Avoid The Nice Guy Trap

One of the complaints I hear all the time from men (and that I used to make all the time) is that women, and in our case Christian women, always seem to choose the bad guy over the good guy.  If you are a consistent reader hear then you know that I would say that is the wrong view of a real issue.

Here is what women do – they choose the guy they are attracted to over the one they aren’t.

There are a lot of men who say that women should date them because they can be a great husband, are trying to be godly etc, even though they are not, for whatever reason attractive to women.  I would ask that guy, are you asking out women you know to be godly that you are not attracted to?  I’m guessing no.

So rather than sit around and complain, maybe we should think about what is attractive and work on it.

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The Meek Will Not Inherit A Wife

A few years ago I was talking with this woman I liked, when she said, “You know what, I’m so tired of Christian guys.”  I laughed, cringed, and completely understood what she meant.

She didn’t mean that she wanted to date/marry an unbeliever or that she didn’t love Jesus. She meant that she was tired of the over thinking, over spiritualizing, over nice acting “Christian” guys, of which at the time I was one.

Now, to be sure, this girl had her own issues.  But the fact remains, we have a real problem within the Christian community when it comes to dating.  It’s everybody’s fault.

We (meaning the Church big picture) have this extremely weird double standard going on where we tell guys to be basically be nice and get in line, while following all the guys who don’t.  We say don’t date around, don’t ask anyone out if you don’t know you can marry them, guard the girl’s heart, but oh by the way – lead.  What the heck?!

What we’ve created is a whole lot of nice guys that don’t act.  And when they do act they end up doing so in a weak way.

I used to be completely frustrated at the fact that the “bad guy” would always somehow have the girl, and I, who was of course the “good guy” didn’t.  But while it’s true that some of these guys were bad, what most of them were was confident, regardless of their goodness or badness.  I on the other hand, when I really liked someone, was not.

When it comes to being attractive to females, confidence is perhaps the single most important factor.  Not even a lot of females can name this, but it’s a fact.  It’s more important in terms of initial attraction than just about anything including but not limited to: looks, money, spirituality, brains, ambition, drive or sexual prowess.  Although all those things both affect and are affected by confidence.

Women describe this different ways but it is core to what they are looking for.  They want, “someone who knows who they are”, “who knows what they want”, or “who is comfortable in their own skin”.  However they describe it they are attracted to it – they respect it.  And respect is the key.

We as men, have to get a handle on this, and most of us don’t.  We think we do, but we really don’t.  It takes some real courage to confront our lack of confidence.

I’m not talking about arrogance.  Although, arrogance is more attractive than boring or weak.  It is more attractive than fearful (although most arrogant people are masking fear). And this is important: Passivity is not the opposite of Arrogance.  Humility is. And humility is not about being weak.  

It’s more than semantics.  Humility is not interchangeable with weakness, meekness, or passiveness.  You cannot be insecure and humble at the same time.

Yes Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth.  But meek as we mean it in our culture (tame, mild, bland, unambitious are given as synonyms) is not what Jesus meant.  He was none of those things.  That verse does not mean the scared and passive will inherit the kingdom.  And they for sure will not inherit a wife.

It’s a double whammy.  Confident guys get dates because they are attractive to women, and because they are confident enough to ask.  They act because they are less afraid.

But here’s the best part, a lot of Christian spokesmen seem to think the answer is telling the non-cofident guy to man up.  That is completely ridiculous.  What we need to do is two things.

First we need to help guys dig deeper into why they are insecure and passive to begin with.  The spokespeople don’t like this because it requires actual work instead of just sounding cool in a sermon or book.  But it’s essential.  We have to figure out why we are scared.  What is it that makes us insecure around the women we want to pursue.  Actually at a broader view – what makes us insecure anywhere.  Where is that coming from?

Jesus was not insecure and if we are going to follow Him then that means facing our insecurities and growing out of them.  As a side benefit, as we do, we become more attractive.  Growth is hard work, but I promise you this – Growth is Hot.  Dead serious.

Secondly, we need to give men tools in interacting with women.  Here’s why.  Men are afraid of what they don’t know how to do.  We loathe failure.  So if I’ve spent most of my life not knowing what to do with women, guess what – I’m going to be insecure in that area.

All men are confident in what they know how to do and unconfident in what they don’t know about.  Therefore if we want Christian guys to have confidence and “man up” as it were, then we need to give them the tools, not just a pep talk.

I’ll have more to say about his later this week, but for today let me leave you with a couple of questions.

When are you confident?  When are you not?  When is the first time you can remember being passive?  Do you have the tools to pursue and marry a woman?

There Will Always Be Someone Else

Ever since I was a little kid it seems like there was always ONE girl that I liked.  And this didn’t have to be a girl I knew well, just the one that I wanted.  This lasted all the way through high school, kind of changed in college (I mean target rich environment right?) and then returned for my twenties.

In a lot of ways this is similar to what I talked about a few months ago about there not being THE ONE.  This idea that if I can just get “this girl” to like me or be with me then everything will be right.  This is not good.  That’s called an idol.  The idea that if I can just get this or that, things will be right.  Bad news.

It also crushes any hope of actually dating that person because you end up caring too much which in turn makes you unattractive.  It also keeps you from seeing other potential people around you, because you are so focussed on that one person.  If I could change anything about my high school (and to some degree later) dating experience it would be that I wouldn’t get so focussed on one person, that frankly I usually didn’t even know that well.  Looking back there were other just as attractive people that would have gone out with me.

You shouldn’t get focussed on one person until you are actually dating that person (obviously at this point you should be).  It puts too much pressure on you and them.  It distorts the image of this person and makes them more of a goal or object than a person to get to know.  Even if you “got” this person you’d be in trouble because they’d have all the power, and you can’t love someone who you need constant approval from. It also can make you pass on others that you should not be passing on.

Here’s what we need to get in our head: There Is Always Someone Else.  Always.

Now you would think that I would have figured this out a lot earlier than I did.  I mean in middle school I was obsessed with one person.  Then in early high school there was a different person, and in later high school yet another.  There’s always been another. Hmmm.

Look, I don’t care how hot she is, how much you like her, how perfect you would be together, there will always be someone else.  To have a chance you have to keep this in mind, otherwise every time that you meet someone you like you’ll try too hard, push too much and/or not know when/if to walk away. But if you know there will be someone else, then you can relax and be yourself because if it doesn’t work out, you guessed it, there will be someone else.

I don’t care how old you are either, or how long you’ve waited, or how tired you are of being single – there will be someone else.  If you get this in your head, there really is no fear.  Go get rejected, no big deal, there will be someone else.  Seriously.  I know it sounds kind of cold but it’s actually vital.  Even if you find someone you want to marry.  This is what makes you free to choose to marry that person.  If I know that there would be someone else then I can choose not be with anyone else but instead to be with only this person (sounds kind of like a wedding vow huh?).  Be sure you understand that you’re not choosing this person because they are THE ONE. You are choosing to make this person the ONLY ONE.

Gentlemen, this is why I keep urging you to get in the game, to get out there by any means necessary, to engage with women, to learn how to quit being nice and learn how to be attractive.  The more you know that there will be someone else, the more free you are to pursue anyone you want.  The more you think there is not someone else, the less you will be able to pursue anyone at all.

There’s a flip side here obviously. You can use this knowledge to treat people how you want, or wait for someone “perfect”, or figure why commit all because there’ll be someone else – I get that, and that post is coming asap.  But I think any honest assessment of most single guys I’ve known (including me) would show this is a huge deal.  It is killing us.  It leads to chasing instead of pursuing, not being able to get out there at all, or even marriages that are set up to fail.

If you’ve been single a while (and heck maybe especially if you’ve been married a while), you know this is true intellectually.  You’ve lived it – but do you live out of it?  Most truth is that way.  We know it but we don’t live out of it.  That’s the battle, but it’s one we have to engage.

Dealing With Dating Fatigue

Once when I was a senior in high school I had two dates in one day.  I went and met a girl for lunch that a mentor set me up with (yes I was already being set up – weird I know).Then that night I went out with a different girl from my school.  Now when you’re a senior who has struggled to get girls to like him, that’s a great confidence boost – I was “the man” for a day.  But when you get older a day like that just makes you tired and there’s not much “the man” about it.

Today I want to talk about Dating Fatigue.  There are a huge group of singles who are suffering from this.  Now some of you are thinking, “I don’t really go on that many dates – I surely don’t have this problem.”  Not so fast.

Dating Fatigue (DF) is more about a feeling and attitude than about how many dates you’ve been on.  Here’s a simple definition of DF – You are flat tired of dating.  You are tired of meeting people, tired of spending money, tired of online searches, tired of wanting to like someone and not, tired of not being excited about anyone, tired of people asking how it went, tired of being rejected, tired of having to reject someone else, just tired, tired, tired.

I’ve been urging you over and over again on this blog to not just sit there and hope it happens but to go out there and get in the game. Nobody gets married if you don’t go on a date, and you have to go meet people to do that.  But the truth is that it can be exhausting.

Even if you are energized by meeting new people (as I actually am) it can still be tiring. This is turned up a notch in a couple of main ways.  For starters we are all busy and we don’t want to waste time dating people we aren’t interested in.  More than that though, as you get older, you don’t have as much time to play around.  If I’m 25 I can kind of ride something out for a few dates, but honestly at 35, not as much, or at least it feels like it.

But most of all, gearing up for hope, and then having it not go anywhere is just emotionally tiring.  Worse, if we aren’t careful, it can affect how we are on the very dates we go on – it can make us bad dates.

Now, I’m talking about dates, not dating.  In other words I’m not talking about relationship fatigue.  That’s another issue altogether.  Nor am I suggesting that getting to know several people is a bad idea. In some ways, whether we like it or not, it is a numbers game.  I’m just saying that sometimes it gets old and we need to deal with that.  So what can you do?  Here are some things that have helped me.

  • Go with hope but with as few expectations (good or bad) as possible.  Just go to get to know another person
  • Realize that this might be the only time you will meet this person, so go in peace and as full of the Spirit as you can.
  • Make the first date short.  This is so key.  You are probably going to know in the first 10 minutes if you want a second date.  If you do, keep it short, and meet again – this actually creates good tension and excitement anyway.  If you don’t, then you aren’t stuck for a whole day (or weekend – yikes that was a tough one).
  • Some people say give everyone a second date.  I totally disagree.  If you know you aren’t interested its ok not to do that.  Nothing adds to dating fatigue more than extra dates to “be nice” or to “try to like someone”.  I would say that most of my dating fatigue came from this (including when I was on the other end of it).
  • Don’t tell the world that you are going on the date.  Others wanting to know how it went just adds to DF.
  • Take a break from dating.  If you’ve been on a lot of dates and are burned out, just step back.  But do me and your friends a favor and don’t announce it.  Just do it.  And secondly, don’t miss on a person you really like just because you are on a “dating break” – for the love – really?! (Oh, and ladies, don’t use this as an excuse to say no to someone.  Just say you aren’t interested – trust me).
  • Self evaluate.  If you have been on a lot of dates and none of them go anywhere, be sure to ask if you might be the issue.  Maybe it’s something you are doing.  It might not be, but it might be worth asking or if you are really brave ask a friend or two.

DF is real!  We slide in and out of it all the time.  Dating shouldn’t be a chore so we need to do all we can to avoid it and then when we do experience it, take a breath, realize that it’s ok, get our bearings with the Lord and community, and then re-enter the scene.

Have you experienced DF?  What led to it?  How have you combatted it?  Help each other out here – what has helped you?