That being said, here’s what I think you got right. We do opine too often about our lot in life. Nice Guys do lose often, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the loser shroud. In that you are right. Instead of bitterly dwelling on what we don’t have, we need to engage and put forward what we do have.

    And what we do have is a hell of alot more than the world gives us credit for. If I’m upset as a Nice Guy, it isn’t because a woman won’t sleep with me – and thank you for reducing men to a one-dimensional sex-crazed caricature – it’s because I despise the masculine Axe body-spray culture of manhood that we’re expected to prescribe to.

    The modern world is too complex of a place to be a self-entitled man demanding his just rewards. Men have to pitch in, we have to do the dishes and take care of the kids. That’s what Nice Guys are. Men who won’t simply back down and accept that to be a man is to be a hairy caveman on the couch swilling beer awaiting uninspired sex from our woman – because we deserve it, dammit!

    That’s what I hate, that’s the entitlement I despise. And watch out, because we Nice Guys are finding our voices, and we have a hell of alot more to offer to a woman than the average man.

    You jeer at us for not thinking of women as three dimensional beings, while at the same time reducing the “masculine” part of a relationship as just wanting to stick it somewhere. Nice Guys are so much more than that, and women deserve so much more than that.

    So my advice is to stop mistaking niceness for being a loser. We aren’t two-dimensional human beings, and neither are women.

    • Great article. I wrote the book on Nice Guys (No More Mr. Nice Guy). I’m a recovering Nice Guy and I have worked with thousands of men like the ones you write about.

      What you refer to in your article, I call “Covert Contract.” i.e., “If I am nice to you, then you will like me, love me, want to be my girlfriend, have sex with me, etc.”

      Covert contracts are not only a childlike way to view the world, they are fundamentally dishonest and manipulative. Covert Contracts are the foundation of what I call “Nice Guy Seduction.” Because the Nice Guy doesn’t believe that a woman he desires to could desire him just as he is, he tries to “seduce” her with niceness. This often takes the form of sacrificing self for the approval of the other.

      Because Nice Guys often repress their true agenda when interacting with women they desire, they do nothing to create any kind of emotional tension between them and the woman. The woman may “like” them, but will rarely feel strong attraction. This tends to perpetuate the Nice Guy’s belief that there must be something wrong with them and women can all tell.

      My advice. Show up, be yourself. Nothing hidden, nothing half-assed. Risk. Touch, tease, and tell. Be bold. Blurt. Let go of attachment to outcome and an agenda of approval seeking. Finally, stop resenting women and the guys who seem to have all the luck. Stop pleasing and start being yourself.

      Robert Glover, Ph.D.
      Author of No More Mr. Nice Guy

      • Chris McGregor

        Robert, are you replying to my comment or to the article?

        I don’t agree with what you regard as “covert contracts” of Nice Guys or their underlying agenda. You seem to assume that since these men don’t fit the mold of bold masculinity they are somehow flawed and that being a Nice Guy is something to be fixed.

        I don’t believe it is. Nice Guys don’t need to be fixed and niceness isn’t something to be ashamed of. Rather, your conclusion is dead on if you drop that fallacy of “fixing” but instead adopt the policy of accepting and putting nice qualities forward.

        That not only removes any feelings of bitter resentment one might have of guys who appear to “have it all” and encourages Nice Guys to be confident about their abundant positive qualities. That’s the key to success, not treating niceness like some shameful disease that needs a cure.

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