The Nice Guy Cliche

I can say, as of now, that I am fortunate to be seeing a nice guy.  I have also dated nice guys in the past, though for various reasons, the partnership did not work out.  (I did, however, once date a not so nice guy who broke up with me over text.  Sigh.)

The reason I am writing this is because I want to discuss a topic which, yes I know, has been beaten to death a million times.  But I’m writing about it anyway.  It’s the answer to the age old question, Do nice guys finish last?  (No pun intended :P)

Nice dudes do not finish last.  If they always finished last, (or…not at all), I would not be dating my current boyfriend, my sister’s husband would never have married her, I wouldn’t have an awesome father and awesome uncles, and my wonderful brother would never have gotten married.

I know I’m special, but my family can’t be THAT exceptional.

Dating is profoundly difficult.  But when a guy attributes all his dating woes to the fact that he is ‘nice’, he does a huge disservice to himself.  “Nice guys finish last” is very defeatist, bitter, and only lets the person who utters those words feel even more like a victim.

We all have shortcomings.  But from my personal observations and experience, I will list the shortcomings that I feel are too often confused with being “nice” (with a little help from my favorite sitcom friends).

1.  The Too Shy Nice Guy

I have 2 personal experiences with this.  First, in high school, I had a crush on a guy who I thought was cute.  Not only was he cute, but he was sweet, polite, funny, and smart.  He was on the quiet and studious side, but when we hung out in friend groups, he was always a lot of fun to hang out with and very charming.  But there was a problem, he didn’t really like to talk to me.  Whenever I tried to start a conversation with him in person, he would only give brief answers and not make a lot of eye contact.  However, I did notice he was more open with some of the other girls in our group.  I eventually gave up and moped.  He obviously didn’t like me.  I wasn’t pretty and cool enough for him.

Fast forward 2 years and I am in college.  I have lost touch with my high school crush (we attended different universities), but am still in touch with a couple of mutual friends (a guy and a girl who began dating in freshman year.)  One day, we were having lunch together when they decided to tell me,

“Hey, do you remember that kid Jonathan (<<not real name)??  He used to like you!”

What??!!  Seriously, he did??  I asked them if they were joking, they said no.  He only told his best friend at the time (the guy friend), and made him swear to secrecy.  My girl friend learned when they started going out.

What kind of a guy likes a girl and then talks to almost every girl but her???

Shy guys, that’s who.

In all fairness, I wasn’t innocent either.  I was also shy, gawky, and insecure.  But the point is, shy guys, or guys who get shy around girls they like, overdo the ‘indifferent’ thing and then, well, nothing happens.

In a similar light, in college I dated a guy who was kind of shy but I eventually talked him into asking me out.  However, other than holding hands and our first kiss after several glasses of wine, he NEVER made a move on me.  My friend advised me that he was probably hesitant and I should take initiative at the beginning of the relationship.  I did, and it worked to some extent.  He always reciprocated my kisses, but never went onto initiate anything physical.  I eventually became insecure and felt that there was no physical chemistry.  I eventually broke things off after 4 months of going out.  When I broke up with him, I found that he was genuinely surprised at the sudden end, and didn’t see it coming.

I have to admit, looking back, that I could have handled things better.  I never confronted him about the physical stuff because I didn’t realize that was something that could have been handled though communication.  Instead, I just gave up.  But it goes to show that a lot of potential relationships go under due to miscommunication, and shyness can exacerbate that.

2.  The Too Passive Nice Guy

Being nice need not mean be a doormat or a pushover.  Everyone has a right to demand respect and consideration from their partners.  People who are overly passive forgo essential communication and expression, and thus seem like only a shadow of themselves.  It is hard to feel intimacy with someone who doesn’t express him/herself.  People who are passive tend to feel powerless and frustrated when they don’t get what they want, because they don’t feel they have a lot of control over their circumstances.  Remember, one can be nice and confident at the same time.

3.  The Too Insecure Nice Guy

Everyone has insecurities, but sometimes, people let their insecurities get in the way of forming rewarding relationships.  Among several things, being overly insecure causes the person to constantly be negative and complain; always seek validation; come off as desperate or needy; and be hesitant to do things that make them happy because they feel that they don’t deserve it.

Usually the result of this is the partner feels a lot of pressure to give them the validation they don’t otherwise have.  This is draining for the other partner and leaves no room for the fun, positive parts of the relationship.  Another outcome is that an insecure person tries too hard to impress their partner and overdoes it, thus coming off as desperate.  This is actually not appealing for most people.  We like dating people who enjoy our company, not those constantly stressing to impress us or buying our affections with gifts.  When a girl breaks up with this kind of nice guy, she is usually perceived as ungrateful.

4.  The Nice Guy Who Is Not So Nice

I blame this group for the reason behind the “Nice guys finish last” myth in the first place.  When they don’t get what they want, they blow up in frustration and play the blame game.  They conclude that all girls are terrible beings who don’t know what’s good for them.  That the only reason a girl won’t date them is because they simply don’t like guys who are nice and good (as they fancy themselves.)  They make other, actual nice guys feel bad about themselves just because they committed innocent dating mistakes such a miscommunication or being too hesitant, instead making them think they fail for being themselves.  They call girls idiots, whores, and bitches and then wonder why they aren’t attracted to them.

Dudes: do not take advice from these guys.  To them, “bitches” = any girl who rejects them and “jerks” = the guys who got to date the girls who rejected them.  They obviously don’t take rejection well, are very insecure, and have a habit of feeling sorry for themselves.

Now, all of the faults I listed above aren’t committed solely by males.  Girls shoot themselves in the foot when they complain that “All guys are jerks!” or “Men only like bitches” after they have been heartbroken.  In reality, the world is not a superhero action flick divided into just good guys and bad guys.  Everyone has their share of virtues and flaws.

When a “nice guy” has issues dating, he is suffering from a pattern of issues that affects everyone.

In the world of dating, things often go wrong.  Not everyone you like will like you back.  There is a lot of uncertainty and most of us have been at a point where we feel like the future is black.  But predicting that Nice Guys will ALWAYS finish last is probably not the best way to deal with dating problems.  Ever heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy?  Chances are, if you convince yourself that you will always finish last, then you WILL always finish last!  And it will distract you from thinking of ways to improve your dating techniques.  We all make mistakes.  Sometimes when things aren’t working out, we just have to find way to make our approach better.

I have no idea who this is, but he seems nice.

P.S. A related article that I really liked, and also has good tips!  15 Reasons Why Nice Guys “Finish Last”

About emma

My name is Emma, and this is another blog where you will encounter my ramblings and musings about various things.
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3 Responses to The Nice Guy Cliche

  1. Pingback: 4 Types of Nice Guys | emmarqdotcom

  2. Pingback: She’s Just Not That Into You | Emma Rivers

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