For Discussion: “The Nice Guy’s Guide to Realizing You’re Not That Nice”

Alt Text: “The Nice Guy’s Guide to Realizing You’re Not That Nice” (h/t Josh)

I’m not in agreement with the absolutism of the assumption that makes this article work. The author says at one point: “Given that nice guys get bedded and/or wedded all the time, you must have a more specific problem than that.” And like all dating advice, I do feel that the less gender-specific the advice, the better: Why not talk about nice girls that may get passed over? Ultimately, my disagreements with the article stem from my holding that success in life  – whether we’re talking about finding love, security, fame, etc. – does not necessarily tie in with moral behavior. A lot of people, esp. when it comes to dating, want to get moralistic in a hurry.

That having been said – there are a lot of guys who call themselves “nice guys” but are really whiners and losers. The list of “specific behaviors” provided at the end of the article is dead-on in my opinion. I’ve definitely witnessed guys treat the women they like substantially differently from everyone else around them to the degree that it is nauseating (and I can’t say I’m blameless here. I can say I try my best to make people I’m with feel comfortable, no matter what). And it is true that guys do have to find ways of just talking with more women on a more casual level, perhaps aiming for genuine friendship first before going “aaaaaaaaaaaaa I need to be married aaaaaaaaaaaaaa.” There doesn’t seem to be any concept that two people’s lives are involved; the level of self-absorption in most “I’m nice, why don’t I have someone” laments is just stunning.

Still. Are there nice guys being treated badly? Of course. Is it a problem? Definitely, and our attitudes as a whole about finding the right person could use some tweaking. If you don’t believe me, think about all the nice girls you know getting passed over. Many of them are exempt from the above critique – they have healthy attitudes and are genuinely giving. And there are guys like that too, tons of them. Part of the reason why they get passed over is because we can’t tell the difference between those who say they’re “nice” and those who really work to be of value to others.

I’ve ranted enough, those are just my thoughts. I want to hear yours.


  1. While I went into the article and your post fully expecting to argue with somebody I really can’t. The thing that struck me about the article was, as is mentioned here, that the behaviors of “nice” guys listed at the end of the article is very accurate. I particularly liked this part: “Getting extra attention from someone who’s generally nice is flattering. Sitting under the laserlike niceness focus of someone who’s usually oblivious is actually pretty unnerving.”

    Most people date with a mind toward the long-term, and girls (and boys) can tell if you’re an asshole toward everybody else or if you neglect your friendships. Sometimes we notice subconsciously and don’t even understand the red flags.

    I’ve spent years (ok, that makes me sound like a loser) trying to pinpoint what exactly I don’t like about the “I’m a nice guy” lament and you’ve actually touched a little on something that usually doesn’t come to mind, but which is pretty important-

    Why should being nice automatically reward you with a mate? Or why do girls have to want nice guys- or rather, “nice” guys? Does it not matter at all what this potential girlfriend wants? While most people aren’t looking for abusive relationships, there is a degree to which being less than perfectly cordial and considerate and attentive is having a personality, a self, and some personalities are more attractive than others. But, contrary to popular mythology about females, being a complete asshole is just as unattractive as is being this fake “nice” person.

    There are so many reasons some hook up early and others seem doomed to perpetual singleness, so many different preferences, so many different paths relationships can take, that it’s just a ridiculous argument. Maybe that’s the only response needed.

  2. This post brings some much needed attention to an all too common problem many guys face.

    Amanda gave some pretty good feedback.

    I often write about “nice guys” and find that one thing I am asked the most is “what is really so bad about being a nice guy?”

    It doesn’t make sense that being a guy who is nice would be bad. However the stereotypical traits of the “nice guy” often lead to dissatisfaction and broken expectations in their relationships.

    Spreading the awareness is a valuable thing. This is a great post.


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