Today I want to help out the “nice guy”, a man who showers a woman who is not romantically interested in him with gifts and attention. Note: If you are a woman with the opposite problem, you can swap around the gender references in this article. The stereotype is that the woman will claim to want nice guys but ends up dating jerks instead, leaving the man perplexed and stuck in the Friend Zone. Commonly, the man is in his early 20s and with less dating experience than average. The internet is not kind to nice guys. There are unfortunately a lot of loud people who somehow equate dating inexperience with being evil – something along the lines of this:
“Nice guys” are not actually nice. They are entitled, horrible and manipulative men that pretend to be friends with a girl, with the ulterior motive of trying to date her. The girl owes him absolutely nothing.
If you are genuinely a nice guy with a good heart and who is respectful to women, such statements are hurtful and so ridiculous that I won’t even try to examine them (plus I don’t want to be accused of potentially making a straw man argument). It is to these nice guys that I offer the following tips:
- In the looks department, you probably aren’t in the top 20%: Let’s face it – looks help you a lot, regardless of gender. But this is ok because, by definition, most people are not in the top 20%. And you can greatly improve your appearance by changing your hairstyle & clothing and going to the gym. Generally speaking, for the most long-term success, you should date someone at a similar level of physical attractiveness.
- You can’t expect everyone to like you: Think about those times when you are just trying to meet platonic friends. You don’t start chatting to someone in your engineering class with the definite expectation that you two will become Best Friends Forever. Same goes with dating.
- The Friend Zone is actually a good place to be: Because of the previous point, it is inevitable that many girls will not see you in a romantic light. However, if they still want to be platonic friends with you, you’ve gained one more friend. Who complains about having too many friends? And they also probably know lots of single girls that you’ll eventually be introduced to – so you get turned down by 1 girl and then you meet 5!
- Show romantic interest through touch: Make it unambiguous that you want to be more than just friends. Take risks that are still fairly safe e.g. hold hands and see if she is receptive to more. Obviously, the right timing and circumstances are factors, but if she consistently backs away from even minor physical intimacy, you should respect her boundaries and accept that she doesn’t feel the same way about you.
- If you aren’t sure where it’s going, ask: If it’s been quite a few dates but you’ve been getting mixed signals, ask “where do you see this going with us?” It might be an awkward conversation but you need to know early if there’s any chance that it’s going in the direction you want.
- Relationships are supposed to be mutually beneficial: If you’ve asked but still aren’t getting what you want, walk away – simple as that. Don’t waste time on an arrangement that isn’t going anywhere. While it is true that nobody owes you anything for going on dates with you, you also have to watch out for situations where you are being taken advantage of. You don’t want to be that guy who was sweet-talked into paying for a girl’s college tuition, rent and all-expenses-paid trips across the country all while she was dating other people.
- Don’t get desperate: Why are you dating this girl other than the fact that she’s single (and perhaps beautiful)? Every girl is different, so what do you admire about this girl’s personality? Why do you believe she’s compatible with you? Related to the previous point, perhaps you are investing in a one-sided arrangement because you fear that will not meet someone better. I’ve been there. Don’t succumb to this fear. Don’t settle for someone who treats you badly or won’t work out in the long-term. If you instead focus on continually improving yourself, you will eventually meet a wonderful woman.
- Confidence is key: A mistake that some “nice guys” make is that they get angry over their lack of dating success and bounce to the other extreme – a misogynistic jerk who spends too much time watching The Pick-Up Artist 2 on DVD. The reason why some people are drawn to jerks is because jerks are confident. But if you care about healthy long-term relationships, you shouldn’t – and don’t – have to be a jerk to be successful. Focus instead on improving confidence by investing in yourself e.g. getting a job, making friends, practicing social skills at every single opportunity.
- People are not predictable: If you do everything right and your date suddenly starts swearing at you in public and all you did was something like ask “where do you see this going with us?”, then the problem is with them, not you. Don’t beat yourself up and stop trying to date them. You deserve someone better.
Until next time my friends, keep dating!