Goodbye, Mr Nice Guy

by sakuraso

This is something that’s always bothered me, and it was once again brought up in a comment to my geeky girl community post, so I thought I could address it… I’m endeavouring to refrain from just writing a rant, as I did last time – last time I thought only my friends, maybe some of the girls from ontd_startrek, and perhaps some people randomly finding their way over to my blog (note trolls: blog. not newspaper, or anything that needs me to be “professional”), I wasn’t expecting the 30,000 views I got. So this time, less rant, and fewer things trolls can feed on. Hopefully. Caveat done, moving on.

“Women don’t like nice guys, they only go for assholes”

This infuriates me to no end. It’s a stupid stereotype, it’s an unfair one, and it makes me angry, especially when it’s purposefully perpetuated by those who should know better. It’s full of assumptions and stereotypes, and I believe that those who perpetuate it are doing so because it’s an easy excuse. There are three things wrong with this annoying statement, and I’ll be addressing women, nice guys and assholes.

“Women.”

I imagine this started when someone got rejected, and decided that because it didn’t work out, all women are the same. If all women liked only one thing, our species would have died out a long time ago. Considering the stupidity of this generalisation I’m honestly surprised people still spout this nonsense. There are women out there who are dating men some of us would consider assholes. That is, unfortunately a fact. This in no shape or form means that all women like assholes. First there is the assumption those girls knew the guy was an asshole in the first place, and honestly, there are very few women who would consider starting a relationship with someone who made them feel terrible. When it happens, it’s usually the case that the guy starts being an asshole -after- the girl becomes emotionally invested, and then start making excuses for them (battered wife syndrome much?).

I know several girls whose boyfriends I would class as “assholes” and so do many of my friends, and in all these cases, those girls tend to get our views on their boyfriends quite explicitly. Over the years I’ve heard so many reasons and excuses, and while I cannot personally understand them, I have never been in that position, so I hold back a bit, and I try to be sympathetic.

First and foremost, you cannot deny pure chemistry. I’m sure every single one of us has done some pretty stupid things when we’ve been head over heels. I know I have, chasing after one guy for 3 years who wouldn’t reject me outright – smart thing to do would be to assume that as there are no obvious positive signs, to just move on, but the emotional thing to do? Cling on to the fact that there hasn’t been an actual rejection. When strong emotions are involved, we all do stupid things. So in the case of someone you’re dating being horrible to you, if you’re head over heels, many people will just make excuses for them. Oh, but he’s not always like that! Granted, those of us looking in don’t see the full picture, but sometimes, you don’t need to see the whole picture to know something’s not right. I also need to point out, men also get in the same situation, great guys who give up their interests, their style and their beliefs for their girlfriends. One of my friends fancied a girl for half a year before they went out, he was then so scared she might dump him, he would forfeit his own opinions in case she got offended because they disagreed on something – not a healthy relationship. And in the girl’s defence, she wasn’t even remotely horrible, I could never imagine her breaking up with someone because they couldn’t decide on what film to watch, but through his fear of losing her, he didn’t give her the chance to show that she’s actually fine with compromise. He didn’t, and then resented her because his personality was …withering away. I will always maintain they could have had a great relationship if there was a bit of communication, but I digress. I did think pointing out that men get into these situations was quite important.

Another reason I have seen time and time again, is simply self esteem. This applies to men as well, as we all suffer from self esteem issues. There are those whose self esteem is so low they believe that if they lose the person they’re with they’ll never be able to find anyone else. I can say from experience that trying to convince someone otherwise is near impossible, having been someone who’s tried to convince people of their worth, as well as having to be convinced myself – I was completely and utterly convinced I was going to be single forever, my friends had been on boyfriend 6 or 7 while I hadn’t even been on a date. It’s not something you can convince someone out of, the only real way is for it to actually happen. In my case it was somewhat easier, as I finally realised I wasn’t hopeless when I met my current boyfriend, but if you’re afraid you won’t find someone if you break up with someone? Very difficult. Even the fact that they got a boyfriend/girlfriend in the first place… The self esteem issue has another problem. When you see someone being wooed by someone you perceive as an asshole, there’s a chance they have low self esteem and are incredibly flattered they’re getting any attention. Again, guilty of this myself, but I wised up quick. Not everyone does, however.

Self esteem is responsible for many of our problems. Never assume that if someone’s attractive for example, they will be confident. The really happy types who tell you to tell everyone they’re beautiful? They have a point. If you’re told all your life you’re beautiful, you will know you’re beautiful. On the other hand, if people don’t tell you, while everyone around you is told such things, no matter how beautiful the image in the mirror is, you won’t see it. It’s also not just about physical beauty. I have a very good friend who pisses me off every single day, because he cannot let go of his idea that without a nice car and a very high prestige job, he will never have a girlfriend. I will never stop telling him:

If someone rejects you for that reason, they are not worth it in the first place.

It just never gets through. If that’s what your relationship is based on, it’s doomed to failure.

Now, there is something to be said about the bad boy stereotype. Only something. To make it clear, bad boys and assholes are not the same thing. Bad boys are about that sense of danger, of doing something out of the ordinary, something thrilling. It has nothing to do with being mistreated in any way. It’s about dating someone who is not part of your social norm. Or maybe even to shock your friends and family, I don’t know. There is also the very popular reason: the change. There are many women who want to change bad boys from their bad habits. It’s not something I’ve ever understood, it seems fundamentally contrary to what a relationship should be to me: falling in love with a person. Not falling in love with the idea of a person, and then moulding one to that idea. Unfortunately, however, it’s an undeniable social occurrence.   I cannot reiterate this enough, not the same thing as an asshole.

“Nice Guys”

I have a problem with this because most of the time, this is a self proclaimed title. I find there’s a big difference between guys who are nice, and “nice guys.” Guys who are nice do not finish last. “Nice guys” however, just might. There is something arrogant about proclaiming yourself as “a nice guy.” Furthermore, it tends to be an excuse. The line often comes up when someone gets rejected. I am in no way saying that a guy being rejected by a girl is never because she’s a bitch. That does happen. Unfortunately however, it’s just an excuse. It rejects the idea you have any responsibility: you’re a nice guy, so obviously you’re only rejected because the girl’s a bitch. It also implies a sense of entitlement, as if she has no right at all to reject you. It doesn’t matter if she’s taken, not wanting a relationship at all, doesn’t find you attractive, doesn’t think you’re interesting, you remind her of someone she doesn’t want to be reminded of, doesn’t like your attitude, just doesn’t feel a connection… or thinks you came across as a creep. If you choose to believe you’re unsuccessful because you’re a nice guy and girls don’t like nice guys, you’re never going to be successful. Whatever formula you’re applying that just isn’t working for you, using that excuse means means you don’t try to change how you approach things. Not only does using such an excuse limit your own success, it foists unnecessary resentment onto innocent people that have done nothing wrong.

“Assholes”

The assumption someone is an asshole because they have the confidence to go up to someone and try to pick them up is not fair. As far as I’m concerned, the guys smugly swaggering towards women thinking they can get anyone they want, is just as bad as entitled self proclaimed nice guys that hate on women because they choose to believe they themselves have nothing to do with being rejected. In my geek girl post, a (troll) tried to point out that the decent guys who I work with are assholes, infuriated me to no end. This is an assumption that floats around far too much. A guy can actually confidently talk to a girl, he must be an asshole. I realise that any other guy will be your competition, but it seems a bit desperate to label guys as assholes because they do what you can’t. It’s like the girls who call other girls sluts just because they’re more confident in going after the guys they’re interested in. So much for gender solidarity. Sometimes I wonder why ‘bros before hos’ and ‘sisters before misters’ even came about. There seems to be far too much hate going round.

Yes, there are assholes out there. It does not mean that they get women just because they’re assholes. Not all men are assholes, and some ladies I know should also keep that in mind. There’s going after what you want, being confident, and being a slut or asshole. I would recommend watching them and seeing what their techniques are, rather than just writing them off under an unfounded generalisation.

I truly cannot comprehend why this stereotype keeps persisting. Is it just those whose egos have been so bruised that they’re so bitter they have to spew hatred towards everyone? Is it people purely looking at situations they know nothing about and just assuming things?

Finally, I would add something that my aforementioned good friend pointed out: those guys who are assholes, who either charm girls into dating them, or find girls with low enough self esteem, they will go through life without meaningful relationships, hopping from relationship to relationship, eventually realising their lifestyle is just not fulfilling. However, feeling entitled and building resentment towards all women because of a few rejections (which you may have been responsible for), is, I think, just as arrogant and unfulfilling as the empty relationships of the ‘asshole’ guy.

Don’t assume the tastes of women. Don’t assume that you have no blame in being rejected. Don’t assume men who aren’t rejected are assholes. And don’t assume that a girl will not talk to you before you’ve even tried. Also remember that self esteem is a huge issue. From being too insecure to go up to someone and talking them, to talking to people even though they’re not the nicest, just because you’re flattered they’re talking to you in the first place. It may be the easier option to assume that it’s not you, and that the fault lies with everyone else. But all it does it feed your resentment, and it won’t lead you to a fulfilling relationship.

Editing help kindly provided by LietenantLoker {Lindsay K.}
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5 Comments to “Goodbye, Mr Nice Guy”

  1. At the end of the day personally I think it comes down to that rather psychometric phrase “self awareness”. Assumption in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we do it all the time as a natural part of living day to day. If however we aren’t sufficiently self aware we won’t allow that assumption to be over ruled by our observations and experiences where necessary, and so we carry on with that assumption and treat it as fact when it isn’t. Ideally if you are always self aware and challenging your assumptions then it doesn’t matter if someone else is a “nice guy” etc, and they will make up their own minds. Of course being such a zen like god/goddess is generally not realistic, part and parcel of being a human, but keeping it in mind you can get close. Just my tu’pence!

  2. Found your blog of another article you wrote through a cosplay group on FB, and I found it really interesting to read. I have read a few similar threads on various forums about the ‘nice guy’ stereotype and its always interesting to see what different people think about it

  3. Perhaps stereotypes are perpetuated largely because there are just enough of us that openly and knowingly participate in them.

    By and large, I agree with rangarkarlsson’s general observations, but the immediate emotions evoked by repeated failures can and does build up in most people whether they recognize it or not. As the saying goes: “Winners never quit and quitters never win, but those who never win and never quit are idiots.” No one wants to be an idiot, so they give up.

    Your summation for this post also seems to come to quite the discomfiting if realistic conclusion: Assume nothing about anyone. Assign no blame for outcomes unless its upon yourself. There is no explanation for why we fail, or for why others succeed, and you have no way to figure out how or why you need to change your approach.

  4. Yeah, this is one of those ugly ideas that seems to persist no matter how frequently it gets debunked. The one thing you can be sure of is that any dude who complains that ‘nice guys finish last’ or ‘girls always choose assholes over nice guys’ is *not* a nice guy himself. These guys seem to think that ‘being nice’ is something you do to girls to get them to date you, and if they subsequently reject you they’ve let down their end of the bargain. (A bargain which they never consciously entered into, of course.) A genuinely nice person would treat others decently simply because they deserve it, and not expect to get anything in return.

    Of course, the people who should read this post probably never will, or will somehow endeavour to completely miss the point, in order to avoid accepting any blame for their own failures as people.

  5. Oh lord. I used to be one of those self-proclaimed “nice guys”. The greatest thing I ever learned was that, if you really are a nice guy and really are her friend, you’ll respect her decision and want her to be happy no matter who she ends up with.

    I know this is cliched advice, but everyone — male or female — should really just be themselves. A little courage doesn’t hurt if you’re interested in someone, though. “What if they say no?!” A silly question as you really have nothing to lose. Even if you’re afraid of your friendship becoming awkward, it won’t if you don’t make it! It’s quite obvious when you’re letting your feelings get in the way of friendship.

    Both my girlfriend and I were quite shy before we dated and had no idea we had a thing for each other. Ariel decided to take a chance and ask me out anyways. (It’s not always the man who has to ask the woman out! I hate the idea that he is somehow less of a man if he doesn’t.) It helped. I was impressed that she got over her shyness to do that. That’s courage. The funny thing is, she asked if I wanted to have coffee with her even though she didn’t like coffee! That was endearing.

    Sorry I’m getting all schmoopy, I just haven’t seen her for five months. Soon we’ll be back together. :)

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