In which I pit Nice Guys

My first thread. wheeee!

Over on this thread, the discussion has drifted onto the topic of Nice Guys, and why they really aren’t. Nice, that is.

For a definition of a Nice Guy, go here.

For an example from my own life, let’s take “Trevor the Spineless Wonder.” We had gotten to know each other through a community Spanish class. He asked me out to a movie and dinner after, during which we had a great discussion about politics. We didn’t agree, but that’s okay, right? Quick hug after date, we go our separate ways.

A few days later, we go out for coffee. Trevor starts out by telling me that he’s missing his chess club to be with me, but that’s okay, since “I’d rather be with you than go to any of my clubs.” ooooookay.
During the date, Trevor puts his chin in his hand, stares at me, and tells me how much he likes to hear me talk. Naturally, this lets him off the conversational hook.
The only time he pipes up is to complain about his lack of success with women, and how they all date assholes, and how it’s impossible to know what they want.

A week later, he calls me again. When I ask him why he hasn’t called sooner, he says that he thought I didn’t want him to (I had sent no such signals, btw)

Trevor made four classic Nice Guy mistakes:

  1. falling too soon- second date is not the place to profess your undying devotion. It’s not sweet, it’s stalker-y.

  2. Pretending to be interested in what I have to say to get out of conversation doesn’t make you a good listener, it makes you boring.

  3. Not realizing that the common factor in all of your failed relationships is you- take some responsibility for your mistakes instead of blaming everybody else.

  4. Disparaging yourself to trick me into giving you a complement.
    I very kindly told him that confidence is sexy, and better luck next time. Why do guys think that women want this shit? Women don’t love ball-less men, they use them.

I’m guessing he probably didn’t choose to have self-confidence issues because he thinks women find it sexy. In fact, he probably doesn’t like his lacking confidence any more than you do. It just isn’t that simple.

Also, I really hate it when they do that thing where they like a girl, so they follow her around, sit close to her, stare at her, and attempt to get involved in every interaction she has, but don’t actually attempt to communicate their feelings. This always ends in tears for all concerned. Mostly I hate it because I used to do it.


Honestly, though, some people are just born that way (or shaped through their formative years that way), they don’t consiously do it.

I’m a Nice guy. And I’m trying my durndest not to, too. My gf complains about me being spineless all the time, because I don’t seem to have any opinions of my own. To pick up on your example, I have Go club (that’s a kind of “Chinese Chess” thingy) tomorrow, and it’ll make me unable to talk to her tomorrow (time zone issue. She’s on the other side of the globe) I felt really really bad telling her that I couldn’t talk to her tomorrow, and almost considered leaving early, but in the end, the rational side of me thought about it and decided that it would probably piss her off if I were to do so.

Of course, it’s not that I’m purposely giving up stuff for her, it’s just that she “means more” to me than Go.

In any case, I get used a lot, too… it doesn’t help that I’m good with computers, and so get called on quite often, but the thing is, it’s hard to change, and it’s doubly so to “grow a spine”. Now, I realise that it’s a kind of emotional blackmail, and I’m trying not to do it, but you just never intended to do it in the first place… Call it nature, I guess. Probably the nice guys somehow manage to con some poor girl in the end, and get their genes passed on. :wink: FWIW, my dad’s a nice guy too. Heh.

I find #4 interesting. Although I’m married, and not in the “game” so to speak, I get a lot of compliments on the cologne I am wearing and they (mostly women, but a few men too) want to know what cologne I’m using. I usually tell them I don’t wear any cologne, but my farts smell that good. Kind of the opposite of #4…Tell me a compliment and I’ll give you a disparaging remark about myself.

Exactly. Furthermore, it’s not all just about self-confidence; there are specific skills involved in flirting. I happen to be a great cook and a decent writer and very good at math, but I’m lousy at flirting; and when I was single, I managed, horribly enough, to drive off most of the women I was interested in.

I never blamed them, though. At the point where he starts talking about how women all like assholes, that’s where he went wrong IMO. His other stuff was just stupid, not assholery.


Something I learned (the hard way) is don’t come down on yourself in front of a girl. Be positive and take things as they are, because humility only goes so far and if you go on and on about how crappy and worthless you are, it doesn’t make you terribly desirable now does it?

Nice guys take the mistaken strategy that if they do the total OPPOSITE of what the agressive/abusive neanderthals are doing, girls will flock to them. But taking either extreme won’t work well in the long term.

I’m still single, but I’m aware of the mistakes I made in the past, and I’m much more confident now that if I do get in a potential relationship, I can progress farther in it, or if it doesn’t work out, handle the rejection much better :slight_smile:

Given the definitions provided in the OP, I’d agree. Spineless, clingy losers of either gender are decidedly less than attractive. The problem, however, is that IME, what women define as “being self-confident” is actually better termed “being a complete fucking cock”.

Self-confidence is not loudly proclaiming your own awesomeness to everyone you meet. Self-confidence is being secure enough in what you’re good at to shut the hell up about it.

Self-confidence is not being an aggressive blob of testosterone who views everything in life as an obstacle you must destroy. Self-confidence is knowing that you can safely ignore most things around you, as they probably won’t affect you.

Self-confidence is not deliberately displaying your hypercompetitive nature in every single thing you do, challenging those around you to defeat you at the mundane and pointless. Self-confidence is the realization that it doesn’t matter how fast your car is, how good you are at foosball, or how big your penis is, because the parts of you that do matter are fine.

Self confidence is not talking down to everybody you encounter. Trash-talk does not make you look like a bigger person. It makes you look like a cock. And if the person whom you’re attempting to “take down a notch”, instead of getting pissed and engaging in your ever-so-witty repartée, decides instead to ignore the fuck out of you…guess which of you is more self-confident? Self-confidence is being secure enough about your own inadequacies that you can accept them without playing up those of others.

Do you notice a pattern here? Self-confidence is not, as so many women seem to think, being the biggest, loudest, most obnoxious, most aggressive, most abrasive complete fucking cock that you can be. Self-confidence, in males, is far more often found in the quiet ones, many of whom are quiet not because they lack the confidence to take a stand for themselves, but because they have the confidence to realize that they don’t need to. True self-confidence does not send up a beacon that lets you know it’s there. Much like true character, true bravery, and true love, it does not manifest itself until put to the test…and then, it is crystal-clear and there for all to see.

So, then, how is a lady to find a man who is truly self-confident? Try. Date a few of the guys who hang around in the background; you know, the ones you think are spineless and afraid. One or two of them may surprise you. If they don’t, keep trying. They are out there. And here’s a big, fat hint for you: if you’re looking for real self-confidence, you are NEVER going to find it in the assholes. The assholes are assholes precisely because they lack the inner peace of mind to be otherwise. What hypothesis do you make about a man who spends his life proclaiming to anyone who will listen that “I am NOT a racist!”? Why, then, should you suspect any different of men who go out of their way to assure other people that “I AM self-confident! Look at my confidence! LOOK AT IT!!!”?

Yeah, you might date a few spineless losers in the meantime. At least you’ll get away from the assholes. Dollars to donuts that at least less of you will be abused. While you’re wading through the wusses looking for the winners, we’ll be wading through the manipulative bitches looking for the self-assured. Hope to meet you in the middle.

I had a “Nice Guy” turn stalker on me. Since then, every time I hear the “Nice Guy” crap, it sets off major warning alarms in my head. “DANGER!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!”

If you whine about being a “nice guy” and not getting the girl, chances are, you aren’t a nice guy. You’re a “Nice Guy.”

Perhaps you’ve been going by what the media defines as self-confident, not by what actual women think. Because, I assure you, that I have no tolerance at all for the fucking cock variety of men, certain comments in the lastest Lost thread notwithstanding. Ahem. (That was appreciation of fictional hotness, not actual interest.)

I have slightly more patience with spineless, clingy men, who might have gotten as much as one date and let down easy back in the day. I just don’t have any respect for a man that I can out-dominate without even trying. But I don’t take any shit from the assholes at all.

Fortunately, I found a kind AND strong man, who oozes self-confidence without being aware of it. He has never once been an asshole, but neither is he a doormat. But I prefer to call him a “good man” rather than brand him with the stigma that “nice guy” has become.

CJ: But I prefer to call him a “good man” rather than brand him with the stigma that “nice guy” has become.

I agree that it’s a shame that we’ve sacrificed the term “nice guy”, which IMO used to be a perfectly good way of describing somebody whom you weren’t really attracted to but didn’t have anything against.

Guys who are clingy, whiny, bitter, spineless, or self-absorbed (all of which seem to be considered elements of the so-called “Nice Guy” stereotype) are not really nice.

Dude, I think you’re way cool. You probably won’t like my next sentence but what the hell… This is something my dad would do, and it would crack me up big time.

I get why Trevor is not a stellar date, but I think what causes a lot of consternation for some men is the total contradiction between what women say they want right after they’ve watched Sleepless in Seattle, and what they really want. There’s this notion going around that most women would find it charming if a nice, somewhat shy man found her attractive enough that he would screw up his courage and ask her out. Women seem to get all dreamy-eyed at the idea. But when it comes down to it, that’s not really what they want. Let’s look at the article for a second:

O.K., I get the first part of that paragraph - I mean, who wants to date someone who behaves in a wildly inappropriate manner in a social situation? Sure - makes perfect sense.

But the part I bolded - let’s be honest, ladies - if you were watching a movie where the really cute, shy guy finds some pretext to be with the girl because he wants to ask her out, you’d be cooing, “Oh, isn’t that just SO sweet?” That is, until it happens to you in real life, and you immediately think, “Buzz off, creep.” (For example, what was the name of that crappy movie with Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller? Oh yeah, “Along Came Polly”. In the movie, Ben hangs out outside her apartment so he can catch her leaving and pretend to “accidentally run into her”. In movieland, charming and sweet. In real life, creepy and unassertive.)

I think it causes a lot of cognitive dissonance in men, because to most of us, if a shy girl liked us, we would find it flattering rather than creepy.

I think this from Roland Orzabal sums it up best:

Being assertive or retiring doesn’t have anything to do with it. It has to do with inner peace and self-acceptance. If you (men or women) are altering your behavior in the hopes that people will see you differently than who you are, that’s where you tread into “Nice Guy” and “Fucking Cock” territory.

I think you’re completely missing the point. The fact that some women date assholes should be a lesson about how important initial attraction is in meeting and dating people. For many women, self-confidence (or at least the appearance of self-confidence) plays a major part in that initial attraction, so much so that it can overcome other personality flaws. As a guy, this is great news – it means that it’s possible to date women who are otherwise completely out of your league simply by appearing relaxed and confident. Considering how appearance-obsessed guys are, we have it easy – we don’t have to diet and go to the gym. We just have to make the first move and pretend that we don’t care whether or not she says yes. Simple!

You’re trying to argue that women are being illogical by dating assholes instead of the shy guys who won’t talk to them. First of all, this makes no sense. Second of all, who gives a shit? The reality is what it is – complaining about it and blaming women for it makes you look bad. Instead, why not focus on learning how to project a sense of self-assurance? If the women you encounter tend to date stupid assholes, a self-assured nice guy can clean up.

Nope, that was creepy and unassertive in the movie, too.

Hilarious, it would make a great sig.

This is what I think when I think of Nice Guys.

Imagine that you live in a society where there is a taboo against buying things. It’s considered very rude to just attempt a commercial transaction, and most people won’t sell you stuff if you just walk up to them and start brandishing money. Obviously, though, people need to buy and sell stuff for society to function (for the purposes of this analogy, communism doesn’t work), so everybody learns sign language in high school. Since sign language is ostensibly obscure, people can use it to engage in commerce and pretend that it’s secret, even though obviously it’s not because everybody knows sign language.

However, you were out sick that day in Econ class, and you didn’t learn sign language. To you, society is full of people walking around trading money for goods with apparently no prior negotiation whatsoever! It doesn’t make any sense! And to make things worse, apparently people are avoiding the whole “buying things” taboo by just grabbing stuff and leaving cash! I mean, what if the seller doesn’t want to sell? It’s tantamount to stealing!

There are two major consequences for you.

Firstly, you are absolutely convinced that you are one of the only or possibly THE only Nice Consumer in the entire world, because you don’t attempt to buy stuff from people all the time, cause you know it’s rude. Everybody else is just a grabby, pushy jerk, imposing their ideas of finance on everybody who comes along, and you can’t imagine AT ALL why anybody would want to barter with these assholes. As far as you can see, sellers just dig jerks!

Secondly, you are completely, utterly incapable of buying anything. Whenever you want to make a purchase, you have to walk up to them and actually SAY “Hey, I wanna buy that,” which is incomprehensibly rude, and the more you press them, the more they’ll ignore you uncomfortably. If you try the whole grabbing things trick like everybody else, you’ll get yelled at, shoved around, maybe even arrested. Worse, you can’t tell when people actually DO want to sell you stuff, so you can’t even take advantage of it. Your only hope is to accidentally walk up to somebody who’s been frantically signaling you and start jabbering away at them, and even then they might be too weirded out by the whole thing to actually make the transaction.

This may not be what happens to every Nice Guy. It is, however, what happened to me for much of my life, and what happened and happens to most of the Nice Guys I know.


Right. That “appearance of self-confidence” bit is what does it. Women say they can tell the difference between projections of confidence and Fuckingcockery. Most of them are either lying or deluded; I don’t know which. My entire point is that self-confidence is not something that’s projected. It’s not something that can be projected. It’s something that only reveals itself when put to the test. If someone wants to tell me about “auras” and “subliminal signals”…ok, sure, whatever floats your boat. Betcha your “aura perception” will work at approximately the same rate as if you just dated random guys. If you suspect otherwise, contact James Randi; he’d love to hear from you.

Correct. This is what I do. My above rant is not necessarily based on my own personal experience. I’m okay with my current level of success with women – it’s not too impressive in the way of quantity, but the ones that are attracted to me are attracted to me. I don’t say or do anything to misrepresent who I am. The thing is, I often don’t say or do anything to directly represent who I am, either, because “who I am” is a guy who doesn’t feel he needs to say or do something about everything. If I have a point to make, I’ll make it; if I have a question to ask, I’ll ask it; if I have something I need to do, I’ll do it. People have, in the past, taken this as a sign that they could walk all over me. They have put that theory to the test, found that they were mistaken, and we’ve both gotten on with our lives. If the standard perception of me by someone who has no occasion to know the truth is that I’m spineless or a wuss…whatever. I really quite honesty could care less. If I want you to know what kind of person I am, you’ll find out. If you want to know what kind of person I am, make an active effort to learn (it ain’t hard – just talk to me; I’m always up for a good convo), and I’ll tell you. I’ll be honest, because to be quite frank, I have nothing to lose by being so and little to gain by being otherwise. The way I see it, I am who I am with no additional effort on my part to display it, and you can like that, or you can deal.

I have many goals in life, some simple, some quite complex, but my motto has remained point-blank and consistent: “Don’t be a jackass”. I refuse to impose my beliefs – or my personality – on people who didn’t ask. I refuse to actively disrupt the lives people who are minding their own business for nothing more than my own convenience or gratification. I refuse to project myself in any manner where my presence is irrelevant just to make sure everybody knows that I’m confident enough to do so. If I find you interesting – and I probably do; people are interesting creatures – I’ll talk to you, but I won’t play myself up. It’s pointless, it’s immature, it smacks of assholery (I love my new words), and I refuse to do it. And if the end result of that is that I seem less outwardly confident, and therefore actively attract less women…well, I’m willing to live with that. At least I can be largely certain that the ones who are attracted will be attracted to the real me; past experience has shown that hypothesis to be true. And that, in and of itself, is the basis of much confidence indeed.

Well, if you’re saying that I can’t tell the difference between a man who says what he means and one who spews opinions all over the place, you’re wrong. If you think I get confused when faced with the choice between a man who stands up for his beliefs and one who’s making shit up as he goes along, you’re wrong again.

Actually, I don’t happen to hold the opinion that just because a man doesn’t talk much or is shy that he’s a spineless wimp. I myself don’t talk all that much, and neither does Cowboy. I respect someone that comes across in the manner you have presented.

What I don’t respect is a man that lets someone else tell him how to feel, how to act, and what to do. I don’t have much respect for a man that won’t offer up his own opinion, or won’t take a position. I have too much experience with men like that, men who say, “Whatever you want” when faced with a choice of a date and then spend the evening grumbling when the movie chosen turns out to be a chick flick that they didn’t want to see. I’d have much more respect for a man that would say, “No, I don’t like that one, let’s pick one we both like.”

And I really don’t care for men that generalize women as being too stupid to tell a dickhead from a decent guy. The OP’s Trevor would have annoyed the hell out of me.