Nice Guys Finish Last?

Before this comment section has a chance to turn into angry dudes accusing me of being an angry man-hating feminazi bitch, I want to preface this by saying I do not hate men. In fact, I love men. I genuinely want to help you be better and feel happier and have healthier relationships. With that said…

Yesterday during an Instagram story Q&A I offered to give girl/dating advice to my male followers from my not technically qualified but very experienced view point (I am by no means claiming to be an expert so you can take my advice with a grain of salt, but I am someone who has had more than their fair share of life experience, has dated across multiple countries and has an extensive network of female friends with whom I’ve discussed this kind of thing at length). It’s become one of my highest viewed IG stories in months and generally the feedback I’ve received has been pretty good, but one particular response I gave has left quite a few butthurt guys angrily ranting in my DMs. One person asked me “Why do nice guys finish last?” and I told him that they don’t, and if you think that, chances are you’re not actually as nice as you think you are.

“Nice”. It’s a simple word that has become a complicated figure in modern dating. We are constantly exposed to this tired old narrative, “Nice guys finish last! Girls don’t want to date me because I’m TOO NICE! Why do girls only date assholes? I did EVERYTHING for her and that dumb fucking BITCH dated some good looking asshole instead!” If you’re a guy who subscribes to that school of thought you’re not going to like what I have to say, but let me break it down for you – it’s very, very unlikely that being nice, being actually, genuinely NICE, to a woman, has ever been the reason you got rejected.

Women LOVE men who are nice to them but human emotion and attachment is so deeply complex and varied from person to person that unfortunately “being nice” (which is really just a basic fucking level of respect that you should be giving to everyone) isn’t the only qualifier in sexual and/or romantic attraction. There is no amount of “being nice” that you can do to someone to make them fall in love with you if the feeling simply isn’t there. Are you interesting or funny? Do you have common interests? Are you passionate about the same things? Do you have similar long term goals? And sometimes, even if all that stuff is there, the thing that sparks romantic interest (whatever the hell it is) simply isn’t. I have so many wonderful, nice men in my life whose platonic friendships I cherish but who I have no interest in dating or fucking. That’s just how attraction works.

The thing is, being “nice” to someone does not entitle you to anything. If your only motivation for being nice to a woman is because you expect to be rewarded for it with sex or love, you’re actually not nice at all, you’re selfish and manipulative. If you call a woman a bitch or a slut for not giving you sex after you were “so nice” to her, you’re REALLY not nice, in fact you’re pretty awful. “She told me she wasn’t interested so I drove her to the airport through rush hour traffic like four times and picked up her dog from the vet and delivered her grocery shopping but that bitch still won’t date me!” Ok well stop fucking doing shit for people under false pretenses if you’re expecting to be given a cookie and a blow job in return. Will some women take advantage of “niceness” (aka you being a doormat in the hopes it’ll make them love you) and walk all over you? Sure, some women are shitty people. If that’s the case, don’t fucking let them. Niceness is not transactional – be nice to someone because you want to, not because you want to feel owed something.

In the past, many years ago, I’ll admit I’ve mistakenly applied the term “too nice” to a guy I wasn’t into because “too nice” has become an unfortunate and misleading blanket term used to sugarcoat a number of deeper problems. It’s a term I have made sure to never use again, because being nice is a good thing and this guy being nice wasn’t really what was turning me away; it was him being a total fucking doormat. He agreed with EVERYTHING I said, rarely stated any opinions on anything other than to tell me I was right all the time, never stood up for himself and constantly apologized despite having done nothing wrong, I felt like he had placed me up on some pedestal where I never asked or wanted to be. So sure, this guy was very “nice” to me, but nobody wants to date a weak, boring yes-man with no discernible personality of his own. It’s very likely the only women you will attract acting like that are the ones who will willingly take advantage of it.

When I say I want to date someone who is “nice”, that really just means being kind and respectful and treating me like an EQUAL. It does not mean being a doormat. It does not mean groveling at my feet and agreeing with everything I say and telling me I’m right when I’m wrong. It does not mean being meek or timid or boring or submissive. Conversely, being confident and outgoing doesn’t make someone an asshole. You can be nice AND confident. You can be nice AND strong. You can be nice AND stand up for yourself. You can be nice AND interesting, cool and fun. You can be nice AND good looking (can we please, for the love of god, quit perpetuating the stereotype that average looking people are inherently good and kind, while conventionally attractive people are inherently mean and shitty).

As for the “Girls only like assholes” trope, one of the biggest issues here is that it implies that “assholes” act like assholes from the very beginning which just isn’t the case. Nobody WANTS to be treated badly. The last asshole I dated seemed like a fucking fairytale dream come true in the beginning and it wasn’t until I was already deeply emotional invested that he dropped the “nice” act and started treating me like the asshole he really was. Against the advice of my very frustrated friends I stuck around months longer than I should have, partly because I was desperately clinging on to hope that the bad stuff was just a phase and he’d go back to being the nice, sweet, fun guy he presented himself as at the start (he never did), and partly because he was very good at convincing me that any time he said or did something hurtful it was actually my fault for being too ‘sensitive’ or ‘insecure’.

One of the most interesting things to come out of my Instagram Q&A yesterday was that I was fucking inundated with messages from men who felt stuck in situations with women who treat them like shit – My fiancé is jealous and controlling, my girlfriend won’t let me see my friends, I keep going back to my ex even though she constantly criticizes me, I’m seeing a girl who is cheating on her boyfriend with me but I love her, etc, and yet… we NEVER hear the narrative “Guys only like bitches! Nice girls finish last!!” Getting manipulated by someone you care about who doesn’t treat you well is by no means exclusive to women but for some reason we are the only ones getting routinely guilt-tripped and demonized for it.

If you truly believe “the asshole always gets the girl” then it’s likely a case of you seeing yourself as the hero of your own story; you did everything right, you were nice and polite and maybe picked her up from the club one night when she was drunk so of course it’s only fair that you get the girl, right? But suddenly, in sweeps some other guy and takes what you wanted, what you worked for and thought you deserved, so naturally you’re going to see him as the villain even if he’s just a nice normal dude who hasn’t really done anything wrong other than take something that was never actually yours to begin with. And if they end up fighting and breaking up because he turns out to be an asshole it doesn’t mean she prefers assholes to nice guys, it just means he probably seemed like a nice guy when they met!!!

Believe me when I say that I understand how much it fucking sucks when you really, really like someone, and you feel a connection and you think you two would be so perfect together… and they just don’t feel the same. In my eight years of being single I’ve experienced more romantic rejection than I care to recall, I’ve heard, “You’re so cool and fun but I just don’t like you like that” so many times it could be the title of my autobiography. I get it. It SUCKS. But that’s life, and it’s something you have to learn to handle like an adult. Throwing a pity party about how nice you are is not the move.

Moral of the story, you didn’t get rejected for being nice. Maybe you were boring, maybe you were a doormat, maybe she loves you as a friend but doesn’t feel a romantic connection, or maybe you’re just not her physical type. There are hundreds of possible reasons why someone you liked and were nice to didn’t want to date you but it all boils down to “She just wasn’t into you”. Keep being nice because it’s the right thing to do, but do it authentically and not because you want something in return. The sooner you drop the victim complex and can understand and accept that nobody owes you their emotions or body and you cannot “nice” someone into loving you, the sooner you can start having a better shot at forming genuine connections with women and hopefully find someone who likes you too.

Good luck out there.

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11 thoughts on “Nice Guys Finish Last?

  1. Lovely post. Thanks for standing up for some of the good ones and overall for giving your time and advice to the discussion. It’s only your opinion but it was valued and appreciated. Hopefully you are happy with the one your with. Thank you very much again madam and I hope to hear from you soon.
    Be blessed and enjoy life!

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  2. Everyone has the capacity to sympathise, but not everyone can empathise. If people don’t know something or don’t like something, they immediately become defensive and combative over their one specific viewpoint. They struggle to accept that what they might be doing is the ultimate cause of their own personal problems, rather than someone else and so they forever live in denial and are never able to learn and improve as a person.

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  3. Vincent Koster says:

    I was reading all of your insta stories the other day I personally loved all of your advice.
    I don’t date anyone for reasons outside of any of these things that were being chucked at you but I really enjoy getting these perspectives for when I do actually put myself out into that world. I hope you do more of these as they seemed pretty insightful and very friendly as opposed to a more aggressive more hateful approach to the fallacies of some men when it comes to these more submissive victim archetypes

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  4. Really liked this piece. I think one of the most important points you touched on was the false idea of niceness many guys have in their minds; niceness focused on reciprocation or ulterior motives isn’t genuine. It reminds me of Immanuel Kant’s ethics in treating people like ends in themselves and not means to an end; many men treat women as means to the ends of sex or objectification.

    It also made me think of the stoic idea of realizing there are only two things in the world that you have control over; your own actions and your feelings/thoughts. Everything else is necessarily outside of your control, and is of a lower concern. Blending with seeing people (women) as means to an ends that is apart from their being human and treating them with a basic dignity and respect on the basis of their humanity (and not something they can do for you), is this false idea of control; that people are like video game romance characters, where if you just do a certain sequence of prescribed things, you can romance them, and that’s how its supposed to go. You cannot control what people think of you, or how they will react to you; it seems like many men, in this respect, have a crisis of control towards women.

    A little bit more on that idea, though; I do think there are a lot of conflicting messages sent to men with regards to courtship. In popular culture (video games, movies, tv shows) and sort of…guy mythology, there’s this idea that love is a sort of instrumental thing; if you do a certain number of things (make girls laugh, buy them things, compliment them), you unlock their romantic love. And I think a lot of women send this signal outwards themselves, and it makes sense as a prerequisite for any sort of meaningful connection; it is, as you say, the spontaneous random spark of romance that is so hard to grasp for a lot of people. I guess that’s why I see the model of love as often portrayed to be quite misleading; the randomness of it all is sorta downplayed, so a failure for a relationship to materialize is seen on the part of the active seeker as a failure on their part.

    My last aside, because my response is growing unnecessarily long. It’s not a critique of your piece by any means; as someone who writes a lot about issues of social justice, I often find myself wondering who the actual audience is of my piece or another piece. I have the sense that the people who would most need to read and digest this sorta stuff…will not, and be turned off by your messaging. It isn’t your prerogative to reach out to these people, and indeed I think the biggest factor turning off those sorts of men from listening to you is your very status to their oppressor group; that is, the hot female. So, it isn’t a thing of it being your responsibility to reach out to those people, but I was just wondering if you ever think…well, is it reaching who it needs to reach? Thanks for the piece.

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    1. I actually had the thought in my head the entire time I was writing this – “The men who really need to hear this are not going to be receptive to hearing it from me” (as several responders proved on Twitter) but it was something I wanted to write regardless!

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  5. This is my first time to read your blog and leave a comment. This is a very thoughtful piece and right on. It seems that our focus on self has poisoned our relational wells. We should not “be nice” to anyone with an expectation of getting something in return. We should do it because loving our neighbors well involves personal sacrifice. Love is beautiful for this reason. I honestly believe that is why Fred Rogers message is resurging. We humans have forgotten how to just be kind to people. This applies to all relationships, not just romantic relationships. Very nicely done, my friend.

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  6. JG says:

    There’s an older book called “No more mister nice guy” and it’s full of good info. A lot of guys are nice because they want something. They enter into what’s called a ‘covert contract’ and the other party does not even know about it. When the niceness is not reciprocated with sex or whatever, the guy gets pissed. I strive to live a life of outcome independence. I do things to do what I think is right, not to get rewarded.

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  7. Brad.W says:

    I thought your blog post was an excellent one. It should be common sense to most men that Love is a complex emotion. It’s not solely based on HIS physical attraction to a hot woman he wants. What the woman wants should always be the more important factor. Growing up, I always felt like I could only be with the girls who really wanted to be with me. How has this whole “niceness for sex” idea has evolved in the minds of so many young men today? Is there’s more lousy information and mixed messages put forth in the media in today’s society? Who knows? It’s particularly shocking to hear on the news about this ridiculous “In-Cel” movement. It’s a group of frustrated guys online who call themselves “involuntarily celibate.” They work themselves into a rage instead of asking themselves: “How would they feel if someone they were not attracted to was badgering them for a date?”

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  8. Paul says:

    Excellent write up. I really appreciate your insight on the topic. I loved reading it while being in agreement about looking at the situations more removed (don’t take things so personally) and with a more mature understanding. Working to get out of the victim mentality and to be your own caring person genuinely is important not just in dating but in carrying on with life, in general. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

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  9. Hello Laura, I read this post when you first posted it. At first, I did not know what to think since I consider myself to be a nice guy. I have been in a couple of decent relationships over the past few years, but never did last. I take the blame…maybe I’m not funny enough or not spontaneous enough or just not their type as you pointed out. I’m the type of person that does things for people without strings. It did not really hit me until this past week. Everyone is looking for someone different in their “perfect” partner. I would not think a beautiful woman as yourself would ever be rejected or considered to be second best. If I lived closer and actually saw you I would tell you to your face that you are #1. I believe you are right their are a lot that goes into attraction and it’s not just being nice. I hope you are well! I do wish you a Happy New Year!

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