The Problem Isn’t That You’re a “Nice Guy”, It’s That…You’re Not

“Why is it nice guys always finish last?” “I’m such a nice guy, why won’t you/she/anyone date me?”

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard these kinds of statements.  It’s the old idea that “nice guys” end up in the friend zone, while women go ahead and date jerks.  Sound familiar?

I’ve been hearing this kind of talk a lot lately, so I wanted to take a second to address it.  Why?  Because while “slut” punishes a woman for using her right to say yes, “friend zone” criticizes a woman for using her right to say no.  It’s like we can’t win here, but instead of pointing out how women can’t win, men say that THEY are the ones who can’t win…because we, for whatever reason, don’t seem to date nice guys.

So let me ask you something: why do you think that is?

First, realize that there are REASONS women date the men they date.  Different women may need different things, but let’s be clear: everyone has needs.  The question is, do you fulfill those needs?  Because if the answer to that is no, congratulations, that’s the actual reason that you’re dateless right now.

David Wong over at says this far better than I can in his piece 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Personand I’ll share a bit of it with you here, because I think it highlights my exact point here:

I’m asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? Don’t say that you’re a nice guy — that’s the bare minimum. Pretty girls have guys being nice to them 36 times a day. The patient is bleeding in the street. Do you know how to operate or not?

“Well, I’m not sexist or racist or greedy or shallow or abusive! Not like those other douchebags!”

I’m sorry, I know that this is hard to hear, but if all you can do is list a bunch of faults you don’t have, then back the fuck away from the patient. There’s a witty, handsome guy with a promising career ready to step in and operate

Wong hits the nail right on the head: being “nice” isn’t enough when people have needs that go beyond needing people to be “nice” to them.  I appreciate that you notice things like the fact that I cut my hair, but that’s not enough to make a relationship work.  Do you make me laugh?  Do you respect what I do for a living?  What do you care about-~-and the answer better not just be money.  I, and every other person on this planet, have needs.  Being “nice” won’t fulfill every one of them.

But second, saying you’re a nice guy doesn’t MAKE you a nice guy.  Let me clarify something for all the so-called “nice guys” of the world: if you’re nice to a woman and you expect something in return (ie, sex), guess what?  You’re not a nice guy.  What you are is manipulative.  I promise, I don’t wake up and say “Gee, I hope I find some asshole who treats me like a sexual object today”.  But treating a girl in any particular way in order to get something from her, whatever that may be, makes you fake, not nice.

Take the guys featured on the blog Nice Guys of OKCupid: every one of these guys claims to be a nice guy, but things they put in their profiles and answers to questions reveal that they actually DON’T necessarily respect women, and are not in fact necessarily nice guys. Let’s check out a few gems, shall we?

On the left is Fake Nice Guy #1.  He claims to be a “nice guy”, can’t figure out why women won’t date him…but also thinks that “no” is just a “yes” that needs convincing.  HELLO? Not recognizing a woman’s bodily autonomy and her right to say no, and her ability to make that decision, does NOT make you a nice guy.  I know there are people who read this blog who say that people like me are oversensitive about this, but let me be clear: this, right here, is the problem.  And it’s true, I wouldn’t date someone who didn’t respect that no means no.

Oh, and I’ll do what I want with regards to my legs, given that they are mine, thank you.

On the right, we have Fake Nice Guy #2: He’s a self-proclaimed “nice guy”…who thinks that there are circumstances where a woman is OBLIGATED to have sex with him?

The funny thing is, these guys ACTUALLY THINK they are nice guys.  They’re not sure why they can’t get dates.  We live in a society where being a nice guy is treated as something to be lauded, instead of something to be expected, but being a nice, docile girl IS expected.

And heaven forbid you’re not, guys-~-these guys-~-will slap you with labels like slut, whore, bitch, and feminazi (and some other day we can get into why I HATE that word, because head’s up: wanting equality for my gender in no way makes me similar to a group of people who systematically murdered millions).  We get these labels because we don’t fall in line, we don’t fit that ideal of a “nice girl”; we like sex, we think for ourselves, we have preferences, we have opinions, we want to be treated a certain way and we don’t necessarily define that by whether or not a guy opens our car door.  I’m way more concerned about whether or not a guy asks for consent or listens when I’m talking.

So you want to know why you’ve been “friendzoned”?  It’s because there’s some need that you’re not able to fulfill.  That may not be your fault, but it’s just the facts.  And if you’re saying you’re a “nice guy” to get girls, get over it: try ACTUALLY respecting women, instead of just saying whatever you think you need to in order to get laid, and then maybe we’ll talk.

I’ll just leave you with the Nice Guy Test, courtesy of Nice Guys of OKCupid:


~ by Randi Saunders on December 23, 2012.

12 Responses to “The Problem Isn’t That You’re a “Nice Guy”, It’s That…You’re Not”

  1. I understand where you’re coming from. However, I beg to differ with what you consider the motivation of the Nice Guy. It’s not that we only aim to have sex and we hate that “jerks” get it easier, or however you would like to word it. The mentality of the nice guy is as follows: I’ve been friends with a women for a couple years and we’ve always been fairly close, we’ve hung out, and we’ve been there for each other. Eventually I did develop feelings for her, romantic ones. I eventually asked her on a serious date, she turned me down. That’s okay. We’re still friends. However, because I genuinely care…when I watched her date one or two, and I”m not saying all, men who were rude and otherwise non-appreciative of her…it was irking. I think that’s completely understandable, and why we ask why women don’t go for the nice guy. We hear complaints about jerks, and we sit there dateless. I feel that a brother getting irked by a sisters boyfriend is a similar and comparable experience.

    • So sure, in some cases I can understand that. But I think we both know that I’m talking more broadly about the idea of the so-called “friendzone” and the expectation that a woman should HAVE to be attracted to you, romantically and/or sexually, if you’ve been nice to her. There is an expectation that men seem to have, broadly speaking–so I don’t mean EVERY man here, but I mean MANY men–that they are entitled to something from women.

      Personally, I’m pretty tired of being treated like I have some sort of character flaw when I tell a guy I’m not interested. You may be frustrated, but the reality is that something is missing from the connection on her end, or you don’t fulfill some need she has, or whatever, and she has every right to not be interested. I’m sick to death of men acting like women are in the wrong for not being interested, for having boundaries, or for not wanting to do things. And I don’t mean that referring to individual men, I mean systemically.

  2. I just read your article Randi. I understand being sick about the state of things.I do however, think you’re not understanding what men are really saying and feeling.

    Most men don’t truly believe the hurtful things you showcased. You’re just seeing the hurt, the pain and frustration of a lot of years of rejection.

    The pattern goes like this. Some guys have trouble meeting women in the first place. They don’t have the right clothes, aren’t into sports, don’t have the right car, no movie star looks, not ebough money, whatever. Finally they meet a woman they’re attracted to and they become friends. The guy finally makes his move and asks her out on a real date. “You’re a nice guy but…” okay, no sweat. He still hangs out with her. Then she starts telling him stories about jerks and the stupid things they are doing to her. This goes on until he finally dumps her. Then she cries on his shoulder and says “I just want a Nice Guy”, then she goes on to detail a list of traits that the guy she’s crying to has. This is confusing. A few weeks later she has a new boyfriend. In a short time, he starts hearing bad stories about THIS boyfriend. He cheats on her, breaks up with her. Cries on the Nice Guys shoulder and says “I just want a Nice Guy.”

    The first time this happens, the Nice Guy chalks it up to bad luck. Not every girl is going to want to date you right? Even rich guys get shot down once in awhile, right? Unfortunately, it happens again and again. The Nice Guy hears a list of traits, he has or acquires the traits the woman says she wants. He keeps doing the right things and keeps ending up in the friendzone and the jerks keep dating.

    At some point, the guy thinks, “well hell, I look as good as the last idiot she dated, and I have the other traits she outlined too. If she puts up with that crap, why not give me a chance?” Of course she doesn’t which puts him into a spiral. He has very few options in the first place and the few options he has are telling him “no.” That hurts his confidence, which makes him frustrated, which leads more women to reject him, which lowers his confidence even more. He thinks “You mean I’m worse than the guy that cheated on her and the guy who verbally abused her and the guy who…” which lowers his self esteem even more. He says the jerks get all the women and watching the jerk succeed and him fail makes him bitter, which causes the few women he can actually meet to reject him more, which makes him angry and bitter which…

    By the time you read him on the internet saying that “all women owe me sex” or whatever he’s saying, he’s lonely, frustrated, bitter, and feeling the entire female population is against him. It’s not pretty and the only cure is for women to start dating him and that’s not likely to happen.

    You don’t owe any man anything (except the landlord, a check on the 1st of each month). Just be honest with guys. You don’t want to go out with him, fine, that’s your right, but if he really is your friend why not tell him WHY you don’t want to go out? You DON’T owe him this, but he’s your friend, and it would help him. “You should shower more” or “You don’t compliment me enough” or “You’re not rich enough” or whatever is wrong with him. That way, the next girl will have a better candidate and it breaks the cycle.

    Just something to think about.

    • Why doesn’t he just bluntly ask her what she didn’t like about him?

    • If she likes you enough to be your friend but not enough to date you, it means she’s not sexually attracted to you.

      Women won’t say that, though, because it’s already awkward enough when a friend you’re not attracted to asks you out. Anyway, why we’re attracted to the people we’re attracted to is largely due to biological things we’re not consciously aware of (e.g.: pheromones), so giving helpful advice is impossible.

      Giving advice can also be misleading and give the impression that if the guy only showered more and got a promotion he would have a chance.

      Mystery solved. You’re welcome.

  3. Domingo,,,, did you read any of it? The guy may THINK he has all those good traits. But he really doesn’t. That’s one thing, and another is that she turned a guy down using words “You are a nice guy but..” She has to use some words not to offend you. She can’t say “I don’t want to date you because of your rampant anger issues/disliking my religion/disregard of hygiene/some bad habits like drinking and smoking/” A girl rejecting you HAS to call you a nice guy, because she is sparing your feelings. But it is a fact, something in your character is a flaw for her she can’t get over. She is not rejecting you because you are a good guy. She does not necessarily even mean it. But it is the painless solution.

  4. I understand you. Of course no guy wants to admit they are manipulative, wannabe rapists. This is something these types of guys need to figure out on their own. Being rejected is no excuse for talking about women like trash behind their backs. I know this guy on Facebook that constantly whines about being single that that no women want him. He’s fat and deaf. His defense is that he’s a nice guy. By his logic, women don’t want him because he’s too nice but then says that he wants to workout and lose weight so he could treat girls like trash since they ignored him when he was “fat and nice”. Ha!

  5. I’ve got some bad new for all the “Nice Guys”TM out there; you’re right, women don’t want nice guys.

    They want good men. They want men who are confident, assertive, interesting, fun to be around who may not have a job where they make six figures a year but at least lets them live comfortably.

    Men for whom being nice, and genuinely nice, not just the superficial niceness that you “Nice Guys”TM use even if you won’t admit to it, is part of a bigger picture.

  6. I finally get it. There has to be more than depending on being nice. Sure, I’m a nice guy, could be the nicest guy in the world. A real gentleman, but my nice gentlemanly ways will get me nowhere if I have nothing to offer her. What am I bringing to the table to seal the deal? What do I have where she can look at me and tick off the little boxes in her head about me being a potential life long partner?

    Lets say at this point, I have to have a demonstrable skill or a talent (where a living can be made off it), possibly some sort of education, plus a minimum combination of two innate positive personal characteristics eg intelligent, witty/humorous, charming, responsible, honest, wise, mature etc. I figure two because one can be witty but lacking maturity, or be intelligent but without humour.

    This is how I see it now, a guy to catch and keep a woman ideally should be

    nice guy + skill/talent + two positive personal characteristics

    eg nice guy + musician + good business sense + people person = guy who gets and keeps girl.

    This is my wake up call.

    • I’m not sure that was my point? My point was that when men (and I’ll even go ahead here and say it myself, no, not ALL men) say “but I’m such a nice guy” and then do things which openly disrespect women, or even actually are nice but are acting like that should be some kind of bonus instead of a baseline for how you interact with people you care about, they are playing into a culture of entitlement that is harmful to everyone.

      • It’s not so much what you’re saying, but what was interpreted. Take it as a compliment that this is helping to open others eyes and to make them want to be better even if what is read isn’t exactly what you meant in totality.

  7. I’m here because of relationship problems actually, not because “I’m a nice guy who thinks he can’t get a date.”
    But guys I’m going to say something that should be obvious. I consider myself a guy that’s nice to women but that doesn’t mean I come last, and that certainly doesn’t mean you should announce it everywhere. I don’t, because I know that the “Nice factor” at the end of the day doesn’t mean she will and should date you. Don’t grasp the mentality that nice guys don’t get dates. I know it seems hard but being nice never guarantees anything. You should focus on women that actually seem to have an interest on you, don’t make the mistake of going with the chick that has no interest in you, not every girl in the world will be interested. There are signs you know?
    And one last thing to men everywhere. Confidence is actually something you can use, and by confidence I don’t mean act like a douche and go up to her and say “What’s going on sweet cheeks?” By confidence I mean, go up to her and be yourself. If she likes you… then great! If she doesn’t… move on. The world isn’t going to end because she said no, and never, I mean NEVER disrespect her for saying no.

    And Randi thanks for the article, it was kind of helpful, until now I never thought too much about the “Fulfilling needs” part. Maybe that’s the problem my girlfriend and I are having. It’s good to have a woman’s point of view, or at least it helps more than my best friend’s opinion, whose answer to every possible problem is “Dude we have to get you some girls ASAP.” It’s not that I don’t want more girls, but in the end I’m happy having my girlfriend and hopefully we can talk this out, because if she does have needs that I’m not fulfilling, I think it’s better if she looks for someone who does. In the end that’s what dating is about, finding someone who does fulfill them.

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