Quit Being Nice

When I was a younger single guy, one of the things I just could not understand was why women always chose against the nice guy.  I after all was a nice guy.  But no matter what women said about what they wanted, they always chose guys who didn’t fit that category. I’ve touched on this in a couple of places, but today I want to address the nice guy and why it doesn’t work.

First, the premise is wrong.  What we are really assuming (we being the nice guy) is that we are better (somehow less sinful) than someone else.  This throws us into allegiance with the oldest son in the story from Luke 15.  That is not the company we want to be in.

But even if we don’t judge the non-nice guys we are still fooling ourselves.  

The truth is that being nice is just as much an angle as any other approach.  What it comes down to is no one is actually that nice.  In other words if I’m being nice to a woman because I want her to like me, well how is that any different than any other manipulative move?

Let’s take the giving flowers thing for example.  I started a new policy on flowers a few years ago.  I don’t give flowers to someone to get them to like me.  Never.  I don’t do it because we got in a fight, and I want the woman to like me again (classic nice guy move).  I only give flowers to care about the woman, without any other motive.  Do you see what I’m saying?  If I’m being “nice” to seek the woman’s approval, I’m screwed.  Either she will think I’m a wuss and bail, or maybe worse, she will dominate me.

In other words if I’m being nice to get the girl to like me, that’s not all that nice.

To make matters worse, women are typically not attracted to the nice guy.  The reason is because women don’t want a guy who follows them around.  They want someone who can be a man and lead.  They may not even consciously know this, but instinctively they know it.  Get this line right here – “If you can’t stand up to her, you will not be able to stand up for her”.  Seriously think about it.  Women are subconsciously testing this out all the time.  And to top it off, nice guys are boring because they always want to do what the woman wants.  Women don’t want to be bored – they want adventure.  They want a guy who is strong and not afraid of them.  Again if you are afraid of them, you can’t protect them and that is not attractive.

Now that’s not to say women don’t want a “good” guy.  There’s a difference.  It’s critical actually.  Think about Jesus.  No one, and I mean no one who met Jesus thought, “hey Jesus, he’s a pretty nice guy.”  No!  People thought Jesus was a good guy but anyone who hung around Him knew He was not a wuss, and not “nice”.  They’d seen His power, daring, leadership, and adventure.  Like the famous line in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia when the kids ask if the lion Aslan is safe and the beaver replies, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Jesus was good and He was loved and hated.  He stood up for the right stuff.  He knew who He was.

Here’s the difference when it comes to dating.  Nice guys are worried about what the woman thinks.  Will she like me?  Will she be mad at me?  The good guy worries about what is right – and tries to do it, regardless of the what the woman wants.

Adam was nice in the garden – he should have been good.  He should have stood up to Eve. 

Women instinctively know the difference.

How do you know if you are a nice guy?  Here are some clues.  You are afraid of what women think of you.  You can’t approach a woman you want to talk to.  You are always in the “friend zone”.  You are told by women you want to date, “You’re a great guy but. . . ” You buy gifts for women that you are not in a relationship with.  You don’t understand what makes women attracted to a “bad” guy.

I’ll be writing more about how to kill the nice guy later – it can be done, I’ve done it, twice actually (he came back to life – pesky son of a gun), but the first step is recognizing it. By the way, this is important even if you are called to singleness or for that matter if you are already married.

So fellas, are you a “nice guy”? Ladies, am I wrong here?

43 thoughts on “Quit Being Nice

  1. Justin,
    You know – I think this is exactly what I was trying to say in a post a few days ago – but I think you did a much better job saying it!
    I totally agree with you!
    One of the things I admire most about my husband is that he takes my feelings and desires into consideration – BUT then he does what he truly believes is best for our family. Even if I don’t agree. That is such a relief to me! I don’t want a guy who is controllable. I don’t want a guy who is afraid of me and who wimps out on his convictions in order to keep peace. I don’t want a guy who is afraid to tell me what he believes.
    I want him to care about my feelings and hear my heart but then do what he believes would most honor God.
    I want my man to know how to handle me if I am upset. I really don’t want a push over.
    I think one of the reasons the “bad boy” image can be attractive to women is that those guys make it clear they don’t cower to women and don’t change their minds based on a woman’s feelings.
    But I agree, Jesus wasn’t nice – but He was good, masculine and strong. THAT is a VERY attractive combination!
    AWESOME post!

  2. I understand the premise, but…this insinuates that you can’t be both. Growing up I was the “nice guy” partly because I wanted girls and others to like me but also partly because it’s the way my parents raised me to be. Don’t suggest that just because you’re ‘nice’ you equate to a wuss. Even ‘nice guys’ can stand up for what’s right.

  3. Kelly,

    I hear your point. However, I believe this isn’t about putting courtesy and compassion aside. It’s about being a people pleaser to the point of giving up authenticity for personal gain. I agree with you that kindness doesn’t necessarily equate to passivity, but it’s a problem I’ve seen in several men. Women who love their men want them to have the place of leadership and honor they deserve and not because they sold themselves out to gain approval.

    • and he’ll clean it up, and he’ll listen to you gripe AGAIN and AGAIN about your current boyfriends “insensitivity” and he’ll tell you to stand up on Christian principles and he’ll reach out to you. He’ll ask you out, he’ll ask if you have any single friends, and you will tell him “You’re too nice”

      It’s not an honest statement. Say it. Say “I’m not attracted to you” Say “I just don’t feel a connection” Say “I don’t like you”

      Saying a guy is too nice, and every profile on dating pages say they want a NICE Christian guy is mid boggling. Isn’t that “lying”? Isn’t that not being clear? Isn’t that doing one thing with the left hand and wanting something else with the right hand? Is this not having you “yes” mean yes and your “no” meaning no?

      “The nice guy makes you want to vomit”

      How Christian of you

      • My advice would be to stop being the guy that everyone cries to.

        Also here’s the best part about this post. I don’t know very many commenters on here personally, but I do know erinvonder. And she is married to one of the best men I know. So you might want to back up just a little.

        You can see the anger and hurt in your writing. I’ve been there bro. I understand completely. I lived it for a long time.

      • and I’m older than you……..

        If I don’t listen “i’m a typical guy who only is self-centered and interested in himself” and then if I “listen, and comfort” I am told that “I have to stop being that guy”

        I am at the point where it is: You have it or don’t. If you don’t…get ready to be told Corinthians 7 for the rest of your life and accept it.

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  13. Then how come a girl who dates a guy who ISN’T nice…then cries on my shoulder and says
    “I thought he was nice. He looked nice. Why can’t guys be NICE like you?”

    Every comment from a woman here who says “right on” to you isn’t agreeing with you brother. They want justification for their bad choices, and the “nice guy” always, always takes the hit.

    • Um, actually they are agreeing with me. You just don’t like it or think it’s right – which is fine. But I think you should slow down, go back and read what I actually wrote and how I defined nice guy. Don’t confuse nice guy with good guy. Those are two completely different things. Jesus was not nice. He was good. Adam was nice. He should have been good.

      • I get you. I didn’t confuse this.
        I know this. I cannot call myself good because only Christ was good.

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  21. I’m not so sure Adam was “nice”. I think it was more “Let’s see what happens to the Old Lady” ; it seems that he actually wasn’t opposed to eating the forbidden fruit after all, but knowing the warning God gave about doing so, Adam waited tos ee what would happen. She didn;t drop dea, so he must have reasoned that it was okay to eat. Also, he blamed God for making Eve cause him to sin — the woman You gave me…”
    Adam was not being nice, and he should have stood up to Eve.

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  28. “You don’t understand what makes women attracted to a “bad” guy.”

    I don’t. When God said to Eve that her desire shall be for her husband, didn’t that mean that women would seek to control their husbands? If so, it seems to me they would have a more difficult time controlling a “bad boy.”

    Also:

    I appreciate the fact that you recognize and denounce the modern Church’s bias and contempt against men, and that you seek to help men in a way that not many others do. But yet, even you fall into the same trap that so many other people do of painting dating as being a game in which women are the rightful holders of all the proverbial “cards.” Everything is always about what a man should improve about himself in order to get a date, or what turns a woman off or makes her disinterested.

    But the Bible doesn’t specifically say anything about dating, so it is largely – if not mostly – a cultural construct, I believe. So if marriage is not a one way street, I don’t think dating should be either. For every character flaw or lack of virtue on behalf of men you have listed that are turn offs to women, I’m sure women have some sort of equivalent or parallel problem that men might not care for. However, we are still told to put forth effort, take risks, and ask them out on dates anyway. Seeing as though society already expects men to bear most, if not all, of the responsibilities and risks in a game that men are not even scripturally bound to play, why is it that men must live up to a higher standard of character? When can a man ever be good enough? At what point can men be accepted for who they are? When must women recognize that no man is ever going to have it all, and that they may have to eventually say yes to a man despite his faults (but is still a good Christian man overall obviously) if they truly want one? After all, hardly anyone expects women to put their best foot forward; it is socially acceptable for them to be themselves and wait for a man who does not mind their faults. They don’t have to learn to be confident, control their body language just right, or whatever. And at what point can men have a more comprehensive set of things we should look for in a woman, and discern to the same degree and on the same level at which you advise men about dating?

    Again, I appreciate what you do. But you offer so much detailed advice that I feel like I would have to literally study it as if preparing for a test in order to apply it and live up to it. And I already don’t have very good general social skills as it is. If men and women are equals in a marriage, and if marriage is the ultimate goal of dating, I don’t see why men should have to work so much harder to maintain a good enough façade, especially since it might not even pay off.

    I’m 25 and have not been on a single date; I have not even had a prom or homecoming date. I’m so shy that I have only asked out two women, the first of whom when I was 22 or 23 (and both turned me down). But despite my lack of experience, I feel safe in saying that dating is not one-size-fits-all. What works with one woman might not work with another. And not everyone emphasizes the same values equally, so what bothers one woman about a man may not bother another woman as much.

    • I think he instructs men because he’s a man and this site is primarily for men. It’s not that women don’t have things we need to learn or improve.

      Are you typically interested in shy or outgoing women? I think it would be very difficult for two extremely shy people to get together. If you’re more comfortable expressing yourself in written form, maybe meeting someone online is for you so you can show your personality that way before you meet in person. I completely agree that dating is not one size fits all – you have to know your strengths and work with those and mitigate your weaknesses. Everyone has a different story.

      Also, I think a lot of people your age haven’t dated much – both men and women. It’s more common than people realize, especially nowadays. It seems that shy women expect men to step up and shy men expect women to step up too (albeit using different language) when neither group has the tools to approach the other person and may be a bad fit as a result anyway.

      • True.

        And I understand that this site is primarily for men, so obviously it is understandable for a certain amount of instruction to be directed at us. But what better a place to also receive some words of encouragement from time to time, and advice regarding what we should look for in a woman?

    • Well, if you don’t mind Micah, I’ll give you some encouragement. Don’t give up hope. There are plenty of married people who struggle with social skills, but being single gives you the opportunity to develop them. This is what happened for me anyway. Maybe start off by attending work social events. You don’t have to do anything but smile and have fun.

      • Yeah – I would encourage everyone not to give up as well. To improve your social skills, just involve yourself in a lot of activities with people. Talk to them. Experience is what helped me out the most.

        I didn’t go out on my first date until I was about 27. Dating as an undergraduate in college was pretty bad – most women I talked to shunned me and none of them ever agreed to spend time with me. This was a difficult experience – sure. But believe me, life rewards those who press on no matter what and have a willingness to learn.

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