Nice Guys Finish Last. You know the phrase. I might be coming way out of left field here, but I hate this saying, and I think it’s bullshit. I honestly believe that guys who relate to this phrase use it as a shield for what’s really the problem.
I’m sure you’ve also heard the saying that girls like bad boys. I’m not going to defame that one, because some girls do- but I can tell you that I have never heard of a girl who loves a “bad boy” yet doesn’t also still wish for flowers and champagne to come home to. One who thinks that cuddling on the couch and love letters wouldn’t compliment his biker attitude and tattoos quite nicely.
Nice guys are wonderful. Nice guys are what we want. Some of us don’t need you to be nice to anyone but us (and maybe our mom), but you still need to be nice. Ladies might like “bad boys”, but ladies don’t like “mean boys”. Never heard that one, have you?
The problem is that guys who like to think they finish “last” because they’re nice need to realize: it’s not because you’re nice that she’s not into you. When you have chemistry with a girl, she’ll be into you and you’ll be into her. The niceness is just an added bonus for the lucky lady who’s actually into you. You do not “woo” women with niceness. You woo them with you.
I’ll say it again: if she’s already into you, your kind and romantic gestures will absolutely, positively help her fall for you. If she’s not into you bro, your kind and romantic gestures will just be creepy. If she doesn’t tell you that to your face, she’s passive aggressive, using you, or just plain doesn’t want to (or doesn’t know how to) hurt your feelings.
The key here is, if you’re the guy who feels like you do all the right things and never gets the girl, you’re probably jumping too soon on the romance, or you’re just altogether mis-reading the signs. How do you know she’s into you? Do you know? She could like you, she could like to talk to you, and spend time with you often, but how do you know that’s not just friendly? Nice Guy Who Finishes Last, you need to start making sure that it’s more than just friendship. Without pushing too hard for too much too soon. Coming on too strong is just as bad as not at all. There’s a happy medium, and you need help finding it!
A recent quote I found made me laugh, because I think this woman sums the idea up well:
“Women are not vending machines that you put kindness coins into until sex falls out. She’s not into you, get over it.” -Marat Sverdlov
True Story Number One: My friend Jim* wrote me on Facebook once and asked me for advice. He said something like this:
Jim: Well, I’ve been feeling really down lately and it has to do with someone I think I am in love with, or know I am in love with; I try so hard with her.
Sarah: And why are you down?
Jim: Well, I try so hard with her and she sort of treats me like a friend, but we don’t really seem like it. I try to get her to understand how I feel, I want her to like me too, but it’s so hard and constantly bringing me down. I’m not sure I could let her go. What do you think, keep at it or let it go? When you love someone don’t you fight for that person at all costs?
Sarah: Well, you do- if that love is returned.
You know what they say: if you love something, let it go. If it returns to you, it is truly yours to keep. Does she have the same feelings back for you? Have you asked her?
Jim: I don’t know and even if she didn’t, there is always hope and prayer, I gave her flowers Monday for a present-
Sarah: That’s very nice of you.
Jim: Well I am nice, I just wish she could see it. I am slowly working my way up.
What was Jim’s mistake? That last quote there: “I’m working my way up.” That’s not how relationships work. Jim is possibly coming on too strong, and/or mis-reading signs because he thinks he can just keep being romantic, and that will eventually get her to like him- Jim thought that the more Kindness Coins he put into this girl, the more he was working his way up to her being interested. But we know that it doesn’t work that way. He should never be that romantic with a girl who might not see him as more than a friend. That will have the opposite effect. Remember what I said? It will seem creepy. Her feelings for him will start to become negative feelings instead of positive ones.
Some nice guys are okay at the woo-ing part and not great at the getting-her-to-stay part. I’ve seen this as well. Once she’s agreed to go on a few dates with you, or even be your girlfriend, doesn’t mean she’s totally hooked. That’s called a wife. Someone who wants to be with you forever. This is not your wife, this is a girl who likes you so far. Now, your girlfriend might legitimately want to be with you forever, but just being your girlfriend doesn’t make it so. And that’s a very important distinction for you to make.
True Story Number Two: My friend Aaron* had been seeing a girl for a couple weeks when she went on vacation for Spring Break. They weren’t very serious, and had a good time together, and Aaron was really into her. He wanted to do something special for her homecoming, which was a sweet thought. He knew her roommates, so he was able to get into their house and fix a broken sink in the bathroom nearest her room. Cool idea- everyone was happy about that. He then filled her room with hundreds of balloons, baked her a cake, and spelled out “I missed you” in M&Ms on it. Within a couple days, she told him that this gesture was a bit too much for her and that relationship ended.
What was Aaron’s mistake? She liked him, but not that much. Aaron should have taken it slow for two reasons: 1) because if she liked him enough to become his girlfriend someday, he needed to give her time and space to grow those feelings for him, and 2) the Kindness Coins can expedite the process slightly when she’s already into you, but the more into you she is, the bigger the check you can afford to write. Aaron took a loan out from the bank for these Kindness Coins, hoping that she’d go for it. She didn’t.
True Story Number Three: My friend Kyle* was having a conversation with me on Facebook about how he loved his girlfriend sooo much, and he couldn’t wait to tell her, and he wanted the moment to be perfect. It had only been a month. After he said it, she was honest (some aren’t) and said that she wasn’t quite at that point yet. Their relationship ended soon afterwards. Here was his defense in why he felt he needed to tell her his feelings:
Kyle: It’s an emotion. When I bottle my emotions they come out in other ways… for example, when talking with her on the phone before I said good bye, I would say I love you without knowing it… that happened twice, and I was like, ‘what? I never said that’.
I honestly had no idea what I said, but other people heard me say it too. I was like wtf
Sarah: Well it’s probably better as a mistake at this point
Sarah: Because that way, she won’t get weirded out
Kyle: Well then she should have seen that coming
Sarah: Not necessarily, because what you’ve said so far doesn’t mean she’ll also expect you to jump the gun
Kyle: No I like worked up to it, I didn’t just say it, Sarah
Sarah: But it didnt work the way you wanted it to…
because even if she saw it coming she wasn’t ready for it
or else she would have said it back, right?
Kyle: That is not true, sometimes people do not feel the same way
Sarah: That’s exactly my point. And you should wait for her to. Otherwise telling her could really freak her out Kyle
Kyle: Well that is not me and if that is what makes someone break up with me… they should not be with me to begin with.
Seriously… that is who and what I am. If they are not open to what they feel and think, then they should not be with me. I don’t live in regret. Fuck ’em then.
This is different altogether. This girl liked Kyle enough to be in a relationship with him. But she wasn’t ready to tell him that she loved him. Love is a serious word, and a serious feeling. There are different strains of love, as seen in the image below:
And Kyle was right, that sometimes people don’t feel the same thing. It is possible that Kyle had some feelings of infatuation, passion, or a certain level of commitment. But his girlfriend, after one month, didn’t have enough of any of these things to constitute those feeling of “love” for him that Kyle felt he had for her.
It’s possible that Kyle’s girlfriend defined love as the center of that triangle there: Consummate Love, with intimacy, passion, and commitment. If that was the case, throwing it out there too soon might have made Kyle’s girlfriend wonder if he was taking that word seriously, and if he really meant it in the way that she defined it as. It could have been seen as careless, or perhaps, desperate.
It’s also possible that she assumed he did mean it in that way, and that seemed a little bit too much for her to take. How could he be so intimate, so passionate, so committed, on his end, without her reciprocating? That was maybe a little bit too much for her to handle, and she wanted to take a step back.
Regardless of the reasons, Kyle believed that writing a big check, much like Aaron did, was going to increase the intimacy in his relationship, and it backfired. I know it’s getting redundant at this point, but I will stress once more that if Kyle’s girlfriend had been at the same place as he was at, this could have worked. The common problems that Jim, Aaron, and Kyle had are that none of them bothered to check if the girl was at the same point as them.
The key to being a nice guy in a relationship is 1) knowing whether or not your girl reciprocates the feelings you have for her at whatever stage you are at in your relationship, and 2) knowing what romantic gestures will appropriately reflect the feelings you two share.
If you know that your girl likes you, take those steps to show her you care. If you are now in a relationship, go ahead and nurture that further. Just not too far! Eventually, this will allow a healthy, flourishing relationship that might be able to last. A relationship takes two people, and both of those people need to share a common end goal. As long as that’s true, your niceness will get you exactly where you need to be.
*Names have been changed for privacy