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Nice Guys - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
Nice Guys
Whilst this is not relevant to anything going on in my life, I've had times in the past when I've turned down dating someone because I felt they were "too nice". That sounds like a self-defeating thing to say, doesn't it? But for some reason, "nice guys" always frustrated me; I felt as though they bought out the worst in me. Boredom, and the temptation to get bossy. I always assumed this reflected badly on my personality.

Today I found this article through a link someone posted in Roz's journal, and it made me feel a whole lot better about that gut instinct that always made me keep "nice guys" at a distance.

From http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/niceguys/niceguys.shtml

You hear it all the time: "He was such a NICE Guy, and she's such a Heartless Bitch for dumping him."

I get letters from self-professed Nice Guys, complaining that women must WANT to be treated like shit, because THEY, the "Nice Guy" have failed repeatedly in relationships. This is akin to the false logic that "Whales are mammals. Whales live in the sea. Therefore, all mammals live in the sea."

If you have one bad relationship after another, the only common denominator is YOU. Think about it.

What's wrong with Nice Guys? The biggest problem is that most Nice Guys (tm) are hideously insecure. They are so anxious to be liked and loved that they do things for other people to gain acceptance and attention, rather than for the simply pleasure of giving. You never know if a Nice Guy really likes you for who you are, or if he has glommed onto you out of desperation because you actually paid some kind of attention to him.

Nice Guys exude insecurity -- a big red target for the predators of the world. There are women out there who are "users" -- just looking for a sucker to take advantage of. Users home-in on "Nice Guys", stroke their egos, take them for a ride, add a notch to their belts, and move on. It's no wonder so many Nice Guys complain about women being horrible, when the so often the kind of woman that gets attracted to them is the lowest form of life...

Self-confident, caring, decent-hearted women find "Nice Guys" to be too clingy, self-abasing, and insecure.

Nice Guys go overboard. They bring roses to a "lets get together for coffee" date. They try to buy her affections with presents and fancy things. They think they know about romance, but their timing is all wrong, and they either come-on too strong, too hard and too fast, OR, they are so shy and unassertive, that they hang around pretending to be "friends", in the hope that somehow, someway, they will get the courage up to ask her out for a "date".

They are so desperate to please that they put aside their own needs, and place the object of their desire on a pedestal. Instead of appreciating her, they worship her. We are only human, and pedestals are narrow, confining places to be -- not to mention the fact that we tend to fall off of them.

They cling to her, and want to be "one" with her for fear that if she is out of sight, she may disappear or become attracted to someone else. A Nice Guy often has trouble with emotional intimacy, because he believes that if she learns about the REAL person inside, she will no longer love him.

Nice Guys are always asking HER to make the decisions. They think it's being equitable, but it puts an unfair burden of responsibility on her, and gives him the opportunity to blame her if the decision was an unwise one.

Nice Guys rarely speak up when something bothers them, and rarely state clearly what it is they want, need and expect. They fear that any kind of conflict might spell the end of the relationship. Instead of comprimising and negotiating, they repeatedly "give in". When she doesn't appreciate their sacrifice, they will complain that, "Everything I did, I did for her.", as if this somehow elevates them to the status of martyrs. A woman doesn't want a martyr. She wants an equal, caring, adult partner.

Nice Guys think that they will never meet anyone as special as she is. They use their adoration as a foundation for claiming that "no one will ever love her as much as I do." Instead of being a profound statement of their devotion, this is a subtle, but nasty insult. It is akin to saying to her: "You are a difficult person, and only *I* can ever truly love you, so be thankful I'm here."

The nice guy -needs- to believe that he is the best person for the object of his desires, because otherwise his insecurities will overrun him with jealousies and fear. The truth of the matter is that there are many people out there who can be a good match for her. We rarely stop loving people we truly care about. Even if we no longer continue the relationship, the feelings will continue... But love isn't mutually exclusive. We can (and do) love many people in our lives, and romantic love is really no different. Though he may love her immensely, there will likely be other people who have loved her just as much in her past, and will love her just as much in the future. The irony of it all is: "Who would want to go out with someone who was inherintly unlovable anyways?"

More than loving the woman in his life, a Nice Guy NEEDS her. "She is my Life, my only source of happiness..." YECH! What kind of a burden is that to place on her? That SHE has to be responsible for YOUR happiness? Get a grip!

Another mistake Nice Guys make is to go after "hard luck" cases. They deliberately pick women with neuroses, problems, and personality disorders, because Nice Guys are "helpers". A Nice Guy thinks that by "helping" this woman, it will make him a better, more lovable person. He thinks it will give him a sense of accomplishment, and that she will appreciate and love him more, for all his efforts and sacrifice. He is usually disappointed by the results.

This ultimately boils down to the fact that Nice Guys don't like themselves. Is it any wonder women don't like them? In order to truly love someone else, you must first love yourself. Too often Nice Guys mistake obsession for "love".


You don't have to be an ego-inflated, arrogant jerk. You just have to LIKE yourself. You have to know what you want out of life, and go after it. Only then will you be attractive to the kind of woman with whom a long-term relationship is possible.

Fascinating. I wanted to go through and bold parts of this until I realised I'd be bolding at least 50% of the damn thing.
29 have fought ~ fight the power!
ninjafaun From: ninjafaun Date: August 5th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh shit, I concur!!!

(Edit: and should also have the sense to use an appropriate icon! lol)
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Respect for Bowie!icon. Have you seen Flight of the Conchords by any chance? :D
ninjafaun From: ninjafaun Date: August 16th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
eep i forgot to reply to this and just remembered. XDDD No i havent seen flight of the conchords but since then and now several people have talked to me about it! @_@ About two NZ comedians right? Now I wanna watch it.. I'm curious - what made you ask that though? wahaha
tania From: tania Date: August 20th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
There's an episode about David Bowie. :D
leggz From: leggz Date: August 5th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I broke up with a boy for being too nice and secondary to that, for being too much like me. We were born on the same day and it honestly felt like I was talking to and spending time with myself when I was with him.

Years have passed and recently I found myself speaking to another friend about this guy I dated. He said he could understand my feelings and why we called it quits over such a short time. His only way to describe this guy in question was, "nice" and it turns out this character flaw annoyed more people than just myself.

Before now I had had trouble describing just why the niceness was irritating but this person has knocked the nail on the head - it was the insecurity behind the niceness. I get it now and finally I can stop feeling guilty! Huzzah!

Edited at 2009-08-05 02:28 am (UTC)
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I had the exact same reaction - relief, and a deeper understanding of my own reaction to guys like that. As the article says, there is kindness and there is niceness, and they are very different. Kindness is far more honest. I like being with partners who I can count on for honesty.

I see too many of these Nice Guys hurting themselves with their actions too; staying with girls they don't really want to be with but complaining about it to other people, or putting up with being treated like shit... I have a lot of trouble respecting that.
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: August 5th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
True, very true. You need a backbone and some confidence to have a successful relationship, otherwise you get into the "crutch" thing, and that doesn't work.

I've been an overly nice guy in the past, not necessarily with relationships, but with friendships too. Taken more beatings than my fair share when I should have told somebody to get over themselves and moved on. Then there's the other way around from a doormat, which obviously doesn't work either. I've come to admire balance in all things myself.
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd observed that about you in the past too (I think we've all done it at one time or another) and it's great to see you more independent these days - it was hurting you before, putting so much into people and not getting as much back. Balance is Teh Bomb, though always easier said than done! I swear as soon as I get one thing right (say, fitness) I let something else (social life?) slide. Or if I get both those things right I find my finances slipping instead. Or my work life. Or... well, you get the idea. :D
saitenyo From: saitenyo Date: August 5th, 2009 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I have definitely experienced it and it's probably a large part of the reason I now find myself drawn to guys with a bit of snark to their personality. I need someone who isn't afraid to banter with me/share their opinion honestly.
hammond From: hammond Date: August 5th, 2009 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think this is true for all nice guys. I like to think that I am nice, yet still self-confident. It makes me feel good to do nice things for other people, so in that respect I'm really selfish. And yes, I don't like to make decisions for people if it involves me, as I'm mostly easy-going enough to be fine with anything. So I'd rather other parties do what they want.
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I don't think you really fall into this categorisation. I mean, it's written primarily about guys who use niceness as a tool of manipulation to get other people (in this case women) to do what they want. Often there's an element of hypocrisy involved, as in the guy who befriends a girl and panders to her because he secretly wants to shag her but won't admit that up-front... these are usually the same guys who whinge when the girl starts dating some other guy who Mr Nice thinks "just wants to get laid". Just like, ahem, Mr Nice, really, except honest.

That ain't you, kiddo. You're kind. And the reason you are laid-back about decision-making is because you truly are laid-back... not because you're ignoring your own desires just to suck up to people. Big difference! *hugs* Hammy, you're one of the most honest, up-front and kindest people I know... and that is the opposite of what that article is talking about.
tania From: tania Date: August 6th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I was talking with Joe about this, and he said this, which makes a lot of sense: "When you give, it's entirely unselfish - which is why Hammond didn't get it... he's so perfectly and truly nice that it doesn't even occur to him that someone could see it as having an ulterior motive."
stonelizard From: stonelizard Date: August 5th, 2009 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
In university, a "nice guy" asked me out several times - I always thought of him more as a friend, and to be honest thought he would be very wet and cr*p as a boyfriend. Anyway, I was starting to pursue a very cute guy who was also a champion drag racer - much more my type :)
When the "nice guy" found out, he went weird. He began to stalk me, which lasted about four months, confessing his love, getting others to confess it, spying on me, hacking my computer, following me around without my knowledge... screaming at me for dating this other guy when I was obviously meant to be with him. it began to get a bit scary. It all stopped when a male friend of mine caught up with him and attempted to beat him up in a night club (Without my knowledge or permission!)
The "nice guys" often have lots of issues.
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow, that's a keeper... not. D: What a bad case! I usually find the cowardice of the typical Nice Guy persists, and they quietly fume and drop passive-agressive hints when you start seeing someone else. I'm basing this both on my own experiences and those of friends. Nice Guys can carry that burning torch for years, I've noticed. Personally I find it uncomfortable to be around friends who have a hidden agenda.
dilph From: dilph Date: August 5th, 2009 08:30 am (UTC) (Link)

...I think that says it all.
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of my all-time favourites, that. XKCD really knows how to get to the heart of an issue. :)
c_eagle From: c_eagle Date: August 5th, 2009 08:39 am (UTC) (Link)
This was refreshingly illuminating!.... cuz if it's all true, I now know that I'm not a nice guy.. ... ;D *snickers and rubs wings together*..
rahball From: rahball Date: August 5th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Off the FAQ page:

"Can I include one of your articles on my website?

You CANNOT, in any way COPY, redistribute, reprint on paper or electronically, or include articles from HBI on your website, or distribute in an email, without the EXPRESS WRITTEN permission of Nataliep.

Who really exists, as do her lawyers. "

Ugh, the Heartless Bitches. Yeah, because being bitter and mean all the time is *so* emotionally healthy. I still don't know what to think of their anti-Nice Guy campaign. I don't agree with this kind of boy's passive-aggressive tactics and stuff. But nor am I convinced that smacking them collectively in the head and delivering yet another admonishment in a lifetime of such to "be a real man, sissy!" is going to sort them out.

That's not to say that I think avoiding boys who ring the "too nice" alarm bells is in any way bad. Just that I don't like the Bitches' way of expressing it.
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoops! Guess I should cut the text back out and go back to just the link. D:

I don't know what the HB's do about this kind of boy - I just try to avoid, avoid, avoid! I figure it's not my job to fix other people, as I'm not perfect myself. :)
jagafeh From: jagafeh Date: August 5th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I know in the past I've definitely been the nice guy. To anyone who's like that I just say drop out of the dating scene and just work on yourself for a while.
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree 100% with this advice - swearing off dating for a while worked wonders on me. I really needed time to work on my self-esteem so I could stop being such a clingy git. ;)
ameliabeare From: ameliabeare Date: August 5th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
God did this ring true for me, too. I've had way too many of these sorts of guys in my life, and this article really helped articulate how frustrated, annoyed, and repulsed I feel about these kinds of guys.

I do think that calling them 'nice guys' is a bit unfair though. Or rather, they REALLY should have better defined 'nice guy' to mean something other than guys who are actually nice, without the baggage.

So, in that, I think the article kinda missed the mark - I've had two 'nice guys' snarly at me for sharing it generally, and I don't know if it struck a nerve with them because they saw themselves in the article, or they're just defensive of the term. But for my part, I absolutely concur.

Nice men are not unattractive because they're nice, it's the projection of their insecurities on me that makes me them.. pretty repugnant.

Confidence and self assurance can make even the ugliest men attractive (if they're not arrogant fucks, who are just as bad as these 'nice guys').

Edited at 2009-08-05 01:02 pm (UTC)
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Word. Some of the guys I've crushed on over the years have been fifteen, twenty years older than I. Or pudgy, or balding, or not particularly "cute", or all of the above! It's about personality and confidence for sure. That's where most of the 'spark' comes from. Good thing too, or everyone would be at risk of falling out of love when their partner gets old and crusty. ;D

Oh, and I'm sorry you've had people get snarly at you! I had one friend misunderstand above - I draw the distinction between 'nice' (inoffensive) and 'kind', and he thought this article was aimed at kind guys, which it isn't. The whole idea is that truly kind men DON'T behave like the guys in this article. I do think the use of the term 'nice guys' is relevant though, as I have actually heard men of this ilk refer to themselves that way, usually in the self-pitying sentence, "Girls never go for Nice Guys like me, they always wind up with the jerks."

Edited at 2009-08-05 10:24 pm (UTC)
stardustshine From: stardustshine Date: August 5th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I swear I've seen this article linked before and it was actually on LJ.

To me, the problem is not so much nice guys, as it is guys who see themselves as nice. The person described above is not a natural person for anyone to be; it's something people make themselves because it elevates their own perception of themselves. Since, measured against normal society standards, they don't measure up (often because they have made no effort to do so), they redefine what a person should be to a standard they can meet, and determine that being a good person means a willingness to give up everything for someone else, regardless of whether they deserve it or not. In fact, the less they deserve it, the better a person you are.

It happens in platonic friendships, too. That's why they go after 'needy' people - to elevate their sense of themselves by putting themselves in the 'hero' role. It's not about the supposedly beloved person at all. The more they suffer, the more they can see themselves as the martyr, the unappreciated but ultimately better-than-anyone-else hero. Then, when the beloved leaves, they give her up out of love for her (or him, it is not restricted to guys), because they are doing the right thing for him/her, even though she has cruely tortured them, etc.

The essence of love is selflessness, but the essense of the 'nice guy' vision of love is selfishness.

I think truly nice guys - those who really deep down are nice, and not just playing the 'nice' role - they're not so bad. ^_^
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the way you summed that up - that selfishness is the key. Not only selfishness though, but hypocrisy: their selfishness masquerades as selflessness ("I did it all for her!")

I'm not sure if it was in this article or another on the site, but the writers drew a distinction between "nice" and "kind". "Nice" was defined there as basically being inoffensive, which isn't the same thing as being kind. I like kind men.
From: dawnstar_au Date: August 5th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ouch... man this article strikes uncomfortably close to him. Certainly worth mulling over the salient points
tania From: tania Date: August 5th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
*hugs* If it makes you feel any better, it wasn't aimed at you at all - I haven't spent nearly enough time around you to get a feel for what you are like in that regard, especially when it comes to dating!

And this may make you feel better still: that sort of behaviour isn't limited to guys. I used to be clingy and insecure, and did and said some really horrible/retarded things as a result. It took some time alone and a LOT of self-examination (and subsequent behaviour modification) to turn me into a more independent, and ultimately happier, person.
From: dawnstar_au Date: August 5th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have no fear I did not think that was aimed at me in anyway (not that insecure. At least I hope not).

Recognised a while a go a lot of the points the article is making. Hurts but it's also logically true. Working on the time for me thing - seems to be the only sensible path to breaking that silly dependence cycle.
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: August 7th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Reading that explained SO MANY things for me, both mistakes I've made and mistakes I've seen friends make. Thank you a lot.
29 have fought ~ fight the power!