Why I was never a bitter nice guy

I’ve met my fair share of bitter “nice guys,” but I’ve never been one of them. I’m a nice guy; I’m just not a bitter nice guy or ex-nice guy. You know whom I’m talking about: the guy who seems nice, fawns all over some girl he likes who happens to like jerks herself, and then when she doesn’t return his affections and says she thinks of him only as a friend, he gets all bitter about it and whines about how girls like only jerks. Eventually, he decides to be a jerk himself so he can get more girls.

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read some of these rants from bitter ex-nice guys:
Why Nice Guys Finish Last
Nice Guys Finish Last, Assholes finish with time to spare !
“What Happened to All the Nice Guys?”

Now you know what I’m talking about. Well, I’ve never been like that. See, in my book, if you’re a nice guy only because you think it’ll get you girls and then turn into an asshole because you think that’ll get you girls instead when your nice guy act doesn’t work, then you’re not really a nice guy. You’re an asshole who pretended to be a nice guy to get what he wanted. You were always an asshole—you’re just now finally owning up to it.

If you’re nice, you shouldn’t be nice to reach some end goal. You should just be nice. It should be a part of who you are.

The phenomenon, which is widespread but not absolute, of heterosexual women going for “jerks” instead of “nice guys” is complex, and I’ll try my best (as a het man) to explain it to all the pretend-nice-guys out there.

Here are some reasons she may not be digging your nice guy act:

  • Many women find assertiveness attractive, and a lot of jerks tend to be more assertive than their nice guy counterparts. Granted, the jerks can be overassertive (re: obnoxious), but these women find it better than nothing.
  • A lot of nice guys are attentive to the point of being suffocating. I know the stereotype is that men are the ones always complaining that they need space in the relationship, but women need space, too (it’s a human, not a male or female, need).
  • A lot of nice guys like to whine (as you can see from the above links) about being nice and getting the shaft. This kind of bitter self-pity isn’t attractive.
  • Jerks create drama, and (for a time at least) drama can be fun, particularly if you can share it with your girlfriends and have them commiserate in turn. A rite of passage for het women is the ability to complain about what bonehead thing your boyfriend has done lately.
  • Many women subscribe to the notion of females being the more virtuous of the two main sexes. A jerk makes a normal woman look great by comparison, and she doesn’t even have to do much. The more of a jerk he is, the more a martyr she looks like.
  • Men aren’t the only ones who like the thrill of the chase, or as The Tao of Steve says, we pursue that which retreats from us (or something like that). Traditionally, people tend to think of men as being the pursuers and women as the passive pursuees, but women can also enjoy a good chase, and some women may find supposed nice guys too readily available.
  • On a similar note, a lot of women enjoy a challenge. They can sometimes view boyfriends as a makeover project, and if the guy is a jerk, all the more to make over. If the guy appears too much of a nice guy, she might worry that she’s the one who’s the makeover project for the guy.
  • On a very basic level, the media portrays the “bad boy” as exciting. You want to be with the hunky guy, not stuck with Ducky.

I should also add that it’s entirely possible that a lot of these snubbed “nice guys” might in turn be snubbing nice girls and going after jerk girls themselves for many of the same reasons these girls are going after jerk guys.

Cheesy as it sounds, be yourself, and you’ll attract whom you’re supposed to. Relationships and dating may have game-like elements to them, but they are not games. The more you play games, the more you will also be played.

This is the same reason het women shouldn’t debate about whether they should ever ask a guy out or not. If you’re afraid asking him out will turn him off, and you want a guy into traditional gender roles, don’t ask him out. If you don’t want a guy into traditional gender roles, don’t be afraid to ask him out. It’s not that difficult.

If you’re nice, be nice. If you’re an asshole, don’t be pretend to be nice. Be who you are and confident in who you are. Confidence and a strong sense of identity are attractive to everyone.

Recommended Reading
No More Mr. Nice Guy

Further Reading
Good girls and their bad boys
Why Nice Guys Finish Last

Join the Conversation

10 Comments

  1. “If you’re nice, you shouldn’t nice to reach some end goal”

    something along the lines of

    “If you’re nice, you shouldn’t _be_ nice to reach some end goal”
    or even
    “If you’re nice, you shouldn’t _be_ nice _just_ to reach some end goal”

    I totally agree, I have thought of that before, but it’s good to see someone who has that same perception (someone who is nice just to get something, is not that nice)

    oh, and thanks for the calendar and archives, really appreciate it, even more with the quickness you’ve done it (I came back the next day after posting that, and noticed you had already got them, thanks)

  2. Hey,

    Thanks for umm linking to my post. In defense, I must say that I am not bitter about being an ex-nice guy, or to paraphrase myself, a “nice guy with an edge”. I’ve just learn alot and well, experience is not what happens to you its what you do with what happens to you.
    I’ve never been burn that bad that I harbor ill-feelings to women or one in particular. I wrote the post in efforts to help other NG understand why sometimes they get the short end of the stick.

    -J

  3. Oh, this is always a fun topic–especially among women who try to tell all the _other_ women what they want.

    One point I’d like to make is between “bad” and “nice”. I personally prefer “bad” vs. “good”. I like good men, not “nice guys”. Good men, not bad. Good men have backbones, assertiveness, and excitement. They also have manners, respect, responsibility, and integrity. Best of both worlds to me. If only!

    And to add to your list of what women want (as debatable as those points might be), in my life I’ve discovered that I really don’t like having to play the “strong caregiver” role all the time. I dated one guy who was so dependent and emotionally needy that he sapped me of all my resources and energy. I wanted to be the one taken care of once in a while, instead of always having to baby this “boy” who should have already matured into a “man”. Just a personal thought :)

  4. Granted, this post isn’t intended to be an all-encompassing assessment of the dating scene amongst heterosexuals, so I can see how it might easily be taken to be a false dichotomy of sorts.

    Men are not easily categorized as only nice guys or only jerks, and not all women are always or ever attracted to jerks anyway.

    “The phenomenon,” as I said before, “is widespread but not absolute.”

    I do like the clarification of “nice guy” v. “good guy.” That can be a very useful semantic distinction.

  5. Thanks for the Hits but are you a man or a female?

    For a guy you sure seem to know ALLOT about Nice guys and dating..

    I was a nice guy then I turned 15…

  6. It is truth that you shouldn’t be nice to reach a goal. You should do nice things for others because it’s the right thing to do. However, when your constantly being punished for doing nice things than it makes the nice guy wonder is it worth it? It is human nature to be a little frustrated, and a little angry about having experiences with others taking advantage of you. It is oversimplified to say that the nice guy was always a jerk just because he shows a human emotion other than being nice. The “be yourself” advice is pretty overrated. It is true that you should be yourself, but you also have to be yourself with the right person. It may be true that most girls like the so called bad boy, but nice guys don’t want most girls. I think finding the right person is much better advice. Also” Why nice guys finish last” article was not bitter, but honest about some to the nice guy frustrations.

  7. Thanks you for this posting! As a woman, I’m SO TIRED of the perpetuation of the myth that Nice Guys Finish Last. Most self-described “nice guys” are not nice at all… they’re whiny wussies who really hate women and possibly life in general, and just get more and more bitter over the self-fulfilling prophecy of loneliness and solitude. So they become dysfunctional woman-hating jerks to get women, and *surprise!* attract dysfunctional self-hating women.

    Most nice guys who are truly decent men develop a close circle of friends, and when they get married, they marry nice, decent women. A truly good man is secure about himself, regardless of what life throws at him. If he gets beaten down, he bounces back. Men like this WILL be found attractive by women. Positive energy — and yes, niceness — attracts more of the same.

  8. I consider myself to be a “nice girl” and I never want “bitter nice guys” ever. If you’re only nice to the girl/girls you’re interest in, it’s fine at first, and then she realizes you’re actually just a shallow jerk.

    I’ve also found that supposed “jerks” or “bad boys” are actually very nice people, just not if you’re dating them. Like they’ll carry groceries for old ladies and volunteer, they just happen to cheat on women they date… I steer clear of those guys, but most girls just think, “but he’s so great in other ways!” Also, he may be more attractive than the nice guy. Women have eyes too, jeez.

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