He’s Nice But. . .

It’s been a while as work (as in my real job) has sort of taken over of late.  But I wanted to get back to Stephen’s great questions.  You can see the first part of his three part question right here.

Today, I want to tackle Stephen’s second question, which actually is much easier and more clear than the first.  Stephen asks,

Everyone talks about women wanting guys who “lead”, who “aren’t pushovers,” who “aren’t nice guys,” etc. Question: what does this mean in the context of DATING. NOT MARRIAGE. Its fairly obvious what this means for married men. But when I’m asking a woman out for the first, second, or third time, the only things we’re going to disagree over, or have to decide together, are whether we’re going to Chipotle or Olive Garden. What if I really don’t give a darn? How am I supposed to “lead” while I’m casually dating a girl? I’m not an integral part of her life, I’m not her primary counselor, I’m not even likely to be *informed* about serious decisions that she has to make. How, given that we all spend the first 14 years of our lives being taught to be courteous and considerate – that is, NICE – am I supposed to demonstrate that I’m not “just a nice guy” in that context?

There is so much great stuff here.  I probably can’t do this in one post.  These questions are so crucial.  So let’s go.

Let’s talk about the first assumption here – that is that women want guys who lead, aren’t pushovers or “nice guys”.  The key word here really is the whole nice guy phrase. I like the pushover wording that Stephen offers.  I’ve written a whole post about not being nice, but here’s the short version.

Nice typically doesn’t work.  Now it’s important that when I say nice I don’t mean good.  I think you can be a good guy without being a “nice” guy.  I get that for many this is semantics.  So let’s clear it up a little.  Women aren’t typically attracted to a guy they can push around.  Basically the key here is don’t be a wuss.

This is important for several reasons but the main one early on is that it’s ingrained in women (in my opinion) that if you can’t stand up to them, then you won’t be able to stand up for them. Now that can get played out all sorts of ways – some reasonable, and some not so reasonable.  But women test this.  Not necessarily even consciously.  Some women test it the first time they meet you.  Others just figure it out a few dates in.  They may not even be able to name it, but they do it.

Beyond that, nice often means afraid.  What I mean is that a lot of the reason men are “nice” is that they are super worried about whether this person will like them.  Or, they think if I’m nice then she’ll like me.  I used to be this way. Going all the way back to when I was a kid, if I liked a girl, I was always super nice to her, and would never think of standing up to her.

When I became a Christian, then of course I had to not only be over considerate but I also had to guard her heart etc.  All of this is bogus, mostly counterproductive, puts the woman in authority of the relationship and makes you generally less attractive.  And if you are using being nice (buying gifts, chasing her everywhere, always doing what she wants) in order to get her to like you – how is that any different than any other game method.

Now I know there are people who say, “but we aren’t like the other people in the world. We should be different and treat women well.”  I’m  not saying treat women poorly.  The opposite of the nice, pushover guy is not the jerk.  You can be good, generous, kind, etc without being “nice”.  Frankly Jesus wasn’t nice.

Also what’s funny is that Stephen mentions how this is easier in marriage.  Sort of.  I think the leadership part is easier in principle.  But being the nice guy in the marriage can get you crushed.

Look, the last thing any guy wants to hear is, “He’s a really nice guy. . . but. . . ”  I was this guy a lot.  What’s funny is I’m not that nice.  Haha.

What does this look like.  First don’t be desperate.  Even from the first time you approach her it’s important to not convey that.  Have a plan and make decisions.  Don’t “need” her approval.  Don’t be her friend – be a guy she might want to date. Don’t just do everything she wants.  Act valuable.  (Read the linked posts)

This ties into the second part of the question.  Let’s say you get the girl to go out with you, and you start to date a little.  How do you lead, and not be a pushover early in the relationship.  Great, great question.  Man I screwed this up every way.  But I’ll need another post to get to that.

13 thoughts on “He’s Nice But. . .

  1. I wanted to add my voice to those saying “Yhank You” for your words of assistance with these difficult-to-understand topics. As a single 23 year old guy, it’s hard looking around and not wondering what I did wrong. All I can do is pray and listen for what’s next for me… Until then I need to continue to pursue His plans for my life.

  2. Good thoughts that I will continue to mull over.

    A simple way to demonstrate leadership in the dating phase is to thoughtfully plan a date. It can be simple and inexpensive. I appreciate when he’s put thought into what might be convenient and fun for me. It’s unattractive when a guy wants to meet up and doesn’t have a plan and expects me to tell us where we’re going.

  3. There still has to be a spark with women….and if you don’t have “it” you’re not going anywhere with the majority of Christian women. Finding that spark?

    I have no idea, and gave up years ago. Many of the men I try to help; it either comes off like an “act” to get a woman to like them (being funny comes to mind first; as if marriage / dating is just a big joke),or cloaking themselves to build attraction (PUA stuff) which isn’t the “real” person either.

    I wish I had an answer, and I wish times or situations were different but it’s what we have.

    Be yourself is all I can say. Conform yourself to Christ daily. Respect yourself for what He has given you, and use your talents to glorify Him. If a woman doesn’t like that, or want that?

    You can just pray for her and chalk it up as her loss.

  4. I’m sorry, but I’m still not getting this. What, exactly, demonstrates not being a pushover in typical social interaction? What does “good but not nice” look like in social interaction? I don’t have a clue what that means. I don’t know what the distinction is between “good” and “nice” in typical social context.

    You talk about standing up to women as necessary to demonstrate you can stand up for them. In what normal social context does one “stand up to” anyone? What are you talking about? I don’t have a clue what this means. I literally cannot imagine a standard social situation among casual friends and acquaintances in which the phrase “stand up to her” would be meaningful.

    I’m missing some sort of underlying framework for interpreting this at the level you’re describing it. Can you provide me with an example illustrating what your talking about? Something more like an actual account (fact or fiction) of what this looks like?

    Something like:

    John met Jane at .
    John said to Jane and did .

    Jane said to John and did .

    John said to Jane and did .

    Jane liked John standing up to her, which was exemplified in “.

    Also, just be clear, I wasn’t trying to say that “being nice” was easier in marriage. What I was getting at is that the distinction between “being nice” and “being good” makes sense to me in the context of marriage, and in close relationships in general. That’s based on an assumption that’s probably wrong, though, and you’ll clear up whether the assumption wrong or not if you have time to answer my request for a specific example above.

  5. Whoops, put some stuff in brackets and it tried to interpret it as HTML. My outline of the example I’m looking for should have looked like this:
    John met Jane at [place 1]
    John said [dialogue – actual words used] to Jane and did [physical bodily actions – like “walked across the room towards her,” which is specific and understandable in all contexts, not “stood up to her”, which is an abstract description of the aim and effect of a set of actions, not a description of the actions that actually got the effect].

    Jane said [dialogue] to John and did [physical bodily actions].

    John said [dialogue] to Jane and did [physical bodily actions].

    Jane liked John standing up to her, which was exemplified in [list of the subset of words and physical bodily actions already mentioned that actually contributed to Jane’s impression of John standing up to her.

  6. To be clear, there is some problem on my end. Everything you said above was presumably meant to be an answer to my question. To me, it conveys no new information whatsoever. What I understood of your post above is nothing more than a restatement of what you said originally that caused me to ask the question.

    I’m missing something really fundamental here. Please assume you’re talking to a 6-year-old. Don’t use abstractions like “don’t be a pushover” and “be good, not nice” and “stand up to her.” Please give me concrete example like “Use these words. Do this with your hands. Do this with your feet. Walk to this place. If you feel warm and fuzzy, do this. If you don’t feel warm and fuzzy, do this instead.” That’s the level I need this question answered on.

    Like I said above, if someone can tell me a story, fact or fiction, at that level as an example, maybe I’ll begin to understand what you mean enough to generalize it. As it is, everything y’all are saying is going over my head completely.

  7. Ok Stephen. I’m going to suggest a couple of things here.

    First, we could probably have a better back and forth over email. You can go through my contact page and send me a message. I have no problem with comments here, but I think I might be more help if I can get more specific contexts from you and you from me. It’s hard in a blog post to give a say this or do this, because context matters – hence the general attitudes etc.

    Second, I do think there are some posts I have with actual example. The smelling desperate post has examples of what desperate looks like. The approaching women has some examples. Also the story of my friend avoiding the freindzone gives a great example of standing up to her. What might be good in one situation might be terrible in another.

    Here are some links. These won’t be as exact as you want, but they have some examples etc.


  8. Justin, thanks for your reply. Actually, the links are all I needed. My problem was that you and I were using the same words for different things. Now that you’ve provided some examples of what you mean by those words, I understand what you’re saying.

    It is, in fact, still not obvious to me why those phrases mean doing the things you’ve listed in the posts you linked, but now that I know that’s what people mean by those phrases in this context I can run with it.

    And, actually, those aren’t things I have trouble with. So, thanks for clearing that up!

  9. Pingback: You Are Not Her Spiritual Leader | More Than Don't Have Sex

  10. Pingback: Why It Doesn’t Matter If You Would “Treat Her Better” | More Than Don't Have Sex

  11. Pingback: Nice Is Not A Virtue . . . Or Attractive | More Than Don't Have Sex

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