I’ve wanted to talk about this for a while. Let’s get this rolling with a definition of sorts…
Nice guy: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaNice guy is a term in the general public discourse and in popular culture describing an adult male with friendly yet unassertive personality traits in the context of a relationship with a woman. A typical "nice guy" is perceived to put the needs of others before his own, avoids confrontations, does favors, gives emotional support, and generally acts nicely towards women. There is an active debate about whether the nice-guy personality profile may actually make a man less desirable to women romantically and/or sexually. Part of this debate includes speculation about possible hypocrisy among women in the dating world: that women may say they want a nice guy but won't date him or have sex with him, and rather subconsciously prefer men who are more confident and assertive but less considerate.
A common aphorism is that "nice guys finish last." The phrase is attributed to baseball manager Leo Durocher in 1939, though Durocher was originally referring to the opposing team rather than to male/female relationship dynamics. The full quote is, "Take a look at them. They're all nice guys, but they'll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last."
Now, let’s keep this rolling with some actual quotes I have received via text from some recent dates. Apparently, texting is the new way to say no. I used to be you met the person face to face, or called over the phone. Now, we can text. It’s new and improved and so impersonal…
“Honestly, I feel like I’m not ready to be in a relationship. You are a very nice guy! There’s no such thing as “too nice” so don’t ever let anybody tell you there is. I enjoyed meeting you, but you’re not what I’m looking for…I have a strong personality and I need someone equally strong personality wise so that we offset each other…I’m sorry. I hope you find the one you’re looking for. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t take too much blame for past relationships!”
“Thanks. I don’t think there is a curse involved. I will tell you this…what I’m looking for in a guy is intelligence, sense of humor, ability to put me at ease and confidence. If I don’t laugh during the first meeting, I don’t go on a second date. You are obviously intelligent and have reason to be confident and are a nice guy.”
“You are a nice guy, but I didn’t feel an attraction. Sorry. You seem to have a lot to offer, but I’m not it.”
“I had a nice time and you are a nice guy, but I’m looking for someone different. It was hard for me to tell you this. We won’t be going out again.”
Ok. I get it and now so do you. I keep hearing the same things in slightly different ways. The broken record comes into play here. I wanted to refer back to the definition and the words I underlined, then add my qualities to each of them.
A typical "nice guy" is:
Perceived to put the needs of others before his own
In my life, my kids come first. I made that decision long before I divorced. It became more evident when I realized that my “family” were the three of us. I enjoy helping others and sometimes do that at the expense of my own time. I am learning a balance between taking care of myself physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally with the needs of others. I do like to make other people happy. In a relationship, I work hard to put her first when we are together and try to see that their needs are met.
I generally do this now in all aspects of my life. Sometimes confrontations are unavoidable. At my job, I sometimes deal with unhappy Members and may have confrontations with staff. I have it with my ex wife at times and occasionally with my kids. In a relationship, I try and do the same thing. Sometimes, the results are not good, meaning I should have had a discussion and not avoidance. However when something ends like a relationship or a few dates, I walk away and do not burn bridges or bug the other person.
I enjoy doing favors for others. I like helping people out. Whether bagging groceries for customers at Giant while working at Members 1st, helping neighbors or friends out with projects, or their needs. In a relationship, I will do favors for them and work together for our mutual interests and likes.
Gives emotional support
I have compassion and listen to others. In college, I thought should be a counselor because of the number of friends that confided in me and knew it would not go any farther. I support my kids with my love and support, and believe I do that with my friends. Yes, in a relationship, I provide emotional support through my words and actions. I genuinely care about them and their kids (if they have them).
Generally acts nicely towards women
How can you NOT do this if you are a guy? You need to treat women with respect and courtesy. I understand that a lot of women are independent, intelligent and do alright on their own. Still that’s not a reason to no open their doors, hold their hand and be a gentleman.
So yes, I am a nice guy. I always have been. My parents and grandmother did their best to raise me that way, to instill values in me that I still hold on to. I don’t make excuses for it, but I wrestle with it also.
Being a nice guy is part of who I am at my core and I am learning that I cannot change it for anyone. I have tried before to please others and it only makes me worse. Unfortunately, being a nice guy in my world means wearing my emotions on the outside at times, opening myself up to be taken advantage of, used and then thrown aside. I have learned to “toughen” up over the years and have gotten better. Except lately, I have opened myself up to more hurt because I am actively seeking a relationship, instead of focusing on myself and the kids and letting them find me.
I am also learning that when I am told I am a nice guy and it’s not working out, I tend to blame myself and learning that it may not be me that has a problem. I often don’t look at their perspective. What are they looking for? Maybe I am not that and like an interview, I am one of many candidates. Not a bad thing….and good to find it out sooner than later.
My friends have been helping me to understand this and I am thankful for those who give me affirmation and support, like these examples:
“One piece of advice.... Don't try to change for anyone. Some lucky woman out there will fall in love with you for the way you are! You did NOT do anything wrong. You just picked the wrong partners thus far.”
“Sorry to hear of your breakup but nice blog...romance is so difficult for so many of us and I'm sure you're comforting and connecting with people through your posts. It’s easy for me to say now that there is light at the end of the tunnel since I have been fortunate to find my match this year...but it took me eight long years of dating after divorce and a whole lot of frogs to find my prince. Hang in there....it will happen for you. Don't know you well but from meeting you and reading your blog, I'm confident you are a wonderful person. Things will work out I'm sure of it.”
“Steve, it was indeed nice to see you. Thank you for still considering me someone you trust to share what is going on in your life. Yes, I have grown, but so have you! It is wonderful to see us learning through the relationships God has given us. Even if for a season, they heal and give us hope.”
I’ve made the decision to continue to be a nice guy and be myself. It’s all I can be. And I won’t change for anyone else. I may bend a little, but not break. And I have to understand that if someone else cannot accept me for who I am and does not want to take the time to find out, then they are not for me. The more confident I become in myself and my abilities, the less I will feel like I need someone else. But when that someone else comes along, they will compliment me and I them. That friendship will grow and maybe turn into a partnership along the way.
As for me, this is one nice guy that will NOT finish last!