Dear Nice Guys: Stop trying to be Nice. Be real instead

nice guys, nice, nice guys, friendzone

Hey man, what’s up? How you doing?

While you’re here, I wanted to ask you something: Would you describe yourself as a nice guy? Or has that term become too loaded for you to say out loud, but you still subscribe to a dating philosophy that focuses on being agreeable more than anything else? Would you say you’re more accommodating than assertive, often to your own detriment?

Better yet, has anyone ever told you that you’re too nice? If any of that sounds familiar to you, believe me when I tell you that you’re not alone. I was once a self-described “nice guy” but I grew to learn it’s always better to be real than agreeable.

Now, before we start, let me just set something straight. Many men who write about dating start with a similar premise, but it usually devolves into them telling you to be purposefully callous. They tell you to insult women, lie to women, and try to take advantage of women to get what you want. That isn’t me. That’s not what I would ever urge you to do. In fact, if you’re looking for some pick up artist tricks to transform you from “Nice Guy who finishes last” to “Guy who manipulates women to get them into bed”, this isn’t the post for you, nor is this the right blog for you. ✌????

What I want to talk about is why you might think being nice is a good dating tactic, and why its better to be real instead. I’m using nice as a catchall for “agreeable”, because that’s what self-described “nice guys” strive for. Being agreeable over substance. They aren’t focused on being kind, or genuine. What they strive to do is  be as agreeable as possible. While most people are looking for a partner who they can have pleasant interactions with, most people don’t want to date someone who lacks their own wants, needs, and motivations.

The absence of conflict doesn’t make you a good partner.

Being nice to try to earn points isn’t going to help you, and honestly, it’s kind of screwed up in its own way. The foundations of every relationship should be honesty and communication. If you only want casual hookups, you should be honest in your communication i.e. “I only want to be friends with benefits”. That isn’t something a typical “nice guy” might say, but it is, in its own way, a kindness. You might hurt someone by being honest about what you want if they want something different, but it’s much kinder to be honest to someone than it is to be “nice” to them by being dishonest. A nice lie is still a goddamned lie.

If you’re going through life trying to be as agreeable as possible with the people you date, there is always a chance that you’ll find and meet someone who will want to stick around with you. The thing is, if they do stick around, it’s because they like a version of you that probably doesn’t show who you are. A version of you who sublimates their own wants needs and desires to please others at the cost of themselves. Do you really want a partner who can’t appreciate the true complexities of you? Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical. The answer is No. And if you think you do want that, I’m here to tell you that your answer SHOULD be “No”. You deserve to find someone who appreciates you for who you are. Not just the “Nice Guy” version of you.

My advice to you, whether you’re a self-proclaimed “Nice Guy” or someone who has been told that they’re too nice, is to start being honest. You don’t have to be a “bad boy”, just be real. I’ve never once been described as a “bad boy” and I am damn good at dating. You don’t have to go out of your way to be confrontational, but you shouldn’t go out of your way to avoid confrontation or conflict. If you don’t like something, speak up! Do so in a tactful way, but don’t just go through life agreeing with everything hoping that will win you someone’s affection.  Life doesn’t work that way. Love doesn’t work that way. No love story ends with “he agreed with everything I said and I knew he was the one”.  If you’re one of those “nice guys” who ends up in the “friend-zone” (which doesn’t exist, but whatever), the surest way out of feeling like you’re in the friend-zone is to stop doing “nice” things for women you don’t actually want to do. If you feel like someone is taking advantage of your friendship by say, I dunno, asking you to pick them up from the airport and you do it because it’s a “nice” thing to do, one that you hope will earn you some affection, news flash, it wont. Being a “nice guy” for the sake of being nice to earn affection is generally a bad idea, and at worst, it’s doing you a disservice. So stop. Now. Immediately.

Tell people how you feel. Do things you actually want to do. Be honest about your opinions and your intentions. If you want to do something nice, do so without an ulterior motive. I’m nice when I date, I’m kind when I date, but if I don’t agree with something I’m not going to pretend to agree to avoid an argument. Be real. Be genuine. You’ll find way more success in dating by being true to who you are. Once I realized that, I got better at dating, and dating became easier and more enjoyable.

I’m living proof that you can stop being a nice guy without turning into an asshole. I’m kind, I’m honest, and women are still interested in me. Being a “nice guy” is a losing game. I’ve found so much more success in dating by being real, even if that meant having to have tough conversations. I can’t promise that you’ll meet the love of your life tomorrow, but I can promise that if you do meet someone, they’ll respect you a hell of a lot more if you show a little spine. I can promise you that if you stop being nice for the sake of being nice, you wont feel like you’re wasting your time anymore. That is a win all on its own.

Good Luck Out There.

Also published on Medium.