The Problem With “Nice Guys”

I always appreciate it when a topic for an article happens to fall into my lap. It saves me all of the time and anxiety that comes with writing a thrice-weekly column that usually culminates with the 3 AM insomnia-inducing panic that leads to my brain screaming “I HAVE RUN OUT OF IDEAS!” as I try to force inspiration into my face through judicious prescriptions of Macallan from my good friend Dr. Whiskey all the while cursing my laptop for betraying me by not magically producing the pages that the DMT elves promised me.


In fairness, that really only happens every other day…

In this case, the kernel of an article came to me via Twitter as one of my readers linked me to a post on Tumblr with a rant and blistering response between a “Nice Guy” and one of the many women who bought into the “Nice Guy” schtick. The issue of the “Nice Guy” is one that is close to my cold, mercenary heart if only because I’ve spent so much time in that mindset and every “I’ve been friendzoned” rant brings familiar echoes of ones that I wrote myself and broadcast to the uncaring world wide web – ones that fortunately have been lost to the universe, never to be seen again1

As much as the issue of the Nice Guy forever continues to rise, phoenix-like from the ashes of self-destructing friendships, as someone who has been there, done that and literally printed the t-shirt (another college experiment that has been destroyed) I feel the need to educate my Nice Guy brethren as to just what the big fucking problem is with the Nice Guy world view and just why it’s so goddamn toxic.

 It’s Fundamentally Dishonest

Let’s start with the most obvious issue here: the supposed “Nice Guy” is a liar from start to finish.

A Nice Guy traditionally finds himself in the Friend Zone in one of two ways: either he asks someone out and gets the Let’s Just Be Friends speech or else he never asks her out in the first place. Either way, he strikes up a friendship with her instead – a friendship that is, at it’s core, predicated on her eventually realizing what a great guy he his, how he has all these amazing sides to him that she just has never seen before and that he’s actually pants-wettingly sexy. The Nice Guy spends his time trying to be as close to his designated crush as possible – after all, the more time he gets to spend with her, the more opportunities she gets to recognize his inner stud-muffin. He goes out of his way to do nice things for his “friend”, earns her trust and her confidence, provides a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen with…

… which is all well and good if he were being a genuine friend to her.

He is not.

All of this attention is done, not with the desire to support his friend but to ingratiate her to him. He’s engaging in what is, for all intents and purposes, a transactional relationship or a particularly grind-y MMO quest line. In his mind, by acting like her friend –  doing her favors, spending time with her, giving her emotional support at times when her real boyfriend is acting like a raging asshole – he’s collecting as many pork-asses as he possibly can until the end of the quest when she breaks up with her boyfriend and he can trade all of those hard-earned pork-asses in for a relationship… or at least one night of vulnerability-induced sex and an incredibly awkward morning after full of regrets and mint-schnapps-flavored vomit.

Then there’s the “don’t blow your load early” quicktime event…

All this would be bad enough if she were the only person he were lying to.

Unfortunately, she isn’t. Y’see, the “Nice Guy” is also lying to himself.

Check any of the many “I’ve been friend-zoned” or “Nice Guy” rants on Facebook or Reddit or Tumblr – no, seriously, go ahead. I’ll wait – and you’ll see a recurring pattern: “She doesn’t want a nice guy, she only wants those assholes who treat her better. She needs to be dating me, I actually respect her!”

No son. No you really don’t.

The “Nice Guy” has usually bought into the lies that he’s peddling: that he’s really being a good friend to her, that he respects her in ways her asshole boyfriends don’t, that his love for her is a purer, more deserving love than anyone else she might know.

Except of course he isn’t, he doesn’t and quite frankly, he’s probably not really in love with her anyway. A true friend doesn’t make his relationship with a person conditional to the idea that some day – maybe not today, but some day soon – that person is obligated to fall in love (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) with him.

Moreover, he continues to lie to himself because, quite frankly, most Nice Guys know how their lust-object feels about them. Now to be fair, confessing your love for someone can be absurdly intimidating; after all, you are deliberately making yourself vulnerable to rejection. However, the Nice Guy may dress his hesitancy up as a failure of courage but deep down he knows exactly why he’s not going to say anything: because as soon as he does, the illusion is ruined. All of the Nice Guy Points he’s accumulated drain away along with the fantasy that he might wear her down to the point that she would give in and he’s forced to acknowledge the ugly truth that it’s just never going to happen. At this point, the Nice Guy has two options: continue to hang around knowing that he never stands a chance or to run away.

Small wonder most Nice Guys choose to run away and complain about it on their social networks instead.

Welcome To The (Pity) Party, Pal!

The inevitable end result of the “Nice Guy”‘s relationship with his supposed friend is tragedy – at least as far as the Nice Guy is concerned. Either the Nice Guy sees an opportunity and makes his move – and gets shot down –  or his crush gets a new boyfriend; this is usually seen as the last straw for the Nice Guy. This event is celebrated in the manner traditional to the Nice Guy’s people: blowing up at the object of his affection for her “betrayal” of him or a long and often embarrassing rant on the Internet all about the perfidy of womankind.

Allow me to present you with an actual Nice Guy rant, as posted to Craigslist in 2007:

I see this question posted with some regularity in the personals section, so I thought I’d take a minute to explain things to the ladies out there that haven’t figured it out.

What happened to all the nice guys?

The answer is simple: you did.

See, if you think back, really hard, you might vaguely remember a Platonic guy pal who always seemed to want to spend time with you. He’d tag along with you when you went shopping, stop by your place for a movie when you were lonely but didn’t feel like going out, or even sit there and hold you while you sobbed and told him about how horribly the (other) guy that you were fucking treated you.

At the time, you probably joked with your girlfriends about how he was a little puppy dog, always following you around, trying to do things to get you to pay attention to him. They probably teased you because they thought he had a crush on you. Given that his behavior was, admittedly, a little pathetic, you vehemently denied having any romantic feelings for him, and buttressed your position by claiming that you were “just friends.” Besides, he totally wasn’t your type. I mean, he was a little too short, or too bald, or too fat, or too poor, or didn’t know how to dress himself, or basically be or do any of the things that your tall, good-looking, fit, rich, stylish boyfriend at the time pulled off with such ease.

Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you werent dating him. More time passed, and the boyfriend eventually cheated on you, or became boring, or you realized that the things that attracted you to him weren’t the kinds of things that make for a good, long-term relationship. So, now, you’re single again, and after having tried the bar scene for several months having only encountered players and douche bags, you wonder, “What happened to all the nice guys?”

Well, once again, you did.

You ignored the nice guy. You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy. You laughed at his consideration and resented his devotion. You valued the aloof boyfriend more than the attentive “just-a-” friend. Eventually, he took the hint and moved on with his life. He probably came to realize, one day, that women aren’t really attracted to guys who hold doors open; or make dinners just because; or buy you a Christmas gift that you mentioned, in passing, that you really wanted five months ago; or listen when you’re upset; or hold you when you cry. He came to realize that, if he wanted a woman like you, he’d have to act more like the boyfriend that you had. He probably cleaned up his look, started making some money, and generally acted like more of an asshole than he ever wanted to be.

Fact is, now, he’s probably getting laid, and in a way, your ultimate rejection of him is to thank for that. And I’m sorry that it took the complete absence of “nice guys” in your life for you to realize that you missed them and wanted them. Most women will only have a handful of nice guys stumble into their lives, if that.

So, if you’re looking for a nice guy, here’s what you do:

1.) Build a time machine.
2.) Go back a few years and pull your head out of your ass.
3.) Take a look at what’s right in front of you and grab ahold of it.

I suppose the other possibility is that you STILL don’t really want a nice guy, but you feel the social pressure to at least appear to have matured beyond your infantile taste in men. In which case, you might be in luck, because the nice guy you claim to want has, in reality, shed his nice guy mantle and is out there looking to unleash his cynicism and resentment onto someone just like you.

If you were five years younger.

So, please: either stop misrepresenting what you want, or own up to the fact that you’ve fucked yourself over. You’re getting older, after all. It’s time to excise the bullshit and deal with reality. You didn’t want a nice guy then, and he certainly doesn’t fucking want you, now.

A Recovering Nice Guy

So while I’m sure the whining felt good to get off his chest at the time, it’s also a great big insight into just what’s going through a Nice Guy’s head. Here’s a hint: it’s “ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEME”. In ira veritas, after all.

The entire rant says exactly two things:

1) How dare you like someone who is not me?

2) You owe me for all the time and effort I put into you.

There isn’t a word about her needs, her desires or feelings except as how they relate to the Nice Guy. The insinuation that she must have had feelings for him but reused to acknowledge them, the unfairness of not being attracted to him just because he doesn’t look anything like the people you’re usually attracted to. This is the person who was supposed to be her friend – except this was evidently a friendship where “emotional intimacy” is supposed to be reciprocated with access to her body.

Entitlement issues, much?

How much do you want to wager that this “Nice Guy” neglected to mention that particular aspect of his friendship to his “friend”?

It’s ironic that the Nice Guy complains about having been “used” by the object of his crush, considering that he all but admits that he was using her trust and affection for him as a means to try to fuck her. But again: it’s not about her. It’s about him and his complete abdication of responsibility for the situation he’s found himself in. It isn’t his fault that he’s bitter and resentful, it’s her. It’s all her fault that he’s now forced – forced, I tell you! – to be an asshole against his will and to unleash his cynicism2 on the faces of the young, more attractive3 women he’s now compelled to seek out.

Of course, when a Nice Guy dumps a screed like this online, he’s doing so knowing that there will be other Nice Guys out there eager to pat him on the back and commiserate about how evil women are and how much it sucks that Nice Guys like them can’t get a break. After all, the Internet loves a Nice-Guy-done-been-wronged story; witness the ongoing love for the patron saint of Nice Guys.

Fucking Duckie. John Hughes knew not what he wrought when he unleashed his creation upon the world.

The more Nice Guys bitch and moan on the Internet to their fellow travelers, the more it validates their ongoing persecution complex that they’re the victims in this equation. There’s nothing like an Internet circle-jerk of sadness to reinforce the idea that somehow it’s unfair for women to stubbornly refuse to reward being a friend by giving up the pussy.

It's a pity party and all of the Internet is invited!

It’s a pity party and all of the Internet is invited!

Look At It From Her Perspective

You hear from the Nice Guys on a regular basis about how bitches ain’t shit, but it’s not very often that attention is paid to the woman’s side of things. After all, it’s worth remembering that there are two people involved in this situation. More if you want to include everyone involved in posting memes in the Nice Guy rants on Reddit.

"Sorry, couldn't hear you over our pity party."

“Sorry, couldn’t hear you over our pity party.”

This is one of the things that I especially liked about the Tumblr post: the reminder that while the Nice Guy is busy getting back-pats for unleashing torrents of butthurt, there’s a young woman out there who’s feeling confused and hurt when she found out that someone she trusted, someone she thought she could confide in and rely on was wondering how long he was going to have to put up with this emotional shit before she let him get to second base.

As horrible as the woman’s “betrayal” may be for the Nice Guy, it’s worse for the person he’d been lying to; she’s not the one who accepted the offer of friendship under false pretenses, whose honest response of “I don’t feel that way about you” is met with a torrent of abuse, in person and online. She allowed herself to trust him, to share secrets and fears, to make herself emotionally vulnerable only to find out that he’s just trying to collect fuck-points. Meanwhile he’s the one getting the sympathy and support while she’s reviled for being a dumb castrating bitch who deserves the misery she will surely get when she realizes how much of a prize she missed out on.

I get that rejection hurts; I’ve been rejected more times than I can count and I’ve got the wangsty emo LiveJournal posts to prove it. But the Nice Guy’s self-involvement denies the fact that someone else has been hurt in this self-inflicted drama – and she’s been cast as the villain through no fault of her own.

Side note: yes, there are people out there who are users and manipulators. The fact that assholes exist does not change the fact that the Nice Guy is a shitty person for trying to hold onto a friendship only so he could fuck someone. And I say this as someone who has been The Nice Guy several times.

What’s Wrong With Friendship Anyway?

Now, I will be the first to admit that there’s a certain level of irony inherent when someone who teaches guys how to escape the Friend Zone talks shit about guys who hope to do just that – but as I like to point out, ending up in the Friend Zone is a matter of choice. You aren’t held there against your will – after all, you could always be honest and walk away instead of pretending that you’re happy to be there.

The inherent message of the Nice Guy complaining about being Friend-Zoned is that there’s something lesser about friendship – that it’s a consolation prize for not getting his dick sucked on the regular. And yet he’s willing to fake an interest in friendship in hopes of finding the back door to your front-door if you know what I mean.

(I mean vagina.)

To most people, friendship is an awesome thing; close friends are your family by choice, after all. They’re the people who help you move, you support you when you’re down, the people you have fun with, share the good times with…

But to a Nice Guy, this isn’t friendship. This is going above-and-beyond, at least when the friend involved gives you boners and politely ignores it when she catches you staring at her tits. Again.

The Nice Guy wants extra credit and applause for doing what anyone else would think of as “part of being a friend”, and as my mom has said to me more than once, if you want applause for doing your job, learn to fucking juggle.

Treating friendship as the crappy substitute says everything about how much the Nice Guy really values the woman he professes to care about… and a lot about himself. Just as women aren’t obligated to fall in love with you just because you really want it, neither are you forced to stick around if that’s not what you want. It may be a little cold-blooded to say “No, thank you, that’s not the relationship I want with you,” but it’s a damn sight more respectful and honest than sticking around because you’re willing to put up with it in exchange for the vague chance of fucking her in the future. Sticking around – knowing that there’s no chance – is just self-inflicted martyrdom in the name of the bullshit idea that attraction and friendship are somehow mutually exclusive.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

It doesn’t take much to avoid being a Nice Guy – just some basic honesty, integrity, a little bit of courage and a willingness to treat women as people instead of an obstacle course that leads to pussy. It’s better in general – both in the short term and the long term – to be up front with your attraction and your intent. There’s nothing shameful in wanting to sleep with someone, only in the way you go about trying to achieve it.


Even in practical terms, it’s far better to fess up early and, if necessary, move on. Those months or years you spend as a Nice Guy, pining after someone you’ll never sleep with could be better spent finding someone you will hook up with.

I spent far more time as the Nice Guy than I care to think about, and I know for a fact that I hurt some people very badly because of the way I treated them. Once I matured enough to get over the idea that the way to a woman’s heart (or vagina) was to pretend to be her friend and wait until I ground her down, I learned how to appreciate that just because I wanted to fuck her didn’t mean that I couldn’t still be a genuine friend – or that an attraction to someone had to be consummated at all costs.

If she’s cool enough for you to want to sleep with her, odds are good that she’s cool enough to be an awesome friend too – and if that’s all that it’s going to be, then that’s fine. There will be other women who are just as awesome… and she may well be the one to introduce you to them.

  1. And while I’m tempting fate, I would like to say that God has shitty aim. []
  2. And, y’know, his backed-up semen []
  3. Extra points for an “and you’re ugly too!” stinger []

  • deleted4339509

    To the female Nerdlove commenters who have experienced a friendzoned dude's cruelty firsthand: did it tend to come as a surprise when he finally performed the grand reveal? Was there ever a nagging feeling that his words and actions were just a facade? Did your closest friends tell you how he felt or warn you that he isn't being true, but you gave him the benefit of the doubt?

    • Squirrel

      Every dude who goes on a friendzone explosion is different. Sometimes he admits attraction but says he's okay with being friends, and then you find out later that he's telling his bros that you're a "selfish bitch." Sometimes he just passive aggressively tries to woo you and then gets upset when you shatter his personal fantasy world where the two of you are dating by going out and dating someone else. Sometimes he just drops off the face of the earth, leaving you wondering if he's just nuclear optioned your friendship, or if it was just a coincidence that he stop responding to any attempts to contact him right around the time you brought up the Significant Other.

    • Tosca

      Never been the girl, but I've been the friend of the girl.
      She DID have a clue, but was just hoping it would blow over. The guy kept just enough plausible deniability to make it impossible for her to confront him directly. Plus, she never wanted to do anything to "lead him on". However, just stopping being friends for no reason would make her the bitch in the friend circle, so she'd continue to be friends with him. She'd even get with the other women in our group to try and set him up with other women, but that never really worked.
      These guys don't realize what a catch 22 they put the girl in. And the guy in particular that I'm thinking of, he wasn't "nice" at all, despite what he thought. He was an arrogant twit who talked down to women and made gender-essentialist comments.

      • It is. It's a total catch 22.

      • That was my experience as well.

      • Juuuuuulia

        I've been a friend of a girl who obviously loved the attention but didn't actually want to date the guy so she used his plausible deniability against him. Basically, she wanted everyone to see that someone was devoted to her, which made her awesome, but that she was still available to awesomer people. And he was friending all of us to gather intel on how she felt about him and we were like HOLY SHIT GET OUT OF THERE because even though she wasn't saying, WE could all tell that she was basking in the attention.

        People like this exist too! Nice Guying is overall non-advantageous, even from a purely game-theoretic standpoint.

        Dude bounced back; I heard he dated the daughter of the wealthiest man in Hong Kong at one point, or something like that. o.O

        • eselle28

          That's fair. There are sociopaths out there, and some of them are women. I think people just bristle at the idea that what you describe is the usual case.

          • Juuuuuulia

            Nono, I agree. I'm just saying that either you hurt a nice girl or you get played by a manipulative girl. Nice Guying is not an optimal strategy!

          • eselle28

            Oh, absolutely.

        • Paul Rivers

          Thanks for posting that.

          • Guest

            You get down voted for that? WTF? The posters on here are usually inciteful and well reasoned, even if they're spouting feminist platitudes, but down voting a thanks? What is wrong with people who read the comments?

          • You may be missing some of the social context here. I didn't downvote the "Thanks," but it reads to me as "Thanks for validating my existing beliefs about women being manipulative, now when people challenge me I can point to a woman who agrees with me."

          • Jes


        • Amber

          Also there can be an in-between as the girl. I had the "nice guy" friendship thing once, and I enjoyed the attention at first and then it started making me uncomfortable. So yeah, its complicated. And to this day I think he emotionally manipulated me into sleeping with him. So even tho I did enjoy the attention at first, I *told* him I wasn't interested in dating him, and yet it ended poorly and it was still my fault for "leading him on". I guess my point is that women aren't perfect, and that's not an excuse to act like a Nice Guy.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            There are men who hear “I'm not interested in dating” or “I'm not interested in a(n exclusive) relationship right now” and assume either a) she's mistaken or b) that he can change her mind.I've made that mistake once.Once.

          • Of course, the real answer is that she's lying.

            She's got no problem dating or being in a relationship. She just has a problem being in a relationship with you.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Maybe she is, maybe she isn't. Trying to change her mind is strictly a lose-lose proposition.

          • While you may not care whether someone who claims to be your friend is lying to you, some of us do.

            It isn't always about being upset at not hearing the answer we wanted. Sometimes it really is about the fact that the other person lied when they're claiming to be a friend.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Yeah, that's what this article is about – guys who claim to be a friend when they were only doing friend things to get credit towards sex.

          • Exactly. Why would you assume that only one gender gets upset about being lied to by people who claim to be their friends?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I wouldn't. I would assume that's what this article is about. I would assume there's a difference between being friends and wanting to date. So someone can be your friend and still not want to be romantically involved.

            If you want to find an article about how everyone lies to everyone or how women say they don't want to date when they mean they don't want to date you, I'll discuss those issues in the appropriate comments section.

            And don't go for the cheap shot about asking why that isn't what this article is about. Ask the Doc or go write your own.

          • If you want the discussion to be narrowed to the point of implicit sexism, that's your call, I guess.

            Me, I tend to think that's going to be counterproductive if the goal is to actually get the "Nice Guys" to get out of their own narrow mindsets.

          • Mel_

            It's about the size of the lie. Saying "I'm not interested in dating" when you mean "I'm not interested in dating you" amounts to the same thing to the guy she's talking to–she isn't going to date him. That's all he needs to know. Whether she's going to end up dating other people isn't really his business anyway.

            Saying, "I'm happy just being friends" when you mean "I only want to be around you if we can start dating/having sex" is saying the exact opposite of what's true. And the woman would probably have a totally different response to one than the other. By saying one when he means the other, a guy is preventing the woman from knowing what's actually going on in their friendship.

            I think it should be pretty clear that a tiny lie that means the exact same thing as the full truth to the person hearing it is nowhere near as problematic as a big lie that means the complete opposite of the full truth, and so there's a lot more reason to be a lot more upset about the latter.

          • Vancouverois

            Is it even a lie? I'd argue that when you say "I'm not interested in dating", the "you" is pretty much implied.

          • Nox

            Not always, actually. Some people will take the phrase at face value, and might later feel "betrayed" when he finds out that someone else managed to get through her non-interest stance. No matter if it's a guy or a girl who says they're not interested in dating. And I'd like to argue that it's his right to feel betrayed when the perceived lie is made clear. I would NOT argue that it's his right to claim she betrayed him, however. There's a difference there, especially as opinions can change rather quickly when you meet the right person and the words might have been honest at the time they were said. And even if she did intend to mislead him, if he himself is only in the friendship with the intention of getting into her pants, he shouldn't really be casting any stones, should he?

            ….I tried to keep things gender neutral, but only confused myself with all "them" and "the other person". So I defaulted to "him" for the Nice Guy and "her" for the disinterested party, even though I've seen the opposite situations once or twice.

          • eselle28

            Sometimes that's the case. But what if she's non-monogamous by nature, or just got out of a shitty relationship, or is looking at making some big change in her life in the next few months, or just went through some major life event? I've certainly known lots of new college freshmen and recently single women and expectant TFA members/grad students/Peace Corps members who said that and damn well meant it.

            Either way, it's a no.

      • Paul Rivers

        "However, just stopping being friends for no reason would make her the bitch in the friend circle, so she'd continue to be friends with him"

        Then it sounds to me like your social circle is about as much to blame as the guy (not saying he's not to blame, just that he's not the only party). My social circle's have always blamed someone if they deliberately over the top used someone else, but if someone just didn't want to be friends with someone else it was their business not ours.

        • eselle28

          It can be a problem with the social circle. I know that at least in mine, there were lots of people who felt similarly to the Nice Guy and felt that he "deserved a shot" (it was never really clear to me what form that was expected to take) because they liked him and enjoyed his company.

          There are times when it's not the social circle, though. Sometimes it's just logistically very hard to be friends with a group of people without interacting with one member of that social set – and that's true whether that person is a Nice Guy, or your painful crush, or just someone who you find really toxic and unpleasant. If you end up asking people to choose, you look like (and often are) the bad guy for making them pick one friend over another. If you don't, you often end up seeing the person you want to avoid so often that it doesn't look like there's been any real change.

        • Amber

          Yes totally. In my experience the people around me claiming I was 'leading him on" were just at fault for making me feel guilty as the guy himself. Even tho I was totally stuck in a catch 22 because I was a bitch if I stopped hanging out with him (Im so full of myself! He cares more about our friendship! really!!!)and a bitch if I continued our messed up relationship (I was the bitch leading him on). As if a grown man isn't responsible for his own actions and emotions.

          • Looks to me like a grown woman claiming she isn't responsible for her actions. I don't see the difference.

          • Nox

            Because in this case it's a matter of "damned if you do, damned if you don't". If she stops being friends with him: She's an evil bitch. If she keeps being friends with him: She's leading him on, and is a bitch for not allowing his advances.

            If I kick a guy in the shin, and then rant at him for hurting my toes and he argues back (without hitting me back :p) … does that mean he's claiming he isn't responsible for his actions?

      • Would you care to explain why dropping someone you describe as "an arrogant twit who talked down to women" would be "for no reason"?

        • eselle28

          I think this is a problem with a lot of relationships, platonic or romantic, and that it's especially bad in nerd circles. "I don't like you that much," or, "I don't really approve of the way you're acting," aren't good reasons to stop talking to someone in certain circles. If there's not some egregious incident to complain about, someone who wants to break ties is at least expected to provide a plausible excuse.

          That's one of the reasons that I think it should be more acceptable just to end things without providing reasons.

          • What kind of pressure are the people forcing you to stay in these "friendships" exherting on you? That would seem to be the real problem, not the arrogant twit.

        • Tosca

          Because, being an arrogant twit to women isn't seen by lots of people as a reason to stop being friends**.*I* think it is plenty reason, but come on, you've never been in a group where someone being casually sexist or racist was tolerated?? “It's just his way!” “Oh that Josh, yeah he's an ass, but what're ya gonna do? You've got to have a thick skin!”So SHE felt pressured to put up with it.**thats when people even acknowledge the sexism exists. People who are not the target of such treatment often don't, won't or can't see it. So the “complainer” is wrongly accused of “starting drama” when she has a valid complaint.Sent from my iPhone

        • Tosca

          Ok, now that I've read the rest of your little asshole-coddling comments, how about you peace out with your “strong” self who always “takes responsibility” for him/herself. Must be nice to be so perfect that you've never felt social pressure, never did anything not-so-smart, and used your psychic powers to preemptively dump toxic people.And heads up everyone: talking about problematic behavior never solved anything! Lets just hide all that assholery where no one will ever challenge it. Are you fucking serious with this?? How can you call yourself a youth rights RADICAL and believe that nothing can ever be changed?Sent from my iPhone

          • Moose

            I will say that you can learn to deal to fend off unwanted social pressure, or not put much stock in it. You just also have to accept that, depending on how strongly you feel on it, you're gonna lose some other friends in the process.

          • Tosca

            True, people learn this stuff at different rates and there is healthy boundary-drawing that I advocate. But it does no good to tell someone BE STRONGER BE SMARTER when they are sharing times they had issues with boundaries and toxic people. Gee, think of how easy Captain Awkward's job would be if she ascribed to YRR's way:”Dear Reader,Your problem is you aren't strong, like me. Dump those friends you've had since elementary school with no conflicting emotions! Be like a robot with no feelings and if you end up having a hard time, it is because you are weak and apparently a grown woman who hates taking responsibility for herself.You're welcome.”Sent from my iPhone

    • eselle28

      My only experience with the Nice Guy Explosion was a little different than what tends to be described. He wasn't my best friend who I told all my secrets to and sought emotional intimacy from. He was just a guy in my group of friends. I was aware fairly early on that he was interested in me romantically. I made a point of not getting too close to him and dropped as many negative signals as I thought I could to someone who hadn't made his intentions clear. As for my friends, some of them did really like him, so their response to the situation was that he was a good guy who was being a little annoying about his crush, and that it would fade when he met someone else.

      • For the record, making your intentions clear, even when he hasn't made his clear would probably have saved you and him a lot of headaches.

        • eselle28

          I did. Many times over. I told him I wasn't interested in dating anyone seriously (my nanosecond-long marriage had just ended, and I was enjoying meeting new people) and that I wasn't interested in dating dudes of his particular type and eventually that I wasn't interested in him as anything more than a classmate. It didn't change things, because he didn't believe me.

          • You didn't make your intentions clear at the start, then.

            That "eventually" you eventually worked up to, should have been what you led with.

            After that, it's all on him, but you not being ready to date anyone seriously just translates to "wait a while", not "stop pursuing me".

          • eselle28

            I said many different forms of no and never said any form of yes. Lots of discouragement and no encouragement should give enough of a hint. I'd note that the problems continued for at least 9 months after I told him specifically that I wasn't interested in him.

            I ended up having to find a completely different group of friends after that because people thought I was mean and shallow for not wanting to date him, so it's not any wonder why women lead with the soft no and hope the guy will go away rather than retaliate.

          • Um, that old group of friends who drove you off over this? They are also aweful people you are better off not having as friends.

            Why are you not celebrating getting so many aweful people out of your life in one fell swoop?

            The soft no would just mean that you would continue to unknowingly associate with all these aweful people in addition to the asshole who lashes out in the face of rejection, wouldn't it?

          • eselle28

            Yes, they're kind of lame and cowardly. They didn't drive me off, of course, but they kept inviting him places and he kept making me miserable and eventually I had to break off friendships with them, which they of course resented and blamed me for.

            But do you know who sucks more? The fucking Nice Guy who wouldn't take no for an answer. It would be wonderful if everyone identified such people and excluded them from any form of social contact. I'd totally encourage that. But until then, there will be a lot of pressure to try to chase the Nice Guy off without making a fuss about things.

          • And that pressure is all coming from people you are better off not associating with in the first place.

          • eselle28

            So the moral story is don't hang out with nerds at all? Because unfortunately most groups of them have at least one of these dudes.

            Instead of telling people who are victims of nice guys to rejoice in not having friends, I think it's better to point out why Nice Guyishness is wrong and encourage more people to shun Nice Guys.

          • You know how you encourage more people to shun Nice Guys? By not voluntarily associating with people who don't shun Nice Guys.

            There are plenty of groups that don't have these assholes present, and plenty of groups that will side against them when they're acting like assholes. You're selling your own social life and your own self-worth short by settling for anything less than that in your social group.

          • eselle28

            Or we could actually criticize the Nice Guys. Because why not? They're doing bad shit. They're doing worse shit than their friends who tolerate them or the women who are so horrible they don't say no in quite the right way. What's so wrong with actually pointing things at the guys who are the initial cause of the problem?

            Dude, you're a Nice Guy sympathizer and probably a Nice Guy yourself. You do not make a credible source as to the ease of finding social groups that don't support rape culture.

          • Moose

            That's pretty difficult, because nerd guys will identify with nice guy shit a lot more than non-nerds.

          • eselle28

            So, again, maybe we should criticize the Nice Guys more and more and more eloquently, so that regular old nerd dudes figure out who they are and what makes them different. And, hell, maybe a Nice Guy or two will catch on that it's fruitless and start seeking other ways to relate to people.

          • If you want to make regular nerds see what makes them different, maybe start by talking a bit about nerds who aren't Nice Guys. Talk a bit about what the things that set them appart from those aweful Nice Guys, so they can know that you aren't talking about them when you launch into a bitter diatribe against those aweful Nice Guys.

            Because apparently just hating on the Nice Guy trope hasn't been as effective as you would like.

          • Moose

            Hrm, I think it's actually better to try to relate to them that it's a massive waste of time, their crush is probably not based totally on reality, get it over with and move on, etc.

          • eselle28

            No, but what you're telling me is that nerds will always support Nice Guyishness, even if they're not the Nice Guys in question, just like they support sexist images in media.

            If that's really the case, why should nerdish women date them? Why shouldn't we try to go find other kinds of men who don't behave this way and who don't put up with friends who behave this way? If things are as you say, women would be right to run screaming from any man who mentions that he likes superhero comics or anime.

          • Moose

            I think most of them will identify with it, because part of the male nerd lifestyle means you're shit with women and you've done this thing before and gotten hurt.

            And I'm not saying nerdish women should date them. I've known a nerd-girl or two who won't date fellow nerdguys for reasons like this.

            Shaming's the wrong way to go about it too. You're making someone feel like over something they already feel like shit over and feel they either have no control or no other realistic way to handle it. Maybe if it can be relayed to them "Look, fuck off with all this waiting around and suffering thing, you're falling in love with your idea of what someone else is instead of finding out if they're that kind of person (I do legit think that crushes are controllable), and if they reject you, you don't have to stick around and be their friend afterwards. And then, hey, you're free to try again with someone else instead of wait for months/years on the off chance this girl who's probably not interested in you will change her mind or quote come to her senses unquote."

          • eselle28

            I'm fine with relaying that if it actually gets across. But a lot of these people are hurting others, and I don't mind throwing a little shaming into the mix, either. There's some great stuff in nerd culture and also some really poisonous stuff, and I think nerd guys would find it very much to their benefit if they laid off the horrible stuff long enough for people who like the same things but who aren't straight, white, North American nerd guys to participate.

            I'd note that part of not being shit with women anymore might involve being able to jump into their heads sometimes, instead of always approaching everything from the standpoint of a nerd guy.

          • Moose

            You're fighting against years of social and self-inflicted conditioning. I've known guys who wouldn't play sports or exercise because that's not what nerds do.

            And I do think Youth does get one thing right… drop'em if you can't deal with them. You can't force change on people who don't want it. And among nerds, who are usually smart people, they're used to being right about nearly everything. Though, tbh, I may think it's easier just because I'm very used to being a loner for long periods of time and entertaining myself. I'm not sure if most people or yourself can do it or even want to do it.

          • eselle28

            I don't really buy into this, and thank goodness, but gosh you guys are depressing. Today, I think I've been both talked out of dating nerds and dating virgins, by nerds and virgins.

          • Moose

            Years of experience with the pieces of the worst your subculture has to offer does tend to colour things negatively.

            You're way better off finding a mainstream geek, because they're usually not hardcore about anything, don't have the same hangups and usually have had a girlfriend or two :p

          • eselle28

            I guess my frustration is with you guys' unwillingness to identify those bad parts as bad and maybe try to do something about them.

            Look, I live in a small town, so my options are dumb non-nerd twentysomethings or dumb non-nerd fortysomethings. But good lord do you guys paint the community in a terrible light, including those guys who have had a girlfriend or two. I might be pointing out some ugly fault lines, but at least I have some hope that they can be repaired over time rather than just shrugged at as a part of the culture.

          • Moose

            Being a former self-identifying nice-guy (who sometimes, in his worst moments, reverts to form, and still shares a belief or two), someone shaming me for it would strengthen my beliefs, or confirmation bias would set in, etc etc.

            I've also dealt with a few people who've not only refused to change for the better no matter how it's been put, but actually have gotten worse. And in my home forum, it took years of people fighting and disagreeing before certain people left, all because social power utterly failed (the peacekeepers would be losing one side of friends or the others in an ultimatum, so they never did anything about it).

            I do sympathize with the small-town problem a ton. :/

          • enail

            Some people aren't willing to change or to acknowledge they should change. At some point, you give up on those people.

            But there are a lot of people who picked up bad attitudes but might rethink them given time or an explanation of why the attitude is bad. There are people who will start out defensive and refuse to listen, but maybe over time something will sink in. Not everyone who's got some problematic mindsets is a pigheaded, unchangeable jerk. I think it's worth trying to have these conversations instead of writing off people who might be open to listening and changing.

          • Nox

            Just as a random note, this argument sounds to me a little like the schools here seem to think when they realize that a few of the kids in a class are bullies (once the newspapers get hold of the information and they can't suppress it anymore), and their solution to the problem is to move the bullied kid to another school and completely alienate them from all of their class mates who actually were friends with them. Because the victim needs to be punished more than the bullies. After all, it has to be in the victim's best interest, right? Surely they wouldn't want to stay in that environment when one or two kids there has been mean?

          • Anon

            wow, you are actually a huge creep.

          • Chaotic Good

            You don't need to justify yourself or your actions to strangers. You did the right thing from the start by making it clear that you weren't interested in him, but you are never going to convince a Nice Guy Apologist of that. The Nice Guy Apologist is always going to blame you, so just ignore them.

    • Hazel

      Continued exposure to insecure assholes throughout adolescence has conditioned me to suppress the idea that someone might be attracted to me, under the excuse that to think that is "arrogant". It's how they maintain plausible deniability. If you try to reject them explicitly, they will insist that they meant to be friends all along, and God, how full of yourself can you be? Not everyone is in love with you, you know!

      Anyway, to this day I can never tell whether or not someone is attracted to me.

      • Paul Rivers

        Well, I do know that sucks – because welcome to the world we live in as guys. I known several girls would would wink at guys, grin, flirtily play with their clothing – then act shocked – and sometimes outraged! (though outrage was fairly rare) when the guy made a move on her.

        Even with girls who aren't being that over the top, I've learned through experience that (unfortunately) if there's 3 cute girls – one is friendly, one is kind of friendly but kind of standoffish, and one is super flirty and really enjoying flirting – the 3rd girl is ALWAYS unavailable (boyfriend, husband, etc). I mean I've tested it forward twice now – not knowing but predicting that she was in a relationship – and she always is.

        Just sayin' it's definitely just as bad for guys.

        • Anthony

          Testing a theory twice does not make it true. The flirty-est two women that I can think of right now are far more flirty when not in a relationship. It's also possible that being flirty is actively helping said person get into a relationship. A true test of this theory would be to know lots (much more than two…) people when they are in relationships and when they are not in relationships, and then (impartially) judging their 'flirt level' during the different times.

          Of course, this is vastly simplifying why people are flirty. But I just wanted to point out that your anecdotal evidence doesn't necessarily apply to the general population.

          • Paul Rivers

            I've watched it happen *way* more than twice. Twice is the number where I didn't see how it worked by looking back, it's where I actually predicted it before finding out about their relationship status. Actual times it's happened is – way higher than twice.

            I've talked to a couple of other guys who have said the same thing.

            All the evidence on this blog in ancedotal. But I don't want exactly what your point is – mine was in response to the other post, saying that as guys we have it just as bad in trying to figure out who's attracted to us. That was the theme of the comment I actually responded to.

        • ARC

          Could be confusing cause and effect. In other words, there's a chance she's flirty because she's taken, and there's a chance she's taken because she's flirty. Outgoing, bubbly, flirty people tend to be fairly attractive.

          • Paul Rivers

            That's what I thought at first, but I watched them break up – then they lost that flirty energy. Once they started dating someone seriously again – it usually came back.

            It's a little beside the point though – my point was that guys don't have any idea who's actually attracted to them either. We get a ton of fake signals…just like the other commenter was saying that women do.

    • Delafina

      In some cases I knew, but I'd told him I wasn't interested. In most of those cases, I ended up ending the friendship, because it was clear that he was growing more and more resentful that I wasn't interested in him romantically/sexually (and this was, I think, harder for them because I wasn't dating anyone at the time, so there was no boyfriend to blame). Some of them seemed to accept it, then complained about me to mutual friends behind my back. A couple exploded at me. One assaulted me.

      And in some cases I didn't know. I have a lot of male friends and most are content to be friends. A lot of them had significant others, or have found them in the time we've been friends, so I don't assume that every single male friend I have is pining after me. I treat them like responsible adults and assume that they'll take responsibility for their own emotional state, and tell me if there's something I need to know.

    • Yes, no, and no.

    • Ainuvande

      If I could tell, I'd usually pull out of the friendship, back it off to parties and other social occasions only. I don't like ambiguity, so if a guy friend got flirty, I would start immediately dropping "you're like a brother to me" into conversation, or tell the story of the childhood friend who I flirted with online but when we tried to hook up IRL it felt all kinds of squicky. Make their face fall a couple times, then bluntly bring it up when we were alone. "I'm sorry, I don't think I'll ever have pants-feelings for you" tends to work well. One of these guys I managed to pull out of the friend-zone death spiral and we are now horror-movie buddies! (he's dated other people since, so I know he's not crushing)

      It's when I couldn't tell that things got awkward. Usually in those cases mutual friends would bring it up to me (inevitably right after I started a different relationship) and I would respond with "well, sucks to be him then. I'm not psychic, and he never opened his mouth."

      Not that I haven't done similar, but I just weaseled my way into his social circle and then flirted heavily with him once he knew me a little. And I was totally prepared for him to shoot me down, having discovered some new friends in the process.

    • S. Taylor

      No nagging feeling for me, ever. I knew there was a level of attraction because we'd had a casual friends-with-benefits arrangement for some time, but during the FWB period I'd always made it perfectly clear that I appreciated the hell out of the fact that he was someone that I could be friends with and ALSO have awesome, not-awkward-afterwards sex with.

      When he did finally do the big reveal, it was months after I'd ended one long-term relationship (just shy of six years) and had JUST entered into a new relationship (which ended up lasting a year and a half, so also a LTR). I told him honestly that I had never been romantically attracted to or interested in him and it wasn't until months later – after we'd ended up becoming platonic roommates out of a mutual need for someone to share rental costs with that we knew could be trusted – that I ended up dealing with the backlash of my rejecting him. That backlash culminated in the end of the friendship after he became emotionally/verbally abusive and physically violent.

      For what it's worth, he emailed me a year after we parted ways to tell me how everything that had occurred had been my fault, because how dare I not reciprocate his romantic interest in me after he'd apparently been keen on me since I'd met him… ten years previously. It's been four years since we parted ways, three since that email, and I am still utterly terrified for my personal safety if I ever happen to run into him on the street. :/

    • Having experienced many Nice Guys in my day, I've always known beforehand what was going on. But as a commentor said below, Nice Guys have an amazing ability to Catch 22 you into a difficult position. They are a form of creeper/predator, in my opinion. Most of the ones I've had experience with use the fact that we work together to put me in a situation where I feel like I have to be extremely careful about how I handle the situation because I have to see, interact with and physically be near this person everyday.

      They also have an amazing ability to pick up on whatever you're weak with. I had to move out of my house when I was 18 and had NO family or support network to lean on. So, a guy (whose 30 to my 17 at the time) at my work offers to maybe give me an old piece of furniture "he's not using anymore" and drop it off at my house since I don't have a car? Sure! I appreciate the help! Same guy shows up at my apartment unannounced on my birthday and gives me a CD that I mentioned I wanted? Fucking creepy stalker. Said guy gets angry because I have a boy over when he decided to randomly stop by? Ok, now I'm ready to call the cops. And yet, somehow, I'm the bitch.

      They always find a way to make you feel indebted, they are masters at that. They sneak it in as a casual gesture of goodwill, and the next thing you know you're trying to politely navigate someone else's emotional minefield because you feel like you owe them something OR because they know so much about you you are legitimately afraid to piss them off.

      I know this is way after-the-fact, but I wanted to put my two cents in to the convo. I don't have any patience for Nice Guys anymore, but still find myself being polite. I've just gotten better about maintaining boundaries to keep from being in the "I owe you" phase.

  • wysewomon

    "You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy." Wow. That kind of says it all, doesn't it? It's one of those, "I knew it happened, but I didn't think anyone was dumb enough to say it out loud" moments. Oh, wait, they do–my ex once told me, when I said I'd like to be able to have emotional intimacy without it's necessarily leading to sex, that it "wasn't okay" with him. Notice how I mentioned he's my EX??? Where in the world do these dumbfucks get the idea that buying emotional intimacy with sex is anything less than prostitution? If you need to get laid that badly, go pay money for it. At least that's honest.

    This topic really jerks my chain. Thanks for telling guys to get a fucking clue.

    • Robert

      When I got to that part of the Nice Guy rant, I yelled at my computer screen for real and for true, and I don't even do that when I get really, really, really frustrated in a video game (although I do when I get really, really, really, reHEally frustrated in a video game).

      • wysewomon

        Me too!

    • LeeEsq

      I'm going to defend your ex. There is nothing wrong with friendship but if I'm in an explicitly romantic relationship than I expect that there will be physical love and eventually sex. I broke up with my ex because she when our relationship officially transitioned from friends to be boyfriend/girlfriend after I made my move and she accepted by asking her if I liked her romantically and responding positively to my response of yes because she wanted our intimacy to be mainly emotional with little or no physical love. I have a high libido and romance without touching, kissing, or sex might be fine for some people but it isn't for me and I will not torture myself by putting myself through such a relationship.

      • wysewomon

        Well, I suppose if we hadn't been in the relationship six years before he came out with it, I might not have been so offended. No, wait. Screw that. I don't think there's anything wrong with a person, male or female, stating what s/he wants in a relationship at any point. What I find…irritating is the way is so often seems that the man getting his desires and needs met is taken for granted and the woman getting hers met is somehow this huge, unrealistic and unfair thing.

      • sjl

        there's a difference between saying "this is what I want out of a relationship, and if it matches what you want, let's mutually pursue that, if not let's go our separate ways" and what wysewoman's ex was going for, which is "if I provide emotional initimacy, you are obligated to reciprocate with sex." The latter kind of thinking adds up to "After I listen to you vent about your bad day at work and comfort you, you have to have sex with me."

        • Vic

          You blue-balled the dude for *six years* ?


          • FormerlyShyGuy

            Hahahaha, your joking right? I seriously had a good laugh at this because I thought it clearly was one.

    • guest

      I'm confused by this. I thought the point of this article was to be honest about wanting to fuck. Otherwise you end up in the friend zone. wysewomon's post seems, at least to me, to vindicate the friend zone. Emotional intimacy – physical intimacy = perfectly fine. No? And this wasn't a friend of hers, but her boyfriend, right? I don't understand. What am I missing?

      • BiSian

        You are missing that she never said NO physical intimacy, merely that she didn't always want emotional to lead to physical. And the douchecannon of an Ex didn't get why talking to her about emotional subjects didn't automatically earn him a blowjob.

      • Karl

        I am also confused, it looks like sex is everything…. OK ….. you want to have sex with some one, but sex is sometimes more than just the act……

    • Vic

      Um, I think it's pretty ok to be pissed if your girlfriend/SO refuses to have sex with you.

      • Robert

        Because abstinence, celibacy and asexuality are blatantly all wrong, wrong, wrong.

        (Psst. If you want to really offend me, the correct response to do that is "Yes they are.")

        • Vic

          They are if that's what you've signed on for. In this instance, that doesn't seem to be the case.

      • Anthony

        If you're not getting what you want out of the relationship, then you leave it. If it's that important to you, she'll be better off with less of a dick of a boyfriend, and you'll get what you want elsewhere. It's never, ever okay to expect sex.

        • FormerlyShyGuy

          "It's never, ever okay to expect sex."

          Really? Never, ever? So in a committed relationship were both people enjoy sex with each other, or when the couple is taking the Doctors advice and scheduling sex with each other to keep a important part of the relationship going, even then?

          Is it ok to act like a dick when your partner does not want sex when you expect it? No it is not, but to say that someone should never expect sex seems like a huge overgeneralize.

          BTW I agree completely with the rest of your comment except for that last line.

          • S. Taylor

            Nope. Not even in a committed relationship where both people enjoy sex with each other.

            Are you allowed to act like an asshole to your partner for wanting sexual/physical intimacy when you don't? No, but you're also not allowed to act like an asshole to your partner for not wanting it when you do.

            My primary SO has a lower libido than I do, so our sex life is not as frequent as I personally would like it to be. There have been times where that infrequency has led to negative emotional reactions on my part (which I fully acknowledge are MY ISSUE and nothing to do with my SO or our relationship). When those times have come up, I have communicated that need for intimacy to my SO and then discussed how we might be able to address that in the near future. I do not expect that communicating my needs or issues will net me All The Sexings right then and there, because my SO has needs and issues as well and just as they *should* be doing what they can to meet mine, so I too should be doing all I can to meet theirs. Sometimes this means that we have more sexytimes, sometimes it means that I have to suck it up and spend some quality time with my hand and Xtube.

          • FormerlyShyGuy

            I am not sure how you and I disagree.

            I believe that you can expect something but when disappointed still be understanding and loving.

            My basic point was that in some of the advice given in this blog and other places I have read that in some cases it is a good idea to schedule sex with you SO, in that case both people would expect sex.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I think you're using "expect" in the sense of "anticipate" or "forsee" such as "I expect the new Iron Man movie to kick ass" or "I expect John will be half an hour late as usual.". The sense in which one should never expect sex is the sense of "require" such as "I expect to be paid for the shifts I worked or I'll file a grievance with the union".

          • FormerlyShyGuy

            I am using it first definition, and the additional comments I made about not being a dick was an attempt to clarify I do not mean the second definition.

          • FormerlyShyGuy

            *I am using the first definition, and the additional comments I made about not being a dick was an attempt to clarify I do not mean the second definition.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I get that. My point is that you're the only one who is using it that way in this conversation. When people are saying "you should never expect sex from another person", especially as relates to NiceGuys, they're not saying "you should never look forward to pre-agreed upon sex".

          • FormerlyShyGuy

            In that case thanks for the clarification, I did not get that even within the context of the article.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            No problem, I figured that was the disconnect going on. Another common way of phrasing it is that Nice Guys feel that they are owed sex for niceness tokens. You should never feel that anyone owes you sex, except maybe a professional who you've pre-paid but there's a whole separate etiquette to that.

      • wysewomon

        Wow, you guys are really missing the point. The point is that emotional intimacy does NOT equal physical intimacy. NOT THE SAME. So saying "I gave you emotional intimacy and you failed to respond IN KIND with physical intimacy" is a FALLACY. It is not IN KIND. This is what WAY too many men fail to grasp. Like you, apparently.

        Oh, and to respond to another comment–what in the world makes you think I "blue-balled" my ex simply because I asked for us to have emotional intimacy without my necessarily having to pay for it by having sex every single time? How would you like it if every time you shook hands with someone–say, your boss-he required that you fuck him? Because you had touched him and the contact of your hand aroused him? This is what I'm talking about.

        But I don't really expect you to get that, either.

        • BiSian

          Ignore the trolls wysewomon. Any person with basic reading comprehension skills got your point.

        • guest

          Oh, so you mean immediately after emotional intimacy, the guy wanted sex? Oh ok, I could see where that would make you feel used. He treated emotional intimacy as nothing more than a means to sex. He didn't value emotional intimacy as something special and valuable in and of itself. I think I see now. At first I read it as you were basically defending the friend zone, which is emotional intimacy sans physical intimacy…which seems to negate the whole point of the article.

          I see it as essentially emotional intimacy is great for its own sake. A man should not expect sex out of his girlfriend simply for being there for her. But I see nothing inherently wrong for expecting sex in general from her. Otherwise, isn't he just a friend to her and not a lover?

          And BiSian, I'm not a troll, I'm asking because I want to understand.

        • Karl

          Hi there, sorry to reply only after 73 weeks, but just got that interesting link today… I am living in South Africa… I agree with you , but physical intimacy for me is also an emotional the same time. I would never just have sex for the physical ….. If I want it I will pay a hooker or help myself,….. but for a woman you like or love …. no…. ..never,…. I want to hug… tough …. feel.. end than maybe ……. what you think…..

        • Well, I could use clarification. Did he say, "I'm always there for you, but as you want emotional gratification, I need physical" or "Ok, I hugged you a bit, now let's fuck?" or is he physically touched and get over excited?However, in the first case, you should know as most women I ve talked to keep saying, that men and women's needs are different. That means that as a man gratifies your needs, you should (yes, you should) gratify their own. If they need it. If they do, it's the same as if your man never gratifies you emotionally, but you keep giving him all the physical gratification they need. How would it feel then? Used maybe? Men CAN be used. Physical doesn't mean "From Hell" and emotional "From Heaven". Oh, and men DO need emotional gratification as well as physical. Just like women. However, from your text, I don't see you saying something like that. What I think is that your EXSO, just had more libido than you could cover for him and very well you did breaking up. You will get someone (if you haven't already) at your level of libido both emotional and physical, as will he. No need for hating though. And also, I would need more specific (harsh maybe) info to check the amount of physical interaction. What I mean is, of course you kiss and touch and make out and hug your SO, all the time or most of the time. However, if they get too aroused, it probably means that they would need some more physical sexual interaction. If they are sexually fulfilled, they wouldn't respond requesting. To conclude: As an average of many men and women I have talked with, a pretty healthy AVERAGE amount of sex would be at about four to five times (meaning sessions a week), one of them being stronger (more subsessions). Many people work with less (2-3) or some need more (almost every day). However, these depend on the times (menstrual cycles, illness, work fatigue, physical activity, other kinds of activity such as excursions, vacations, trips) that increase or decrease the need. If however you are the first category person and have a third category SO, then there is trouble. And by the way, not only women have lower libidos. That is very self gratifying. There are men who want sex once or twice a week (he was a friend's boyfriend, they broke up) and men who dislike sexual variety (a friend of mine dislikes to give AND receive oral sex, only penal-vaginal). Sex though is very complex to be absolute about it, considering what the genders want. Actually, it depends on the person, not gender.

      • Chaotic Good

        She never said that she refused to show physical affection or to have sex with him. She just said that she didn't want to be obligated to have sex every time he offered emotional support.

        Um, I think it's pretty ok to be pissed if your boyfriend/SO refused to be emotionally supportive of you.

    • CF07

      I'm going to add another point to this, because I think it's premised on the notion that Mr. Nice Guy is the only part of the problem: She wanted a plain old friendship and he wanted… something more, but was too screwed up to ask for it. That's certainly possible, but it's really not relational at all. If the dance has been going on for a while, chances are good that both partners are part of the choreography. So here goes:

      PREMISE 1: Nice Guys (or Nice Gals, there are plenty of them too) are emotionally unhealthy people. I know I spent a long time in this camp and have worked very hard to get out of it. As in hundreds of hours of of therapy worked very hard to get out of it. I needed it after how I grew up and things I did myself when I was a young adult. Some of the really awful stuff you hear about, no I didn't do that, but the "nice guys get what they want by working exchange norms"… yep. It's the core of Mr. Nice Guy. There's no doubt that it's a warped sense of entitlement at work, along with a deep insecurity and need to be liked. Mr. People Pleaser Nice Guy definitely has a problem.

      PREMISE 2: One of the great ironies of the world is that emotionally unhealthy people tend find their (pathological) match. Given that Mr. Nice Guy is emotionally unhealthy Ms. Object of His Affection is, you guessed it, likely to be pretty emotionally unhealthy herself. If he's looking for the self-fulfilling prophecy of "all women are just going to screw me over" chances are good someone who is willing to do just that will appear, because she's looking for the self-fulfilling prophecy of "men are chumps for me to screw over" or she's really just that emotionally careless and clueless. Or maybe it's something else she's looking for. She might really "like" abusers but go to Mr. Nice Guy for a break so she can "justify" going back to another abuser. Or maybe individually they're fairly reasonable but when they join forces the two of them create a dynamic that enables their self fulfilling prophecies, which they wouldn't with other people. Who knows? It could be a lot of things.

      In a nutshell, any kind of long-term version of the dynamic is likely to be a variation of codependence.

      As hard as this may be to accept—and oh boy oh boy is it ever difficult to accept—you can't change anyone else, you can only change yourself. It's hard, hard work. So if you want to stop getting burned, you have to learn to stop building a bonfire, dousing it with gasoline, and handing someone else a lit match. Chances are very good this extends to other parts of life, not just dating. (Think Dante Hicks in Clerks as a good cinematic example.)

      Take a look at the useful little book ***No More Mr. Nice Guy*** by Duke Robinson. Another good book is by Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko, ***Reinventing Your Life***. In the end, though, chances are good you'll need to spend some time really working through this in therapy, if it's a deeply set problem.

      • Drac

        Re. premise 2 – it's fairer to say that mature, healthy women already recognize the signs. Immature and unhealthy women don't or can't.

        Also, con artists recognize the signs – and go out of their way to attach themselves to guys like this.

    • leyshonzi

      Honest days work compared to years of lies! (Y)

    • theraineyview

      HOW exactly can "physical intimacy "reciprocate, in kind" emotional intimacy, anyway, is what I want to know? She reciprocated precisely in kind: emotional intimacy for emotional intimacy. By not acknowledging this as a reciprocation, HE rejected HER first, and she rejected him, in turn. He pretended to extend friendship, she believed him, he constantly rejected her friendship when she offered it in turn, she didn't know he was doing so, and then just as she was internalizing all the conversations and learning experiences she thought she had had with her "friend", he turned on her and revealed his deception and acted all hurt that she was unimpressed with him. Surprise, surprise. Meanwhile, the guys who had had the gall to tell their actual intent had more of a chance. Imagine that.

  • not all nice guys are like this, it seems that you're sayin we are just dicks with a fake nice guy label on us who whine way too much

    • Squirrel

      If you're the kind of guy who treats a girl nice solely because you are hoping to get into her pants and then go have yourself a pity party when she doesn't automatically put out… Then yeah, you're a dick. If you were *actually* a nice person, you would either take a step back from the friendship, respecting her right to her own physical desires, or you would still be her friend and accept that your personal attraction to her is not her fucking problem to deal with.

    • x_Sanguine_8

      All the ones who end up complaining like the example in the article are. Does it describe your behaviour or not? if not, why are you so worried about it?

      • Tosca

        Yeah, if it's not about you, it's not about you.

        My husband is a genuinely nice guy who never acted like this. I show him these articles and we talk about it sometimes. Never once does he identify with this behavior, or think that I am somehow talking about him.

      • Nodge

        "Does it describe your behaviour or not? if not, why are you so worried about it?"

        It perpetuates a negative stereotype, which leads to pre-judging regardless of context.

        • Mel_

          The only idea it perpetuates is that guys who complain that women should date them because they're so nice are acting entitled. Which… is true. Anyone who somehow assumes that this means all guys who act nice are bad clearly has major issues with comprehension and probably assumes all sorts of horrible things about people regardless of whether we talk about this one issue.

          Should we not talk about any bad behavior we see for fear that someone will generalize it unfairly to a larger group?

          • nodge

            "Should we not talk about any bad behavior we see for fear that someone will generalize it unfairly to a larger group?"
            If you want to talk about bad behaviour, talk about the bad behaviour.
            Inventing reductive stereotypes like our 'nice guy' is unhelpful. The doc even says he has done the 'nice guy' behaviour at times. Does this reflect on his character overall? No, it's a hat he wore at certain points – talk about it as such.
            "Anyone who somehow assumes that this means all guys who act nice are bad clearly has major issues with comprehension and probably assumes all sorts of horrible things about people"
            -these people exist, and are validated in their delusions by reductive tropes like 'nice guy'.

          • Mel_

            See my additional response below. And also ask yourself why you are so much more concerned about random delusional people who might think unfair things (why should you care what a delusional person you don't even know thinks about niceness?) than about actual guys we can point out verbally attacking women they do actually know. Or about helping those guys reform their attitudes and behavior. You're acting as if pointing out a problem is worse than making the problem in the first place.

            Second, I'm sorry that it offends you when people put labels on collections of behavior, but this is something we do in language all the time, because saying something like "guys who act like a friend to a woman but then get hostile and resentful when she doesn't want more than friendship despite how 'nice' they've been and complain about her getting romantic with other guys" is quite a mouthful to use every single time you want to refer to a set of behavior throughout an article. Every article I've seen on the subject defines what they mean by "Nice Guy" at the beginning, so there's no reason there should be confusion about what behavior the label is referring to. And as I noted below, it's the guys doing those behaviors who create the confusion by calling *themselves* "nice".

          • nodge

            "You're acting as if pointing out a problem is worse than making the problem in the first place. "
            I'm saying it's important to point out the actual problem, rather than specifying a hypothetical type of person and flagging that as the problem. Like i said, I fully agree that the stuff in this article constitutes bad behaviour.

            "I'm sorry that it offends you when people put labels on collections of behavior, but this is something we do in language all the time"
            I'm not offended – seriously dude, you can't read people's minds .
            It's not the labels on the behaviour that's unhelpful; it's the labels on people.
            Also, it being done 'all the time' is no justification.

            "saying something like "guys who act like a friend to a woman but then get hostile and resentful when she doesn't want more than friendship despite how 'nice' they've been and complain about her getting romantic with other guys" is quite a mouthful to use "
            … which is why, as I said earlier, it makes sense to talk about the problematic behaviour itself, rather than creating a stereotype.

          • enail

            So…you're saying it would be okay to say "he goes around Nice Guying all the time" but not "he's a total Nice Guy?" Do you also feel it's bad to say "my boss is a total micromanager" rather than "my boss is always micromanaging me and my coworkers?"

          • Mel_

            You have the cause and effect mixed up. We're not making up a hypothetical and calling it a problem. We're looking at *actual* demonstrated pattern of behavior and giving a label to the people who engage in that behavior. Would it really make you happier if we called it "the Nice Guy pattern of behavior" and never said "Nice Guys" only "guys who engage in the Nice Guy pattern of behavior"? I'm not seeing how labeling the participants in the behavior is such a big problem if you agree labeling the behavior is okay, as long as the label is applied accurately. And you have yet to provide any evidence that it's being used inaccurately.

            I addressed the fact that this is not a stereotype in a different comment.

        • Mel_

          A couple things I wanted to add, because I see guys complain about this a lot whenever the topic comes up:

          -While as said I've seen guys fretting that criticizing "Nice Guys" will lead women to think negatively about all nice guys, I don't think I've ever seen, here or elsewhere, a woman comment actually saying something like, "Yeah, I know whenever a guy's being nice to me he's obviously just a creeper trying to get in my pants" or similar. I'm sure there are women in the world who are suspicious of all guys who are nice to them! I'd imagine it's approximately equivalent to guys who say they wouldn't date any woman who initiates sex too quickly, because they assume that means there's something off about her. But those women did not get that idea from people complaining about "Nice Guys". Because if they were getting that idea from these online discussions about "Nice Guys", we'd see them actually commenting on those discussions… like all the fretting guys are.

          -We only call these guys "Nice Guys" because that's how they describe themselves. So technically, we're not the ones perpetuating a negative stereotype. The guys who say "I'm a nice guy" and then make offensive comments about women are the ones perpetuating the idea that nice guys are only nice to get into a woman's pants and otherwise have no respect for women. So if you want to stop that negative stereotype from becoming a thing, it would make a lot more sense to correct the guys who are falsely describing themselves as "nice" rather than those of us already calling them on it.

          • nodge

            "The guys who say "I'm a nice guy" and then make offensive comments about women are the ones perpetuating the idea that nice guys are only nice to get into a woman's pants and otherwise have no respect for women."
            This is what I meant – you have no way of knowing whether someone is being nice 'only to get into a woman's pants and otherwise [has] no respect for women'. You're making an incredibly specific assumption about their mindset/intentions based on suspicion perpetuated by an oversimplified caricature. I'm not saying that it doesn't happen, or even that you're wrong in whichever specific case you're thinking of, but the fact that you feel you know for sure shows the problem with ideas like 'nice guy'.
            "So if you want to stop that negative stereotype from becoming a thing, it would make a lot more sense to correct the guys who are falsely describing themselves as "nice" rather than those of us already calling them on it."
            I can't correct them because it's impossible to identify them without reading their minds, and I'm unwilling to prejudge people according to stereotypes.
            Again, I do agree that behaviour of this type is bad. However, stereotypes like 'nice guy' are always unhelpful.

          • enail

            If they act nice but make offensive comments about the woman they were being nice to as soon as it's clear that she's not going to date or have sex with them, determining that they were only being nice to "get into her pants" hardly seems like an unreasonable assumption.

          • nodge

            Yes, but in that case, where 'nice guy' reveals his hidden agenda, it's not an assumption at all.

            The problem with stereotypes is that they lead to *pre* judging.

          • enail

            Where are you seeing pre-judging? From what I can see, in this discussion, we're typically either:
            1. talking about people who have already revealed their hidden agenda or
            2. addressing people who may or may not have these problematic attitudes, with the assumption that they are capable of evaluating their own feelings and motives and determining whether the Nice Guy label applies to them or not.

          • Mel_

            Please show me where anyone has said that you should assume a guy who is acting nice has a hidden agenda before he's revealed it.

            The whole article and all the comments are about criticizing the guys who *have* revealed their intentions. *No one* is saying we should shun or be critical of every guy who acts nice, just in case. You are expending a lot of energy arguing against something that no one here has said or believes. We agree with you!

            "Nice Guy" is not a stereotype. It is a label for a set of behavior. If people are only applying it to guys who fit that behavior, than it is not being over-generalized or used inaccurately, which is what is required for something to be a stereotype. If you want to claim that it is being applied inaccurately on a remotely regular basis, you're going to have to provide some evidence of that, because I haven't seen it.

          • eselle28

            We're talking about people who we know. There's no pre-judging going on.

            That being said, if someone displays signs of Nice Guy behavior, I may choose to avoid him. I also choose to avoid people who show signs of being users or assholes. Preventing me from using any of those words isn't going to make me more inclined to hang out with those people, either. It just makes the process of explaining why I don't take a little longer.

          • Mel_

            And I think an important point here is that even though you might avoid someone who shows signs of Nice Guy behavior (which, for nodge's benefit, let's point out doesn't just mean "he's being nice" but "he's acting like he has an ulterior motive to being nice that he won't admit" or "he's acting resentful of people unfairly" or similar), presumably you wouldn't assume he definitely would do the whole Nice Guy set of behaviors, or go around telling people he would, unless he actually did, yeah? You're not judging his worth as a human being, just avoiding behaviors that make you uncomfortable because they're often precursors to worse behavior.

          • Mel_

            Nodge, we're not talking about reading people's minds. We're talking about guys who say outright, "I was so nice to this woman and she dated that loser instead of me so clearly she's a lying b*tch" or some variation on that. There is very little room for interpretation there. No one is going around calling out guys just for being nice. We are calling out the guys who have overtly identified themselves as nice and then said overtly very-not-nice things. Why would a guy who does respect women say insulting things about women for simply making a choice about who to date? Why would a guy who wasn't only being nice to get sex be angry when the woman is willing to return his niceness with everything–niceness in return, her friendship–*except* sex?

            If someone is saying gross things, I kind of have to assume their attitudes reflect the things they say, since, y'know, I *can't* read minds.

          • nodge

            "No one is going around calling out guys just for being nice."
            The idea of 'nice guy' serves only to encourage groundless second-guessing of people being nice.

            "Why would a guy who wasn't only being nice to get sex be angry when the woman is willing to return his niceness with everything–niceness in return, her friendship–*except* sex? "
            I've literally never known this to happen… other than hypothetically when people talk about the 'nice guy'. (Do you see what you're doing to me here?!)
            And therein lies the problem – we're talking about some very specific and idiosyncratic behaviour, which probably will never affect the vast majority of people, but the spectre of 'nice guy', when he is brought up, raises doubt over every little thing, for everyone.
            It's an irrational construct.

          • enail

            So your issue is not actually that you using a label to describe someone who shows a group of behaviors is somehow misleading, but that you don't actually believe other posters when they say they've encountered this behavior fairly often, or even when they say they've ACTED this way, and that you think that the examples in the original articles are a few rare outliers?

            It would have saved us all a lot of back-and-forth if you'd said that to begin with

          • Mel_

            Sure, let's talk about rational thought. A rational argument involves logic and proof, not baseless accusations. In the article and throughout the comments, many people have described actual examples of guys following the "Nice Guy" pattern of behavior. Your turn!

            "The idea of 'nice guy' serves only to encourage groundless second-guessing of people being nice."

            Please provide examples of people second-guessing people being nice because of these discussions. As I mentioned before, I have never seen a woman commenting on the Nice Guy discussions here or elsewhere online saying that she is now suspicious of all guys who act authentically nice. If you want me to believe that you rationally think this is a problem, and aren't just making up an irrational construct of people groundlessly second-guessing, I'm going to need at least a little evidence.

            "I've literally never known this to happen… other than hypothetically when people talk about the 'nice guy'. (Do you see what you're doing to me here?!)
            And therein lies the problem – we're talking about some very specific and idiosyncratic behaviour, which probably will never affect the vast majority of people"

            I'm very happy for you that you've never seen this happen. If you were being rational about it, perhaps you'd consider that you haven't seen it happen because it generally happens to *women*. Not to mention that when a Nice Guy (or a guy who is engaging in the Nice Guy pattern of behavior, if you'd prefer) is angry at a woman for not returning his romantic/sexual interest, he goes around bad-mouthing her to his male friends. So it's not like if you knew a guy who acted this way, he'd *tell* you that the woman had been a good friend to him–he'd make her out to have been using him the whole time, because that's the way he views it. And considering that there are lots of women here who not only "know this to happen" but have had it happen *to them*, and a number of guys *including DNL* who've admitted to thinking and acting this way, it's pretty irrational for you to assume that your experience trumps everyone else's and that just because it hasn't affected you, the vast majority of other people are also not affected.

            You know what? I have never had a guy try to force me to have sex with him. I've never seen a guy force a woman to have sex with him, or had a guy admit to me that he's forced a woman to have sex with him. Yet I am rational enough to recognize that my personal experience doesn't mean that rape will never affect the vast majority of people, given that there are all kinds of other people who will talk about how they have experienced or witnessed those things.

            "the spectre of 'nice guy', when he is brought up, raises doubt over every little thing, for everyone."

            Really? Because you assume that people are incapable of reading a definition and understanding what it means? How is that rational? I have seen the Nice Guy phenomenon brought up several times over the last several years, and yet I've managed not to have doubts about the many guys in my life who are nice to me. Let's see a show of hands. Who here has started have doubts about "every little thing" "everyone" does that's nice after reading this discussion?

            For someone complaining about something being supposedly "irrational", your claims and arguments bear a striking lack of rationality. You might want to look into that.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Well if you don't do it then don't second guess yourself. I don't and I don't. Anyone who's going to assume that my normal level of respect for people I like is actually "nice guy" behavior in disguise probably has issues too deep for me to want to deal with anyway.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            When people say things like "I'm a nice guy. Maybe that's why I always get friendzoned. Maybe I should just start acting like a total asshole."


            "pretty girls end up with some dude who treats them like shit. Nice guys will end up with some dumb slut. The decent guy you're looking for is probably stuck in your friendzone."


            "I'm too nice and girls only like douchebags so I'm basically fucked for life"

            those assumptions we're making are pretty well supported by evidence. The fact that for its three week run "Nice Guys of OKC" was able to find a dozen or so people with dating profiles like this per day says its not a rare, one-off phenomenon. All of the examples above came from that site.

        • eselle28

          The behavior that's being judged isn't being a good person who's thoughtful and kind to others. What's more likely to be judged is doing those little trap favors that aren't asked for or needed but can be used as blackmail, or hinting constantly about being romantically interested rather than being upfront about it, or the specific act of complaining that women never seem to date nice guys.

          I'm kind of okay with pre-judging those things. Most of those behaviors cause more annoyance and frustration and confusion than anything else, and they don't add much positive to the world.

          • nodge

            Agreed, and you articulated that without referring to a reductive trope like 'nice guy'.

            The problem is the behaviour itself; not any given person who seems like s/he might fit the stereotype.
            That's all I'm saying.

          • enail

            So you're saying every single sentence in which we want to refer to a person who shows this set of problematic behaviors, we should give a paragraph-long definition instead of assuming that the reader is capable of referring to the definition at the top of the article?

            Or are you saying that we're calling people who are not showing any of these behaviors Nice Guys?

          • nodge

            I'm saying that any such label is reductive.
            "Billy did xyz"
            is vastly different to
            "Billy is xyz"
            In the former, the behaviour is the problem.
            In the latter it's Billy who's the problem.

          • Mel_

            Um, I'm sorry, but if Billy did xyz, then he's still the problem, even if the problem is because of his behavior. We can't change his behavior without *him* changing.

            Also, you're missing the fact that isn't just about the behavior, but about the attitudes reflected by that behavior. If a guy gets upset at a woman for not wanting to date him and for choosing to date other people, and accuses her of being a malicious slut for not appreciating how nice he's been to her, he's showing the attitude that he should be able to earn romantic or sexual attention through niceness. This attitude is problematic even if he never shows it outwardly again. It's going to damage his ability to form healthy relationships with women for the rest of his life, unless he addresses it. And one's attitudes are part of who one is.

            I mean, otherwise you might as well say we should never label anyone anything. Is it not reductive to call people who commit illegal behavior "criminals"? To call someone who's lied to you "a liar"? To call someone who cheats at a game "a cheater"? Are you also rallying against those terms? Because if what you're really concerned about is focusing on the behavior as the problem rather than the person, you should be.

            But I suspect you're not, because as you've indicated elsewhere, your real issue is not with people identifying people as a problem, but with the fact that you don't believe this problematic behavior really exists on any noticeable scale. Which means all this pedantry about labels is mainly a way of trying to find some little wiggle room to criticize and derail the conversation.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Billy is nice to women not because he likes or respects a particular woman but because, being too shy to ask them on a date directly, he thinks that by being a good friend who claims not to be interested in dating, he can make women fall in love with him and offer him sex. Unfortunately when this backfires on him and they start seeing someone else, he gets very angry about being 'mistreated', generally either ranting at the woman herself or calling her a bitch to everyone he can.


            Billy is a "Nice Guy."

            Billy gives 75% of his multi-million dollar yearly income to charitable foundations that help feed and educate third world children.


            Billy is a philanthropist.

            One time, Billy took an assault to a movie theater and opened fire on a crowd, killing 17 people.


            Billy is a fucking spree shooter!

            Actions aren't divorced from thought processes. Guys don't accidentally play the Nice Guy game any more than they accidentally shoot 17 people or accidentally give their money to charity.

          • eselle28

            Finding terms to describe behavior is useful. It lets us communicate about common, well-understood concepts without spending half an hour describing all the specific symptoms. It's a lot easier to hear that someone has a roommate who's a slob and a boss who's a micromanager than to hear a bunch of stories about unwashed dishes and nitpicking corrections. Likewise, the term Nice Guy is often sufficient, and saves us from having to tell and hear repetitive stories about entitlement and passive aggressive behavior.

    • enail

      Maybe you haven't heard the term Nice Guy before? A Nice Guy, with capitalization, is the kind of person this article describes. They bear no relation to guys who are nice people – their behavior is decidedly not nice, but they often describe themselves as "nice guys," which is why we call them that. Generally, people using the term know that there are also plenty of guys who act and are genuinely nice.

      • Paul Rivers

        But these articles never make that distinction. The constant, never ending theme is "nice == manipulative".

        • x_Sanguine_8

          no, it's: people who self identify as "nice" tend to be manipulative.

          Do you think of yourself as a "nice guy", Paul?

          • BiSian

            Sanguine, I think you've hit on the center of this whole nice guy v. Nice Guy argument. People are self identifying as nice guys and taking this article as a personal condemnation of all of their romantic feelings EVER.

            Reread DNL's definition of the Nice Guy. Is that you? Does it describe your behavior? No? Then, it's. Not. About. You.

            People have said, again and again, being nice to women is not the problem (well Vic says it's a problem, but that's Vic).
            It's the sneaky manipulative behavior. It's the inability to say "I am attracted to you" and expecting your crush-friend to read your mind.

    • iliketowalk

      thats exactly the way you are

  • I think that you can be a "nice guy" of sorts without actually expecting anything in return. I am (fortunately or unfortunately) very good at making friends with women, while generally being terrible at moving into a more boyfriend-related zone. As I tend to approach women I am attracted to in many cases I am still attracted to them AFTER having made friends with them, in many cases more so, because if I want to be friends with them then they clearly have something about them I think is awesome personality-wise. Despite this I tend to be relatively happy in my friendships and am quite willing to accept that it's not going to go anywhere, in those where there is a tiny chance of something happening I will discuss it with the woman (and in most cases get shot down), but when there is definitely no chance I don't bring it up as it's useless information that doesn't help my friend.

    • It lost a short bit I had at the end for some reason…

      Anyway, as I said, the only problem is when they move on and develop a close relationship with a boyfriend as, inevitably, you end up surplus to requirement and get dropped (mostly), which is always a bit sad, I usually have mixed feelings as it's great to see someone you care about happy while not being that important to them anymore is a bit upsetting.

    • Akai

      Sounds like this article isn't describing you, then.

  • Thank you.

  • I posted this in the forum, and it's relevant again now I suppose so I'll share it here:
    I cut my teeth on dating in college. Oh if I had a time machine. I just didn't know how you got girls, I thought the way to win them over was, even if I was immediately attracted to them, you start as friends, you build trust and repoire with people and eventually you make a move once you feel like you've gotten close. Like, *of course that's what you do.* Nobody told me you just ask girls you just met out on dates right off the bat. Oy. Once that became apparent I got a lot more dates. Golly! I wish someone had just *told* me. I grew up being taught directly/indirectly that you treated women like sisters and friends, and THEN pursued romance. But that was a bunch of bullhonky.

    Turns out the best thing to do is walk into the room with supreme confidence, smile, say something funny, leave, come back the next day, plant your feet squarely in the ground and ask 'em out. WHO KNEW.

    Addendum: I'm still friends with most of the girls I had crushes on (because the situations never went critical mass and I'm not a passive aggressive little shit) and I would still get with most of them if it ever came to that, but I'm not secretly resenting them for never getting with me. I've dated other people and moved on.

    • Tosca

      "Addendum: I'm still friends with most of the girls I had crushes on (because the situations never went critical mass and I'm not a passive aggressive little shit) and I would still get with most of them if it ever came to that, but I'm not secretly resenting them for never getting with me. I've dated other people and moved on."

      This attitude is pretty much what separates nice guys from Nice Guys!

    • mikerad83

      Right on.

  • I agree with your main points about dishonesty and the need to mature beyond a quid-pro-quo philosophy of romance and friendships, but I can't help wanting to say, "Yeah, but" a few times. Granted, the specific friend-zoners or former friend-zoners you're talking about sound like they're still bitter and refuse to acknowledge how they went about things in the wrong way. But as a former friend-zoner who neither despises the ex-object-of-my-affection nor thinks of himself as some kind of nice-guy martyr it does feel like your analysis is a little one-sided.

    All I'm wanting to say here is that the reality of friend-lationships can be a lot messier than the specific iteration you've described here. I realize you're addressing a re-occurring trend of online nerd-ery and don't begrudge you that. At the same time, I would like to say that at least sometimes it's not as though the girl in question is a model of relational wisdom and selflessness. It's true that girls do get something out of having that emotional connection without the commitment of a relationship and may not make the healthiest choice as a result.

    It's also the case that these situations can be more involved than committing to giving her attention only because in the end you want to get in her pants. Granted, I doubt they ever happen in a case where the "Nice Guy" doesn't eventually want to get in her pants. I was very sexually attracted to the woman who was in my life for some years, and it's certainly the case that, physically, she was "out of my league". At the same time, and I mean this with all honesty, I loved her. I didn't love her well or as a mature adult, but insofar as I was capable I had the deepest affection and admiration for her (and still do, in a modified way). And I'm not just talking about her T&A. I had never felt that way about someone before and, despite having been through a relationship since, have yet to feel that way about someone again.

    I guess I feel like by attacking these ranting redditors, you've taken on an easy target. It's easy to demonize people who are acting out in absurdly selfish and immature ways. I don't blame my friend for my emotional response to her or the decisions that I made about how to handle that. But I do think she was complicit in exacerbating the situation at times, especially in the second half of our friendship. It eventually became so emotionally painful that I had to tell her that we couldn't be friends anymore, not in the way that we had been. It's not that she didn't fuck me, it's that she didn't love me.

    I did kind of patch things up some time later, so that it's not that we don't interact at all, but I had to decide against a close friendship that was built on an imbalance of trust and desire. Ideally, I could be fully moved on and we could just be friends, but life moves faster than our hearts sometimes (also I moved to a different state and she moved to a different country).

    I'm still working through what it means to be friends with the opposite sex. I once-for-all decided not to be friend-zoned again, and haven't been. However, I'm still left with the mess of becoming the kind of person who can be in a mature relationship. I guess I felt the need to write this because your post spoke to parts of my past situation but by no means all of it. Don't get me wrong, it's helpful to read something like this for the ways it helps me to think about and acknowledge my shortcomings and dysfunctions. I guess I just wanted to say that not every friend-zoned guy is a cut and dry case of egotistical lusting. That's every guy at their worst. My experience was shot through with the highest and lowest parts of my personality and psychology; I'm reluctant to just hate myself and say, "All I ever wanted was to sleep with her."

    • Trooper6

      I want to address this part of your post: "It's true that girls do get something out of having that emotional connection without the commitment of a relationship and may not make the healthiest choice as a result."

      Perhaps you don't realize this, but a friendship is a relationship that involves commitment. And should also have emotional connection.

      When I hear "women use nice guys to get intimacy without a relationship" it ticks me off. Because it speaks very ill of that nice guy. It says I don't want to be that guy's "friend" because he clearly doesn't view friendships as seriously as I do–he doesn't even see it as a relationship!

      • Mel_

        Exactly! Yes, women do enjoy having an emotion connection with someone. And guess what they give their guy friends in return for that emotional intimacy? Emotional intimacy back! They're not taking something for nothing. If the guy in question doesn't actually want emotional intimacy, and so takes no value in it, that's his problem.

      • mikerad83

        I agree. I actually wanted to edit that sentence to read "some girls" to acknowledge that there are many women who are perfectly well-adjusted in this area, but the fact that I commented on my own comment kept me from doing so.

        I'm using "friendship" and "relationship" in specific ways that I assumed but didn't spell out; my bad. A friendship is a relationship with commitment, yes, and I would say that I had a mostly positive relationship with this girl and that I was quite committed to her–to the extent that I was unhealthily over-committed. By "relationship" I specifically meant a dating or romantic relationship.

        So I would rephrase your source-of-irritation statement above to say something like, "Some women use close male friends to get intense emotional intimacy without committing to them romantically." This was my experience, one I see myself as a culpable part of; one simultaneously similar to and very different from DNL's "Girls tease nice guys with their bodies and feminine wiles in order to get attention from them." I just want to put it out there that it's not always a cut-and-dry case of idiotic and selfish nerds and the righteously normal objects of their attraction.

        I am very thankful for my relationship with this person. She was and continues to be a great person, and I respect her a lot. I just wish that both of us could have been more mature about how we related to one another. DNL's piece here is great at pointing out some of the tendencies that I exhibited during that friendship/relationship, but I have a problem with it because of the way it presents things in such black-and-white terms. If I thought the only guys out there suffering from the "nice guy" syndrome were these jackass redditors that he quotes, I wouldn't say anything but "Bravo". I know from personal experience this isn't the case, so I shared some of my story.

        • Mel_

          There's still a problem with that statement, even with your rephrasing. It's *normal* for many women to have intense emotional intimacy with their friends. Intense emotional intimacy is not something they only get in romantic relationships and therefore if they're getting it from a friend without a relationship, they're not "using" that friend. It's just a regular part of a close friendship for them.

          If Person A goes to Person B for intense emotional intimacy but doesn't offer intense emotional intimacy in return (e.g., expects B to listen to their venting and worries and reassure/comfort them, but backs off when B tries to vent or share worries), that would be using the other person. But the problem is not that A isn't offering a romantic relationship, it's that A isn't returning a close and supportive friendship. The only time you should expect to get a romantic relationship in return for what you're giving is if you say, "Hey, I'd like us to be in a romantic relationship," and the other person *agrees*, and then you're giving them romantic attention and they're not reciprocating.

          • Paul Rivers

            Yeah, but that also misses 2 points –

            1. It's often not normal for men to have intense emotional relationships with a lot of different male friends. When I have close male friends I have 1 – or 2. At most.

            2. It's also normal for women to drop those intense emotional friendships when they get a serious boyfriend. Girls are somehow used to that. As a guy, I have emotionally invested in relationships with girls before which were purely platonic friendships, only be be burned and dropped once they got a "serious" boyfriend. The best was the "tries to make an effort to still be friends, but her new boyfriend being such a focus that we don't have anything to talk about anymore". But at least that was an honest effort. Most of the rest have been –
            a. Every thing we do is viewed through the 'is this appropriate now that I have a boyfriend' lens – are you laughing to much? Is she hanging out with you to late at night (even though genuinely, nothing is going on)? She used to go on trips with you and other friends, but now that's inappropriate unless her boyfriend wants to do it to.
            b. She suddenly starts trying to find things to take offense at – you make the same jokes you used to make before, and suddenly she insists you're disrespecting her and she can't be friends with you any more. And I mean saying stuff that…just isn't offensive.
            c. The gradual "she's just never getting back to you or hanging out with you any more" kind of stuff.

            When I would start dating a new girl, I would always remain friends with my old female friends. But when *they* started dating a new guy – and it got "serious" – one of the 4 things above happened and we weren't friends any more – no matter how good of friends we were before, or how truly platonic our friendship seemed.

            It's not a fair tradeoff for the guy, because we don't normally create emotionally close relationships knowing that they have an expiration date. I don't hang out with most of my old friends, but I can still call them up, or even get help from them when they move. They don't feel the need to burn the relationship when they start dating someone else.

          • Mel_

            Well, maybe you've just had some crappy female friends? I didn't drop my close friends when I got into serious relationships. There are women here who are married who've talked about having close male friends. Your case is obviously not the only way it happens.

            And anyway, no one's saying you shouldn't feel betrayed if someone acts like your close friend and then disappears from your life. I've actually said here more than once that it's totally fair to expect close friendship in return for close friendship. I'm not sure how this proves that guys are right to want *more* than friendship. Are you saying that women should sleep with their close guy friends to make up for the "fact" that they'll probably drop the guy even as a friend once they find a real boyfriend, or that it's fair for a guy to expect that she will? Seriously?

          • Matty C

            I can relate to what Paul is saying. For us guys, having an emotionally intense friendship with someone can feel… really intense. More intense than what we're used to. It's not the girl's fault at all, but I think for many of us our opposite-sex friendships are very unique and so losing them (or potentially losing them) is especially painful. Your opposite-sex friend can become your biggest source of emotional intimacy and it's scary to think you're going to lose that when she gets a boyfriend. It's not even about sex. It's often about relying emotionally on that person and being scared of losing that.

          • Matty C

            My first 'oneitis' was like that and just like mikerad83 described above. I loved and admired her and we had a very emotionally-intimate friendship. Yet I always knew that when she got a boyfriend, we'd lose some of that emotional intimacy in the friendship. I wasn't fantasizing about shagging her, I was fantasizing about growing old with her and being the most important person in the world to her. It was very complicated and I've had many years and lots of soul-searching to understand it.

            We're good friends now, but it's a much healthier and much less emotionally intimate friendship.

            (btw in my above comment, I'm NOT saying that emotionally intense relationships DON'T feel emotionally intense to women, on re-reading that I thought it might come across that way which wasn't my intention).

          • Mel_

            I can get that, and I totally sympathize with that. But again, no one is saying there's anything wrong with feeling sad about a friendship not continuing or becoming less close. That's not what this article is about. It's specifically about guys who resent the friendship not during into something romantic or sexual for themselves.

          • Paul Rivers

            Yeah, thanks…

          • Anthony

            I would be careful when saying things like 'us guys,' because your situation doesn't necessarily apply to all guys (specifically, not this one). Not that emotional relationships aren't intense for me, but that gender doesn't really factor in to that. And the women that I've had the closest relationships with, things didn't change when they got boyfriends.

            This is just a guess, but maybe it's how you treat the friendship? If you put a lot of pressure on it and make it known to her own 'different' things are with her compared to your other friends, that could lead her to feel the need to distance herself from you when she does have a boyfriend. It's also possible that you are doing little things to give her clues that you are feeling jealous, and she's not comfortable with that (and not comfortable enough to say something about it, either, which would be another issue).

            I would like to point out that this also isn't a guy-specific thing. I have female friends who have complained about their guy friends pulling back after said male friends start new relationships. I'm just bringing this up to point out that, while important in general, I don't think this has a lot to do with Nice Guys, and those problems.

          • Matty C

            I agree with that Anthony. In my case, it was very much the classic "me treating it like we were in a relationship minus the sex" and that was a huge part of it. In my own head, I'd elevated the friendship to something that it wasn't and that DID show. To put it simply, I was trying to have a friendship with her that had the same emotional intimacy that a committed relationship would have. I would get insanely jealous and try and hide it when she'd get boyfriends. It really sucked and I look back on it now as one of the worst times in my life (at least the most emotionally unhealthy). It also lasted way too long. At least for me though, it was a catalyst for change in the end.

            Also true, it's not a gender-specific thing and the experiences are individual; gotta resist the urge to stereotype everyone based on my own experience.

          • Becelec

            Yup, I've had plenty of male and female friends both disappear when they've gotten partners. My best friend did it to me and we were both girls. I still have plenty of close guy friends that I haven't dropped since getting a boyfriend. Nothing gender specific about it. Anecdotal experience does not equal universal.

          • Paul Rivers

            I hadn't meant to say that my experience was universal – just that it was common. But what you're saying is kind of like some of what I'm saying…most guys I knew (including myself) were not used to creating temporary emotionally close friendships. For us, creating those took a great deal of work and more personal investment. Girls seem to be much more acclimated to that…girls having a new "best friend forever" every year and mysteriously not hanging out with the old on anymore seemed much more common than guys doing something similar.

            Again, what I'm saying is not true 100% of the time or anything…but one person offering "friendship for a long time, and I don't make a ton of friends" is not an equal exchange with someone else who's offering "temporary friendship for a while, until I meet someone serious then it's off".

            If you were interested in a guy, got to know him really well, but he wasn't interested in you – wouldn't you view "friendship until he gets a serious girlfriend" as a consolation prize compared to actually dating him?

          • Delafina

            No. They're separate. One isn't a greater or lesser version of the other. If I wasn't interested in friendship with him — well, if I wasn't interested in friendship with him, I wouldn't be interested in dating with him, but let's assume for the sake of theory that I could want to date someone without being friends — I wouldn't take friendship as a consolation prize, I'd move on. If I was okay with either, friendship or dating, I wouldn't view friendship as a consolation prize, just as two different things I wanted. When you want two things, not getting one doesn't make the other less valuable.

          • Nox

            True, friendships and romantic relationships are two different things, but I think the point here was that the two choices were "romantic relationship" or "temporary friendship until he finds 'someone better'".

            I'm not saying that everyone dumps their friends (of either gender) once they find a significant other, but the subjective truth is that many, especially during the first passionat phase of a relationship that often occurs, get their world so filled with the "new thing" that they don't have time or inspiration to stay attached to previous good, friendly relationships. Some do come back once the first burst of love/passion has either burned out or settled into a more steady fire, but not all of them.

            And for someone who has trouble opening up into a deep friendship, that fear that you'll be left behind can either hold you back from opening up altogether or make you want something you think will be more permanent, even when that "think" might be the opposite of the truth.

            I personally rarely think about "what might happen later on", which in the past has led me to (and through) some unfortunate decisions. I've more or less had the opposite happen, actually. I've been very comfortable being friends with a girl, only to have them develop a crush on me. Since I like them — and in my book 'like' and 'love' are just a short step apart (if I have a strong friendship with someone, I consider it love. Platonic, maybe, but still love) — it wasn't difficult for me to fall into the trap of reciprocating their feelings. Unfortunately, what I gave them as a friend wasn't enough for them from a boyfriend, and the relationships burned out very quickly, with heartbreak on both sides, and loss of friendship to the point of "once in a blue moon send a birthday greeting over facebook". I'm not saying it was their fault (it's happened twice that I can think of), nor do I say it was altogether my fault. Bad decisions were made on both sides, but yes, being older (if only by a few years) I probably should have backed away, saying I wasn't interested in anything deeper than a friendship. Maybe we'd have drifted apart even then, but I doubt it would have been as painful for either of us.

          • Paul Rivers

            It's definitely not any sort of jealous thing. For the other points – I can't be sure. And while *I* didn't ditch my female friendships, I wasn't saying by any means that the opposite gender situation didn't happen as well.

          • Paul Rivers

            Well, maybe you've just had some crappy female friends? I didn't drop my close friends when I got into serious relationships…Your case is obviously not the only way it happens.

            I can't say whether it happens to everyone, just that that's what happened to me. However – if I had talked to people and felt that this happening wasn't common with other people I would have started to wonder if it was me, or my choice in friends.

            Instead a lot of other people said similar things – including women, who complained that many of their female friends would seem to "drop off the face of the planet" when they got a serious boyfriend. Certainly not all for women being friends with women – but a fair number.

            But again – I'm not going as far as saying it's the "only" way it happens. But it's pretty common, and something that's far, far less common with male friends, in my experience.

            There are women here who are married who've talked about having close male friends.

            Not sure whether those were formed before or after the "serious" boyfriend. I'm still friends with numerous girls who I met *after* they were dating the guy.

            But again – wouldn't be surprised that this doesn't "always" happen, just saying that it seems pretty common to me.

            And anyway, no one's saying you shouldn't feel betrayed if someone acts like your close friend and then disappears from your life. I've actually said here more than once that it's totally fair to expect close friendship in return for close friendship. I'm not sure how this proves that guys are right to want *more* than friendship. Are you saying that women should sleep with their close guy friends to make up for the "fact" that they'll probably drop the guy even as a friend once they find a real boyfriend, or that it's fair for a guy to expect that she will? Seriously?

            Please feel free to quote where I said that – as I didn't.

          • Akai

            Frankly, after reading some of your comments here, I'm not sure I trust your judgement on whether or not something is offensive. I imagine these women had reasons for their behavior, even if they weren't entirely straightforward ones.

          • Paul Rivers

            That's nice.

      • Delafina


    • Patrick

      mikerad, I got the same feeling reading the article. There's no question that I used to fit the definition of the Nice Guy, and though I definitely had my moments of bitterness (not to mention self-pity on an Olympian scale), I don't remember it ever carrying over into misogyny or making hateful comments or ending friendships on the basis of my attraction not being reciprocated. I don't think I was being malicious – just inexperienced, fearing rejection, and completely, utterly clueless as to how real relationships develop. Eventually I got my first girlfriend, and I learned.

      • mikerad83


        And I'm by no means looking for an excuse or rationale to take any of this as a present or future tense dating philosophy. I like what patriot LaLiLuLeLo said:

        "Turns out the best thing to do is walk into the room with supreme confidence, smile, say something funny, leave, come back the next day, plant your feet squarely in the ground and ask 'em out. WHO KNEW. "

      • Anthony

        Being a Nice Guy and using these tactics to try and achieve a romantic relationship with someone is still dishonest. It does not always explode, and it doesn't always come with hateful comments. I do think a lot of people (nerds especially) aren't aware of the best methods for achieving the romantic relationship that they want. This article could offer something more along the lines of, "This is how your actions can become toxic," rather than just saying they are toxic. But that's not really necessary (and we have the comments section to do that). I think it's important to offer up the reality of the situation, and that reality is not a pretty one. There are certainly plenty of times when the friendship won't spiral down into an awful place that ends in hate, but to try and excuse the behavior at all is dangerous. It's fine to say, "Hey, I did some of these things, and I realize it was wrong. I never went as far as these other people, though, so that's good." Hopefully this article will hit the spot for some of those other people, though.

        Overall, it's good that you never took your Nice Guy-ism to the darkest place it can go. It doesn't mean it's okay to be a Nice Guy, though, and it doesn't mean we don't need to try and stop future and current Nice Guys from going to that place. Hopefully this article will help achieve that goal.

        • Yeah, I'm definitely not arguing that a lot of people don't need to hear the gist of what he's saying.

    • Olivia

      The thing is that, based on what you have said, you don't meet the criteria of the self-professed 'nice guy' and you obviously weren't angry at not getting into her pants, you were hurt because it was unrequited love. I resent the term "friend-zoned" and I think it needs to be wiped out because it implies that the person has decided to put you in some kind of category when in actuality they probably just don't feel that way about you! Calling it a friend-zone is making the person responsible, blaming them, for their platonic feelings and it's just rubbish. It sounds like you have identified with this description in some way but you should realise the 'nice guy' being described is a presumptuous manipulator with selfish intentions.

  • mikerad83

    Also, um, oversharing a bit. Sorry for the length.

  • Lindy_Geek

    I'm pretty sure I'm not a Nice Guy. Heck, I'm not even a nice guy. And because of that second quality, I couldn't disagree more with the mentality behind "If she’s cool enough for you to want to sleep with her, odds are good that she’s cool enough to be an awesome friend too." The implicit premise "I could always use more friends!" just isn't true. If you want me to be your facebook friend and like some of your posts on facebook and whatnot then that is just fine. I think we all agree, however, that a real friendship requires a much more significant time investment. There are only so many people I can afford to put that time investment into. I'd really like one of them to be someone I have a romantic relationship with. If I meet a woman that I think is really awesome, then if we can start dating that would be great. If not, well, there are a lot of awesome people in the world for me to try to be friends with AND I don't have to deal with the negative emotions that come with rejection. When this happens, I wish women understood that it isn't personal.

    • eselle28

      That seems fair. I don't want a friendship relationship with everyone I meet either. I think the resentment starts when the interaction you describe doesn't take place early on, but after something that looks very much like a friendship has been formed or after people's social groups have integrated enough that it will be tricky to separate them.

      • Lindy_Geek

        Yeah… and I should clarify that it's really not about shunning people I'm around anyway. I'm also not saying that I'd never become friends with someone that I wanted to date. It's more about trying to explain that me saying "I really want to date this person, but don't really want to be "just friends" with this person isn't a sign of disrespect. I'm not reducing a woman to a sexual object by thinking that way. I had to do a lot of reading to understand that to the rest of the world the "Friend-Zone" carried a lot more baggage than just the unfortunate incongruity of "She wants to be friends with me, but not date me, where I want the opposite." It sucks, but it happens, and I'm genuinely not resentful of it if that's all there is. (In one case a woman I had tried to date but instead became friends with would tell other people freely that I had been interested in her but she had said no. That's not OK.)

        • Anthony

          That's where you and Nice Guys differ. You're willing to be honest with yourself. If you find someone that you want to date and it's not happening, it's okay to walk away. It's trying to be friends with someone in the expectation that it will ultimately lead to a relationship that is a problem. And, for some people, they can handle being friends with someone they want/wanted to date, but rejected them. It's just not for you. Both things are totally fine, as long as everyone is being honest.

        • Paul Rivers


  • wysewomon

    I think the Geek Culture does a real disservice to men with its emphasis on mysterious loner heroes who definition of emotional intimacy is hanging out on the tavern after a campaign with their cronies and groping the wenches. Sometimes the heroes and heroines get together, but it's all about defeating the Empire or infiltrating the citadel of Tulsa Doom, not about what comes after to build a real relationship. You never see Han holding Leia's head over the toilet while she has morning sickness.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Interestingly, I've seen some indie RPG's that work to break out of this mold. I can't say much for romance in mainstream video games but I expect the Booker/Elizabeth relationship in the new Bioshock will be more nuanced than most.

      • Chaotic Good

        Yeah, indie games can be very progressive and groundbreaking if fighting against problematic stereotypes inherent in gaming as a whole. I like to try to support such games, so if you can name a few that break the mold of tropes about women and relationships, I'd love to hear about them.

    • Paul Rivers

      Geek culture? Really? That's no different at all from mainstream culture. How often do you see a relationship being built in mainstream cultural media – never?

      I mean look at sitcoms – "How I Met Your Mother" is extremely typical, with all of the characters already together, or perpetually single throughout the entire series. Everybody loves raymond…heck, Family Guy…I mean I'm just listing off tv shows here.

      The *only* tv show that actually shows guys starting off single, and showing them in relationships that succeed – is The Big Bang Theory. I don't know if it's accurate, and it plays for laughs, but it's the only tv show I can think of that even makes an attempt at it – and it's obviously a nerdy show.

      If I've missed something, feel free to comment, but I can't think of any mainstream tv shows that do any better job with dating and emotional intimacy.

      • wysewomon

        I can't comment to mainstream TV shows, because I haven't watched network TV in 20 years…

    • Max

      I've always thought that Han and Leia's relationship was done pretty well in Empire. It felt like something that just sort of happened because two people who like each other met each other, like real life.

      Compare that to the prequels, where Anakin and Padme fall in love because of Destiny or something and because he's the male lead and she's the female lead.

    • LeeEsq

      Anime culture isn't that much of an improvement. Shonen heroes tend to be either in the nice guy/Ducky mode or very chaste and clueless when it comes to relationships. Shoujo heroes tend to be out of Harlequin romances. Neither is a really good role model for geeky boys.

    • Ferenc

      Its funny you should say that because you totally just invalidated your first point. Basically saying I wish Han was more of a nice guy and I wish male heroes were more interested in settling down and experiencing true romance. So let me get this straight. Emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy never ever go together and there is no way a man can be friends with a woman first(or visa versa) and then have romantic/sexual feelings for them. Or its just wrong at least. Men either have to be like hey baby whats up lets go back to my place or just be platonic friends forever, theres no inbetween. Basically Han Solo either helps Princess Leia from morning sickness(from the pregnancy she got from some total jackass who left her no doubt) while he never gets any more "action" than a hug or hes like "honest" and pretty selfish like in the movie and they actually kiss. You are assuming the "nice guy" must not enjoy the friend part at all and he is just like looking at his watch going ok whens the sex part start, not true. And its quite possible he could get laid somewhere else with some woman hes not in love with, and I suppose that is what is expected of men. We get chastised for not being into romantic love for just being like sex robots and yet when a man actually falls in love with one women, some women end up calling him a pathetic manipulative "nice guy". Apparently we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. I definitely fall more or less into this "nice guy" category being discussed though I have grown a little wiser with time. Its funny to me how in pop culture and books and idk magazines you always hear this story of women desperate to marry and men refusing to commit. Wish that was a problem I had to deal with. I am wanting a committed relationship, not with just anyone of course but I am not afraid to commit. In my experience, and maybe part of the problem with nice guys is we fall for the wrong ones, most of the women I ever had a relationship with were the ones who kinda wanted to play the field, who were not ready to commit and allow themselves to be tied down. Which is their right by the way, and naturally its empowering when women do it and chauvinistic when men do it, Welcome to the double standards of any discussion of gender on the internet. lets not pretend that most women who are just friends with a guy who is head over heels in love with her aren't aware, thats an insult to their intelligence, and aren't women supposed to be especially better at emotional intelligence and spotting those things anyway. As for it all being a trick to get in her pants, I just wanna reiterate the answer is a no. Do some guys feel a little entitled, yeah and thats not right but its still not a trick, apparently its doesn't work so what kinda trick is that. Do nice guys wanna get in some girls pants, of course but all straight guys anyway do. Part of why the nice guys approach is more cautious is because he is just more cautious. Maybe he is afraid of rejection. For me thats part of it but its more this. If a guy sees a woman for the first time doesn't know her at all, just knows her looks and like a snippet of conversation and then asks her out hes basically saying, you look hot I'd like to use your body for some sex. Theres no way he loves her or even has a crush on her really, how could he? Thats an awkward thing to say. And it does feel kinda disrespectful. I believe in treating woman as intellectual equals, if not superior at times, I try not to focus on them as being sexual at first. Even if I am drooling over a woman discreetly,cuz hey I am not saint, I am probably not gonna tell her she looks hot, or even beautiful. I would rather compliment a woman on something other than her looks, unless I knew her well and we were like in a relationship and even then I would rather have like three compliments related to something else for every look based one. Believe me I see women, complete strangers or even women I know all the time and think damn……………. (just a lot of perverted thoughts all men have from time to time) doesn't mean I will approach them and tell them about it. It feels less awkward to me to announce my feelings for a woman I already have a relationship with.

  • Mr Spiff

    The first time I ever heard about the "Nice Guy" as an actual mode of behaviour was on this website when the Doc first started discussing it. Reading the articles and descriptions (and other articles on the subject I subsequently tracked down online) was like looking into some terrible, unflinching mirror. It was one of those horrible moments of epiphany and self realisation that made my guts clench up like someone had actually hit me.

    At first I had the usual angry reactions of denial and rationalisation, but the more I thought about it, the more I kinda had to admit: "Wow, when it comes to love and relationships, I'm actually kind of a dysfunctional toxic bastard."

    It was fucking horrible experience, but a totally necessary one.

    In my head, it was never so much the "I've been really nice to you so you owe me sex" mentality, more the "I've been really nice to you so you owe me love" end of the spectrum. I viewed girls as people with whom I wanted a relationship, and not objects with whom I only wanted sex, but it was still an utterly toxic way to approach building that relationship.

    I think for me it stemmed from a belief that there was nothing really that special about me that would to attract a woman who'd only just met to know me, so she's have to get to know me as a friend before she'd contemplate any kind of romantic relationship. Somehow, that morphed into the idea that I could, as the Doc said, build up Relationship points via friendship and trade them in for love, and when that didn't happen, somehow an unspoken contract had been broken. I never actually blew up in a rant at any of my Nice Guy girls, but I certainly skulked around bitter, angry and resentful for quite a few years.

    TLDR : From a Nice Guy to other Nice Guys, don't kid yourself. You already known if you're a nice guy or a Nice Guy. Read the Craigslist rant the Doc posted, and if it strikes uncomfortably close to home, you're a Nice Guy. You owe it to yourself to be better than that.

    • enail

      Good on you for being willing to recognize this and try to change!

    • Wolf Stirfry

      "I think for me it stemmed from a belief that there was nothing really that special about me that would to attract a woman who'd only just met to know me, so she's have to get to know me as a friend before she'd contemplate any kind of romantic relationship."

      This is exactly what was going through my head before I looked in that bastard of a mirror and wised up. It's easy to get into this mindset when you feel that you're inherently incapable of inspiring attraction in a woman without impressing her with your hidden depths or some such, but it's a really cynical and broken way of approaching relationships and I'm glad to be done with it.

      • Mr Spiff

        Totally agree. The moment of realisation is awful, but the deep down sense of feel-good satisfaction when you start to pull away from Nice Guy highway, sort yourself and manage to get a date SIMPLY BY ASKING FOR ONE is fantastic. Like "Snowboarding in fresh power whilst eating pizza and sipping whiskey" fantastic.

        • Wolf Stirfry

          I just did that on Friday, in fact, and it did feel fantastic. Turns out that being convinced that women aren't attracted to you doesn't make it true, and being secure enough in yourself to ask someone out often works out really well. Who would have thought, eh?

          Here's an important thing for guys who share these endless-pining-unrequited-love tendencies to realize, though: *This is still a fucked up way to treat your relationships with women, even if you're sincerely friends with them and are sincerely looking for love rather than just sex.* It might be less cynical, less dishonest, less harmful to the people around you than fake friendship under false pretenses, but it is still miserable, unfulfilling, unhealthy, and completely opposed to getting your shit together and gaining enough self-worth to actually tell someone you're attracted to them. Don't console yourself with "at least I'm not a total asshole like those other guys" – do what you need to do, for however long it takes, to feel like you're worthy of someone's affection. (Yes, that's glib, but you have to figure out your own path in this. Not alone, mind you, take all the help you can get, but you're still the only one who can figure out how to create that core of self-worth.)

          • Delafina

            Good on ya, dude. 🙂

          • Myster Baad

            The best way to create self-worth is usually to put yourself in situations where you need more of it than you think you have. People talk about outcome independence but it's really not about getting over on others – it's about not caring about your own feelings. A person in this predicament is going to have to face up to the fact that it's going to take a lot of miserable nights and a lot of self-pity before they've tried hard enough to break thru.

          • Anthony

            Faking it until you make it is definitely something that can work. But I don't really understand what you mean about need to not care about your own feelings. That may have been your experience, but that doesn't mean it's the only way to increase one's self-worth. I increased my self-worth by doing the opposite, and caring more about my own feelings. Now I pay close attention to my feelings, and I do things I respect. I'm proud of myself, and I can acknowledge that I am 'worthy.' I did have some of the miserable nights and some self-pity, but I came out of it more honest with myself. And that's been the difference.

            I don't think either way is necessarily better or more effective, but do you still not care about your own feelings?

          • Myster Baad

            I didn't mean to imply I was thru with this process. I'm still avoiding growing up socially because not having to face up to 20+ years of loneliness is one of the things that gets me thru the day. I just know what's in store when I decide to begin – I'm going to have to really open up to the hurt, and deny myself anywhere to hide from it.

          • Anthony

            Okay, that makes sense. It's easy to say, and hard to do, but finding the confidence to work through it will make your life a lot easier. Baby steps and reasonable short term goals will help you a lot with that (rather, helped me a lot with that).

          • Myster Baad

            Step one is getting rid of my reflexive negativity. Dragging myself thru my 40s kicking and screaming is not going to get the job done. Maybe once I have some self-loving confidence, I'll pay attention to my social life.

      • Anthony

        I just wanna say that both of you are awesome.

        • Wolf Stirfry

          Thanks 🙂 And you know, a big part of getting myself out of the Nice Guy spiral was being able to hear things like that and not immediately talk myself into disbelieving them.

        • Amber


          Everyone makes mistakes when they are younger. As a girl I internalized alot of negative shit towards dating that I had to unlearn when I got older. It's hard but worth it!

      • Patricia

        Wolf, you are honest and it was kind of you to share.
        I think in your instance there is nothing wrong with engaging a girl with a bit of regular banter, letting get see your personality is not wrong. But, masquerading as a genuine and good friend is hurtful to both parties.
        I think the difference is being yourself and not trying to win points by being the bff. be yourself, if a relationship blossoms, you will never doubt the sincerity of her love.
        Otherwise, I imagine you will always wonder if she loves you or the things you do.

    • How wonderful Mr. Spiff! I simply LOVE the idea that others take the time to assess (destructive? not-so-positive?) behaviors and do something to change – even if it's painful.
      Thank you for your honest and beautiful words. You've definitely given me hope and a moment of pause regarding my (behaviors in) relationships with men (and women).

    • Olivia

      Thanks for bothering to write the truth like that about your experience, I highly commend you on it 🙂 you have demonstrated the kind of personal growth that really makes a person great, and strong, and I hope that some people will read this and realise they too have been like you. For the record, so called "nice guys" don't consider just how hurtful it is for women to feel like sex objects or like they aren't valued as people which is what can happen with this "friendzoning" thing and not only that, this idea of "friendzoning" is egotistical rubbish where men feel entitled to having their feelings returned.
      It's not uncommon for people to feel hurt, even angry, when they feel rejected but it is certainly not ok for them to blame another person for their feelings. We all get rejected.

  • LeeEsq

    Also, why do so many people think that the nice guy/be her best friend strategy would work? It doesn't even work in fiction where the nice guys have the power of the author behind them. Even when I was absolutely clueless about relationships, I knew better than doing this strategy. Its manipulative, if your interest is romance and sex than you should be upfront with your desires rather than suppress them. It doesn't work, I've never heard of anybody using this strategy succesfully.* And even if it did work, it would take too long. I'd prefer something faster.

    *There is a difference between two friends becoming romantic and sexual partners and one person enterting into the a friendship with another person in order to become their romantic/sexual partner. In the former, there was no false pretense or emotional manipulation. Its kosher. In the latter, the entire friendship was a fascade at least on one person's partner and this is troublesome.

    • eselle28

      It works in fiction sometimes, especially in comedy or adventure stories where the romance is the B or the C plot rather than the main attraction. I also think that there are a lot of people who see two people who have been friends start to date – something that happens all the time – and misinterpret the dynamics.

      • Matty C

        Add to that, I can't count the number of times I heard growing up things like "my husband is my best friend", "I hate guys who are only interested in sex", etc.

        For me it wasn't so much "this is the tactic you use to score chicks", it was "romantic relationships naturally progress from friendships". It's been touched on earlier in the comments, but I never thought you could just go up to a woman and just ask her out. I always thought you had to build a good friendship first.

        • Robert

          To be honest, even to this day, I still can't imagine myself getting into a romantic relationship without building a good genuine friendship first. Then again, my (still rather vague and nebulous) idea of a good romantic relationship seems to bear more similarities to what most people would consider a good friendship, so …

          • enail

            And that's fine. Again, no one is saying that romance can't evolve out of a good, genuine friendship. Just not out of a fake or resentful friendship when deep down inside one party only wants a romantic or sexual relationship.

            And for many people, a good romantic relationship DOES have many, many similarities to a good friendship, so nothing wrong there!

          • Robert

            Yeah, I wasn't trying to accuse anyone of claiming that romance can't evolve out of a good, genuine friendship. I'm sorry if it came across that way.

    • OldBrownSquirrel

      I think part of it is low self-esteem. If I think a woman would reject me based on my appearance but might be more accepting once she got to know me, then it's logical to put off on expressing a romantic interest until she's gotten to see a better side of me. Now, in an ideal case, that might take less than half an hour of conversation, but if a guy doesn't have enough confidence to broach the subject, it can take years. Cyrano de Bergerac (as represented in the Rostand play) comes to mind. Granted, he didn't have a sense of entitlement, but it was his own damn fault he got friendzoned.

  • Tim


    I don't mean to be rude, but I think that bashing Nice Guys and absolving women that they are with of all blame is a big hypocrisy. In my experience, most people are not as blissfully dumb as they would like to be. Ignorance as an excuse stops working when there is no excuse for ignorance.

    Nice Guy is an extremely well-known internet meme. Just on this one site there are at least 3 articles about that exact notion and there are countless others. Nice Guy pity-parties are at least as common as the "don't be a Nice Guy" posts on dating blogs and message boards. Furthermore, there is a Nice Guy or a character exhibiting Nice Guy behavior in every single sitcom drama. Nice Guys in media are an even more wide-spread trope than a "flamboyant gay" or an "unsociable nerd". I am just going to illustrate one example so that I don't derail the conversation but this one strikes too close to home: "How I Met Your Mother", Barney (oh how I mourn thee).

    Nice Guys are literally everywhere. And (spoiler alert) things always end badly. At the very least the 2 people in that situation stop interacting for the whole episode; but more often that not, the drama of this storyline continues for a long time and impacts everything else on the show. There are no exceptions.

    At this point, if you watch TV shows, you have seen the Nice Guy in action at least once, which brings me to my next point. If the notion of a Nice Guy is so wide-spread, how come women still get surprised? The simplest answer is that they are not surprised. If I was already dating someone but this other woman was trying to get my attention and doing nice things for me, I would at the very least have a healthy suspicion as to what was going on. I am sure that women would be even more acute at picking up on the signs of such behavior because they instinctively pay more attention to things like body language, intonation and etc. Also, while I personally think that "Schrodinger's rapist" is a vile and extremely sexist way of treating men, it is a pretty common mindset that even the author of this article subscribes to. Now, do you mean to tell me that women, who are taught that men always want to sleep with them (not sleep, RAPE), would be surprised that a man that has been doing them favors and treating them nicely wants to do exactly that?

    In my opinion, women are not left feeling "hurt and confused" because they were ignorant about their situation – they feel that way because the period of comfort is over. I would imagine that while the Nice Guy still has hopes that he has a shot at getting laid, he creates a very comfortable situation for the woman. She not only gets to have the attention and support from her boyfriend but also from this other person, whose actions she doesn't necessarily have to reciprocate in any way.

    In conclusion, I say that there is blame to share on both sides of the equation. Nice Guy is not right to only treat the woman well in hopes of getting laid, but the woman is also not right for going along with it for the care and comfort. The notion that the woman doesn't know that the Nice Guy wants to sleep with her is simply wrong and can't be used as an excuse for basically exploiting another person.

    • So in your scenario, what is the woman supposed to do?

      • Tim

        She does have options and none of them are as good as simply going along with the events. I would assume that simply telling the guy that she will never be interested in him sexually could disarm the situation early on and potentially turn it into a normal friendship.

        However, I realize that faced with such a situation, the Nice Guy could simply lie and continue with his agenda. In that case, he is digging his own grave and should face the consequences.

        • Robert

          I would seriously question that assumption. The Nice Guy doesn't exactly seem like the type to be a nice person when things don't go exactly his way, regardless of how they don't go his way.

          • Delafina

            No, he is not. All Nice Guys are unethical, and some of them are violent as well. This is not a recipe for respecting a woman's feelings, or in this case, lack of romantic feelings for them.

          • Karl

            Hi Delafina, that is not true, in my case I became a nice guy to a female friend because she gave me very clear signals that she was interested in me. i do not say that some guys are as you describes it, but do not say ALL nice guys, sorry for the late reply only after 73 weeks

          • thathat

            You're missing the capital letters on the word "Nice Guy" so my guess is you're not getting that there is a difference between a Nice Guy (a guy who is nice to a woman because he believes being nice enough for long enough will entitle him to a sex prize) and a guy who is nice. I mean, that's literally what this whole article is about.

            How do you knowingly "become a Nice Guy" anyway? I'm picturing a werewolf-like transformation…

        • eselle28

          Announcing suddenly that you're not interested may, in fact, be the best response to a difficult situation.

          But we are talking about men who aren't willing to take the risk of expressing their positive feelings openly. I think it's a little unreasonable to expect that the woman in question not only guess his intentions, but then take the even bigger risk of expressing her negative feelings. If you don't ask, I think it limits your right to complain about not receiving a clear, prompt no.

        • Mel_

          I'm not sure why it should be the woman's responsibility to preemptively guess the guy's intentions and give him an answer, rather than the guy's responsibility to state his intentions himself. There's nothing wrong with giving someone the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that if they wanted more than friendship, they'd say so. That's called respect.

          Also, if you read women's accounts of their interactions with Nice Guys, often they did suspect what was going on, and indicated they weren't interested, and no, that didn't disarm the situation. Usually the Nice Guy does deny, because he figures he just needs to be "nice" a while longer before she'll come around. If he admits his interest and she turns him down, then it's game over.

          So in most cases where this is happening, it seems you would actually agree that the Nice Guy is responsible for the consequences and the woman has a right to feel deceived.

          • Men have just as much right to feel deceived as women, when women obviously suspect something but let it carry on and receive gifts and adulation from someone they are obviously not interested in.

            So in this instance, women are guilty of being greedy and milking the 'friendship' for what it's worth before moving on or permanently "friend-zoning" men.

          • eselle28

            Who are all these people who give presents to people they're not dating, when it's not a holiday or a birthday? Gifts sometimes come up in these conversations, but I rarely see this kind of behavior.

            Regardless, I'd agree it's unethical to accept gifts from someone you believe is romantically interested in you when you don't feel the same way. I also think it's fairly unethical to try to use gifts as a way of purchasing someone's affection, especially if you haven't told the other person how you feel. For people who want to trade money for romance, affection, or sex, there are more direct and open ways of doing so. Everyone else would be better to tell others how they feel rather than hint or try to form a sense of obligation by purchasing the person things. It's cheaper and it's usually more effective.

          • Becelec

            You've got to watch out for those greedy women and their gift grubbing ways! Deceitful harlots! How dare!

        • Mr Spiff

          Speaking as a Recovering Nice Guy (with serious Oneitus tendencies), the two girls who clearly stated to me that they were not interested in me romantically made me take the position of "Ah, okay. She's not interested in me RIGHT NOW. Clearly I need to invest more Friendship Points and check back in a few months."

          I disagree with your generalisation that women are usually aware of Nice Guys, but are consciously and deliberately using the Nice Guy to get extra comfort, support and attention from another man at no extra cost. I will grant you that SOME women (and some men) do indeed act that way, because some women and some men are the kind of people who will use others despite knowing the pain they cause. Asshole behaviour transcends the gender boundaries.

          But that's just an extra reason to not be a Nice Guy : to ensure that kind of person has no power over you, and can't ruin your life with that kind of manipulative behaviour. You can't control if someone else is a screwed up asshole or not. You CAN control how you react to it.

        • SarahGryph

          "I would assume that simply telling the guy that she will never be interested in him sexually…"

          Oh, I really wish it would work that way. With actual nice people it does! Unfortunately with the Nice Guys of this article…at least in my own life it's the second option. "What, me? No I don't like you that way, you're being paranoid." "Yeah I kinda had a crush on you, but I totally think of you as a sister now." "Yeah, I like you but don't worry. I'm an adult and your friendship is more important to me, I promise!" Followed a few weeks/months later with the yelling and the blaming and the guilting.

          So…do I assume all guys are lying when they say they're ok as friends? That would be unfair to the men who actually are ok with it. Usually I take people at their word because otherwise I feel I'm not respecting them. But it's still a horrible feeling when it is a lie. The one who was being honest is somehow blamed for "playing games," while the one being dishonest about intent is the tragic hero.

        • Delafina

          I've told all my male friends that. It didn't stop them from Nice Guying. And being an adult who gives others the benefit of the doubt, I assumed, when they said they were okay with just friendship, that they were telling the truth.

          I accept no blame for their choice to lie both to themselves and to me.

          • Raoul

            All your male friends? Sounds like you never had a friend you wanted to go to bed with. You want to expand on that?

          • Why do you have to have the need of sleeping with a friend?

        • OtherRoooToo

          Laying aside what the alleged Nice Guy'®s reactions could be – which range potentially from sulking to namecalling to violence — would you mind telling me precisely how she is supposed to respond "I'm sorry, I'm not interested" to this alleged Nice Guy® who has never actually come out and stated he is interested in her, but is just hanging around her, being "nice" …?

          What exactly is she supposed to say?

          And how precisely – given the fact that he has said exactly nothing – is she supposed to even determine that he is in fact interested in the way you've described here?

          Is she supposed to read his mind?

    • Mel_

      I like how on one hand you're saying it's "vile and extremely sexist" for women to have a Schrodinger's rapist mindset, but at the same time you're blaming women for *not* assuming every guy who's nice to them just wants to sleep with them. So basically, women are vile and sexist if they assume guys are only after one thing, but they're also in the wrong if they don't assume guys are only after one thing? I'm not seeing any way that women can ever be in the right, from your apparent point of view.

      As Dan says, what is the woman supposed to do (that you would approve of)?

      • Delafina

        I note that Tim has pointedly avoided answering your question.

    • eselle28

      Read above. We're not surprised. We find it hard to react to the situation because the man isn't being open about his intentions, and because we end up being the bad guy regardless of what we do. Confronting someone directly to announce you're not interested just makes it easy for him to paint you as an arrogant girl who assumes everyone wants her. Ending the friendship suddenly seems cruel and is difficult to explain to mutual friends. Ignoring things until there's a confrontation provokes the kind of response in the craigslist ad.

      Having a Nice Guy run around trying to do favors for you isn't comfortable in the slightest. It's awkward, especially if the favors are unasked for. It's also not unreciprocated. If you receive emotional support and the occasional favor from someone and do the same in return for them, you're holding up your end of the bargain. If someone expects to get love in return and is disappointed to find that's not in the cards, I think he bears the blame, not the woman.

      • Tim

        The idea of doing something good and expecting something good in return is not wrong. In fact, it is built into every single religion and therefore, into every single behavioral pattern. If I act as a good Christian, I get to go to heaven. If I act as a good Buddhist, I get to experience Nirvana…. If I act as a good person, I get to be treated well in return. Blaming the guy for expecting the woman to reciprocate his feelings has no basis. Most relationships are built exactly on that – the 2 people treat each other well. It's like saying "You are wrong for having hope".

        That being said, you are right. Expecting love in return is not correct. If it is there, it is there, however, you can't blame the guy for trying. He is going everything he can the only way he knows how. The comments that Nice Guy is a sociopath or a manipulative jerk are simply awful. This Nice Guy is a human, just like anyone else who is possibly a bit misguided. It is not like there is a manual to life – people do the best they can.

        • But he IS being manipulative. Just because the only way he knows how to be is manipulative, doesn't excuse him being manipulative. Being someone's friend to try to acquire something "higher" IS manipulative. Friendships are meant to be reciprocal; if I am expecting more from a friend (that they pay my rent, for example) than they are willing/able to give, then I am being manipulative and trying to use the friendship as a selfish means to an end.

          Furthermore, there MIGHT be some excuse for the Nice Guy "just doing everything the only way he knows how"…. when he's a teenager. But with age should come maturity and self-reflection, and more importantly, RESEARCH. The idea that manipulating someone into sex is wrong is an idea that is not deeply buried; only a little bit of insight and discussion with females in real life or on the Internet will yield the truth.

          So if the Nice Guy continues his behavior past a certain maturity threshold, what it really means is NOT that he's just "doing the only thing he knows how," but that he is too lazy and too self-deluded to actually seek out different ways to act. Instead of seeking self-realization and explications for why things continue to go wrong, he just turns around and blames the girl.

          Manipulating, blaming someone else… these are not behaviors we should excuse, even if they offer a somewhat reasonable explanation. The onus is on the Nice Guy to improve, NOT on the women he manipulates to be understanding.

          • SarahGryph

            Thank you Marty, you said that better than I could have. One of the toughest lessons I've learned, from some very awful relationships, is that being manipulative "because you don't know any better" is NOT a free card that makes it ok to manipulate others. And it is NOT a reason to allow someone to manipulate you.

        • eselle28

          I'm not blaming the guy for expecting his friends, female or otherwise, to reciprocate kindness and support. But the way those things are reciprocated is with returned kindness and support. The girl in question isn't sitting comfortably, basking in her unearned emotional intimacy. She's in a reciprocal friendship. If the man also wants love or sex or both, he needs to actually offer those things to her, not keep serving up more friendship in the expectation that it will magically transform into love or sex.

          As for expecting versus hoping, I think we all hope that our romantic feelings will be returned. When we get into the territory where we expect it or think we deserve it, that's asking for trouble.

          Nice Guys are, indeed, human. They make mistakes. They often don't realize that they're not just causing pain to themselves, but to other people. But not fully understanding your actions doesn't necessarily absolve someone of all responsibility. Those behaviors often come from an ugly place, judging from commentary like the craigslist ad. And they hurt people.

        • Mr Spiff

          I would agree with you that the Nice Guy is usually not a sociopath, although I would say that he is ACTING like a jerk in this specific aspect of his life, even if he's not aware of it and is perfectly decent in all other areas of his life. But granted, anyone who states that all Nice Guys are evil sociopaths is making a sweeping generalisation, with all the validity that such an opinion merits. Some probably are. But most, I would venture, not.

          I think a lot of Nice Guys end up taking that path because of confusion and shyness about social interaction, very low self esteem and emotional pain, combined with the absence of any positive role models showing them a healthy way to go about the business of finding a partner. I know that was true for me. I agree that there is no manual for life and that people do the best they can. Sometimes, good people fuck up. They key is to recognise when you've fucked up and commence the unfucking process as soon as possible.

          Underneath all of the toxic behaviour (and it IS toxic) may well be a genuinely decent human being, rattling around, scrabbling at the bars and trying somehow to get out. I hope there is, otherwise I'm kind of in trouble here! A lot of Nice Guys probably do have a lot to offer a prospective partner, which is why it's so important for them to get rid of the Nice Guy behaviour patterns and start interacting with their prospective dates in a mature, adult and healthy way.

          • Delafina

            You don't have to be a sociopath to be unethical.

        • Paul Rivers

          "The idea of doing something good and expecting something good in return is not wrong. In fact, it is built into every single religion and therefore, into every single behavioral pattern."

          Exactly. One can't help but notice that guys do pretty anything they think would work to get laid – but the thing that's consistently vilified is always "being nice". You know, the thing that normal, healthy relationships are built on. Manipulation isn't vilified that much – unless someone is supposedly being manipulative by "being to nice".

          Lol, at a certain point you have to ask yourself – is this a real reflection of reality? Is this really the hedonistic world we live in where treating someone else like a human being and trying to form an emotional connection with them is not just not rewarded – but actually vilified and looked down upon?

          I mean people can be to nice, and it's annoying. But when that is vilified more than things that actually border on criminal, one had to wonder what it's really about. When someone being nice is somehow *worse* than someone being an in-your-face jackass – something has gone horribly, horribly wrong as a society.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            The point is that there's a big difference between being a good person, a good friend because you're a good person and doing it to get laid. You know what works? Be a decent person and be honest about what you want. Be good to people because its what you do. Ask out the people you're attracted to. As someone else pointed out, being nice to someone who isn't available has a terrible return on investment for your time as a dating strategy compared to going out, meeting people and asking them out.

          • Trooper6

            Oh and also? Sleazy pick-up artists who lie to get into a woman's pants are vilified all the time.

          • Taimae

            Here are the differences.

            -Being nice is a good thing.
            -Being nice and even liking the person and doing kind things for them is also a good thing.
            -Being sad, but understanding that a person may not feel the same way is cool too.
            -Manipulating someone whether by being a straight up in your face jackass, or a jackass under the guise of caring person are both really bad.
            -Losing your shit when you're rejected (regardless of whatever category you fall into) because the person you liked rejected you? Probably not a good thing.
            -Go and trying to ruin that person's life or integrate ever part of yourself into their life, is fucked up and likely of both types of people as well.
            -Stalkers aren't in your face most of time, but they're just as terrifying.

        • Raoul

          There is too a manual to life. It's unwritten. You do what others do. If you can't figure out what others are doing, you stay home and make no attempt. It's common decency.

    • You erroneously assume that the woman knows the guy is acting nice and comforting is somehow a Nice Guy gambit. See, I have this really weird idea that friends SHOULD be nice and comfort each other. So when a guy is nice and comforting to me, I assume he is a friend. Why, exactly, should I assume that "nice and comforting" means he wants in my pants?

      Should I immediately suspect any guy who is nice and comforting to me to want sex, and immediately tell them off and describe all the ways I don't want find them attractive?

      I would also hope that women WOULD reciprocate by giving the guy niceness and comfort back, as is the good thing to do in friendships. If she isn't, it doesn't mean she is selfishly hording the nice guy's attention…. it just means she's not being a good friend. The only reason a guy would stick around in that case would be, I assume, for the hope of sex, so isn't it right back on him?

      • Tim

        Well, generally speaking, Nice Guy goes above and beyond what a normal friend would do. The rule of thumb of distinguishing a Nice Guy and a friend in a sitcom or a drama is to look at the level of intimacy. I mean that sharing some special secrets or being a shoulder to cry on in serious situations is generally reserved for the close family or the Best Friend rather than your regular larger group of friends. This is exactly the kind of things that most of the Nice Guy posts are about. They share intimacy that is beyond the scope of friendship and yet, the relationship doesn't go further. Just look at the Craigslist post in this article. He was the one that the woman came to with her problems.

        So, it is not like niceness and comfort and more like extreme trust. And yes, if someone puts that much effort into a relationship, that person expects something of equal value in return.

        • eselle28

          That's not really been my experience. Granted, he usually THINKS he's going above and beyond. Is he? I don't know. I think sometimes things get filtered through Crush Colored Glasses.

          I got a Nice Guy rant from someone who I didn't even consider to be my friend. Granted, I have a really high threshold for calling something friendship, but he was primarily a friend of friends. We were only ever alone together a couple of times. The rest of the time we socialized in a group setting, and I didn't pay any special attention to him.

          I still got to have a conversation that went something like this:

          Him: "I've always been there for you, listening to all your problems…"
          Me: "Um, when was that?"
          Him: "Well, when you were so stressed about exams…"
          Me: "You mean that night we were all out at the bar? Everyone was freaking out, including you."
          Him: "And remember when I gave you that book for your class?"
          Me: "You mean when we agreed that it would be dumb for you to sell it to the bookstore at a discount and me to buy it right back from them at a markup, so we split the difference and I gave you $50 for it?"
          Him: "But I've been so nice to you! And I want to date you, not like all those guys who just want to hook up!"
          Me: "We've had this talk. I've been single for a nanosecond and don't want to start dating again. The guys I'm hanging out with aren't using me. We're on the same page."

          • Mel_

            Yeah, one of the common characteristics of many Nice Guys is conflating "being a basically decent human being" with "going above and beyond the call of duty".

            And heck, even if the guy is going above and beyond any normal friendship, that still doesn't mean the woman owes him anything! If a friend insists on giving me a hundred dollars just because s/he likes me so much, s/he can't turn around next week and demand that I give her my hundred dollar stereo (or whatever) in return. If you aren't giving what you're giving freely and expect something in return, then you need to arrange that in the moment (i.e., ask them out first!), not bug the person for payback a while down the road.

          • Paul Rivers

            I still think this kind of example is a bit absurd. "He wasn't nice to me at all, but claimed he was and because of that we should start dating" isn't someone being a nice guy, even buy the stretch of the imagination that the above article tries to make it into.

            What you're describing – is simply someone lying to you. It's no different than a guy claiming he's…I don't know…a famous author, or that he knows a bunch of stuff on your favorite subject when he doesn't, or claiming he totally loves that band you love even though he doesn't know the first thing about it. Even by the "nice guys are terrible" definition, he's not a "nice guy" – he's just a liar.

          • BiSian

            Yes, this is someone lying to you. Congratulations you've figured out why Nice Guys (which is not equal to a man who is nice, lowercase "n") piss off so many women.

          • eselle28

            Let's be clear. He wasn't "not nice" to me. He was roughly as nice as your typical casual friend would be – we had a few mutually enjoyable conversations, took turns buying each other drinks, and sympathized about shared academic concerns. It's just that none of that is any more than what I did for him, and none of it is above and beyond the call of duty as a friend.

            He thought he was a nice guy because of those things, but even more because he had refrained from doing bad things to me. He was a safe person to share a cab home with at night. He talked to women instead of leering at them. He wanted to date me instead of hook up with me (in his mind, a bonus, despite my declared lack of interest in dating anyone). If he did date me, he wouldn't have cheated on me or hurt me (though of course I wouldn't know that for sure unless I dated him).

            He thought he was a Nice Guy by virtue of being a baseline decent human being, and he's not the only Nice Guy who doesn't have a lot more to say for himself than that. And, yeah, that makes him a liar. Most Nice Guys who do go out of their way to be nice are liars as well. The dishonesty is what makes all of this so objectionable.

        • Mel_

          Notice your words. "Equal value". What's of equal value to sharing secrets and being a shoulder to cry on? Sharing secrets and being a shoulder to cry on. Like I said to mikerad83, if a woman's going to a guy for emotional support and not offering emotional support to him in return (not being willing to hear and keep his secrets, not being willing to let him cry on her shoulder), that's not okay. But saying, "I'll act like a close friend to you, and therefore you owe me a romantic relationship" is expecting *more* in return than you're offering.

          • Actually…it may not be more from the man's perspective. For whatever reason (probably gender stereotypes pushed by society), men and women do not attach the same value to the different aspects of relationships. A man might honestly believe that emotional support takes sooooo much effort, and why can't she just deal with it herself, that's what all my guy-friends do, and what's the big deal with a little pity sex, etc etc etc. On the other hand, women consistently attach a higher "cost" to sex; another article on this site explains just that. So while us women might believe asking for sex is asking for more, men might not see it that way.

            Granted, this is all just yet another reason people need to communicate and be up-front about their wants. Just because a person thinks emotional support and sex are equal does not entitle them to force this view on anyone else. And even if the two parties do agree with them being equal, its still not ok to assume emotional support will be reciprocated with sex. It's like trying to buy something in the US with Euros; just because they're technically of "equal value" doesn't mean I'd be ok with the transaction.

        • Sooooooo her trusting said male friend enough to look to him for comfort, in moments of pretty extreme vulnerability nonetheless, should equate to her having to put out for him? Because…..?

          That still sounds like the same "I listened to her bullshit so she's obligated to bump uglies with me" narcissism that surrounds the whole Nice Guys aura.

        • Again, I think you betray a misunderstanding of how (most) women view their relationships. I share intimacy (in your estimate, sharing secrets and being a shoulder to cry on) with many of my friends, both men and women. I don't assume anything different about a guy doing it, because that's exactly how my friendships are with other women.

          And in most of the cases I can think of, a guy whose shoulder I cried on, or who I shared secrets with, WASN'T looking to get into my pants. He was just enjoying having an intimate friendship. Sometimes guys have difficulties opening up about emotions with other guys, and so appreciate female friendships where they can discuss emotional woes without being judged.

          It's the "expecting" that makes the Nice Guy manipulative. If a girl is giving him niceness and comfort and trust back, then he SHOULDN'T expect "more." He should expect that that is a friendship unless otherwise stated. If he is going "above and beyond," somehow supposing this will signal his deeper intent (instead of just, ya know, asking her out) the onus is still on HIM.

          Women are not mind-readers, no matter how much Nice Guys wish or assume they are.

          • Orv

            I'm all late to the party here!

            I agree with the last handful of comments. I have friends (both male and female) that I'm comfortable sharing a lot of serious feelings and concerns with. If a woman that fell into that category turned around and got angry at me because she listened to me when I was upset and was a good friend and I still didn't want a relationship with her, I would be really put off by that. I wouldn't think she was a Nice Girl, I'd think she was a shitty friend. But somehow, magically when it is a guy doing the listening we're supposed to act like he's making huge sacrifices? I don't buy it.

            Men are people. Women are people. When you (generic "you" not anyone specifically) make an argument that relies on the trope that all men are emotionless robots who can only be emotionally engaged with others through herculean efforts of Niceness, it's a bullshit argument.

        • SarahGryph

          I'm going to have to go with it depending on how you view friendship. I know plenty of men and women who are just generally caring, shoulder-to-cry-on type people. One of them is me and I can tell you quite definitely that just because I try to be there when someone needs to talk that does not mean I want to sleep with or date all of them! If someone wants to be there for me, I assume…that they want to be there for me. As a friend. When someone says, "Hey sounds like you're having a rough time; I just want you to know you can talk to me if you need to" I take them at their word unless I already don't trust their intentions. I just figure they're being a kind, compassionate person. Also "equal value" (and really, is it a friendship if you're always comparing the value?) would just being kind and compassionate in return. You know, a friend?

        • Delafina

          No, they DON'T go above and beyond what a normal friend would do. The things you're describing are friendship. These are all things women give and get from most of their friends.

          And you ARE getting something of equal value in return: THE SAME THING YOU'RE GIVING — emotional support, listening, etc.

          WTF is so hard to understand about this?

          "And yes, if someone puts that much effort into a relationship, that person expects something of equal value in return."

          The only way — THE ONLY WAY — that the implication of this (that the thing the woman should be giving is sex) makes sense is if you feel a woman's friendship is worth less than a man's.

      • Vic

        "Should I immediately suspect any guy who is nice and comforting to me to want sex?"

        Probably, yeah. Because he probably does.

        • Trooper6

          I am nice and comforting to all of my close friends, including female friends. I don't want to sleep with them.

          I would really be annoyed if because of people like you it was more difficult for me to have a life full of friends of multiple genders and that all women regarded me with suspicion whenever I said hello.

          Not every man is a creepy horndog who can't control his libido like you seem to say. Maybe you are. But I'm not. And I don't support views like yours that only perpetrate sexual prejudice against men.

        • Not in my case. Hurray, aren't I a special little snowflake?

          • Vic

            Then why did you ask the question?

          • Because the Nice Guy assumption is that 1) women automatically know when guys want to get in their pants 2) because all men want to get in their pants and there can be no other reason for friendship and 3) therefore, women should take all the responsibility of the Nice Guy being angry and "used" for his friendship.

            I ask the question to illustrate the point that NO, not all men want to get in every woman's pants. Some guys genuinely enjoy female friendships, without the stick-and-carrot of sex and friendship.

          • Orv

            I agree with Marty and Trooper. I'd be upset if my friends started assuming I was trying to get into their pants just because I'm happy to listen to their problems and try to be a supportive friend. I've been lucky enough to have good friends around who helped me out during the low points in my life and it feels good to be in a position to listen and provide that emotional support to others now. That has nothing to do with wanting to get into my friends' pants.

        • SarahGryph

          I don't want to get all cranky here, but I'm insulted on behalf of a lot of my male friends by that assumption! (I could also ask if that applies to my guy friends who are gay, or to my brother…but that would be facetious of me, I suppose.) What about my male friends online who live continents away and never try to make the conversation sexual? Are they just incredibly, unbelievably stuck in a fantasy land where being nice to me will cause me to move to the UK and jump in their bed? Because some have spent hours with me on Skype, after all. I probably come off snarky here, but I severely don't like assumptions that all of any gender is *this way*, especially when *this way* is incredibly insulting to them. I have huge respect for a lot of men in my life and I don't like seeing them bashed like that.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I'm reading Vic's comment differently. I think there's a huge difference between "would gladly have sex with you if the opportunity ever arose" (which may describe many, even most, of your straight male friends, even those who've never spoken up, whether because they're taken, or you're taken, or distance makes it impractical, or standard creepiness rule, or whatever) and "is motivated in all interactions with you chiefly by the desire to have sex with you." A guy who has no romantic or sexual *expectations* isn't a Nice Guy, even if his physical desire is non-zero.

            The latter half of Marty's question (should I tell them off?) doesn't hold in such cases, and Vic isn't explicitly agreeing with it.

          • SarahGryph

            The gist I was getting from the thread as a whole was a defense of the "Nice Guy" way of acting. That it was less about a vague sense of attraction and more of a "why would a girl be surprised that a guy would be upset and angry at learning you are not interested in dating/having sex with him?" I think you're right that we're both reading the comment differently, though. I'd certainly agree that romantic or sexual desire is not the same as expectations; and no, the former is not neccessarily the Nice Guy of the article! I also have no trouble believing plenty of my male friends are not sexually attracted to me, as a sidenote. I know I'm friends with people I don't feel attraction for and I do think it's unfair to assume that all or most men must be attracted to their female friends.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I'm not saying you should necessarily assume that your friends are attracted to you, though some of them might be; I certainly have friends I'm not attracted to. I'm saying, going back to Vic's comment, that it's not unreasonable to *suspect* (not *assume*, mind you) that someone being nice to you is attracted to you. The sense of entitlement some Nice Guys get is unquestionably dickish. Personally, if I do something nice for someone I find attractive, and I get a smile or polite thanks, I consider myself paid in full. If I do something nice for someone and *don't* get a smile or polite thanks, I might (depending on the circumstances) feel a bit slighted, but that's more about feeling entitled to politeness, which is a lot more defensible, especially when it's manifested simply as less enthusiasm about being helpful in the future rather than as a hissy fit.

          • Anthony

            I don't think that that is any more defensible (and I may be alone in that thought). I think that if you're being nice because you want to be rewarded for it, you're doing it wrong. When I do something kind for someone, it's because it is the right thing to do. And if nary a word is mentioned of the action again, that's totally fine.

            Yes, it absolutely feels great to be appreciated. I'm not saying that feeling shouldn't be allowed. I am saying it shouldn't be expected. I may be in the minority in this mindset, but I truly believe it's the way to be for a better society.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Much depends on context. Frankly, what I said arguably holds even if I'm not attracted to the person in question. If anything, I'm more attuned the possibility of being overly kind to someone I find attractive, and if they respond coolly, I should probably take it as a hint and back off.

          • Anthony

            It depends on context whether or not you should be nice for the sake of being nice? Again, I disagree. That's just my personal opinion, though.

            I'm not entirely sure what you mean by overly kind, but I think you mean giving someone the wrong signals. In which case, yea, if someone responds less than positive to my actions, I will dial said actions back. That's certainly not exclusive to just people I find attractive, though. Some people just don't deal well with friendliness. It does feel like we are socialized to see 'niceness' as being a clue for attraction.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            " It depends on context whether or not you should be nice for the sake of being nice?"

            I was unclear. Context defines whether it's reasonable for me to expect any sort of gratitude. Let me give some examples, setting aside the question of attractiveness.

            If I go into a restaurant for the first time (i.e. I have no reputation there), and I leave a generous tip, I don't expect any gratitude, since they won't know how big the tip was until I'm out the door.

            If I take a cab from the airport, though, I'm handing the tip to the driver with the fare, and so long as I'm not rude to the driver, I think it's fair to expect polite thanks, which I will reciprocate.

            Now, these are somewhat artificial examples, in that these are people who are supposed to be polite for a living, and they will personally profit from such behavior.

            There are also some people I know are shy and stand-offish, and that's just who they are. I know better than to expect much more than a mumble and lack of eye contact from them, and I'm not going to take offense.

            As for overly kind, especially in an attraction context, I'm thinking specifically of the sort of scenario where someone might feel uncomfortable because they're worried that I'm going to expect some sort of quid pro quo, and they're trying to send signals that it's just not gonna happen. I'll read it as a brush-off, cut my losses, and try to avoid being a creep.

          • Anthony

            Yea, we're not exactly far off here, but I do just disagree with you. I wouldn't expect politeness from people in the service industry, I would just appreciate it if it's there. If someone is polite to me (regardless of my actions), I'm inclined to be around that person more. We're just coming at this from two slightly different angles.

            As for the rest of what you said, we agree there.

          • Trooper6

            I think there is a difference between politeness and gratitude.

            I generally expect people to be able to function at a base level of politeness…you know the level that makes society function without people punching each other. So if I give the cab driver a tip, I expect him to respond with the appropriate pleasantries. But I don't expect gratitude. I don't think they should be grateful that I fulfilled my part of the social contract by tipping.

          • Amber

            You know what? I'm a women, and I would sleep with many of my guy friends! You know why I don't? I don't for two reasons:

            1) women aren't allowed to do that in our culture. I would be the group slut, not dating material, blah blah. Also I would be the evil woman "leading him on"

            2) I care about the feelings of my friends! Unless I had an explicit agreement with someone, I would never sleep with them and then go about my life, flirt, hook up with other guys in front of them etc. And in my experience alot of guys don't handle "I only want to hook up with you, not date you" well even if they say they do. And if I did want to date my guy friend, I'd *still* be hesitant, because if I'm involved with my friend I have less opportunity to change my mind, it could cause awkwardness or ruin the friendship.

            So when I hear statements like this:
            "would gladly have sex with you if the opportunity ever arose" (which may describe many, even most, of your straight male friends"
            It makes me think that most guys don't care about consequences. And it pisses me off that as a women I'm supposed to shoulder all of the consequences because if I hook up with a guy its my fault! Because any guy would! Therefore it was me who made the decision.

            Ok sorry for the rant. It's just that the "guys would have sex with you anytime" meme makes me mad.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            "I would sleep with many of my guy friends!"

            That's precisely what I'm describing. The qualifier "if the opportunity ever arose" is intended to encompass a lot of the "You know why I don't?" scenarios.

            I'm not so much embracing a realistic "guys would have sex with you anytime" meme so much as a "guys think about sex a lot, with a wide variety of imagined partners, possibly including you" meme.

            What does it take to "want" sex with someone? If I can imagine something, and I find the thought pleasant, then I think it's fair to say that I want it, even if the desire isn't terribly strong, even if there are sufficient impediments to prevent it from happening. By this broad definition, you want to have sex with your guy friends. That's perfectly normal; most people *have* such desires, generally without ever acting on them. That's my point.

        • Amber

          Wow that is some toxic bullshit right there.
          And you know what, alot of women DO have this attitude! and have missed on on alot because of it.
          I really really wish we lived in a society where interactions and friendships didn't contain these weird gendered expectations. :/

      • Raoul

        Whatever you do, don't ever hook him up with one of your girlfriends. NGs should learn that they are sex pariahs.

    • wysewomon

      Wow. Nasty world, where I have to assume that every man who does nice things for me is doing it to get in my pants. Yeah, okay. "Nice Guy" is a trope. Maybe it's even a cliche. It's something that writers of TV series (and books and what-have-you) can fall back on instead of developing something new and honest, because everyone recognizes it. Does that mean I should base my life outlook on it? No, thank you.

      And "period of comfort?" What's that? Actually, it's extremely uncomfortable wondering every day whether this guy is really your friend or whether your suspicions about his motives are correct. You really hope you're wrong, because you want to be wrong about guys and also because if you're right and you confront him it might make a scene and nice girls aren't supposed to to that. And because if you confront him he might get offended, even if you're right.

      I don't think men can really understand how society puts the burden on women to KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AT ALL TIMES and how much that sucks. What we're saying is, be honest, don't be a jerk, be someone we can trust. And don't blame us if you hide shit and we can't read your minds.

      • eselle28

        Not only do we have to KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AT ALL TIMES, we also have to KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO HANDLE THE SITUATION. Because even though guys struggle to think of how to ask us out, we have girl superpowers and know exactly how to go about preemptively rejecting someone.

        • Yes, because as we all know, women are one collective unit of robots whom are all supposed to think exactly the same and have the exact same built-in omnipresent answers to everything (being robots and all) to tell us gosh darned poor confused men what to do and how to respond to your immense complexities, you CONFUSING EMOTIONAL SHE-DEMONSSSSsss!!1!!11!!one1!!

        • Tim

          But you still owe it to the Nice Guy to reject him if you are not interested romantically in any way. The common accusation against the Nice Guy is that he does not state his intention. That is a fair and a reasonable comment. My point is, however, that the object of Nice Guy's affection doesn't state her intentions either. She can go on suspecting he has a crush on her, making use of whatever the guy offers and waiting for some sort of resolution. That behavior is also wrong. If you know that you will not reciprocate the feelings, you do OWE it to him to make that clear. Otherwise, you are just using him, even if unintentionally. Not only that, but you continue to feed his hope. It is an unhealthy dynamic for both of people involved.

          • Mel_

            Tim, I think you have a mistaken idea of what "stating intentions" means. If a woman calls a guy her "friend" and tells him he's a "good friend" and so on, she *is* stating her intentions. Her intentions are to have a friendship with him. If he wants something other than the intentions she's put forth, *he* needs to speak up.

            I don't go around telling every person I meet all the things I *don't* intend toward them. It's not any person's responsibility to fend off all future expectations another person might have, only to say what it is they do expect.

          • is rough

            I think that's fair. Would-be nice guys need to own up their desires early on (though having myself been a nice guy in the past, it's not as if people know exactly what they're looking for all the time. Nor do they necessarily know what the strength of their attraction will be down the line, in which case when they do realize and risk owning it, their is likely to be fall-out regardless). And women need to be clearer about setting boundaries, especially with straight men–I'm sorry, I know it's not fair and puts the burden on women to have to think straight men are always after sex or romance, but you can't treat a male friend as if he's just another female friend, because gender theory and deconstruction aside, gendered, behavioral differences exist nonetheless. If after a fair amount of time the male friend becomes just like any other friend, and you've both had a conversation at some point about expectations, then you are perfectly absolved from any later charges of misleading. I have always been honest with women who tried to fall into the friend-zone with me, but I risked awkwardness and pain to have an expectations discussion with them, as I hope women would risk having with me.

          • SarahGryph

            For a while there I was stating, bluntly and apropos of nothing, "Hey by the way I'm not dating at all right now and I'm only talking to you as a friend, sorry to be weird but I wanted to put it out there" within the first long conversation I had with any men I ran into whom I started to be friendly with. VERY uncomfortable for me because I knew it was rude and probably sounded psychotic. I still had a string of 3 different Nice Guys guilting me later. At different points I repeated "*thing you said* is making me wonder if the friend-thing is still what you want; if I'm wrong then I'm terribly sorry but I wanted to make sure. If you want a relationship here I can't give you that, I don't want that with you." Still didn't work. Being "absolved" from charges of misleading sounds great…but it doesn't stop the charges from being made, nor the hurt of realizing that yep; it went like that again. Women can't *make* a man be honest; this article is about trying to help guys realize how important it is for them to work on that themselves.

          • BiSian

            A million times this!

          • is rough

            Nothing I don't agree with 🙂

          • Orv

            When you have to include "I know it's not fair and puts the burden on women" it is probably time to stop making your argument. That right there could be called "the universal sign that I'm making a losing argument."

            I'm sorry, I know it is fair, and means that guys need to own their actions instead of getting to be all passive-aggressive without being called on it, but if you like a girl, and aren't willing to just be friends, it's on you to set that out early on. "Hey, I'm really interested in you. I just don't think I could get over that and just be friends. I don't want to lead you on and put you in a position where you have to deal with my jealousy any time you're with someone else," is a good way to lay that out there.

          • BiSian

            If I'm going to crush on someone without stating my feelings, I am setting myself up for whatever pain goes with that. It's not on the other person to save my precious fweeling with their mystical powers of mind-reading.

          • Well I'm more or less inclined to agree on Tim on this one, if only to give the dude a hard dose of reality if he just isn't getting the picture.

          • eselle28

            There's a difference between a useful strategy that may make the best of a bad situation and an obligation.

            I'm very wary of the second one. Women already face a strong cultural assumption that they're somehow better at dealing with emotions than men are, and that because of that, they are responsible for not only their own feelings but for those of the men in their lives as well. It ends up giving the Nice Guys a free pass – they aren't expected to be upfront at the beginning of a relationship and the woman is the one who ends up being responsible for ensuring it ends before it causes too much pain.

          • Lilly

            No. Just no. The only "responsibility" a woman has to her male friends that fits your expectation to squander the hopes of Nice Guys is to appreciate them by telling them, "Hey, you're a great friend. Thanks for coming out tonight." That is something a good friend would say anyway, to any gender of friend, and the only person who would take that negatively is someone who didn't realize they were *supposed* to be a friend and see it as some kind of insult or friendzoning maneuver.

            It is in no way my job to assume what you want from me. You are doing a disservice to your entire gender by saying it is.

            "Is this seat taken?"
            "No, but just a heads up I am in no way interested with ever having a sexual encounter with you now or ever

            Do you see the worl d you're expecting?

          • SpiltCoffee5

            "I'll take that as a yes then."

          • eselle28

            No. I don't. This is not a case of, "Both people have equal responsibilities," because the two people involved aren't in the same position.

            I enter into my friendships honestly, not with the intent to backdoor my way into a relationship or to network for career purposes or anything else of that nature. I do a decently good job of both saying and showing what I want from my friends and what I have to offer them. That lays out the boundaries of the relationship.

            If someone goes along with all of that while secretly having another agenda, whether it be to date me or to sell me Amway, he's been dishonest with me. He's the one who owes me an explanation and who should bear the burden of the nasty emotions that come with taking that sort of risk.

            Since people don't always live up to their obligations, sometimes it might be easier for me if I take matters into my own hands and preemptively reject him. But that means I end up bearing the nasty emotional burden, plus the responsibility of deciphering someone else's unspoken feelings. Like I said, I might want to do that for my own piece of mind. But I shouldn't have to. And I'm definitely not obliged to.

          • Tim

            Alright, then what do you do after you know that a friend of yours has a crush on you and doesn't tell you he does? Do you just sit back and watch the guy crash and burn? You can't be surprised that he would get upset when that whole thing blows up. The moral thing would be to tell him that there is no romantic future between you two as soon as possible.

          • eselle28

            It depends on the situation. In the Nice Guy incident described above, I made loud statements about not wanting to date anyone right now and tried to spend as little time as possible with him. The only other time it's really been a problem was in a gaming guild situation. I ignored him for as long as possible. When it reached a point where it interfered with guild functions, I asked one of the officers to talk with him about being inappropriate. In both of those cases, the solution was what resolved the problem in what I saw as the least bad manner.

            The moral resolution to this situation is for the Nice Guy to be upfront about his feelings at the beginning. The second most moral resolution is for him to admit his feelings prior to becoming frustrated and exploding. The problem with your recommendation is that it assumes the Nice Guy will continue to be dishonest and manipulative (intentionally or not), and that it's my responsibility to make allowances for his bad behavior and make sure he suffers as little pain for it as possible (even if that, in turn, means that I need to shoulder that discomfort in his place).

          • Squirrel

            Alright, then what do you do after you know that a friend of yours has a crush on you and doesn't tell you he does?

            That depends entirely on the guy. Here are some actual scenarios from my personal experience:

            1) Assume until stated otherwise that he isn't interested. Get confused when he gets upset with you for not understanding that your lunch dates (completely dutch and in no way romantic) were actually dates in his mind. Have a good conversation about it, stay friends.

            2) Have a friend tell you that Guy is really interested and that you should "do something about that." Get upset with friend for implying that you were obligated to have sex with guy just because he's "a good guy" who was attracted to you. Mention it to guy years later after he's happy and have him admit that he never brought it up because he damn well knew you weren't interested.

            3) Tell the guy you just want to be friends. Have him say he's totally okay with that. Find out later he's telling your mutual friends that you are a selfish bitch.

            4) Tell guy that there is no way you are ever going to sleep with him. Find out later he is telling mutual friends that you are a slut who has slept with everyone in his particular friend group except for him.

            5) Have a mutual silent agreement where neither of you talk about it. Have him be totally cool about it. Dance with his wife at their wedding.

            Funny thing is, every situation is different. Every man is going to deal with the attraction differently, and every woman is going to react differently to the knowledge of the attraction. The important thing on both sides is to be a god damned adult about it.

          • Tim

            And the adult thing to do would be to talk. It is obvious that the Nice Guy would not open up about his feelings until such time that the bomb reaches critical mass. They let their unrequited feelings fester and turn into something ugly. By definition, if they could see their own situation, they would not be Nice Guys.

            There is, however, someone who could mitigate at least some of the damage early on and that is the woman that the Nice Guy is attracted to. If she recognizes realizes that one of her friends has feelings for her, it is her moral duty to bring that up as soon as possible and initiate the conversation. From where I stand, if the woman chooses to do nothing and wait, she is leading the guy on.

          • Squirrel

            'Scuse me while I go for the obvious geek reference. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

            It is not a woman's MORAL duty to bring up her suspicions of a man's feelings. There is no MORAL duty for her to give him an opening to confess his sexual attraction. There is no MORAL duty for her to "do something" about any of it. They are his damned feelings. It is his damned duty (certainly not a moral one) to choose his course of action and be an adult about the outcome, whatever it might be. If he never brings it up to her, it is his damned duty to recognize that she is not a fucking mind reader. If he does bring it up and she rejects him, it his damned duty to cope with that rejection in a manner that recognizes that she is not obligated to return his attraction, no matter how good their friendship was prior to that point. If he does bring it up and discovers that the feeling is mutual, then it's sunshine and rainbows. If the man chooses to do nothing about his attraction, then he doesn't get to complain because nothing is happening.

          • Tim

            I think what you are saying is: "he is the one with the feelings, which means he is the one who should be responsible for everything". That is a pretty self-indulgent point of view. What about simple human compassion? You see that your FRIEND has a problem and in the interest of your own convenience, you would let that problem go untreated?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            If a woman MAY be interested in you but has said she isn't and just wants to be friends and you are certainly not interested in her (not hot enough, not stable, whatever) at what point do her feelings for you become your responsibility?

          • Mel_

            The whole point is that the woman *doesn't* know that her friend has a problem. I'm not sure why this needs to be said so many times, but women are not psychic. When a woman sees such obvious signs that a guy friend is attracted to her that she is sure she needs to bring up, she usually does! But if she just sees some signs, and then when she tries to hint at the subject he brushes it off, it's her "moral duty" to assume he's incapable of being truthful about his feelings? How is it moral to assume your friend is immature, incapable of adult communication, etc.? How is the woman supposed to know the difference between a Nice Guy who's going to let those feelings fester, and a true friend who has a bit of a crush but wants to work through it on his own?

            You realize that you're saying that the woman needs to be compassionate about feelings she doesn't even know for sure the guy has, while failing to be at all compassionate yourself to the feelings of the woman. Do you think it's easy to bring up with someone feelings that if they have they're clearly trying to hide? To have to question someone you want to be able to trust? It's not about an inconvenience, it's about wanting to respect your friends and believe that they're reasonable functioning human beings. It seems to me it's much more compassionate to believe the best of people than the worst.

          • Tim

            I think you misunderstood me. All that I ask for is that IF the woman suspects that one of her friends is attracted to her, but wouldn't just come out and say it, she should bring it up. If, however, the guy says that he doesn't have feelings for her or something like that – all bets are off. He has dug his own grave.

          • Mel_

            And if you read the comments from women here, you'll see that they generally do. So what is the problem?

            If you're expecting us to say, "yes, it's a woman's moral duty to ask a guy about his secret feelings, and she's a bad person if she doesn't," well, you're not going to get that, and I don't think it's fair to expect that. But I think the vast majority of us agree that if a woman has good reason to suspect something's going on, bringing it up to clear the air is a good idea.

          • Tim

            The whole point of my original post was to say that if women act as you describe, all is well. However, if they don't bring it up, they are also being dishonest and deserve to share the blame for the ugly outcome.

          • Trooper6

            I disagree. I know a woman who is a friend of mine. I had a bit of a crush on her. I didn't say anything about it, because I didn't plan on acting on it because I don't date colleagues. Now, I tried to make sure she never got a clue about my feelings. I like to hope that I am good enough that she never knew. But let's say she suspected.

            Why should she bring it up if I don't and I don't do anything to cross any boundaries or make her uncomfortable or devalue our friendship? It has now been long enough that I've been able to diffuse the crush and now only have platonic feelings for her. Our friendship is just as strong as ever. I had feelings and worked through them. Her not talking bringing it up allowed me to work through my own private stuff without any awkwardness. My feelings are not her responsibility, she has no obligation to be my caretaker around my feelings–especially if I don't tell her.

            There will also never be any ugly outcome because I'm not a creepy nice guy. I wasn't friends with her because of my romantic feelings for her, I was friends with her because of my friendship feelings for her. And those feelings won out–because as a human being I have control over my feelings and actions.

            And I choose not to be a jerk.

          • eselle28

            Oh, that's such a good point. Since this article was posted, I've been thinking about times when I've had an unrequited crush or when someone else has had an unrequited crush on me. It might be an age thing, but a lot of the time, one of the people involved was married or living with someone.

            Is it really a good thing to bring an attraction out into the open when you suspect the other person is suppressing it for good reason? I'm going to say no. And, if we're at that point, shouldn't we maybe extend it to cases where we think the other person is attracted but don't know why they haven't acted on it? I've certainly been very physically and emotionally responsive to men who I had absolutely no intention of dating or sleeping with, for whatever reason. A couple of them have also been my friends. If I get the sense someone else is attracted to me, I'm not sure the first assumption should be that he's a cowardly Nice Guy who can't bring things up. It might very well be that he's ignoring the situation because he doesn't want to deal with potential consequences.

          • Tim

            I don't get this aversion to asking for help. Sure, you managed to work things out on your own, but just assume that you didn't? You would have inevitably become the Nice Guy. Doing the right thing is neither easy nor convenient. What happened in your case was that a gamble paid off. You chose to say nothing and she chose to say nothing out of fear of breaching the comfort. I believe that such arrangement rarely works out for the best. In my opinion, it is always in the best interest of both parties to be upfront should such a situation arise.

          • eselle28

            ASKING for help is fine.

            Sitting back and expecting others in general to help you is unrealistic.

            Sitting back and expecting that the specific person you have feelings for will help you is unrealistic and unfair.

          • Tim

            It IS unrealistic, but it happens a lot. In fact, not being pro-active is the prerequisite to being a Nice Guy.

            The one who will shoulder the burden is the woman, one way or another. The only difference is, if the things are left to run their course, there is a good chance of Nice Guy getting "fed up" and slandering your name in public and on some forums.

          • eselle28

            So the real motive is a fear of retaliation?

            This is a very good argument for backing as far away from Nice Guy types as possible. It's still not a very good one that the moral burden here is on the woman.

          • Mel_

            I know, right? This is basically the same argument as saying things like it's women's duty not to wear revealing clothes, because there's a good chance some guy will get the wrong idea and sexually harass them. A person shouldn't have to go out of their way to make sure other people don't do bad things to them, and shouldn't be held responsible for other people doing bad things to them when they were just living their life in a totally normal and acceptable way.

          • Delafina

            Which is why Nice Guys are unethical human beings.

          • Trooper6

            My friend can't help me work though my feelings, so why should I ask her for help? This was all about me and my feelings. Since these feelings were not reciprocated, my feelings really had nothing to do with her.

            If I needed help getting over those feelings because I was having trouble on my own, then I'd talk to one of my other friends (one we don't have in common). I'm not going to be selfish by throwing these feelings at her that aren't going to go anywhere just so I can make her feel uncomfortable. What kind of jerk does that?

            And also of course I would get over my feelings, because I time heals everything. Also, even if it had taken me a really long time to get over those feelings (which happened to me once back in my 20s)–that still wouldn't make me a Nice Guy. Because Nice Guys don't actually have friendships with these women, they only are "nice" in order to get into the pants/relationship. They are manipulative and deceptive. They are only doing things to get something in return. I, however, remained friends with those two people I had crushes on because I wanted to actually be friends with them. Honestly and truly. Not as a substitute or consolation for getting in their pants. There have been women I've had crushes on that didn't reciprocate that I didn't build friendships with, because I wasn't interested in that. If I'm friends with someone, I'm actually friends with them. Which is why I'm not a Nice Guy. I'm also not a mashochist, so I don't put myself in situations that make me suffer. I can be friends with a person I have a crush on without putting myself in situations that exacerbate or flame my feelings.

            I don't even know what you mean my doing the right thing is neither easy nor convenient. I do the right thing. That is what I do. There is no other option for me. I have honor and I will not besmirch it. There are times when I've screwed up, I think most people have, but doing the right thing isn't hard if you believe in doing the right thing.

            Let me reiterate: telling someone who doesn't reciprocate your feelings that you "love" them, is usually just a selfish dick move.

          • enail

            What kind of help do you imagine the woman could have provided in this case?

            As trooper6 says, it's generally accepted that if you have feelings of any kind (crush, annoyance, etc.) about a person that don't require any response from them (eg. you don't intend to date them, the thing annoying you is not something where you need to ask them to change something), the accepted decent thing to do is to talk about your feelings with SOMEONE UNINVOLVED. If it's you, not them, it's rude to involve them.

          • Delafina

            Why is it incumbent on the woman to bring up the potentially awkward, potentially violent conversation? I take people at their word. If a guy tells me he wants to be my friend, it is NOT my responsibility to disbelieve him.

          • eselle28

            I'll admit that's a kind thing to do, if the man is in fact a good friend (he's not always).

            I just don't like taking the emphasis off the original duty: to be open about your romantic feelings in the first place. The Nice Guy has a duty to get over his emotional block, and shifting blame to the woman involved tends to make the conversation about her and how she wasn't doing a good enough job of attending to his emotional needs.

          • Orv

            Why? Why is that her responsibility. Sure she suspects, but damn, what if she's wrong? I mean he's an adult, surely he'd tell her if he had feelings for her? God, she'd sound like such a conceited bitch if she went around just assuming her guy friends had feelings for her all the time. Good thing she knows she can trust him and was able to put that silly suspicion to bed, right?

            What you're searching for here is someone to validate your feelings that it totally isn't the guy's job to act like a grown up… but it is. Wanting it to be the woman's job to be the only adult anywhere near that relationship is childish. It doesn't fly, and the only people who are going to be sympathetic to that viewpoint are the rest of the crowd who just want someone to tell them that it isn't their fault they aren't brave enough to tell that woman how they feel.

          • Squirrel

            No, what I am saying is "He is the one with the feelings, so he is the one who needs to be responsible for what he does about those feelings." It is self-indulgent to put the onus of dealing with your feelings onto someone else. It is especially self-indulgent to passive-aggressively make your feelings someone else's problem. It is ULTIMATELY self-indulgent to make someone else responsible for "treating" your "problem." The only people in this world who have a responsibility to help you deal with your feelings are you and your therapist.

          • Ainuvande

            Fuck that noise. They're HIS feelings. HE'S THE ONE WHO NEEDS TO OWN THEM. It is HIS RESPONSIBILITY to state interest. Especially if I'm in a relationship, that crush is his problem.


            If he's overt enough that I've figured it out, and he can't own his feelings, then that tells me he's too passive-aggressive for me to date anyway, and I'll stop hanging out with him, because that's just creepy. His feelings are NOT my responsibility.

          • Becelec

            You've just got a whole bunch of hang ups here don't you? FFS it is no one's responsibility to do shit but the Nice Guy himself. You can sit here and cry about her leading him on all you want, but where exactly is it going to get you? Women are not the emotional babysitters of men. Take responsibility for yourself.

          • Robert

            Technically, until the friend tells you he has a crush on you, you don't know that he does.

          • SarahGryph

            I have this odd idea that the guy is a rational adult; and as long as I'm clear about where I stand, part of being a friend is to respect *him* enough to trust what he says and that he can make his own judgement calls on what he's comfortable doing. It comes off unbelievably condescending and presumptous to try to tell someone "I don't think we should be friends, you clearly like me too much and I don't think this is good for you." That conversation would go so well, eh? I do try to maintain the right to politely say "hey no offense, but I'm uncomfortable with you doing that for me" but that doesn't really address the core issue. And sounds silly and rather rude if all they're doing is being a good friend in the first place.

          • Delafina

            Hang on, hang on. A guy says he wants to be your friend, and you are OBLIGATED TO REJECT HIM if you're not interested in him romantically?

            Um, no, I value my male friends as well as my female ones, and I trust the people around me to be adults and TELL me what they want.

            And, for the record, I've informed every single male friend I've had (and I have and have had many) that I was not interested in them romantically. The Nice Guys are the ones who refused to believe me.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      How would you propose that a person distinguish real friends from Nice Guy (or Girl) friends prior to them flipping out? I mean that's the whole idea, right, that the Nice Guy passes off as just like any other friend? Would it be to automatically distrust any friend of the opposite sex? That feeds the "men and women can't be just friends" stereotype, another fed to us by popular media.

    • Trooper6

      I am a guy. And I am very nice to many women…and men. And I do things for them. Because I do things for my friends. I certainly hope all those women don't think I'm secretly crushing on them, because I'm not. I'm just a good guy who is friendly.

      Are there women who enjoy being my friend because I am a supportive, good guy? Yes. Are they using me! No…because being supportive and making someone comfortable is what friends do. I do that for my friends regardless of gender. And my friends support me too. Because that is friendship.

      This idea that being a friend to a woman means the woman is using you means you are it a real friend, know nothing about friendship, and are a jerk.

      • wysewomon


    • Paul Rivers

      Tim, thanks for writing this. The one girl I knew who complained about this was the kind of girl who made guys "friends" by winking at them and flirting with them, then expressed outrage that one of these guys (who she wasn't attracted to) wanted to date her, and got upset when she turned him down. She was super ticked – but like you said, having known her for a while, it seemed a lot more like that she was ticked off that her period of comfort with him where he flirted with her and went places with her was over.

      • Or maybe she was upset because she was just a naturally friendly (read: flirty, to some people) person, and discovered that these guys only liked her when they thought she would sleep with them.

        • is rough

          I don't think that's fair. It implies we should not expect women to think about how their actions might be interpreted at all. This whole site is predicated on the assumption that there are "best practices" for relationships between men and women; there are certainly statistical "truths" about social expectations (whether or not I agree with them, as I often do not). Being flirty, blowing kisses, etc., should be expected to come off as, well, being flirty and blowing kisses. If a woman only knows to do this to get male attention, and then bewails that all the attention she gets is sexual, she needs to read some female equivalent of doctor nerd love about how to change her behavior and have higher self-esteem.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I would say you're actually pretty close to the truth. I certainly don't cary an expectation that women: strangers, friends or relationships, will interpret my actions. Sure, sometimes that works, especially when you already have rapport but sometimes you just have to put on your big boy pants and use your words.

          • I think a guy should assume that being flirty and blowing kisses is just that. It's wrong to assume it is anything MORE. Guys are assuming that she is doing to get male attention…. she might just be doing it because she thinks it's more fun to interact with people that way.

            Answer me this: if the only way to get attention from males is to be flirty and sexy, how is she supposed to get attention from males? Is it possible she DOES want attention from males, just not ALL males, only specific ones?

          • is rough

            Your point is split in two different directions–on the one hand, you suggest men should not interpret flirtation (and presumably, behavior towards them in general) as suggesting the possibility that women are showing romantic or sexual interest in them. On the other hand, you ask how women can get attention from males, suggesting that the only way to do this is "to flirt and be sexy," adding that maybe women just want such attention from specific males. I don't really see the link between these two points, but I have to imagine women can choose who they are flirty with, if we agree that the only way they can attract male attention is by flirting (which I don't really agree with). I have yet to meet the woman who only knows how to communicate by acting "flirty" to every single man and woman they know. Certainly some are more flirtatious than others, but it's not as if that's their only tool in the box.

            But concerning the first point, should men and women assume absolutely nothing about each others' behavior, ever? How will we ever communicate desires and expectations? By overt conversation alone? Every time, without exception? As much as I'd love for communication to be that direct and simple, saving us all alot of headaches and drama, I don't see it happening.

            I agree that men should not assume a woman is inviting them over for sex just because she chooses to flirt with them, but it is still a suggestive gesture, and the reality of society being what it is, it's disingenuous to think that men will take it devoid of all connotation. Besides, what would be the fun/point of flirting, if not to step into that space and flirt with the connotation of flirting (pardon the pun)?

            You can't have it both ways–women being free to do anything they want in terms of sub-vocal communication, free of engendering any expectation or assumptions, no matter how suggestive the act (assumed understanding of meaning of gestures and words is after all the foundation of comprehensible communication), with men expected to never assume anything about a woman's intentions. If that were the case, the only way a man and woman could ever hope to get together would then be for the woman to walk up to him and suggest they go have sex. Otherwise the man risks operating on those oh-so-dreaded assumptions about what a woman might want when he risks an approach. Again, I totally agree men need to be more respectful, less prone to taking even the slightest gesture as a hoped for sign of interest, but I think suggesting that we shouldn't try to take any hints at all becomes totally impracticable (and would undermine all that wonderful DNL advice about reading body language, etc.). I also totally wish women were more direct about what they want, and that the enculturated heterenormative dynamic didn't operate on such annoying binaries as active-passive or approacher/approachee. I love getting approached by women!

          • Mel_

            "You can't have it both ways–women being free to do anything they want in terms of sub-vocal communication, free of engendering any expectation or assumptions, no matter how suggestive the act (assumed understanding of meaning of gestures and words is after all the foundation of comprehensible communication), with men expected to never assume anything about a woman's intentions."

            No one is saying this. Assume away! Just don't get *angry* or act *betrayed* if your assumptions turn out to be incorrect. If a person doesn't understand the difference between an assumption and a definite fact–that assumptions are things that are not yet proven to be true, and so may not be–I'm pretty sure that's on that person, not the person s/he was making assumptions about.

            I really don't see why this is so hard to comprehend.

          • is rough

            It's not, and I agree. I was addressing what was implied in the post, extending its logic for the sake of fleshing out principles.

          • Mel_

            I think we're going of going round and round on semantics now. It seems to me the problematic idea was that guys have a right to feel betrayed if a woman has been flirty and then turned him down. That's what people are arguing against.

            "Assume" is probably actually the wrong word for me to have used, giving it further thought, because "assume" usually means that you think it *is* a fact. So actually, I agree with Marty that you shouldn't assume you know what someone else's intentions are if they haven't stated them outright. But you can guess what someone's intentions are, suspect what they are, etc. It's when you start feeling sure that they mean X and it turns out they mean Y that you can find yourself getting unfairly upset. So make educated guesses about what someone wants all you like, just don't be *sure* you know what's going through someone else's head.

            Reasonable enough?

          • is rough

            Doesn't sound like we disagree on any point. I'm pretty sure none of my posts suggest men have a right to blame women for their failed, one-sided, dishonestly broached attractions, so I'm not sure why it's thought I'm missing that point. Or that men have a right to blame women when things don't go their way. I'm also pretty sure my over-sized post of a few spots ago was all about the necessity to make educated guesses, etc. so there's that as well. Talking past each other it seems, so let's leave it at that.

      • Mel_

        1. Just because there are people who use other people for emotional gratification doesn't mean that it's okay for anyone to think they're owed a relationship from anyone else. These are two separate problems.

        2. Just because that particular woman flirted with these guys doesn't mean that she was agreeing to date them! Flirtation is not a promise or a guarantee. Being disappointed that someone turns you down is reasonable; being angry with them is not (unless, say, they outright *said* they wanted to date you and then revealed they didn't mean it, which is more than just flirting).

        • Tim

          No, but flirting is at least an invitation to flirt back. Guys are not mind readers either, and the boundaries of what is simply having fun and what is a suggestion for a relationship is very faint, not to mention, different for each person. If the woman is a naturally friendly and flirty person, she should be able to calibrate her response to people. Otherwise, we are looking at an instance of provocation.

          The situation is kind of similar to how really muscular black people have to try and act more friendly than others. They tend to look scary to white people and have to pay close attention to their social interactions so as not to come off as threatening.

          The "flirty" woman in this situation should anticipate that some people that she flirts with may actually want to have sex with her. Her own behavior provokes that response and feeling upset that the guy "misunderstood" her is at the very least ignorant.

          • Provocation??

            Flirting is not a promise. Yes, a guy can flirt back, but that doesn't mean he should assume the beginning of a relationship. Until he has actually made a move towards a relationship (asked her out, made a physical move), he should assume nothing.

            I have flirted with plenty of people, and they haven't wanted to have sex with me. Some of my female friends don't flirt and guys still want to have sex with them. So obviously it is NOT her flirting that provokes the response, since flirting by itself does not lead to "want sex." These guys need to own their own assumptions and wants; her flirting has really nothing to do with them assuming she wants sex OR a relationship.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            So flirt back. The line is thin and that's when its important to make sure you're on the same page without flipping the fuck out if you aren't (on either side). Again, use your words.

          • Mel_

            I don't know if you read the comment I was replying to, but Paul didn't say the woman was angry because the guy flirted back. He said she was angry because the guy got upset when she turned him down for a date. If she'd just gotten angry about him *asking* her on a date, no, that's no cool. But it's not cool for the guy to get upset at her for saying "No", and she has every right to be annoyed that he's acting entitled to her time just because she flirted with him.

          • Lily

            The way you said that reminds me of something my friend says about guys with that level of entitlement (he, like me, thinks that these Nice Guys disservice the real "nice guys"):

            Someone holds a door when your arms are full.
            Female response: How thoughtful.
            Male response: She must want to sleep with me.

            Someone compliments your favorite band sticker on your car.
            Female response: What a cool guy; I love this band.
            Male response: She must want to sleep with me.

            Someone thanks you for being a good friend.
            Female response: Awh. I love that they're my friend too.
            Male response: She says friend, but she must secretly want to sleep with me.

            So because some guys are going to assume any attention I give them (positive or negative) is a greenlight for sex, I should shut down every guy I'm not interested in? Sorry, I'd rather treat men as people, not horny dogs.

          • Tim

            I have read some of your comments and I just have to say that you seem to be taking straw-man arguments a little bit too far. In this case, we are not talking about simple compliments or general banter. We are talking about flirting. Flirting by definition carries a more sexually charged context and therefore, a different meaning.

            I don't think I would be wrong to assume that a woman that is flirting with me is interested in me sexually at least at a theoretical level. As a result, a woman that is "generally flirty" should carry the responsibility to state her intentions clearer. You wouldn't pardon a murderer if he says: "not my fault – that's just who I am". Similarly, you have to understand that a woman that is flirting is leading him on, regardless of what her real intentions are.

          • Lilly

            I was responding to the idea that women have no right to be upset when their intention is "misunderstood" and clearly said some men.

            And you hit on my point as well: what do people see as flirty?

            On average, men have a tendency to assume more social interactions to be sexual cues than just friendly banter or simple compliments, as you put it, that women also viewed and interpretted differently.

            If I'm touching your arm, talking about how cute you are and making veiled sexual innuendo, then sure. I'm flirting. But if I love your band shirt or ask about your accent, it's genuine curiousity in people. Not flirting. I'm glad the line is so clear for you, but it really isnt, especially for the people with a confirmation bias for it.

            I really don't see where murder comes in – unless that's a social interaction to you? Or are you equating shooting a man down to killing him?

            [All of this is tangental to Nice Guys]

          • Trooper6

            Some people, men and women, are flirty. Very often social butterfly extrovert types. Being flirty is fun. But they don't want to actually have sex with you. A lot of guys and gals are like that. You just learn to recognize the type and don't take the flirting seriously.

            Similarly, some people, men and women, like to tease people. They don't want to hurt your feelings, they just grew up being sarcastic and teasing. You learn to recognize the type and don't take the teasing seriously.

            Similarly, there are some people who don't talk to you very much. These people might actually be quite introverted but don't seem like it. When I go to talk to them and they don't respond or call me back, they aren't being rude or hateful, they just aren't as talkative as I and my friends are. I recognize the type and don't take it personally.

            People are different. With empathy and not being completely self-centered you can come to see how people might work differently than you.

            Because I am very friendly and also give people a *lot* of energy and attention when I meet them, I've had some people assume I was hitting on them and that I was interested in them sexually…when it never occurred to me for years that anyone would take my friendliness for sexual interest.

            But not everyone interprets the same behavior the same way. Try not to assume the worst of person if it doesn't put you in danger.

          • Delafina

            No, the correct response to flirting is flirting back. It's not assuming that you get sex.

    • Taimae

      You're right. There are a lot of women these situations do know when this sort of thing is going on. And when we sniff out a guy is just doing things to be a Nice Guy, we want to get away from this unwanted attention ASAP and we either tell them flat out we're not interested, and we try to keep our distance and yet they still try to have at you. They're doing it without any prompting from the other person.

      Many of these girls will most likely already have a friend or two (or more) who are already there for emotional support so they really wouldn't need that extra weird forced stuff that NG is pushing. Trust me, it's really uncomfortable for a girl to have a guy you KNOW is interested keep trying to offer you all these things even though you've made it very clear you're not interested.

      I'm not saying that there aren't women (or men) who do not exploit another person because they're aware of their feelings, but in this case, I'd say you're rather off.

      • Tim

        What you are describing here is not a Nice Guy. The person you are describing is someone who pushes for a relationship of some sort even though you clearly state that you are not interested. This is not a Nice Guy behavior. When faced with an outright rejection, a typical Nice Guy would back off and try harder at "friendship".

        • eselle28

          I think Taimae is talking about cases where even the "friendship" isn't particularly appreciated, and where the guy keeps trying harder at it despite receiving a generalized rejection. I don't know if these men fall under the Nice Guy heading, but many of them definitely classify themselves as such and make similar complaints.

          • Taimae

            Yes, that's more or less what I mean. I'm not exactly the most articulate person.

            I guess the best example I could give was that I used to know a Nice Guy who would continuously make these 'jokes' about how we should be a couple both with other people, and when it was just us too. I told him I just wanted to be just friends and I he'd always say "Yeah, that's fine. I'm totally cool with being friends!". And I thought that was fine. But then he'd try to be a little too involved in my life, and whenever we'd hang out he'd say weird things like "Oh, we get along so well as friends, we basically know everything about each other", followed by "You too independent, and that's why other guys won't date you, but I think that's cool" despite never bringing up my dating life to him. He call a bunch of times, complain about how we don't hang out often and things like that, despite that we were never really close to start with.

            For me, I always identified this behaviour as Nice Guy, mainly because before when he used to talk about other girls who would reject his advances, he'd start complaining about how girls only want a Bad Boy.

          • eselle28

            I thought you described things perfectly clearly!

            I consider this Nice Guy behavior too, or at least when I talk about my experiences with Nice Guys, I'm thinking of situations like this more than the ones where I'm cuddling on a couch with a guy or sobbing to him about my horrible Bad Boy boyfriends. The guys I'm thinking of also self-identified as Nice Guys and made similar complaints.

          • Taimae

            Yeah exactly. I can't say I've ever really sobbed on the couch with a Nice Guy, because there's never been that level of comfort. (I have sobbed to guys who are nice of course)

            For me, a Nice Guy doesn't necessarily need to be super close to the girl that he likes. If they aren't then they either a) Are trying to get to that point, but girl isn't allowing it, or b) Think that they are (which I think I saw earlier in one of your posts you mentioned).

          • scalawag

            I think you're describing very well what it's like to be on the receiving end of Nice Guy attentions, where the "sobbing on the couch" thing is how Nice Guys often describe and see themselves. What you describe is more like my experience with Nice Guys, actually.

          • Delafina

            I thought you described it quite articulately. 🙂

        • Taimae

          Perhaps I didn't make my post clear, sorry about that. But what tends to happen in cases like this, is that even when they're rejected, they will go back to being 'Okay, we'll just be friends'. They they'll play the friend thing for a bit, and then go and try to confess again, acted shocked when you still reject them. For me, that's still a Nice Guy.

    • Vic

      "If the notion of a Nice Guy is so wide-spread, how come women still get surprised? "

      They're not.

      Watch this again:

      Every one of those girls, when pressed, knows that their male "friends" want to bang them, and would do so at the drop of a hat.

      • Mel_

        Yes, and the examples of a dozen or so women clearly show that the billions of women in the world must all feel the same way. And it's certainly not possible that the video makers also talked to women who said their male friends don't want to sleep with them, and the video makers decided not to include those clips in their video. < /sacasm >

      • eselle28

        I think we've already discussed why that video isn't evidence of anything except that the people who made it wanted to convey that message.

        • Vic

          That's something you've asserted, absent any evidence at all.

          • eselle28

            It's people who are making positive claims who are supposed to provide evidence.

            The video's creators are the only ones with that evidence. They haven't published their methods, possibly because the video was intended as entertainment, not as a study of human behavior. Given the complete absence of any disclosure that participants were randomly selected, that no answers were excluded, and that the filmed discussions were unscripted, I don't see how I or anyone else can assign it credibility.

          • Vic

            So do you believe the video was deceptive because you have some evidence that it is? Or simply because you find the conclusions to be drawn from it distasteful? Because it sounds like the latter.

          • eselle28

            My default mode is disbelief. It takes evidence, or signals of credibility, to move me out of that stance. This is also the reason that I don't believe in God.

            The creators here didn't do anything to suggest that their video was intended as a study as well as a joke. They haven't mentioned their credentials. They didn't disclose how they located the students. The video itself contains numerous cuts, which makes it impossible to tell how it was edited. There's just nothing suggesting it's reliable, or that it was even intended to be a study. I'm sure you can find some studies on this if you look.

          • Mel_

            How about, because when someone goes out to make a video about how men and women can't be friends, they're obviously only going to include clips of people who prove their point. It's completely illogical for them to include clips that don't prove that point.

            I bet among DNL's commenters, there are at least 12 of us who do have opposite-sex friends with whom we would not have sex and who don't want to have sex with us. There you go! By your standards, that's proper evidence that everyone feels this way. And we're not even an edited sample.

          • Vic

            I don't doubt you could find 12 *female* readers who wouldn't have sex with any of their male friends…

            I still encourage all female readers who actually believe their male friends don't want to sleep with them to run the experiment. Next time you're alone with you "platonic" guy friend, excuse yourself, come back out in your underwear and offer to fuck him, no strings attached. At least 90% of them will take you up on it.

          • Trooper6

            Smart guys would be wary of the whole situation. Any woman (person) who just walks up to you naked and offers NSA sex…is most likely not a safe person to have sex with. There are going to be strings somewhere.

            My advice, what I would do, and what most of my fellow mature male friends would do is back out of the situation immediately and make sure not to touch her. Also, try to do so me CYA in case she is actually as dangerously obsessive as she is coming off.

          • Anonyleast

            If I woman walked up to me like that, I'd figure going with her would result in me waking up in a bathtub of ice one kidney short.

          • Trooper6

            I hate it when you wake up with no kidney. That is the worst.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            And then you see the note that's all “Bee-tee-dubs, you might want to call an ambulance. LOL KTHANXBAI” on the mirror.

          • Trooper6

            Wimmin, amirite bro? Always stealing your kidneys!

            Won't anyone think about the menz? And their kidneys?

          • Taimae

            Looks like I just learned how to get myself a spare kidney.

          • Trooper6

            And now I have solved a medical mystery.

            People have long wondered why women live longer than men. The answer? They have extra kidneys! While men are walking around missing a kidney!

            That explains everything!

          • Mel_

            So why are the women in the video saying their guy friends would have sex with them right, and the women here who say our guy friends wouldn't have sex with us wrong? What makes their interpretation of their friendships more valid than ours? (As far as I can tell, it's only that you agree with their interpretation, not because their "proof" is somehow qualitatively better. And you were the one accusing us of being biased?)

            Not to mention, there have been several *male* commenters here who've said they have female friends they don't want to sleep with. You can't just decide people are lying because it doesn't fit your chosen world view.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            And I still encourage you to go out with me any time and see who gets better reactions from women but I don't pretend I can predict what 90% of those women will do.

          • Delafina

            Most of my male friends, if I did that, would be concerned that I was acting extremely abnormally for me. I'm fairly certain most of them would say no just out of worry that I'd had some sort of mental breakdown.

          • MordstihJ

            Um… the TITLE of the video is "Why Men and Women Can't Be Friends." That looks an awful lot like evidence of intent to convey a message.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Your claim is that this video of 12 women which has no information on its procedures or agenda is somehow representative of all women. The counter-claim is that 12 people are not representative of 150 million (I'll limit this to America). The burden of proof, sir, is on you.

          • Vic

            What makes you say they are not representative? Upon what are you basing that claim? The fact that they are saying somethign that you personally disagree with?

          • Trooper6

            The reason why people are disputing the video is not because they disagree with what it is saying, but because they understand the scientific method.

            Social Scientists who work on questions like this don't just produce a video of 12 people saying something…because that isn't proof…not even if it says something I agree with.

          • Mel_

            Upon the fact that we could find 12 people who would say just about anything on the average college campus. I bet you I could find 12 people who say that they hate guys who use "negs" very easily! Clearly that would mean the entire population agrees with them, right?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Read it again until you get it. Your claim that they are is more extraordinary than mine that they are not because any sample of 1 out of 1 million is unlikely to be representative. Therefore, the burden of proof is on you.

            Or as the Book Of Ge'Del says
            "For yeah though the pick Up Artist doth work the game of numbers, 1 in a million chances still do not occur nine times out of ten."

          • eselle28

            For starters, they are all in the same age group. They are also all college students, which brings into play all kinds of issues of class and opportunities. I'm not very inclined to rewatch it, but as I remember, a disproportionate number of them seemed to be white.

            But beyond that? If you want to claim a sample is representative, you need to show me that it is by asking your participants demographic questions and providing me with that information.

          • BiSian

            Yeah, 12 women from the same college campus. Representative sample fail. And look at me, I only took high school statistics.

      • SarahGryph

        Wait a sec there, the video convo aside, knowing a guy is attracted to you only means you shouldn't be friends with him if you assume he's the type of person to not be adult enough to still have a friendship. As mentioned in the article itself, yes, it is possible to be honest friends (not fake manipulative friends) with someone even if you're attracted to them! Just because the idea of a guy being attracted to you isn't a huge surprise (and believe me, to many women it is) it can still be a surprise that this person you've come to trust has decided to turn on you only because that attraction won't be consummated. Because the whole time you thought they were adult enough, and cared about you as a person enough, that they were honest about enjoying the friendship. (And as some guys *do* mean it when they say that, it's unfair to assume "oh no, he thinks I'm cute; better cut this off now!")

      • Paladin

        You know, Vic, I still don't know what to make of this video. Even if it is true (and as a guy, that'd be a hell of a surprise to me), and apparently I've just been in denial all this time about wanting to shag all of my female friends, what am I supposed to do then? Call them all up, tell them I want to bang them, see how many stick around? Stop talking to them entirely, and focus exclusively on shagging women, shying away from all other relationship? Can I still befriend men, and if so, why? I'm not trying to troll you, I really am honestly curious. I just don't get this viewpoint, because beyond simply trumpeting "men and women can't be friends, men just want sex," there's nothing really to it.

        • Mel_

          The point of the viewpoint is to allow certain guys to feel justified in not caring about women other than for sex, because then it's not their personal approach but "the way humans work" or some such. If you have no problem with caring about women for more than sex, you don't need the viewpoint. 🙂

    • Delafina

      Thanks so much for telling me what I feel! I was confused and hurt, but it's great that there's a man here to explain to me that I'm not actually feeling confused and hurt, I'm just annoyed that the "period of comfort" is over.

    • Sam

      Why, thank you, Tim, for your clearly well-researched insight into How Women Work! Whatever would we do without you to tell us what's REALLY happening? Tell me, from what esteemed academy did you glean this gem of information from?

    • Also, this assumes that any man doing nice things for a woman is a Nice Guy, and only wants to sleep with her. I have plenty of male friends who explicitly do not want to sleep with me, yet they continue to be my friends and be nice to me. Do I have to yell "I DON'T WANT TO SLEEP WITH YOU!!" every time a man does something nice for me? That's preposterous.

    • Guest

      I think there's some truth to what you are saying here. The Nice Guy bashing is a little paternalistic, don't you think? It places all the power in the relationship with the guy. It basically says that he's only trying to manipulate her by "back dooring" as a friend (or pretending to be a friend). That argument effectively takes the woman out of the equation. That can't be true, can it?

      • Mel_

        I'm confused. How does saying the guy has manipulative intentions put all the power in the relationship on him? In this theoretical scenario, the guy intends to act friendly with the woman until she's willing to date him. The woman intends to just be friends with the guy. He has the power to make a romantic move, and she has the power to turn him down.

        Getting upset that someone you thought cared about you as a friend is now being hostile toward you because you aren't interested in more isn't giving them power over the relationship. It's a normal emotional reaction.

        • Guest

          I guess, the being upset about it is the part I was misunderstanding. I've been on both sides of this equation. We've simply had the talk, dealt with it, and moved on with the friendship, So, I've never quite understood this all. From my side, sure it hurts and sucks, but either it's a real friendship or it isn't. I'm sure that's the same on the other side when the roles were reversed too. The friendship is what I've always valued far more. Thanks!

          • Mel_

            And that's totally how it should be! The "Nice Guy" problem is only when the guy who makes a move isn't able to deal with it and move on, when he becomes bitter and resentful about the situation. Believe me, no one is saying it's inherently bad to have feelings for someone you also consider a friend. 🙂

  • LeeEsq

    The problem with nice guys is that they want women to date/kiss/have sex/whatever with them simply because of their personality. Its a very emotionally manipulative way to get a woman. Its also very lame, the fact that you are nice or sweet should not be your strongest attribute in attracting a mate because it makes for a very dull romantic prospect in my opinion. I'd certainly find a woman whose strongest attribute is being sweet, a dreadfully boring prospect.

    And I still maintain that nice should never be used as an adjective to describe humans. Its rather vague. I'd prefer to be called kind or gentle than nice, I think those words are much more descriptive.

    • enail

      I'd say 'because of your personality' is actually a pretty good reason you'd want someone to be interested in you romantically.

      The problem is that for a Nice Guy, what they think should be appealing about their personality is often "pretends skillfully to be a friend" or "acts with basic social decency," and by "want someone to be interested in them," they actually mean "believe that this specific person SHOULD be interested in them, unless they're a total bitch or a user."

      • LeeEsq

        I probably misstated my point regarding personality. Certainly personality plays a large part into wanting to be romanticly involved with somebody. Certainly I wouldn't want to date somebody with a dour personality, they would be a terrible fit with my personality and what I'm looking for in a relationship. I'd need somebody with a bit more upbeat personality. Likewise, I like sweet affectionate people more than more confrontational types. At the same time, if the only thing there needs to be more than personality for me to find a woman inticing for me to date. If she doesn't seem to have any interests or hobbies or much of a life than I'd really don't want to date her even if she personifies what I'm looking for personality wise.

        • Paul Rivers

          "The problem with nice guys is that they want women to date/kiss/have sex/whatever with them simply because of their personality. "

          Actually, I think this is the only place where this could possibly be heading. Look at the amount of effort put into vilifying any behavior that smacks of any sort of genuine trust or relationship.

          And ex girlfriend of mine was asking me about a guy who was being nice to her – her immediate reaction was no more complex than "he's being nice to, so that must mean he's a loser or some sort of manipulative jerk right?". I told her that philosophy was full of crap, and now her and him have been dating for over a year.

          But there's no doubt for anyone who's seen these things go around before that the message being communicated is that trying to connect with someone emotionally before trying to get into their pants is a bad thing.

          • Mel_

            I don't think you have a very good perspective on what's being communicated to women. I grew up reading teen girl magazines and then women's magazines, I watched tons of shows and read tons of books aimed at women with romantic relationships, and so on. And none of those ever gave me the impression that a guy making an emotional connection with you before trying to sleep with you was a bad thing. Actually, a guy making an emotional connection first is usually portrayed as a romantic thing, and the guy who tries to sleep with you without getting to know you first is portrayed as a jerk.

            I think the idea does come across sometimes that a guy being "too" nice is a warning sign, because if he's going way beyond what seems normal, he's probably faking it or trying to get something from you. Or else he has no self esteem and is putting you on a pedestal, which rarely ends well. But there's a big difference between, "Wow, this guy is being incredibly nice even though we don't know each other well, I need to keep an eye out to make sure he's legit" and "I'm turned off by any guy trying to connect with me on an emotional level".

          • LeeEsq

            Incidentally Mel, do the women's magazines with list of sex tips keep repeating the same things over and over again? Its some thing that I've always wondered about. I keep seeing women's magazines with lists promising to give readers the top ten, twenty, or fifty sex tips to drive men wild. My gut instinct tells me that they repeat a lot. Do they?

          • x_Sangiune_8

            hehe, you just reminded me of a sketch.
            "touch him on the penis!"

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I'd suggest checking for yourself via Cosmocking.

          • Robert

            Good gravy! Some of those quoted examples gave me second-degree jibblies! Those magazines should come with a warning!

          • eselle28

            Cosmo basically has three types of tips:

            1. Shit you already knew.
            2. Shit they told you about last month.
            3. Shit that many people would find frightening or a turn off, to be introduced without any prior discussion and without obtaining consent.

          • Mel_

            I don't actually read those sorts of women's magazines anymore (unless I'm really bored and it's all there is in the doctor's waiting room, heh), mainly because it was a lot of repetition and obvious or not-applicable-to-me advice.

            But honestly, I think that sort of thing happens across all magazines. I used to read Writer's Digest until I noticed after a couple years that I was starting to see basically the exact same articles being published again with rehashed advice. It's hard to come up with new content for years on end.

            Interestingly, though, one of the best pieces of dating advice I've ever gotten was from one of the teen magazines. It went something like, "Only get back together with your ex if a) you've had a lobotomy, b) he's had a lobotomy, or c) one of you has less than a year to live. He's an ex for a reason." I suspect this is true in far more situations than not. 😉

          • eselle28

            "Interestingly, though, one of the best pieces of dating advice I've ever gotten was from one of the teen magazines. It went something like, "Only get back together with your ex if a) you've had a lobotomy, b) he's had a lobotomy, or c) one of you has less than a year to live. He's an ex for a reason." I suspect this is true in far more situations than not. ;)"

            Hmm. Probably very good advice for the readers of teen magazines. I think there's a d) if you broke up for practical reasons and those barriers have now been resolved and an e) if you are both completely aware what your issues are and are both willing to work very hard to resolve them, but they mostly apply to older people and the last one needs a lot of contemplation before people decide to go forward with things.

          • Mel_

            Well, like I said, more situations than not. 🙂 The advice does tend toward glib over thoroughness.

          • Amber

            Yes I long ago decided that women's magazines were brain poison. Now I stick to feminist blogs and advice columns like dr. nerdlove 🙂

          • Paul Rivers

            I don't think you have a very good perspective on what's being communicated to women. I grew up reading teen girl magazines and then women's magazines, I watched tons of shows and read tons of books aimed at women with romantic relationships, and so on. And none of those ever gave me the impression that a guy making an emotional connection with you before trying to sleep with you was a bad thing. Actually, a guy making an emotional connection first is usually portrayed as a romantic thing, and the guy who tries to sleep with you without getting to know you first is portrayed as a jerk.

            I think the idea does come across sometimes that a guy being "too" nice is a warning sign, because if he's going way beyond what seems normal, he's probably faking it or trying to get something from you. Or else he has no self esteem and is putting you on a pedestal, which rarely ends well. But there's a big difference between, "Wow, this guy is being incredibly nice even though we don't know each other well, I need to keep an eye out to make sure he's legit" and "I'm turned off by any guy trying to connect with me on an emotional level".

            My point is exactly that what's going on now is a new thing…I don't remember anyone making those connections in the past either.

            I see where the confusion is – by "anyone who's seen these things go around" I meant how the "guys who do this are villians" stories are interpreted. When every story about a jock was that he was an ass, the word "jock" ended up always being associated with being an ass. When every story about "nice guys" is that they're horrible and manipulative people – what happens is "nice" become impossible to separate from "manipulative". It's like how liberals got the word "conservative" to always have a negative connotation, and now conservatives have tried to do the same thing with "liberal".

            "Nice" never used to be a bad word in and of itself. Like you said – someone who's to nice could be trying to get something from you. Nice was no magic wand…but at least in the dating context, guys who were "nice" might be pathetic losers or they could be desirable guys – but they could be either. "Nice' was supposed to be an attractive quality. You could hear that he "acted" nice, but he wasn't "really" nice.

            It's a relatively new thing, in my opinion, to actually villify the word "nice" itself by constantly repeating refrains about how evil and manipulative "Nice Guys" are, with some slight sidenotes saying "oh well gee, I guess I didn't mean everyone who was nice"…"Nice" is going to take on that connotation.

            I agree with what you're saying about the message that used to be being sent. But I think the current villification of the word "Nice", and the "guys need to be upfront about their intentions right away or their skeezy" philosophy are both heading strongly in the direction of "he needs to be upfront about trying to nail her before he even gets to know here" which is something that…seems a lot like player talk to me.

            I've written way to much today to write more, lol, but it appears to me that all of the "get to you know on a person level before pushing sex" stuff is actually being villified.

            Look for the girls who are players – girls who are looking for strings-free emotionless sex…they *hate* guys who are nice to them and trying to date/sleep with them. I think the new message *is* that trying to connect with someone emotionally before sleeping with them is a bad thing.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            As much as I hate to borrow PUA terms, I think what's being communicated is "outcome independence". If you're going to spend time with someone, do it because you enjoy it, not as an investment in some future outcome. That way you don't have this huge fantasy relationship built up in your head, you don't need romance or sex to enjoy yourself. Then, when you do try for more its great if it works but its not something to blow up and hate your friend for if it doesn't.

          • Paul Rivers

            It's kind of…complicated though.

            The players I've met (mostly men, but a few women) seem charming and genuine, but are completely outcome independent.

            But at a certain point…that's exactly what makes them not relationship material at all…they don't attach to *anything*…they've been dating a someone for a month or two, their boyfriend/girlfriend has a hot friend – bam! they just move over to the friend. They're so outcome independent – they seem genuinely puzzled as to why the person they broke up with is so upset with them.

            To be clear, I'm not disagreeing with your post exactly…just saying that somewhere, there's a line where no one stays attached to anything.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            There's a difference between outcome independence and not wanting things to go farther. The point is, go for what you want, that can even be an exclusive relationship, but be able to step back if you don't get it without either flipping the fuck out or severing all ties. This is obviously easier in the early stages, where there's less at stake. Really, though, I think most monogamous relationships grow out of something that both people want to be exclusive well before there's any particular conversation about it.

          • Vic

            I didn't have success with women until I set goals and started pursuing those goals. But yeah, you can't become myopic and focused on the outcome of any particular interaction. There are plenty more where that came from.

        • I don't know why this got down votes, I'm with ya on this! I need a great personality in a dude, for sure, but you can bet your ass that as a women in my early 30s, his job, hobbies, lifestyle, plans for the future, etc. all factor in HEAVILY. I've met plenty of guys with nice personalities who don't have their shit together or are not emotionally mature and I've passed them immediately.

    • Delafina

      This. Being "nice" — by which we generally mean being considerate, courteous, and mildly kind — is sort of a minimum standard of decent behavior. Nice Guys want credit (and sex) for something they're *supposed* to do anyway.

      It's like me walking into my boss' office and saying, "I want a promotion! I was here for 8 hours a day every day and didn't burn the place down."

      • BritterSweet

        Quoth Chris Rock: "'I ain't never been to jail.' What you want, a cookie? You're not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!"

    • THe problem is when that "Nice Guy" Is genuinely a good, loving, caring, affectionate person, whom respects a lady, and her decisions. When that lady is single, it's even worse on the Nice Guy, because here they are, likely falling in love, while the woman is wearing blinders and searching for something else.

      The real question is..Why is it that women often fall for the asshole who ~doesn't~ respect or really love her the way the genuine Nice Guy does?

      This posting by Dr. Nerdlove is a bit one-sided.

      Would love to see the take against women who lead Nice Guys on indefinitely just for the gifts, emotional support, and a means of "temporary escape" from their asshole boyfriends.

      What I really find shitty about it all is that, more often than not, the girl you're friend-zoned by, will ultimately come sobbing to you when her asshole boyfriend decides to be more of an asshole than usual.

      I'm certainly going to be there for that friend, but remember, she had perfectly viable options prior to hooking up with said asshole. The Nice Guy was one of those options, but for reasons unknown, the lady picks the asshole.

      It used to be that being a gentleman..being respectful, kind, and curteous, even if you weren't some rich douchebag, was really all it took to win the day and get the girl, and for most gentlemen, getting into a woman's pants was the last thing on their mind.

      Relationships are complicated things, and these days we leave it up to women, mostly, to decide what ~they~ want, and more often than not, the "Nice Guy" is left in the cold while they watch their friend ruin her life, because all they want for their friend is their friend's happiness, so if dating a complete and utter pile of excrement makes the gal happy, then so be it. Who is the genuine nice guy to come between a woman and the douchebag she loves, even if it breaks the nice guy's heart.

      ANd so, the nice guy fades into the background, and everything he did for his friend is usually forgotten as time goes on, and they go and actively pursue, in the only way they know how, other women, by being the genuinely nice guy they always were, only to be rejected time and time again, until, finally, they're older, and becoming embittered toward women for taking them for granted for all those years, and having the nerve, the gall, the AUDACITY to ask stupid questions like 'Where did all the nice guys go?'

      The truth is, because some genuine nice guys are constantly taken for granted by women whom then hook up with assholes, they grow bitter and resentful of being the good, genuinely nice person they once were.

      It doesn't happen overnight. a guy doesn't just ~decide~ he's going to change his stripes. It's usually a gradual, downward spiral into self-loathing for being such a "pussy". They become cynical of women ~because~ of all the rejection and friend-zoning in their lives. They lose that ability to even truly care, because really caring in the past got them nowhere, and they were still left lonely and forgotten as a result of their genuine kindness, so they begin to take up the "I'm just gonna be an asshole" attitude to see how it goes. Ultimately, the nice guy dies out because women don't really want nice guys. They just want to complain that they can't find any nice guys.

      Women must be fucking blind to not see what's right in front of them.

      And they call men immature.

      • eselle28

        There's a fairly easy way to avoid this situation. It's not the woman's job to remove her blinders. Ask for what you want. If the answer is no, be honest with yourself about whether you actually want a friendship or whether it would be too painful. No one has forced the Nice Guys into repeating a pattern that clearly isn't working.

        I'm not sure it was ever the case that being respectful, kind, and courteous was enough to "win the day and get the girl." I've noticed that being respectful, kind, and courteous is not enough for a woman to attract attention from men. The object of a Nice Guy's affection generally has other positive traits, like good looks, youth, charm, or popularity, in her favor. In fact, the woman in your description who leads men on for gifts sounds as if she's not respectful, kind or courteous at all, and the one who only wants to complain about her poor dating choices sounds like she'd benefit from some counseling. If basic human decency isn't enough for you to form an attraction, why is it confusing that women also want more from their partners?

        I'd add that claiming that "getting into a woman's pants was the last thing on their mind" doesn't help matters any. Unless we're talking about an asexual person, the sort of romantic relationship a Nice Guy dreams of will eventually include sex. That's not a bad thing. Most women want that from their partners too. Not acknowledging that fact tends to come off more as immature or deceptive than gentlemanly. It also sidesteps one of the major reasons one person may not be interested in another romantically – a lack of sexual attraction. Ignoring it and trying to keep the focus entirely on being a baseline decent person doesn't mean the issue goes away.

        • Dan_Brodribb

          I wonder what would happen, William Dean Luke, for our hypothetical Nice Guy if instead of worrying about the choices women make, he concentrated on doing what he needs to do for himself to be happy.

      • Becelec

        They're not blind, they just don't want what's right in front of them. No amount of 'nice' is going to make someone become attracted to you. It just doesn't work like that. And if you're going to let yourself be used by people than I think it's a bit questionable to be judging their choices when your own aren't exactly all that healthy either.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        "nice" taken to mean polite, respectful, a good friend etc. isn't a qualification. its a baseline minimum that anyone can expect in a friendship or a romantic relationship. So yeah, if you can do that you qualify as a decent human being. Now what? I also think your idea of how it "used to be" is grossly distorted. To begin with, sex has been part of relationships prior to marriage for at least 50 years. More likely, it was hugely common prior to that and just hidden better. Second, when women had no way of being financially independent then yes, it was a bigger deal to find someone who could support them and be a decent human being. Any other option was far from optimal.

        And you say that we leave it to women to decide what they want as if that's a bad thing. What alternative do you suggest to that system?

        You use a single woman and a NG as an example. Well, since capital letter Nice Guys are specifically defined as not being honest about wanting romance, what do you expect? if you say "I'm happy just being friends" then don't expect an offer of anything more. If you make it clear that you're not an option, don't be surprised when you're not considered as an option.

        Its entirely possible to be a decent human being and to own up to your interest. Try it sometime. If your friend is single and you genuinely have enough in common to make a relationship worthwhile, suck it up and ask for a date. Use that word, "date". Make it clear that you want to be more than friends. If she says yes, great. If she says no you can keep being friends just like you were. If you can't keep being friends with the knowledge that you'll never date her, maybe you weren't in it for friendship after all.

  • Mike

    I feel like we should put a copy of this piece in front of every shy, nerdy, not-that-empathetic guy around the time he turns 16, to short-cut about 10+ years of pain and embarrassment. Or maybe it's just me who took so long to figure it out.

    The last couple of paragraphs really sum up my own thoughts on the matter: It's okay to have a crush on a friend (or be friends with a crush), as long as 1) you'd still value the friendship even if there was no possibility of sex, ever, and 2) you don't blow up at her and end the friendship when she finally turns you down. (…or starts dating someone else in your circle instead — I nearly lost all my friends many years ago after THAT little rampage of mine.)

    • LeeEsq

      I don't know if this will work. A lot of shy, nerdy, and not-that-empathetic guys will be in denial, not get the point, and still insist on nice guy behavior. They'll still be in store for ten or more years of pain and embarrassment. Others will get the point but won't probably be romantically successful either. They won't have the embarrassment but they'll still be in store for years of emotional pain and romantic/sexual frustration. I know this from personal experience.

    • Myster Baad

      I believe there are people – and a lot of NGs – who aren't ever going to learn to be with other people without that pain and embarrassment. If you're not at a certain level of social confidence, you're going to need to crash, burn, rinse and repeat before you start gaining it.

      • Anthony

        That's entirely possible. The other step to take is to raise the next generation to act and think differently than we were.

        • Myster Baad

          That is the prerogative of those of us who get to parent the next generation. Which kind of selects for the status quo AFAIC.

          • Anthony

            I wouldn't say it's just parents who have an effect on their children. Other adults can influence them as well, specifically family and teachers, and since I'm going to be a teacher I suppose that's why I hope to have an effect regardless of whether or not I have kids. Anyone in charge of some kind of creative content in the media also has the ability to have an impact, whether you attempt to educate/enlighten the parents or the children. It's also about changing society in general, which we all have the ability to do. Every little attempt counts.

  • I get how it can suck to have your crush not reciprocate the feelings you have for them, I really do. But if you view your friendship with that person as some kind of BURDEN as the Friend Zone whiners do, then that's a crystal clear red flag of you being a major douchebag. It's such an inherently selfish, lazy, misogynistic, borderline sociopathic concept (at least the way they portray their "plight" as) that it baffles me that so many people ask me to have SYMPATHY for such immature little dolts that write up dime-a-dozen crap like the above Craigslist snippet.

    • It worked a lot in fiction in my day, but I grew up in the 80s. The message I got in my formative years was "if you have to ask a woman out it doesn't count. She's supposed to magically fall in love with you based on your behaviour/accomplishments."

      All those wasted years…

  • You can be a genuine nice guy/good friend to a lady.Not just with the hope that someday someone who does not feel anything for you from the beginning would feel anything in the future.There are many fishes in the ocean.

    • Myster Baad

      True that. But you've gotta stay in the boat long enough to have your share of days with no bites; you've got to get cold, wet, bitten, and downright disgusted; and if you're really doing it with all your heart, you've got to get at least one hook through a finger, with no one there but you to cut it out.

  • I can't speak for other "nice guys" and their situations, but I know that when I was in the middle of this dysfunctional friend-lationship that no girl received the kind of attention from me that she did and, at certain points, no guy was as close to her as I was. It wasn't just that we were friends–we were FRIENDS. We frequently spent time one-on-one together, talked on the phone for long periods of time, cuddled, and spoke to each other in very affectionate and very deeply about things closest to our hearts. It wasn't just that I did nice things for her, or that I withheld niceness from other girls. So maybe my situation was unique, or just different from the norm.

    I'm not trying to say that I was some kind of righteous sufferer in the midst of all of this, but, especially as time wore on, it wasn't as though I did nothing out of the ordinary to clue her in.

    • Mel_

      I'd like to say, to follow up on my response to your other comment, that what you describe is for the most part what many women do with their friends. My close friends and I would frequently spend one-on-one time together, talk on the phone for long periods of time, and speak to each other with (friendly) affection and depth about everything important to us. Your being a guy does not mean that suddenly when a woman does this with you, she should treat you differently from her female friends and assume romance should also happen, if you don't make a move in that direction.

      Now, cuddling is borderline–some women do get pretty huggy with their close friends, but I've never been a very touchy-feely person, so that's not my thing. But if you felt that she was overstepping a boundary–that you didn't want to be cuddling with her (or doing any of those other things) without a relationship too, then it was *your* responsibility to speak up and say so. Unless the woman's doing things that she'd obviously only do with a boyfriend, not a friend (like, making out with you, or writing you love notes, or something), but then saying she doesn't actually want a relationship, or you set boundaries ("I don't feel comfortable cuddling with a friend") and she ignores them, I don't see anything blame-worthy there. Again, it's your responsibility to set your own boundaries and to let other people know what they are.

      • mikerad83

        The issue is that I didn't see her interacting that way with anyone else, especially not guys. The other factor is that she knew that I liked her.

        I am willing to take responsibility for my actions–I'm not looking for an out, here. But I would have liked her to have set better boundaries, even if in the moment I was so blinded by my emotions that boundaries were the last thing that I wanted.

        • Is it possible she was ALSO incapable of setting boundaries, because of her own emotions? Maybe she felt confused about her feelings towards you. Unless you also flat out said "I like you romantically, I want to date" saying that she "knew" you liked her isn't a guarantee. And if you said that, and she didn't say yes, then it WAS up to you to set boundaries that prevented further emotional pain on your part.

          • eselle28

            Yeah, there seems to be a strong current of women as gatekeepers in the discussions of this issue.

            I think sometimes people forget that it's not always an awkward, insecure guy pining after a woman who's a poised, confident master of social graces. A lot of times, the woman involved has lousy self esteem herself or is still working on her social skills.

            I think it's almost always better for people to ask for what they want, rather than hoping others anticipate it. It's especially true if someone's unhappy with the relationship. It's hard to expect someone who thinks things are just fine the way they are to know what to do to make it better for you.

          • mikerad83

            Well, yes. We both, to my mind, totally sucked at that. It was the painful process by which I learned of the need to set boundaries. I did eventually press the point and she did eventually flat out say that she would never see me in that way. It didn't quite end it for me, but I don't really blame her for anything that happened after that.

        • Mel_

          Okay, if you *had* told her how you felt about her, and she was still being that close with you, then yes, I can see feeling frustrated that she didn't realize how that would affect you. (Still your responsibility to set your own boundaries in the long run, but a good friend would probably make a point of asking whether you're okay with X, Y, or Z.)

          But the thing is, if that's all you feel frustrated about, I don't think that makes you a Nice Guy the way the article means. A Nice Guy would not recognize that you were mutually responsible for a bad situation, and both having trouble with boundaries–he'd blame everything on the woman, making her completely responsible for his feelings and the fact that he kept being friends with her even though she'd turned down the possibility of romance and the way she was friendly with him was painful to him.

          It's totally fine to say, "Look, I messed up here, but I think you could have handled things better too." It's when you're saying, "How dare you take my emotional support and not give me love/sex in return, you used me, and it's all your fault I feel so bad" that it's a problem.

          • mikerad83

            I guess part of what I wanted to point out is that there is a version of the "Nice Guy" that isn't a total jackass. That you can get into emotionally or relationally imbalanced friendship with the opposite sex and not necessarily come out the other side resentful and spiteful. Reading DNL, I identified very strongly with parts of the profile (especially being the longsuffering romantic pining for the close friend) and less so with others.

            I worried that what he had written would leave some readers with the impression that anyone they meet with any of these characteristics is an insecure and selfish jerk. Or, leaving those of us who have been in that situation with the feeling that we're maladjusted jagoffs.

          • Mel_

            Someone who only meets a few of these characteristics is not a Nice Guy. If the article says, "Nice Guys are people who do X, Y, and Z," and a person only does X, then they should have enough common sense enough to realize that therefore the article is not talking about them. That's like reading an article about sociopaths where it says that sociopaths act friendly only to get what they want from people, and assuming it's saying that all friendly people are sociopaths. If a person don't have enough common sense to realize that X is not the same as X, Y, and Z in combination, then I don't think that's DNL's fault.

          • mikerad83

            Maybe not his fault, yet people do that kind of thing all the time. And it's also an article that, if you've been through this kind of thing, leaves you no quarter. At the end you've been accused, critiqued and brought low while the girl in question is left a paragon of relationality. My problem with DNL's article is that you get the impression from reading it that the woman is never at fault in any way in these kinds of situations, which I just think is sexist / retro feminist.

            Yes, if you except the very narrow terms of his definition, then you can rant and rave about these socially inept jackasses and their need for reform. I'm taking issue with these narrow terms precisely because life is more complicated than that. Women are just as prone to co-dependency and other relational mistakes as men are.

          • fl_

            Yeah, sometimes it feels like the No True Scotsman fallacy of Nice Guy-ness.

          • mikerad83

            I totally had to wiki that, but yes.

          • Mel_

            Yes, but women are *not* prone to ranting about how horrible and manipulative guys are for not dating them after the woman's been nice to/friends with them. Most women I hear talking about this sort of thing, if they like a guy and are trying to get close to him in the hopes it'll turn into something more, when it doesn't work out, they blame themselves for not being appealing enough. Or they blame the theoretical manipulative other women who are turning the guy's attention from them. Very rarely do they blame the man for not appreciating "how nice I was" or "how I was always there for him" or whatever.

            DNL has other articles that address problematic behaviors that women engage in too. But Nice Guy entitlement is specifically a guy problem. Acknowledging that in a minority of cases the woman has encouraged the situation because of issues of her own will only give the guys who need to hear this advice an excuse to assume it doesn't apply to them, that it really was just the woman's fault. Sometimes you have to focus completely on the problem in question and be a little harsh to get through to people.

            What ill effects exactly do you think this article is going to have on a guy? All it's saying is, if you're romantically interested in a woman, let her know rather than keeping quiet about it, acting like a friend, and expecting that somehow a relationship will magically emerge. How is it going to hurt anyone to follow that advice?

          • eselle28

            To the extent there's a stereotypical female comparison, it would be a woman who has sex with men who she's getting to know, ignores the guy's signals that he doesn't want a relationship, and then becomes increasingly frustrated and bitter when she finds she can't pressure the man into something more serious. That does happen too, and perhaps there's room for discussion of that, though to me it seems like society already condemns this behavior (though often on the false grounds that it's "slutty" than because it's dishonest).

            It seems like the Doctor generally speaks to men because he understands their perspective better, though. He may someday write one, or maybe he feels that's better left to another woman. On a site where most of the articles, including the positive one, assume a male reader, I don't think it's particularly biased to talk about male-specific dating problems.

          • Mel_

            Exactly, to your last point. And I agree there is a female equivalent, but I don't think it gets much sympathy (the woman is seen as stupid and/or deluded–because of course she should have known a guy wouldn't want a relationship with her if he could get sex without it!), unless the guy was overtly leading her on (e.g., telling her he loved her, talking about a future together, calling her his girlfriend–things that indicate an emotional commitment) and then dumped her as soon as he got sex. Which would make the guy in the wrong. And there aren't internet memes or regular tumblr posts about either of those things, as far as I know.

          • HLM

            I think a possible female equivalent would be when women blame men for not making a move or asking her out when she is the one that has a sexual/romantic interest. Both scenarios would fit the template of “it's their fault for not seeing me for the awesome person that I am and acting romantically/sexually in the way that I want towards me without me (stating it/acting on it)”. I think the responsible thing to do, and the thing that is a little different than what you said above would be: if you're romantically interested in someone (male or female) and you want that to come to fruition if possible, that's on you, and you need act on it and let them know instead of hoping or blaming the other person for not fulfilling your wants.

          • eselle28

            Oh, man, that's way better than my example. I'd been trying to think of a comparison that didn't involve sex and failed. Bravo.

            And it seems nicely gender neutral, at least from a feminist point of view. If a friend (or my old crushing self) came to me with this problem, I'd tell her to woman up and ask the guy out.

          • HLM

            Thanks for the comment/complement. I'm new here and trying to figure this out.

            I think your example is also good and relevant. It clearly has a dishonest/hidden component, and depending on where the blame/responsibility is placed, it also has an entitlement component.

            As I've tried to think about some of these larger relational issues I've come to see/believe that you have to own your want/interest because that's where it is properly placed. And I think we have to do that regardless of what the current culture and mores say. In this regard, I like to think about wanting in the same way as hunger. Doesn't matter if I'm a man or woman, a slave or free, live in a restrictive or tolerant culture, if I want to eat or be fed or have an interest sexually/romantically/relationally in someone else, it's my desire and my responsibility and no one else's (each and every time). The environment/culture informs me of possible consequences to actions that I might take to fulfill that desire, but it will always be on me to fulfill my desires.

            The Nice Guy isn’t owning his want. Neither is the person who waits on the other to initiate sex or an approach or an offer when they want or are interested in the other. And if they both want it they should both own it.

  • is rough

    I agree on almost all points as I tend to do with a DNL article (despite my usual 'but I hate reality' approach to posting comments), but not surprisingly I think the picture is a bit one-sided and incomplete. For starters, how is a man who never gets women to have one stick around to get to know him long enough, if not by beginning with the friend-zone? There are many men who simply will never get the women they're attracted to physically by being immediately upfront about their intentions.

    The other issue I have is that I think it's a bit much to think that women don't suspect that their single male friends with whom they only hang one on one, and who isn't already an entrenched part of some larger mutual friend network, are really just hoping to hook up with them. The one-sided attraction of the friend-zoned male is usually pretty obvious. They're not typically trying to hide it, they're just too cowardly to speak its name at any point, knowing how it will end. I think this article very much underestimates women's keen awareness of male intentions, but until a man makes his attraction complete undeniable and overt (that is, until he makes it impossible to ignore), there are many women who will be happy to enjoy the benefits of male friendship–getting taken on "dates," having their attractiveness validated, having emotional support, etc. My point is that it seems to me to be less about honesty and more about having the courage to face that she doesn't want you. But the sad correlate of this is that if all men and women spoke their true feelings aloud, I wonder just how many male-female friendships there would be.

    Finally, it's all well and good to advise men to squelch their sexual appetites and be content with friendship with women, but that's really only a possibility for men who haven't been without romance or sex for a while (not by choice, at any rate); i.e. it only works for men who have no need to worry about being friend-zoned. Any man in a position to worry about falling into friend-zone isn't in a position to sincerely be a friend to a woman he's attracted to unless he manages to have his needs met elsewhere; and then, what if his attraction is significant? What about all the tales of men and women who began as close friends falling in love with each other? Is that all bullshit in the sense that they never would've been friends in the first place if one of them hadn't secretly been squelching the desire to bone the other from the start?

    I very much agree that men who fear the friend-zone need to be honest, but I want to point out that their fears are well-grounded, and either way they're probably not going to get a woman without substantially changing themselves (and maybe not even then).

    • eselle28

      The first paragraph of your comment is really odd to me, because it seems to imply that starting in the friend zone is a successful strategy for a man to "get" a woman who he finds physically attractive and who doesn't feel the same way about him.

      I know plenty of couples who were initially friends, but none whose friendships started under the conditions you describe.

    • i'll lay it flat out for you: the 2 times I suspected a guy was hanging around with me not because he was my friend, but because I *suspected* he only wanted something physical, I kind-of-sort-of knew it. But whenever I awkwardly brought it up, the guys would deny it.

      I didn't push it because, frankly, suspecting them of ulterior motives (lying, manipulating, being cowardly) suggested how LITTLE I thought of them. I did my best to clear the air, and if they continued to lie/manipulate/act cowardly, if I continued to push them, I would look like the jackass for ASSUMING they were lying. It also put a lot of pressure on me to somehow mind-read their behavior and personalities. I was sick of mind-reading; I just wanted to hang out with someone I enjoyed.

      Furthermore, confronting that they ONLY wanted to be my friend to access sex forced me to face the hard fact that I was just pussy to them. Color me a horrible person, but I wasn't exactly eager to remind myself that I had no value to a male person whom I LIKED, beside my sexuality. Added FURTHER that they only wanted sex from me BECAUSE they couldn't get it anywhere else, by your own admission. So, not only did they not really like me beyond sex, but they didn't even really want me as myself FOR sex, they were just desperate because they couldn't get it anywhere else.

      I said this above, but I'll say it again: having attractiveness validated, emotional support, going on "dates"… these are things FRIENDS do. These are things I do with my female friends. These are things I do with my male friends. Now, maybe you claim that because I engage in that behavior with male friends, it means they MUST want to sleep with me. I find that attitude kind of disgusting, considering several of my male friends are dating female friends of mine….. so, these guys will cheat at first opportunity?

      What image of men are you presenting? One in which men see no value in women beyond their sexuality, one in which men cannot control their own sexuality, one in which men can never be both honest AND ethical. If this is how men TRULY are, then perhaps we women should stop being friends with men at all. Let men never experience females outside of sex…. would THAT make guys happier?? Would they be happier if women shut themselves away and refused to be friends with them? Would that be better?

    • Mr Spiff

      Hi dude. I totally feel where you are coming from. You say "There are many men who will simply never get the woman they're attracted to physically by being immediately upfront about their intentions."

      You just described my philosophy of dating for much of my adult life.

      I don't know you as a person, so forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me like you're writing from the same pit of low self-esteem a lot of us guys (and girls I'm sure) share: "No awesome person would ever want to be with me if given the upfront choice, so I'm going to have to play all "sneaky-tricksy hobbitses" in order to win them over. Initiate Operation Nice Guy".
      Problem is it just doesn't work. If the girl is a decent human being (most probable), she'll probably end up uncomfortable and upset. If she's a manipulative attention junkie (less probable but certainly possible) YOU'LL end up uncomfortable and upset. End of the day, no-one wins. The only winning move is not to play.

      Granted, there are some couples who started as long term friends and ended as partners. I know some personally. But I also know that the initial friendships were genuine and NOT a Nice Guy gambit. There probably are some Nice Guy gambits that have worked, in the same way that some people survive falling out of a plane at 30,000 feet with no chute and land in a snowdrift, but the odds of success are so low that to rely on snowy landing pads or Nice Guy gambits makes no practical sense.

      You finish by saying that "They're probably not going to get a woman without substantially changing themselves (and maybe not even then.)"
      Again, dude, I've been there. A lot of me still IS there. I know what that feels like. Just let me throw this out there: Granted, all human beings have limits as to what they are capable of physically, emotionally and mentally, but we all have the potential to be the best of ourselves, and the worst. If you knew that putting in the effort to "substantially change" whatever you felt was holding you back would actually get you that wonderful relationship you've been looking for, would you do it? Even if it took a few years? Would you put the effort in? What if there was only a 95% chance? Or a 75% chance? 40%?

      Sometimes, wonderful things take hard work to achieve, and life has no certainties, but working towards a goal is better than staring at a goal and never moving to reach it.

      • I think it's also important to note that there are still some people who would date you, more or less, as you are. By constantly whining and complaining about the hot women who WON'T date you without "substantial change," Nice Guys ignore the girls who enjoy them just as in, with some Minimal Change. Get rid of the self-pity, raise up the self-esteem a little, and get into environments where you can meet more women (I suggest sewing and cooking classes!) and you'll probably find at least a few.

        Of course, they may not be HOT, and that may be a big part of the problem…. I find a lot of Nice Guys, when complaining about how women only like jerks, are only speaking about a very specific subset of woman, who they see as a coveted prize, a "physically attractive" achievement. They aren't interested in a mutually beneficial relationship, they want the Shiny Trophy that fills up their gaping hole of self-esteem.

        • Mr Spiff

          I agree, a Nice Guy doesn't have to transform into Tony Stark and date supermodels to find worthwhile relationships. As has often been said on the site by many folks, if you look around, you'll see lots of ordinary everyday looking people with normal lives in happy relationships.

          Thing is, Is Rough didn't really specify what these "substantial changes" he thought were required actually were. For some Nice Guys, the steps you outlined (Get rid of the self-pity, raise up the self-esteem a little, and get into environments where you can meet more women (I suggest sewing and cooking classes!) and you'll probably find at least a few ) are indeed "substantial changes" that will need some serious determination and willpower to kickstart. Hell, just asking a woman who's company you enjoy out on a date instead of hitting the Deploy-Nice-Guy lever can be a "substantial change" that requires overcoming years of ingrained habits.

          Just encouraging him to think it over, work out what he needs to do, and be prepared to make the effort, and get out of his comfort zone if that's what's required.

      • TBelle

        I would just like to say that you write and present yourself as a really cool dude. If I was still single, I'd be E-twitterpated.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Finally, it's all well and good to advise men to squelch their sexual appetites and be content with friendship with women, but that's really only a possibility for men who haven't been without romance or sex for a while (not by choice, at any rate); i.e. it only works for men who have no need to worry about being friend-zoned. Any man in a position to worry about falling into friend-zone isn't in a position to sincerely be a friend to a woman he's attracted to unless he manages to have his needs met elsewhere;

      I'm kind of insulted by this. I'm a man. I am quite capable of having a friendship with a woman I am attracted to who is unavailable (not interested, engaged etc). I was capable of this when I was single. Make your move. If you get shot down you can either keep being friends or not. If you're still friends, you can try again some other time. The important point here is that the friendship must stand on its own. It has to be a real friendship that will last even if you never get to go out with her. If its not, if its a burden you bear to get another shot at romance, then its not really friendship. Its trading kindness points for sex.

      • Vic

        " If you get shot down you can either keep being friends or not."

        Not really. That bell can't be unrung, usually. You're going to have to nut up and make a move, but don't fool yourself into believing that if she rejects you everything is going to go back to the way it was. That's pretty naive.

        • eselle28

          Things probably won't go back to the way they were. That doesn't mean there can't still be a friendship.

          A lot of online discussion of male-female relationships just doesn't line up with what I see happening in real life. I know people who still seem to be good, non-Nice Guy friends after a rejection, and who move their romantic interests on to other people. I have a friend who I have slept with in the fairly distant past. The friendship wasn't exactly the same after that, but it was still a friendship. I have a friend who is an ex. We were friends before we dated, and we're still friends now. Again, the relationship changed, but it's still there and still valuable.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          I must just be a special snowflake then. I really never have trouble asking a casual female friend out. More importantly, if the answer is no for any reason I don't really have a problem shifting back to whatever we were talking about previously. So perhaps experience has made me naive. So be it.

          Its exactly as awkward as you make it.

          • Trooper6

            It is just really cear to me that there are a lot of guys here (not you) who just don't want to take responsibility for their behavior.

            They prefer to imagine they can't control their feelings, or libidos, or the way they act, or the things that come out if their mouth.

            Nothing is less attractive that this mix of entitlement, irresponsibility, cowardice, and misanthropy..
            Who would ever want to date someone like that?

          • eselle28

            This. So much this.

            If someone isn't honest with himself and with me, or can't communicate with me about important things, or can't control his sexual desires, or behave graciously even when he's angry about rejection, It's hard for me to picture him magically turning into an honest and faithful romantic partner who can successfully handle conflict in a relationship.

          • Delafina

            This x 1 million.

            Adults can choose not to act on feelings, and can set them aside.

        • Lilly

          Totally disagree. I had the "awkward" talk with one of my closest guy friends and the only difference after was that I became wingman when we went out and recently became his go to friend for relationship questions about his fiance.

          Sure, that question is now off the table, but our dynamic hasn't changed; if anything, it's better because I can be more comfortable physically without worrying about sending the wrong signals if my hug is past 2.5 seconds.

          But also, he's a nice guy, not a Nice Guy. That quote hinges on whether or not the guy actually wants to be her friend. Which was the point of the article.

        • OldBrownSquirrel

          I asked a friend out once, only to learn that she'd just started dating a mutual friend and was inclined to keep it exclusive. I had no right to be pissy about it; it's not anybody else's fault that I didn't get up the nerve until it was too late. She and I are still (long-distance) friends; she's since married (a different guy, in the long run) and had a couple of kids.

        • Delafina

          I have many friends who've asked me out, and to whom I said no, and with whom things went back to exactly the way they were. The difference was they didn't sit there pining in silence until they'd built up their emotional stakes to crazy levels. They realized that hey, maybe it would be nice to be more than friends, they asked as soon as they realized that, I said no, and because for them it was a "hey, this might be fun," instead of an "OMG I HAVE FOUND THE GIRL I LOVE AND MUST HAVE HER," it wasn't a big deal.

          Because, surprise, surprise, when you're an adult you can recognize that you're attracted to someone, and decide not to act on it, ignore it, and have a solid friendship.

        • Anthony

          I could add my stories to the ones of other people, but we don't really need to pile it on, do we?

          Instead, I'd honestly like to know why you think men and women can't be friends after the attraction is made clear? Is that just your experience?

  • Mel_

    Maybe it would help the guys having trouble with the idea that emotional intimacy does not earn sexual intimacy by looking at it from the reverse.

    You're a guy. There's a woman among your circle of friends and friendly acquaintances who you see around, but aren't at all close with. She's physically attractive, but from talking to her you can tell she's not someone you'd ever want to share anything really personal with or spend a lot of time with.

    One day she initiates a make-out session with you. She tells you she thinks you're hot and she wants to sleep with you. No romantic or emotionally-charged words are shared, it's all about the sex. You're turned on, so you go for it. Possibly first you tell her, just to make sure there are no misunderstandings, that you're only up for something casual, nothing serious, and she says that's good with her.

    You sleep together a bunch of times, hardly talking except as it relates to the sex and casual everyday things. Then she calls you in the middle of the night wanting to vent about some problem with a friend, or how awful she feels about her parents getting divorced. You reassure her that you're sorry about her situation, but you really don't feel comfortable with her turning to you with this sort of personal stuff. You enjoy the physical intimacy that the two of you have shared, but you aren't looking for anything more. You're sorry if she got the wrong impression, and you totally understand if she doesn't want to keep seeing you.

    She says, no, no, the sex is awesome, she thinks you're a great guy but she doesn't need any emotional component. She's happy keeping things the way they are. She sounds like she means that. But then after you sleep together a couple more times, she starts calling you up to talk more and more, trying to get you to open up about personal stuff and sharing personal stuff with you that you're not comfortable with. So you say that clearly you can't offer her what she really wants, and you break things off with her.

    She then goes around telling all your mutual friends how you broke her heart and used her for sex even though you obviously knew how deeply she felt about you.

    Would you "owe" that woman an emotional relationship just because she offered you a physical one? Would you have been "wrong" to take her at her word that she didn't want anything more than that, especially since the first several times you hooked up, she didn't try for anything emotional at all? Wouldn't you feel betrayed that she indicated she only wanted one thing, and then tried to get something else you'd already told her you couldn't offer, and then made you out to be the bad guy?

    It seems to me it's pretty clear that the woman in that situation is the one who handled things badly. And it's the exact same thing if one party claims to only want the emotional connection of friendship and then acts betrayed when the other person won't offer a physical one as well.

    (Note: Yes, many times the guy wants a romantic relationship as well as a sexual one. But I find it hard to believe that many/any of the sort of guys we're talking about *only* wanted love, and didn't see making out and sex as something that would naturally come with that. If the woman has no interest in a physical relationship with you, it doesn't really make sense for her to agree to a romantic relationship.)

    • Becelec

      This is my win post of the day.

    • Akai

      Brilliant. Also, as a sidenote, definitely a thing I've seen happen, particularly with one acquaintance of mine who has learned how to look nice, but not how to be nice.

    • Paul Rivers

      Lol…see, I agree with your post 100%.

      It's just that – what the girl does in your example is *exactly* what happens. Except she mostly tells her friends, not yours, and you don't understand why she seems perfectly fine with you, but *all* of her friends *hate* you, then years later you run into one of them and she tells you off about what a giant selfish jackass she thinks you are and you find out that this girl has been telling you everything is fine, but telling all her friends that you're a creepy horrible user that has somehow tricked her into the situation that you're in.

      But really…you're spot on with most of the analogy.

    • Vic

      "It seems to me it's pretty clear that the woman in that situation is the one who handled things badly. "

      I don't agree. Homeboy should have offered just enough "emotional relationship" to keep her on the line. Doesn't sound like it would have taken much more than a brief phone call every now and again , or (more likely) a few tersely answered text messages to keep her available sexually. (This assumes she wasn't all-aboard to crazy town.)

      Bad play on his part.

    • Guesty

      I think that after that first blip – where she attempted to start something emotional, he confronts, and she insists, oh no, I'm cool, let's keep fucking – he knew, if he's spent more than 5 minutes total on planet Earth, exactly what would happen, and indeed did use her to some degree. Since we're all bringing life, blood and emotion to how we view things, any human adult with a scrap of honesty knows I'm telling the truth, and that your analogy only works in a real vacuum.

      • Mel_

        So if you think a guy who continues to have sex with a woman who tells him she's happy with just that is using her, if she so mich as tries to initiate an emotional conversation at any point, I guess you're saying the only right thing he could do is break things off with her completely immediately? In that case, to reverse the scenario back to the Nice Guy situation, are you saying that if a woman gets any hint at all that a guy friend is interested in her sexually, even if she asks him about it, makes it clear she only sees him as a friend, and he says that's no problem, she's using him if she stays friends with him? That the only right thing a woman can do if she suspects a guy friend might want more is to ditch him completely at once?

        I think it's way more respectful of the other person to assume that they can own their feelings and say what they mean, not to automatically cut them out of your life the second you think your interests might not perfectly align. Yes, if the person says they're actually okay and then continues to do things that show they're not, then it makes sense to cut them off. Which is exactly what I had in my scenario.

  • Lindy_Geek

    So, the one thing I can't understand about Nice Guy rants is it seems like they don't understand "You don't have to be friends with that person!"

    Have I met girls all to similar to this onion article?
    Sure. I didn't become friends with them.

    I will say a good check on if a girl is entering the world of a Nice Guy is simply… what IS the girl doing for him? If it seems like someone is regularly doing all these nice things for you and isn't expecting anything in return, then they are almost certainly up to something. This isn't even cynicism. I try to be pretty generous, but there are always lots and lots of outlets for generosity. It would be unusual if I kept picking the same person to be generous towards.

    Also, there's not much worse than a woman I want to date, but doesn't want to date me suddenly acting more interested when I'm pursuing someone else. Seriously, if you want to be my friend you have to either A) Want to date me or B) Want me to be dating somebody awesome.

    • x_Sanguine_8

      that article made The Onion?! man, standards have slipped.. where's the satire??

      if you define your friendships entirely in term of "what is this person doing for me", then I don't think you are a very nice person.

      • Lindy_Geek

        Meh, I thought the article was funny. I hardly thing all or most women are like that, but I've seen a few real life examples of women who cry on the same guys' shoulder whenever they break up with someone only to become "very busy" when they start dating someone else. Self-centeredness is by no means a male-only trait.

        I keep trying to tell my friends that I am not a nice person. They seem to refuse to believe me.

        Nevertheless, I think you misread my statements. It's not that I define my friendships by what people do for me, but that I question (and recommend that others question) relationships where someone keeps giving me things or doing things for me and not asking anything in return. A person that I do a bunch of stuff for but does nothing for me is a charity case. I don't consider them a friend because by definition I wouldn't go to them if I was in trouble and needed help. It's OK to have people like that! However, I think it's a good personal practice to ask what we are doing for those closest to us.

  • Artimaeus

    I might be going out on a limb when I say this, but the Doctor's commentary seems to be a brutal oversimplification of the "nice guy" problem. It's not just a problem with male entitlement, but a problem with the way our culture perceives male sexuality. In general, our culture uses a predator-prey model to understand courtship interactions– men are the predators, women are the prey. Men take, women give. A lot has been written about the affect this has on female sexuality, and the double standards it creates. For example, the fact that if a man acts sexually suggestive, it generally feels like he's asserting power, whereas if a female acts in a sexually suggestive, it feel like she's opening herself up to being objectified. It also creates the virgin/whore complex, which casts women either as virgins who protect their precious sex from men, or whores who refuse to act like they are prey.

    For men, this creates almost an opposite, competing dynamic: the nice-guy/asshole complex. An asshole adopts the men-as-predator mindset, while the nice guy either refuses or eschews the men-as-predator. It may sound like it's always best to be the "nice-guy" in this situation, but the problem is that our culture doesn't really leave us a middle ground, any more than it leaves women a middle ground between virgin and whore, meaning that a lot of men try to fulfill the asshole stereotype because that's how courtship is usually done. Conversely, however, it means that if you're not an asshole, you're by default casting yourself as the non-sexual nice guy.

    I guess the problem is that our culture creates and environment where male sexuality is itself viewed as predatory, which has the "Nice Guys", pretending that they don't have any sexual interest in their "friends" at all. Of course, the root problem is a sense entitlement, but the idea that going through the motions of friendships and suppressing any overt sexual desire make you a good person. THey can have this sense of self righteousness only because male sexuality has this stigma attached to it.

    • Taimae

      I think that (just like the Whore/Virgin complex) , people just need to pretty much throw the idea away. Most of the awesome guys that I know are both confident (without being an asshole) and really nice (without being obsessive) and they're with who I would consider, awesome girls.

      Guys can certainly be between the two. You don't have to be one of the other.

      • LeeEsq

        This is one of things that are easier said than done. Getting rid of the Virgin/Whore complex and the Asshole/Nice Guy complex is getting rid of hundreds or thousands of years of cultural baggage. We made remarkable progress in only a few decades but we still have a lot to go.

        • Taimae

          Oh no doubt. But no time like the present to get started on that now. 🙂

          • Myster Baad

            You can't expect to reap the benefits, though. You'll never live to see the change. You have to do it for generations yet unborn, because it's the right thing to do. In the near term, all it will get you is alienation from men AND women who accept that cultural baggage even when they know nothing about it.

    • Trooper6

      Yeah, see, I date sex-positive third wave feminists. They don't buy into the virgin/whore dichotomy so they don't expect me to buy into the asshole/nice guy dichotomy.

      So we all get to be real people and it works out well.

      • LeeEsq

        This is just random philosophical musing but I think that framing the place of sex in society in terms of sex negative and sex positive is not really a good idea. I do not consider myself sex negative, I don't believe in abstinence before marriage or that sex should be hidden and secret. At the same time, I do not know if the constant celebration of sexual pleasure and putting it as the pinnacle of all pleasure is exactly a good idea either. There are too many people with horrible sex lives, for various reasons, who are made to feel nothing but never ending anxiety and longing because of the role given to sex. Its not exactly ethical to intentionally or unintentionally inflict these sort of feelings on people. Its causing pain through obliviousness or malice, sexual bullying. I also think that sex like other forms of pleasure could cause a lot of damage if taking to extremes. Most people regard drinking alcohol as a pleasure but we recognize that getting drunk can lead to many problems and we recognize the terrors of alcohol addiction.

        I suppose what I really want is a society that treats recreational sex the same way as we treat other forms of pleasure and that sometimes the polite think to do is just to shut up about it like how its kind of recognized as impolite of boasting about the gourmet meal you ate in front of a person whose struggling to put food on the table or is dealing with some sort of dietary issue like diabetes.

        • Artimaeus

          I've been thinking about these issues also. With respect to the sexual bullying, I'm honestly not sure how much of it is self-inflicted. If your friends and acquaintances are having lost of sex and you're not, it's really easy to feel like you're somehow defective because you can't seem to share those experiences (especially if that person happens to be the ex girlfriend who you're bullishly determined to remain friends with, as it was with me). I know that there are a lot of unkind stereotypes about people who can't get laid, which aren't helped when we're supposedly in a "sex positive" culture, where sex is supposed to be normal and desirable. But at the same time, there are also plenty of people (in fact, probably a majority) who aren't part of the hookup culture, and for me at least, I started to feel a lot better about myself when I stopped myself from comparing myself to other people. It's annoyingly difficult to believe that you're still a good, desirable person, even if your relationship style doesn't lend itself to easy action.

          • Delafina

            Yes, but if your friends and acquaintances are having lots of great sex, and you're not, assuming they're not saying to you, "OMG, you're a loser because you aren't having sex; you need to have sex and lots of it, otherwise you're not a real person!" their pleasure isn't bullying you.

            And despite Lee's repeated assertions to the contrary, romantic comedies aren't bullying anyone either, unless you consider them to be bullying everyone, because no one has the life portrayed in the movies.

          • Myster Baad

            Romantic comedies are primarily about making money, and secondarily, about reinforcing social norms that may be good, bad, or indifferent, but are widely accepted.

            Sex-positivity is about social norms as well. Just different social norms than before. It's meant for those that already hold the key to attraction to feel open to it and not get guilty or hung up. It's not meant to make sex any more accessible to people who don't hold the key to attraction.

        • Delafina

          Sex-positive means viewing consensual sex as healthy and pleasurable and encouraging the enjoyment of it; it advocates not attaching moral values to some types of sex over others (other than requiring consent). There's nothing in it about viewing sex as the "pinnacle of all pleasure."

      • Artimaeus

        Sounds nice. I wish I knew more of them.

    • Paul Rivers

      "but the Doctor's commentary seems to be a brutal oversimplification of the "nice guy" problem."

      Yeah, unfortunately if one counts the comments they can see why.

      Whenever there's a genuinely well balanced article on this site, reflecting an even distribution of both viewpoints, it gets a small number of comments.

      But whenever there's a ridiculously one sided "men are the villain" article, there's a ton of comments and shares. As long as being ridiculous is rewarded, we will continue seeing ridiculously one sided and overdramatic articles. It is unfortunately just how things work.

      • x_Sanguine_8

        This article isn't blaming all men – not even close. However, as there are a number of men who feel attacked by the article and protest that somehow their toxic behavior is somehow justifiable, expect to see a lot of people trying to debate with them and convince them that their behavior isn't good for the girls they "like" or themselves, and encouraging them to change the way they do things.

        • Artimaeus

          It may not be blaming all men, but I feel like it's not really taking a sympathetic view towards the men who it's supposed to be addressing either. He's basically saying "here's why the guys who pretend to be girl's friends with the hope of weaseling their way into a woman's pants are despicable, disrespectful assholes"– which, I must say, is a well justified sentiment. No one can doubt that Nice Guys hurt the women they latch on to, both in the initial betrayal of their trust, and the aftermath where the woman is unjustifiably called a heartless bitch.

          But at the end of the day, the Nice Guys are also victims, not of "cruel, insensitive women", but of broader cultural forces that have poisoned their approach to relationships. Rather than attacking and ridiculing them, we should help them see behind the curtain, so to speak, and find new perspectives on their relationships.

          • BiSian

            And how should we do that?

          • Artimaeus

            I don't know. I feel like the only things that you find on the internet pertaining to "nice guys" are pity parties written my men who think they've been unjustly friendzoned or angry rants by women tired of being blamed and manipulated. I guess I'd like to read something more sympathetic towards the people that are making these mistakes. A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, so to speak. Don't get me wrong; I still think it's important for people to hear what it feels like to be the object of a "Nice Guy's" attention. But if you read this article, does it sound like constructive criticism? Because to me, it sounds like a whole bunch of preaching to the choir.

          • BiSian

            Full disclosure, I personally have no sympathy for "nice guys." And before anyone makes assumptions, yes I have crushed on friends in silence and never revealed my feelings. You know who's fault that painful situation was? All mine.

            However, I guess I'm coming at the article differently than you are. Because, yes I do read it as constructive criticism. Saying, "Nice Guying is not effective and it's unethical," is a message that people need to hear.
            And yes, rejection sucks. Stating your feelings can be terrifying. It takes time and practice to learn to use your words and not pray the object of your affection is a mindreader.

            Also Artimaeus, in my experience most women do feel some sympathy for Nice Guys and general social awkwardness. Come on, we're not really the evil status-hungry sucubi that PUAs whine about. But that doesn't mean that sympathy translates into giving the unethical, jerky behavior our stamp of approval. So yeah, you might see a lot of annoyed venting on the Internet.

          • Delafina

            No, Nice Guys are victims of their own dishonesty. And men who are prone to Nice Guyism need to be told, in no uncertain terms, that it is *not okay.* It's unethical, and it's ineffective.

        • OldBrownSquirrel

          The thing that bugs me most about the "Nice Guys" issue is the language. The term itself is antagonistic; it implies, despite all explicit protests to the contrary, that there's no distinction between "nice guys" and "Nice Guys." One glance at the term, and one comes up with a syllogism:

          – There are two types of men: nice guys and assholes.
          – But nice guys are also assholes.
          – Ergo, all men are assholes, Q.E.D.

          Such overtly antagonistic language tends to put all men on the defensive. Moreover, I believe the apparent contempt for niceness in men contributes to the misconception that women prefer assholes. And yes, I know that there's supposed to be a distinction between "nice guys" and "Nice Guys," but the term is still offensive and alienating.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I spotted the real pattern a few articles ago. In any thread, you can tell when its going to spiral out of control by the presence of a single, double digit downvote post that will inevitably have hundreds of replies in its subthread. Those threads are inevitably a small handful of people defending the original comment and making a series of points that don't change much from article to article and a larger handful defending the premise of the article and trying to explain to the first handful why their viewpoint is not the only one, not the most healthy one for developing working relationships with women or not factually correct.

        So its not so much "Men are the villain" articles, of which I count zero. Its way more about "what about teh menz" posts. So by all means, keep stirring up the debate and turning a molehill into a mountain. Every time you reply, an Internet ad exec gets a red bull.

        • Robert

          I'd worked out that an explosion in the comments section was caused by a comment that got an overwhelming negative response but I hadn't worked out that the catalyst comments were all saying pretty much the same thing. Kudos for the great analysis Johnny.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Scroll back through a few megathreads. It tends to be two or three menz trying to make points that range from the germane to the only tangentially related to the article on one side and the half dozen or so regularly vocal posters trying to debate it. I think I recognize it because I keep getting in the middle of it.

        • Paul Rivers

          I'm…not quite following you there.

          "Nerds and Male Privilege" has 561 comments spread over 14 pages of comments. And it's definitely a "Men are the villian" article.

          Not sure I'm understanding that you're trying to say though…

    • kilo_

      Have you read Julia Serano's essay “Why Nice Guys Finish Last” in the feminist anthology "Yes Means Yes"? She makes a very similar point to yours. It's a quite controversial piece, but I found it enlightening in many ways.

      • Artimaeus

        Yes, actually! I also found the essay incredibly enlightening, especially since the author has experienced both sides of the patriarchy. I'm basically stealing her ideas, mainly because I wanted to see them discussed. But her story about her male friend who started out decent and respectful, but then gradually became more dickish and disrespectful towards women, not because he was raised poorly, but because it worked, made an awful lot of sense in the context of my own experience.

  • Vic

    Nice Guys have it partly right, and partly wrong. Girls like assholes, certainly, just not the kind of assholes that the Nice Guys are.

    Nice Guys are by definition, "Caring Assholes." Anyone who writes or thinks what's in the CL ad above is a perfect example of the Caring Asshole. And nothing will draw out a woman's scorn like a Caring Asshole. The cloying,obsessive concern over her and what she thinks/does/feels is pure beta, and a huge turnoff.

    No, Nice Guys, you want to be the Uncaring Asshole. The Uncaring Asshole could care less whether she comes, stays, lays, or prays. Because the Uncaring Asshole has options. And girls find a man with an options irresistible.

    • eselle28

      Or you could, you know, not be a asshole at all.

      • But then he'd get laid less, which would be the greatest crime of all!

        • BiSian

          Everything Vic says can be boiled down to "Assholes get sexxxx!!"

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Interestingly, I agree with this single statement "assholes get sex".
            I'd even agree with Vic that "Nice Guys don't get sex"

            If the world were entirely divided into Assholes and Nice Guys it would be such a simple place. The fact is that there are lots of other points along the line and they DO get sex. As one of the ex-Nice Guys above said, it turns out you can get a date by just walking up to someone, talking for a few minutes and asking. I know that's revolutionary, so I'll say it again. Assholes don't get sex for being assholes. Nice Guys don't lack sex for being Nice Guys. Both succeed or fail in direct proportion to their willingness to own up to what they want.

          • eselle28

            This is the part of the debate that always puzzles me. Do the people engaging in it not know one man who's a pretty nice person and who also does well with women? I can think of a few just even in my immediate circle, and the fact that they're decent about things often is part of the reason that women they know are willing to have casual sex with them. Of course, they also have other things to offer, but the difference in results isn't niceness, it's other things.

            I guess I can see that some people don't know enough people who have not-terribly-committed sex on a regular basis to know these guys, but the second part that confuses me is when it comes to relationships. I think almost everyone must know a good, kind, likable man who's in a relationship with a woman who he has sex with regularly. Any adult who gets past ancient jokes about marriage should know at least a few of these couples. Is there some system at work that labels these men non-nice because they've had sex too recently?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I'd rather let someone like Vic field this but:
            Remember that no one has a really good view of anyone else's life, let alone what's going on in their head. So once someone has determined that the world is divided into Nice Guys and assholes, its easy enough to mold what they see about everyone else to fit that theory. Their decent guy friends are obviously just putting on a show to get the girl or make friends or whatever.

      • Vic

        Tried it for most of my life. Got me nowhere with women.

        • Trooper6

          Strange. Because I've never been an asshole and have never had trouble with women, either long term relationships or one-night stands. Indeed, women have found my confident, non-assholeness totally sexy.

          So perhaps your pronouncements about women aren't actually accurate.

        • eselle28

          I've met very few people who've drifted from Non-Asshole to Asshole.

          Most guys I know who go on about the joys of being an Uncaring Asshole got that way by moving along the Caring axis.

        • Vic, the problem has been is that you've ALWAYS been an asshole, but now you've surrounded yourself with other assholes so now you've convinced you're actually doing something right.

          The bullshit you're spewing right now is coming right outta the textbook of Edward fucking Cullen….your advice may work if people here wanted to date the Bella Swans you apparently get by the nanosecond, but I think we're trying to opt for something different here.

          Something ya know, healthy.

    • Paul Rivers

      "And nothing will draw out a woman's scorn like a Caring Asshole."

      Lol, man, reading sites like this – it is so true. Look at the amount of contempt they put forward towards a guy who has the audacity to care about a girl and try to get to know her before "trying to get into her pants". Their attitude is best reflected by "Let’s start with the most obvious issue here: the supposed “Nice Guy” is a liar from start to finish."

      They spend dramatically less time vilifying guys who are just self-centered jerks. Those guys get a relatively free pass.

      It's a weird world we live in.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        Except that's not what they're saying. The complaint is about Nice Guys who get to know her solely as a way to get into her pants without having to admit that's what he really wants. And really, have you seen any woman on this site say "oh, entitled assholes are fine, just not the ones who are nice while being entitled assholes"?

        • Paul Rivers

          I see absolutely no distinction made here in the article itself, despite some commenters making a distinction.

          On your second point it's…not the kind of thing that women come online to talk about, whether it's happening or not…

      • Have you been listening to what anyone has been saying? Like, at all?

        The issue at hand isn't that he wants to get to know her before trying to get in your pants, as you so eloquently put it….
        It's the fact that he acts like a whiny entitled little bitch about it when he doesn't get the pants-feelings reciprocated. It's the fact that getting to know her wasn't because he was ACTUALLY interested in getting to know her, rather he's just putting up with whatever until she finally put out for him (the whole Nice Tokens In Exchange For Sex thing) l. It's the fact that he DOESN'T honestly value the relationship being built if he's so quick and ready to burn it to the ground in angry mob fashion the moment he realizes he won't be getting the sexytimes he's been waiting around for. And it's the fact that the whole crusade of the Nice Guys is basically to GUILT girls into sleep with them because Gosh Darnit THEY DESERVE IT for having them burden those poor fellas with talking with them about personal stuff, ugggggh.

        So yes, the Nice Guy IS a douchey liar from start to finish and is appropriately getting called out as such.

        • Tim

          So people are not allowed to have an ulterior motive? Because taking that as a basis, every person on the planet is doing something wrong. The issue with Nice Guys isn't that they initiate a friendship hoping that it will evolve in something more. The issue is that when their feelings are not reciprocated, they get angry and resentful.

          Also, they are not looking for the girl to "put out". I would assume that the vast majority of them would like to have a relationship.

          • Anthony

            I don't really think having an ulterior motive is a good practice. Sure, it happens, but is that something that should be recommended? The ultimate issue arises from the dishonesty of it all. If the Nice Guy is dishonest about his intentions, sometimes nothing bad will happen. But there is still a chance that being a Nice Guy results in feelings of resentment and anger, and that's simply not fair.

            Also, they may want a relationship, but they also want the physical parts of that. Wanting more than sex doesn't vindicate you if you're using dishonest methods to achieve it.

          • Trooper6

            They already have a relationship with the woman…a friendship. What they want is a relationship that involves her putting out.

          • eselle28

            People aren't perfect, but I do feel that you should be honest with at least yourself about what you want and about how you'll feel if you don't get it. If you initiate a friendship hoping it will evolve into something else, I think that requires some self-examination about whether you'd want to continue it if rejected. If the answer is no, it's better to mention your feelings sooner rather than later.

            I've noticed this last part tends to come up a lot in Nice Guy discussions. It doesn't matter that you're not looking for a girl to "put out." Anthony is right that this is usually implied – even the most conservative of Nice Guys generally would like kissing and touching and sex after the imagined wedding day. But even aside from that, pushing a romantic relationship on someone who doesn't have romantic feelings for you can feel almost as icky as nagging someone who doesn't want to have sex with you for sex.

          • Delafina

            I don't have ulterior motives in my relationships. I tell people what I want from them. If they tell me they can't give me what I want out of the relationship, or aren't interested in it, I move on.

      • Mel_

        What Denny said. No one is vilifying guys who just want to get to know a woman before asking her out. People are even overtly saying that doing that is totally good! You are reading this with so much bias you're not even seeing a fraction of what's really being said.

        • Paul Rivers

          You're right that that's exactly what I'm disagreeing with. The fact that there are some comments that say "Oh, no, I mean a Nice Guy, not a nice guy" doesn't in any way change that the article makes no such distinction.

          I've no doubt at all that an article about heartless women who are manipulative liears who friend-zone guys so they can use them would get a similar reaction from you – it wouldn't matter if the commenters said "Oh, well, 'really' – the article is only talking about the 0.01% of women out there who are like this, we're totally not talking about the girls who, you know, got to know him but just don't like him".

          You wouldn't be like "Oh, I get it, that's cool". You'd be like "Who do you think you are to talk about women that way???" – at minimum.

          The article itself makes no distinction between a "Nice Guy" and a "nice guy".

      • eselle28

        "And nothing will draw out a woman's scorn like a Caring Asshole."

        You respond to this statement as if it's a bad thing. Why the hell would I, or anyone else of either gender, want to date someone who was both an asshole and completely clingy and neurotic and prone to overthinking? I can see arguments in favor of dating nice but neurotic people, and perhaps some for having casual relationships with people who are assholes but easy to deal with, but a Caring Asshole seems like the worst of both worlds.

        • Vic

          ", want to date someone who was both an asshole and completely clingy and neurotic and prone to overthinking?"

          Exactly my point. Women can't stand them.

      • Delafina

        Why would we spend time vilifying guys who are self-centered jerks? We're all on the same page that they're not worth our time.

    • Delafina

      I see no evidence of actual caring in the CL ad.

      • Vic

        Oh, the author cares deeply. DEEPLY. And that's the problem.

        • Delafina

          You're right. I wasn't specific enough. I see no evidence of actual caring about another human being in the CL ad. There. Fixed it.

  • Hawkfire

    So what about guys who are nice to women, respect them, treat them like people, and have them as some of their closest friends? Before my girlfriend and I even got together (online relationship to be fair) we were developing a really close friendship. I wanted to be supportive of her. I wanted to spend time with her. She was a great person and it made me happy. Conversely, me being with her made her happy. We were good friends for 6 months before she finally confessed feelings for me. It's been two years since then. We're still together. I still care about her feelings, her opinions, and I still make an effort to treat her the way she deserves to be treated. I can honestly say that I love her. And I can also say that before we ever started going out I had a bit of a crush on her.

    So, here's my question. What do you call these kinds of guys? The guys who think that at the core of a romantic relationship should be friendship? I mean, you're going to be spending hours upon hours with this person. You'd better damn well want to and you'd better be able to enjoy it. You should have common ground to meet on. If that isn't the baseline of friendship, then I have no idea what friendship is.

    (NOTE: This commenter is aware that Friendship is Magic.)

    So I ask again what you would call that kind of guy who wants to be nice to their female friends. I've always considered myself a nice guy. I've always believed that the right way to hold a relationship with a woman is to consider them and to treat them right and not make it all about what you want. So is that not nice? Am I doing it wrong?

    Eh, either way, I'm a gamer dating a gamer. We're happy with each other. I would think in the end that that is all that really matters. But seriously, I am curious what the answer to my question is.

    • eselle28

      A Guy Who Prefers to Date His Friends.

      From what you've said, you're doing it right. The difference is intent and how you react if things don't go the way you hope they will.

    • Mel_

      The key thing to remember is when we talk about capital N capital G Nice Guys, we don't mean all guys who are nice. We're just talking about a specific type of guy whose specific problematic behaviors revolve in large part around his belief that his "nice"ness means he's entitled to specific things.

      There are many many nice guys who are not Nice Guys. (In fact, most Nice Guys are not actually nice guys, at least not to women.) It sounds like you are one of the former. Yay! There's nothing wrong with wanting friendship to be the core of your romantic relationship, or to be legitimately nice to the female friends you have.

      • psychsage

        in that case I vote we develope a new term for guys pretending to be nice to help end the confusion, something more fitting like 2-faced fiends or scooby doo villains cause the use of the same term with the same spelling is really confusing to me a person who trys to be nice all around and who's central dating problem is an unrelated case of shyness

        • enail

          That's why we capitalize!

        • eselle28

          I think the capitalization works well enough. The guys in question often refer to themselves as Nice Guys, so using the same term to criticize them makes it clear that the self-description is a lie.

    • Taimae

      Guys Who Are Friends, Then Become Boyfriends. (I can't think of of a shorter name. Friend Boy-Boyfriends?)

      And that's totally fine. There's also nothing wrong with wanting a romantic relationship that is also a friendship. My first serious boyfriend started out as a friend, however he never made me feel uncomfortable when we were friends.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      The big difference is that you are capable of having a friendship that is exactly that and eventually making a move. Nice Guys expect their friendship will necessarily lead to romance without them ever having to take a chance. One day the girl will just realize what a great guy he is. The point of the friendship is to demonstrate that, not to be friends.

    • Delafina

      "So what about guys who are nice to women, respect them, treat them like people, and have them as some of their closest friends? … So, here's my question. What do you call these kinds of guys? "

      Normal (i.e. non-horrible) human beings.

    • Patricia

      You are genuinely nice. Nothing wrong in that. But to be such a caring and genuine friend only because you think you will get something other than friendship back in return is wrong. It doesn’t sound like you have been deceitful

  • Trooper6

    Indeed! As a matter of fact relationships that build over time is a staple of a lot of shows…especially soap operas. But also Moonlighting, Caste, Cougar Town, and lots of night time serial dramas that have a touch of soap to them.

    Also note: a dearth of relationship models of type X doesn't only effect men, in the context of heterosexual relationships, in by definition effects women as well.

  • Gentleman Johnny

    Don't forget Firefly, Dollhouse (although everything in that show was dysfunctional), Arrow, Being Human. . .

    Outside of TV, though, I get the OP's point that RPGs, cinema and video games tend to sell a very stunted version of interpersonal relationships.

    • eselle28

      Firefly? I mean, I thought it did a wonderful job of showing an existing, longstanding relationship that wasn't stereotypical or cliche, but it didn't really have enough time to show single people forming and maintaining romantic relationships (granted, that's because the Network Gods are evil…)

      • Gentleman Johnny

        Over the time it had (counting Serenity), it developed the Doctor-Kaylee romance nicely and the Mal-Inara. . .thing. The latter didn't get a happy ending but it felt real, if a bit melodramatic.

        • eselle28

          I think it's stretching it a little bit to include the movie…but I'll let it pass because Whedon is generally pretty good about how he portrays relationships and at showing lots of different kinds of dynamics. I'm sure that the 5 or 6 seasons of Firefly that should have been would have done been able to take things out far beyond the getting together stage.

          • Chaotic Good

            To be fair, I think you should include the movie, considering the reason the movie was made is because the series got cut so short.

  • Mel_

    I don't think you're really getting what I'm saying. If a guy is in a friend-zone/nice guy situation minus the douchebaggery, then this article *does not apply to him* and *is not shaming him*.

    Any person who is so insecure that they take criticism of behavior that is different from what they're doing, and apply it to themselves completely, should not be on the internet reading about things.

    • Yet here we are. What I'm saying is that a lot of what DNL says still applies to those of us who have the good sense not to be total jerks. I think the article could be improved by spelling out that the "Nice Guy" who's not actually nice is just one variation on a particular relationally dysfunctional theme.

      • Trooper6

        If the article isn't about you, then you need to just move on.
        If the article is about you, then you need to do some self-reflection.

        Simple as.

        • I get your drift, but the article hits too close to home to brush it off so easily.

          • Anthony

            Not to suppose anything about you, but if that's the case then maybe it shouldn't be brushed away? That's a question you need to answer for yourself, not for anyone here to answer.

          • x_Sanguine_8

            If the article hits close to home, then some change is likely in order. Honesty and integrity (especially with yourself) are going to be key especially in your chosen line of work.

          • It hits close to home because I was friend-zoned and because of how I foolishly handled a close friendship. The self-righteous braggadocio is what feels alien. I am not trying to excuse myself for anything here, just saying that I think that reality is more complicated than the what DNL has written above.

          • Anthony

            It's impossible to cover all the complexities of something as far reaching as 'Nice Guyism' in a single, non-thesis length article. But the core of the issue is dishonesty, and I felt that was pretty well covered, and fairly, in the article. There may be aspects that apply to you, and if you feel like you need to change those aspects, than change them. But if there are parts that you didn't do, then don't try and fit yourself into that hole, either.

            I've found that once you are honest with yourself, not only is it a lot easier to improve yourself, but it's also a lot easier to be honest with others.

          • Your points about self-honesty are taken and whole-heartedly agreed with. But does DNL help himself as an advice column writer and his audience as nerds looking for love by writing polarized material like this? I have no way to prove it, but I imagine that he has a lot more naive, earnest nerds reading his material than he does delusional douchebags. I'm not a regular of the comments section here so I could be way off base (I also don't have to sift through all of the emails of reader questions). In either case, though, which is more likely to respond to such an advice column? Why not write assuming an audience of romantically clueless nice guys instead of a bunch of easily vilified "Nice Guys"?

            I really like a lot of what DNL has to say here. I'm just looking for a dash more nuance.

          • Anthony

            I can't speak for DNL, but he has had a lot of other articles that are directed towards the more naive mindset and this particular article was brought about by a specifically douchey douche bag. And I think this article can be just as informative for a naive person as it is for a douchebag. I hope that a naive person can read this and think, "Okay, here's what not to do." Maybe I'm naive in thinking that (which, probably entirely true).

            Totally off topic, but I love your avatar, by the way.

          • Fair enough. I'd say I read DNL only intermittently, though I did feel like he was doing something here that I've seen him do before–slam the nerd. And maybe his experience doing what he does has pushed him to that point and he needs the "emotional punch" that ARC mentions in the next comment just to get self-justifying nerds to pay attention and reconsider their wicked ways.

            Re;avatar – thx, it was lab grown via a mixture of my DNA and Robert Zemeckis's

          • Mel_

            I don't think DNL is slamming nerds. He's not saying that only nerds to this (though it probably is proportionately more likely to happen among nerds than certain other social circles simply because nerds a proportionately more likely to be shy and awkward about approaching romance directly). He's definitely not saying all or even most nerds do this. He's slamming guys who post rants on the internet about how women they were so nice to wouldn't date them and how awful those women are, and pointing out that there's a significant number of guys who think this way, and explaining why it's problematic.

          • Paul Rivers

            "I really like a lot of what DNL has to say here. I'm just looking for a dash more nuance."

            Don't hold your breath. When he does write more balanced articles, they don't get a ton of pageviews or comments. When he does write ridiculously one-sided articles – like this one – they do get a ton of pageviews and comments.

          • BritterSweet

            Notice *how* they get so many pageviews and comments: there's always some dense person who either 1.) Misses the point of the article and ignores any advice, 2.) Tries to justify the bad behavior discussed in the article and stubbornly argues against the people trying to correct them, or 3.) Shows a problematic attitude and argues against making any improvements.

            And more…

          • Yet as a nerd looking for love I will continue to suckle at the teat of free advice, even if I feel the need to weigh and discern all of its worth.

            I don't know if I'm surprised or just frustrated with the response to my mild critiques of this piece. It seems like to me that the assumption of a lot people responding is that if I disagree with this article at all (and identify with it at all) then I must be attempting to engage in willfully blind self-justification (or mistakenly reading myself into the content). Nothing I say seems to be able to convince some commenters otherwise, even specifically naming that and denying it in addition to wholeheartedly affirming the basic advice that DNL gives.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            So forget the comments and read the archives. You can't please everyone all the time .The opinions of a bunch of people online that are able to exert zero pull over your real world dating life really don't matter unless you let them.

          • Fair enough. I didn't really come to the comments section with expectations, but I certainly never imagined needing to explain myself over and over again.

          • Mel_

            I think the issue you're running into is that saying you agree with the basic ideas, but feel DNL isn't taking into account situations where some of the elements he's talking about might not be so bad (or whatever, I know I'm vastly paraphrasing here), is the sort of thing commenters often do when they're trying to derail the entire topic. Trying to stop people from discussing the actual problem or acknowledging how much of a problem it is by focusing on a small less-problematic subset of that problem or a small exception to the problem.

            This is a really extreme example, but imagine you went into a discussion about how wrong it is for men to smack around their girlfriends, and said, "I agree with the basic points here, but what if the woman hit him first? Surely self defense is okay?" Or, "But sometimes I'm clumsy when we're goofing around and I accidentally whack my girlfriend without meaning to. You're not saying I'm an abuser too, are you?" When you're talking about a sensitive issue, where the people being criticized already have more privilege than those their actions affect, it generally comes across as insensitive at best and like purposefully downplaying the problem at worst if you start offering ways those actions in some contexts might be justified. So other people react negatively.

            I'm not saying that you were purposely trying to derail the conversation, or that Nice Guy-ism is on par with physical abuse. I'm just pointing out that the type of comments you were making fit into a common problematic dynamic that's naturally going to meet with resistance regardless of how well-meaning you are.

          • Hm. I wasn't aware that that was a reoccurring problem on comment threads. I really wasn't trying to derail anything, to say that the "Nice Guy" wasn't real or a problem or to ward off much needed correctives to that kind of behavior. I just thought my past experiences had some relevance and tried to bring that to bear on the topic in a way I hoped was respectful and circumspect.

            I apologize if I played the unnecessary antagonist in any way.

          • Mel_

            No worries–like I said, I didn't think you were doing it on purpose. 🙂 It's just a really common pattern not just here but on any blog where people are talking about somewhat controversial ideas, so people who frequent those blogs are pretty sensitive to it.

          • Delafina

            If the article hits close to home, maybe you need to do some self-reflection.

            Look, it's pretty simple: are you hanging around a girl, pretending to be okay with friendship, when you're *not* okay with the idea of her never having sex with you?

            If the answer is no, then you're not a Nice Guy.

            If the answer is yes, then you are being a Nice Guy, your behavior is unethical, and you need to level with both yourself and her.

          • I have not been writing in my comments on this piece about something that is still part of my life, but rather something that was a big part of my life for several years. So no, I am not currently in a friendzone'd/niceguy situation.

            I still, though, have to take issue with all this insistence on the simplicity of DNL's category here. I specifically want to problematize that–I understand that a lot of people here agree with DNL and think that if you don't fit his definition than you remain outside the purview of this article.

            However, I think you can be a "Nice Guy" and not be a total jerk. I think that there's a lot of guys who could identify with most of what he's describing here who don't deserve to be thought of as unethical boors, that the misguided "being friends to try to be more than friends" approach can have as much to do with emotional pain and timidity as it does anything else. It's not that these "nice guys" don't need to be encouraged to grow some confidence and level with their friends about their affection, but that they need to be encouraged from a place of charity and understanding rather than one of judgment and condescension.

          • Delafina

            If you're lying to a girl about valuing her friendship for itself, you're behaving unethically. In some cases, you may be behaving unethically out of fear rather than malice, but that doesn't change what you're doing.

            But you're right insofar as there is another division between the Nice Guy and everyone else here that I left out: the sense of entitlement.

            A guy who's lying to me and isn't interested in being friends if I won't sleep with him — but doesn't feel entitled to sex, just wishes for it — is probably not someone I'd identify as a full-on Nice Guy. He's someone who I might try to talk to if I realized how he actually felt. I don't feel obligated to — after all, dude is lying to me and only wants to get in my pants — but if I thought he might be capable of actual friendship with me, I might try. If I thought he *wasn't* capable of actual friendship with me, the only ethical response I can see, assuming I'm aware of his actual intentions, is to end the friendship.

            Then there's the guy who thinks I owe him sex as reciprocation for his being nice. (I.e. my friendship is not equal to his friendship — the equal of his "friendship" would be my "friendship + sex.") This guy is not treating me as an equal human being, and is potentially dangerous, and my correct response is to find him out and get him out of my life as quickly as possible, before he explodes and hurts me.

          • Paul Rivers

            "However, I think you can be a "Nice Guy" and not be a total jerk. I think that there's a lot of guys who could identify with most of what he's describing here who don't deserve to be thought of as unethical boors, that the misguided "being friends to try to be more than friends" approach can have as much to do with emotional pain and timidity as it does anything else. It's not that these "nice guys" don't need to be encouraged to grow some confidence and level with their friends about their affection, but that they need to be encouraged from a place of charity and understanding rather than one of judgment and condescension."


      • ARC

        Agree completely. This isn't the first time I've noticed that DNL tends to favor emotional punch over rhetorical precision, and when he's not specific as to who's *not* a nice guy (which is always) it's easy to falsely mislabel yourself as that. "Oh my god! I've been attracted to a friend before. I never realized I was such an asshole!"

        Heck, I have the opposite problem (value the friendship too much to ever let anyone know if I find them physically appealing as well), and yet I have to stop myself from self-flagellation over abusing my friends like this.

        • Myster Baad

          "This isn't the first time I've noticed that DNL tends to favor emotional punch over rhetorical precision…"

          Sometimes punch is all that will reach people who have built up their own rhetoric about who they think they are. Better behavior sometimes has to be trained, thru blunt conditioning, rather than taught with logic.

  • Monster Zero

    Honesty is usually a good policy in these cases. If you're prepared to suffer the ego-shredding indignity of the 'Oh, but… but I don't like you in that way' conversation, often just confessing to having a little bit of inappropriate feeling for a lady friend can clear the air more than you expect.

    They'll know now that if you get grumpy or moody or distant the next time your 'special' friend hooks up with some random guy (or worse), that it's because you're a little bit jealous, but it's okay because, well, you can't help how you feel and you're trying your best.

    Not every girl is going to be this understanding. Some of them will run a mile the second it looks like you might have a thing for them, however relatively irrational or inconsequential it can be. Sometimes you can outright have The Talk wherein you spell out to each other how, in the hypothetical, consequence-free environment this conversation exists in, were you two to become an item things would be… not terrible. Maybe even okay. But ultimately? Not perfect. Not good enough. And that's the important thing.

    The way I see it (and I say this as a regular contributor to the friend zone), guys generally make friends with girls they're attracted to for some reason. Could be looks, interests, personality, whatever. You could become really good, close friends as you get to know each other better, and that may well cause your initial, mild attraction to stir into something a lot harder to ignore. But there's a reason you're friends, not boyfriend and girlfriend. Take a long, hard, detailed look at this other person and you'll see more and more triggers for incompatability. Things that would bug you. That don't fit what you want, or need, or know suits you. The differences that mean you're able to be good friends are precisely what wouldn't make you work as a couple. It's the wrong kind of spark.

    Yeah, sometimes having The Talk can leave you feeling rejected, even though rationally nothing has changed in your friendship with The Girl. She may now know you've got a bit of a crush on her, but hopefully that just means she'll become a touch more sensitive to certain topics of behaviour that'll set you off. You won't have to suffer in silence, have her try to ask you why you're being such a contestible prick and get nothing but a mumbled 's'fine' in return.

    Your feelings for her may change over time. They may not. You may meet someone else. She may. Or you may not. But good relationships of any kind are built on trust and honesty, and close friendships even more so. If The Girl is important enough to you to not want to lose her, but you can honestly say to yourself that if you became a couple then you WOULD lose her, then telling her how you feel and not being ashamed or embarrassed by it may not be a bad place to start.

    Or she could tell you to eff off. But it's worth a shot.

    • Myster Baad

      "The way I see it (and I say this as a regular contributor to the friend zone), guys generally make friends with girls they're attracted to for some reason."

      Am I wrong in seeing an implied converse here? Ie: that guys generally find relationships with women they're not attracted to?

      Think about the rest of that paragraph and see if you're not implying that.

      • Robert

        Yes you are. Making friends with a woman and finding a relationship with her are not mutually exclusive.

    • Guest

      In my experience, there are no mixed messages, there are only mixed interpretations. This is something I know from a recent experience being in this very situation. I saw more happening than was actually the case. And yes, I was being the "Nice Guy." I meant no harm and I still don't. I just honestly thought that we were taking things slow and we were spending more time together hanging out, and I genuinely want to be with someone I consider more and more as my best female friend. Obviously there's nothing more attractive than spending time with someone you enjoy your time with. Right? And I'm getting more and more emotionally attached as we move along. And when I finally got the let down I was a little surprised, but I guess in hindsight, I should've known it all along. In hindsight, I guess I probably already knew it. I still remained friends, but I had to withdraw a bit for awhile to regather myself. It's called renegotiating the relationship. Where we are today is a little complicated and non-linear because of things that went on, only tangential to the point here, but at the end of the day, she is my best friend today and that's more than enough. There was a reason I liked my time with her. That's true whether there's more or not. If it's not mutual, it's not there and it never will be. Move on. It's hard but you have to kill that lingering "hope' with both daggers; and the sooner one or the other is in a relationship, the better.

  • guest

    Just want to clarify for the sake of this bit. At what point did the "nice guy" ask to be friends? Could it be presumptuous to assume that someone acting friendly is actually your friend? Isn't that kind of a lie in and of itself? You wouldn't presume you are in a committed relatioinship without talking about it, why not for friendship as well?

    Isn't the situation undeterminable until such time that someone clarifies it? Might not an invitation to a date be THE FIRST attempt to do so?

    Also, just because some guys move very quickly by asking you out does that mean that ALL MEN should do so as well?

    • BiSian

      Someone I see socially on a regular basis who I am NOT romantically involved in is by definition a friend. Or at least in my world. What is that to you, guest?

      • guest

        This could be a generational thing, but I think going slow is the smart approach. There is a guy, Terry Gorski, who had two CDs for Children of Alcoholics. He talked about dysfunctional relationship (which are most relationship) and those have a strong basis. The strong basis starts out as friends and slowly takes risks by revealing oneself. I agree with him. People move to quickly then wonder why relationships are so messed up and they get hurt. Risking too quickly without parallel risking from the other person. Perhaps the slow way is just too old fashion in the age of twitter.

        As to the friendship question: there are a number of levels of relating/relationships. You could have one that is centered around an activity. Imagine two people who get together to play a round of golf but don't do other things. You have others where you hangout in different activities because you are hanging out with that person rather than it being around that activity.

        • BiSian

          No one said you can't take a relationship slowly. That is not the point of this article or the comments.
          If slow's your preference, good on you. If you like to get to know women as friends first, with romance developing later, go for it. If you only start friendships with women as a precursor to asking them out…well that's a little bit annoying, but once again your preference.

          Just be honest and upfront about your intentions.

          Boom. Not a Nice Guy, not an ass, and it will save all involved a bit of a headache.

          • guest

            Gorski's point was that Adult Children of Alcoholics get into addictive relationships. You know the type, things move very quickly where people want to get emotionally involved before knowing each other. See, the pattern involved is to get so involved that it's harder to break up. The fear is, that if you move slow, they will figure out who you are and won't want to be with you. EVERYONE reading this has to understand, this is a learned behaviour from growing up around addicts.

            Gorski's point is to move slowly, revealing slowly. NOT IN A DATING SITUATION but doing things socially (don't read as two people doing things socially). Through a process of MUTUAL revealing (implied risk taking), you will see if it is a safe situation to date AND that you are not getting involved in the addiction style of relating.

          • eselle28

            If you want to move slowly in an explicitly platonic way, but also have the other person be open to dating later, you could always talk to them explicitly about this philosophy.My guess would be that an ideal partner would be someone who'd be on board with it.

            There's also another alternative which doesn't involve taking emotional risk right away – go forward with things without being explicit, but with the understanding that there's a good chance that some of the people you get to know slowly won't be physically attracted to you, and others won't want to be very emotionally intimate, and others might think it's almost right but say there's a dealbreaker that makes a relationship impossible. And then, if that happens, accept it gracefully.

    • Mel_

      It's very simple. You don't need to ask someone's permission to consider yourself their friend. (It's up to them whether they want to be a friend to *you*, but they don't need permission for that either.) Being a friend simply means that you care about them and will be supportive of them. Those things do not require their participation.

      On the other hand, you *do* need to ask permission to consider yourself someone's date, girlfriend, boyfriend, fuck buddy, etc. All of those things require that the other person participate in certain types of actions with you.

      Therefore, up until the point someone brings up the idea of being in a relationship/going on a date/having sex, people naturally consider all friendly people as friends (or friendly acquaintances, or whatever, depending on the closeness level) without a discussion being necessary, other than in cases of specific responsibilities/requests.

      And anyway, no one's saying it's a bad thing to be friends with someone for a while and then ask them out. What's a bad thing is a) lying about your feelings if they notice you have romantic/sexual ones and ask you about it, b) never speaking up about your feelings and expecting them to psychically figure it out, and/or c) getting angry with the other person for not "giving" you the romantic/sexual relationship you feel you've "earned" through being their friend. Do you disagree with that?

      • guest

        Funny how that works out. ok.

        So above, someone suggested that they suspected a guy might be interested. Does she have to try to clarify that or does this all fall on the guy? Is it assumed he must do something?

        • enail

          Depends. If he wants to be dating her, then he should do something – ask her out. (If she wants to be dating him as well, she also should ask him out, of course). If he's okay with either being purely platonic friends OR with dating, it's his choice if he'd like to ask her out or not. If he's not okay with being purely platonic friends, he either needs to ask her out or stop being her friend.

          If she thinks there's something she's doing that he's misinterpreting, it might be a good idea for her to cut it out or to speak to him about it directly, but as long as he's acting as a friend and she's reciprocating his friendship, I can't see why it would be her responsibility to do something else. (Again, unless she wants to date him, in which case, ask him out already!)

        • Gentleman Johnny

          If you want your situation to change, its your responsibility to do something about it, regardless of the details.

        • eselle28

          The person who wants the status quo to change has the responsibility to bring the topic up.

          That's true even if romance isn't involved. If I really enjoy my coworker's company or think that girl in my yoga class seems cool and I really want to be her friend, it's my responsibility to invite her to coffee or lunch or drinks or a party. My other reasonable choice is to let things be and to be accepting of it if she never asks me to do any of those things. What's not fine is to expect her to both know I'd like to be better friends and to have more courage than I do, and to resent her if she doesn't.

    • eselle28

      "You wouldn't presume you are in a committed relatioinship without talking about it, why not for friendship as well?"

      I actually wouldn't. I mean, in a committed relationship, there's sometimes a brief period where the couple is de facto committed – where they're planning ahead for events in the future and (for monogamous people) have stopped seeing others – but no one's gotten around to talking about it yet. But it's expected that the conversation will happen and that it should be sooner rather than later.

      I kind of feel the same way about friendships. Sometimes there's a period where someone feels like a friend but it hasn't come up explicitly. But I wouldn't consider someone to be my friend if we went on for long periods of time without either of us calling each other friends – and especially not if we never had any of the deeper emotional stuff that I associate with a serious friendship.

      I'd say this still goes very much against Nice Guys, because it's best to be direct, and in the absence of that I think people should assume less rather than more.

      • guest

        IMO, defacto is presuming too much. You want a committment, you have to talk about it. Avoiding the talk, is game playing.

        • eselle28

          Just to be clear, I agree completely there shouldn't be any presumptions prior to discussing things, for either friends or romantic couples.

          I guess I'm trying to describe a place where people on both sides of the equation have already put some of the blocks in place for the change in the relationship, but neither has any expectations that the other person has done the same. I think that's fairly common. Friends often feel friendish before they call each other friends, and many romantic couples start to focus more on each other out of free will before they actually discuss the state of the relationship. But there's no obligation (except basic decency) until people have agreed there's a relationship.

          • guest

            I can accept that.

        • Anthony

          It may not necessarily be the norm, but a casual dating situation can organically grow into a committed relationship. And it can do so without being explicitly stated by either party. Ultimately, it definitely needs to be discussed, and the sooner the better.

    • dave

      Guest – You are RIGHT! Pickup artist instructors or women or somebody, has to peddle this "Anti-Nice-Guy" load to validate the guys who play this game and happily take advantage of women. Now nice guys are "dishonest" because they do not have dating success,Women do not like these "friendships"? Women do not take advantage of it? There are some really insulting rants about guys who just might not be all
      as "wonderful" as the pickup artists. No wonder some of these loners get pissed off!

  • Lilly

    *isn't for everyone (part of that sentence was deleted)

  • Paul Rivers

    Man, at a certain point, these become so absurd it's no longer as much offensive as it is family-guy style funny.

    As I've mentioned, a friend of mine learned "game". When the "nice guy" bit came out on Friday, he sent me a link to a thread from a girl on his facebook list who he got together within the first night of meeting her who posted the same article.

    She also called being nice to women "misogyny". She quoted all this stuff from the above article about owing you anything. She tells guys they should just "shut up" about it. She was outraged – outraged! That guys thought that being nice to a girl might lead anywhere.

    Now…let us ask ourselves. What approach was it that my friend took to get with her physically so quickly? Was it "basic honesty"? Was it "integrity"? Was it "a willingness to treat women as people instead of an obstacle course that leads to pussy"?

    No way. He got with her though **asshole game**. He pushed her limits past where she was comfortable, then pulled back. Internally, he always reminded himself that he was above her. An "obstacle course that leads to pussy" was exactly his approach, combined with being an aloof asshole.

    And this is where all this ridiculous amount of "outrage" over guys "being nice" comes from – girls turned on by asshole behavior. They need to vilify anyone who is nice to them. It's very, very important to paint *anyone* who's interested in her and nice to her (so she's not interested to them) as undesirable and somehow "below" the assholes that she really likes.

    This is why the majority of girls in the real world are very uncomfortable to be called "feminists". Because it isn't about "equality" any more. It's about something else.
    "Six out of seven women have rejected the term feminist and 36 per cent of young women cannot imagine a time when men and women were not equal, according to a netmums survey…I was horrified to read the report today that the word feminism is considered outdated by a third of women, who think it is “too aggressive towards men”, according to our report."

    • Anthony

      So, ONE woman responded to your friend's asshole game. That means ALL women love assholes, and 'vilify' nice guys because they need a reason to love those assholes? I'm…shocked at how narrow minded that viewpoint seems. Legitimately, has it ever occurred to you that you suffer from amazingly restricting confirmation bias? Because it seems like everything you post contains your evidence that you've witnessed, and that means it's true everywhere. You never see the opposing viewpoint, or an example of that viewpoint coming true. (Here's my own confirmation bias – it's certainly not every post, but it does feel that way.)

      Do you think the woman from that tumblr post on Friday was wrong in her assessment of the situation? Do you think the guy was right for feeling like he was owed a physical/emotional relationship? Multiple times people have said in these comments that it's NOT about 'being nice.' It IS entirely about being nice and then expecting a relationship to come out of that. Nothing that I can do can ever force someone to be physically attracted to me, emotionally comfortable with me, or romantically in love with me. My actions CAN bring about those reactions in other people.

      The key word in that first sentence is 'force.' Nice Guys are being their version of 'nice' to elicit a certain response and reaction from someone. They are not doing it because it is the right thing to do, and they are often resentful and bitter when they don't get the desired response. That's not nice. That's manipulative, which, most people would agree, isn't nice. I've not once seen anyone write or heard anyone say that being (an appropriate amount of) nice is misogynistic. Do you have evidence to back up that claim, because I'd love to see it. Being manipulative? Yea, that can absolutely be misogynistic. (This is ignoring the guys who treat women as 'delicate flowers' and feel the need to be overly nice because it's their idea of chivalry. I don't think that's the kind of nice you're talking about, and it's not the specific kind of nice anyone here is talking about [I don't think].)

      • Paul Rivers

        "That means ALL women love assholes"

        If your going to write a long response to my post, as least have the decency to respond to the ancedotal evidence I *actually* used rather than making up strawman arguments.

        My claim was somewhat the opposite – that there are some women who love assholes, and some who don't. But it is the ones who *most* love assholes who are the most invested in convincing everyone that any guy being nice "is a liar from start to finish". Because they're repulsed by a guy who's nice to them, they would like everyone else to feel the same way as well.

        As for ancedotal evidence and confirmation bias – welcome to an online forum. I give much higher credibility to things that I personally see, yes, than to random stories from other people. There's absolutely no restriction on people commenting here that they heard something happened in other places, and while they've never actually seen it themselves, it must be true everywhere. Things I've personally seen are *way* more credible than that.

        Maybe it's a typo, but your second paragraph doesn't make any sense to me when you write "It IS entirely about being nice and then expecting a relationship to come out of that." That seems like…the opposite of what you're saying. And goes off onto a topic that seems unrelated to my original topic.

        Which was that there's no way that nice girls are really getting *that* mad at nice guys who try to get to know them, then feel hurt or let down when they don't like them back. There's something else going on here. That's annoying – not the stream of hate that seems to surround this topic.

        Please point out – exactly where – the guy on the post mentioned says anything like that she "owes" him a relationship. It's unclear what happened with the first guy. Maybe he's lying about what happened. But what – he asks her out, she turns him down – and then *immediately* launches into bitching about her own relationships to the guy she just rejected? Who does that? The first guy may well have took it, smiled, left, and come back to his room to complain on the internet. There's a HUGE gap between "I'm upset that someone I was interested in turned me down – and why did she have to be such a jerk that she immediately launched into expecting me to immediately provide sympathy about her guy problems???" and "So she owed to it me to date me anyways". That's a *huge* difference.

        • Paul Rivers

          The second guy is a jerk. Sure. But…I've known the people who write this stuff in real life. And…often, she leaves a lot of important details out of her complaints. What girl has only 1 friend for emotional support and it's a guy? I mean she's complaining on the internet – JUST LIKE HE IS. But does she really have no other friends…it just seems like there's something being left out. I have no idea what's happening there. It's possible that yes, he was actually doing a "back door gambit", a ploy to get with her. I'm not saying he couldn't – he could be being a huge jackass. But at the other extreme, it's not like she would write "I deliberately used his treating me like a human being to manipulate him into providing emotional support, knowing he was romantically interested in me, and when he realized that I was just using him – I expected him to just suck it up and keep being used, but instead he figured it out, got mad at me, was an ass, and left."

          I have no idea which one it is, or if it's in the middle. But I *still* didn't see him saying "she owed it to me to date me even though she didn't want to". And let's be honest – if you reversed the genders, *no one* would be upset at the girl who had been pining after the guy for months, and gotten really close to him – only to have him date some other more aggressive girl, then come back and cry to her about how the new girl slept with him a few times and then went on to date someone else and how broken up he was about it. No one would say that *she* was just being selfish by not wanting to continue to be emotional support for him. People might get mad at her for calling him a jackass and running off – maybe – but they wouldn't complain that she had no right to reach out to her friends for support.

          But this is somewhat beside the point. Men have been trying to sleep with women for millions of years. It's a whole different picture to paint saying "a nice girl is enraged that guys that were nice to her turned out to be trying to date her" – then it what appears to me to be the more realistic case of "a group of girls who are attracted to assholes are pissed off at anyone who's nice to them, so they're trying to paint a picture that any guy whatsoever who's interested in them and being nice to them is secretly a manipulative asshole".

          I don't really follow your last part…I take quotes from a facebook thread that I'm reading and you "demand proof"? I'm not getting into this silly game of pretending that one can provide proof over the internet. That was the thread I was reading – nice was indeed equated with misogynistic.

          • Paul Rivers

            Actually…I take that back. I found a public article that says *exactly* that –

            "At the beginning the four main characters, all male…are also misogynists…Leonard is the first Face. He is the objectification of women so that they are held up on a pedestal above him and other men, an unobtainable goal that needs to be chased, quested for, and will ultimately remain out of reach. Leonard is the classic “good guy” before he’s turned bitter and resentful and morphed into the second Face or worse. He sees women as the Madonna."

            Wikipedia claims says – Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls.

            No one in their right mind could possibly, legitimately make a claim that Leonard Hofstadter hates women. But there it is.

            Or this one showed up in my search –

            The author gets upset at things like that a geek girl scientists shows up, then turns out to be a total slut (I don't know how else to put it – that's the most technically accurate way to put it). I can understand her being upset at that.

            But that's not the high point of her anger. The high point of her anger is when Leonard has slept with the girl (who he thought was interested in dating him), then –

            But no, the writing staff instead had to ice its failcake with the following line at the end. After Penny and Leonard discuss the fact that he’d slept with this woman, and Penny is giving him the chance to explain why, he says, “She let me.”

            SHE LET ME.

            I can still taste bile in the back of my throat at that one. Passive blow up dolls (which were also the subject of a joke last night) let you. Women who have been roofied and are incapable of saying “yes” or “no,” LET you. (N.B. I’ve been critiqued, and rightly so, for this analogy–which has missed the mark. My point was that passivity is not consent, not that women who are drugged are to some extent allowing the rape to happen. Bad writing on my part.)

            First off, she came on to him, but then after he acted on that come on, they didn’t even allow her to be a willing participant, but rather a passive mannequin. I am done. I literally deleted my season pass last night, and then tweeted my rage. I was SO glad to see that other friends were similarly angered. I wasn’t sure whether I was alone in that.

            That's right – the real height of the "misogyny" of the show – is that Leonard didn't…make up excuses about why he slept with a cute girl who came into his room in the middle of the night and seduced *him*? That he didn't put up a bunch of arbitrary road blocks before sleeping with her?

            Maybe I'm wondering a bit off-topic, but the anger – it isn't about men mistreating women. Well – it is only for *some* of the people responding to it. The real motivation is – something else. Women get hit on all the time. Guys are trying to sleep with them all the time – that's how things are set up. That there's this level of explosive rage towards guys being "nice" to them – that that level of rage can be directed at a male character who may not understand women, but in every moment of the show treats women "like a human being".

            There's *clearly* something else going on here. And I think it's rage from women, who don't like being treated actually nicely, and who would like that everyone else feels like she does – that a guying actually being nice to her to get to know her, is disgusting.

          • Mel_

            Paul, I think you're going off on some weird sort of tangent here. Okay, so there are unpleasant people on the internet who vilify guys for the slightest hint of niceness. Guess what! If I wanted, I could find guys claiming claiming all kinds of horrible things about women as an entire gender. In fact, I've seen guys making sweeping offensive statements about women in general in the comments of this blog more than once. Shocking fact: some people are jerks. Some people have gross ideas about the opposite sex.

            Neither of those things changes the fact that the problem DNL talks about this article is a real problem that guys need to avoid. The article is not about being nice, it's about thinking that going through the motions of friendship in order to get a relationship makes you nice, and that said niceness means the woman is in the wrong if she declines to repay your friendship with more. I haven't seen a single commenter here, among the many men *and* women, say that they don't trust actual niceness from guys or that it's sketchy or anything like that. And yet they still agree with the article and think it's an important issue to be raised.

            So how exactly is what these random internet women think about actually nice behavior relevant to this conversation? What exactly do you think all your rambling above proves? If your problem is with those random internet women, not with anything anyone's said here, maybe you should be commenting on their FB pages and blogs about it instead of here?

          • Mel_

            And about the examples in the article, I'm having trouble following which complaints you're making about which. But I think you're missing important parts. With the guy in the tumblr post, he is ranting about how this woman used him as a friend so she could complain about assholes she wanted to date–if he was really getting so little out of the friendship, why did he stay friends with her? If she is such a jerk that she deserves to be told to shut the fuck up, why was he "pretty much" giving her his heart (the quoted bit, I'll point out, suggests he hadn't actually been upfront about his affections, so who knows exactly what he means by getting "shot down" and whether the woman even realized she was doing so). It sounds to me like the only bad thing she's done to him is decline to date him. Declining to date someone is a person's right, not a malicious thing.

            And even if she is such an awful person that she would reject an actual expression of feelings from him and then immediately launch into talking about guy problems (I suspect his anger is compressing the timeline here, and again, who knows how direct his attempt to give her his heart was), how is it then okay for him to make a global statement about how "all" nice guys are treated (which shows he's talking about all women, not just this one, unless she is friends with all the nice guys in the world?) because of what this one unkind woman did?

            As for the guy quoted directly in the article from his Craigslist post, the key line showing he felt he was entitled to sex because of being her friend is this one: ”You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy.” If he thinks not giving physical intimacy to someone who's been there for you emotionally means you're using them, then clearly he thinks the correct way to be is to repay kindness with sex–i.e., that his kindness entitled him to sex.

            And neither of these guys was just venting to their friends. One posted on a public tumblr, and one on Craigslist. They wanted people they didn't personally know to see their thoughts on how "nice" guys are treated, not just to get comfort from friends.

      • Myster Baad

        If you're going to be manipulative, do it in the here and now, be bold, be cunning, and be ready to get your ass handed to you. That's the message I get here.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      OK, so being an asshole gets you assholes. Granted. That in no way invalidates the point that other approaches can be successful with the added bonus of being emotionally healthy rather than toxic.

      I'll even offer up the same thing I did to Vic: any time you want to go out clubbing, we'll compare whose approach works better.

      • MordsithJ

        That's a good point; assholes do tend to attract other assholes. I'm beginning to think that guys who vociferously defend the whole "women like assholes" myth are only talking about the asshole women they're attracted to.

        • Akai

          This is a point that I think we miss: a lot of attractive women are not so nice. I can certainly see how it happens if their entire adult lives are full of guys rushing to fulfill their every whim.

          • eselle28

            I'm not even so sure it's about having people rush to your whim. At least from my experience, you can take "attractive" out of that first sentence, and it would just as true.

            I think the real problem is that a certain sort of man thinks that all men are either Nice Guys or Bad Boys, and that all women are either Hot or Gross, and spends almost no time thinking about what other differences there are between people. If you assume all women are angels, or that they're all manipulative bitches, or that everyone's a machine operating on code set by evolution, I think it's really easy to miss the fact that the gorgeous woman who's dating a guy who's an asshole or a screw up or both may have some of those same qualities herself. Likewise, if you have a functional view of women but are suffering from oneitis, I think sometimes it's possible to not realize that your hot but dysfunctional friend is dating a hot but dysfunctional guy because they're a fairly equal match.

          • Trooper6

            And this is why guys should think before they sleep with someone. Just because they are "hot" (whatever that means) doesn't mean they are nice people.

            And I have to say, people with low self-esteem and oneitis? They are walking targets for terrible users. So *think* first. There is a reason we are homo sapiens–because we have higher brain functions. Use it! Look before you leap.

            And use a condom/dental dam/latex glove.
            And don't have sex when either you or the other person are under the influence.
            Also, if the person doesn't specifically say yes, don't touch.

          • Vic

            You don't have to think someone is a good/nice person to want to bang them. I find it pretty irrelevant to the whole equation.

          • Anthony

            Maybe you don't, but I do. And, in my experience, worrying about that leads to a much better experience.

          • Trooper6

            Having sex with someone who is not good/nice is dangerous. If you can't think with the head on your shoulders because you are ruled by you penis, you are cruising for a bruising, as my folks would say.

            That woman might be a stalker. She could be a unhinged person who tells lies about you to your friends, to the police, to who knows what. Maybe she purposefully gets pregnant and then blackmails you. She could go all Carrie Underwood with a Louisville Slugger on your car. There are women who are dangerous and if never pay attention to anything other than your penis…you are putting yourself at risk.

          • Vic

            Not nice != crazy.

            My crazy-dar is military grade.

          • eselle28

            Not nice but sane seems like an even scarier combination.

          • Paul Rivers

            I think the real problem is that a certain sort of man thinks that all men are either Nice Guys or Bad Boys

            To be fair, I want to point out that I've seen examples that this is how current girls think as well, like here's one –

            …My teenage daughter had a slumber party recently, and my wife (who is unaware of Game concepts) overheard the girls talking about the boys in their school. What struck me about the conversation that she relayed to me was that the girls were categorizing the boys into two groups: “Hot & Mean” and “Not-hot & Nice.”…

          • Vic

            They're too young to have been brainwashed by political correctness or told not to think that way by feminists.

          • Gil

            Testify brother!

          • Orv

            Any time you need to rely on a second-hand story of what a small group of teenagers think as support for an argument… it's probably a bad argument. I'd counter that teenagers, especially in high school, are essentially sociopaths when they're allowed together in groups larger than 2. I could not, today, defend half of the terrible things I said as a teenager, trying to sound cool in front of my friends.

        • Paul Rivers

          That's a good point; assholes do tend to attract other assholes. I'm beginning to think that guys who vociferously defend the whole "women like assholes" myth are only talking about the asshole women they're attracted to.

          I actually rather agree with you, if you're talking about the "all girls like assholes" crowd. But I wasn't saying that "women" like assholes – I was saying…well, I've already mentioned it a couple of times.

      • Paul Rivers

        Whoa man, the point of my post was never ever that there aren't other approaches that can be successful. The point of my post was more along the lines that the girl I knew who was in the strongest and most vocal agreement with the article – was not someone who was "tired of manipulative assholes", but instead pretty much only dated guys acting like pushy assholes.

    • Beth

      Oh my god Paul you seriously need to educate yourself. You keep posting about "feminism" and and "misogyny" but it's clear that you have nothing resembling a clue as to what those two words mean. And, bro, you can say whatever you want, but talking about stuff you don't understand makes you look so stupid.

      -A grad school!nerd girl who reads this blog

      • Paul Rivers

        lol, feel free to tell the girl using the terms that *she* has nothing resembling a clue as to what those two words mean. I'm only copying what other people are writing. I don't remember for sure, but I believe it's all copy and pasted from what she wrote.

    • Trooper6

      There is a reason why so many women don't embrace the term feminism. It is called Backlash. I'd recommend reading the book Backlash by Susan Faludi.

      Knowing is half the battle.

      • FormerlyShyGuy

        I am going to have to check out both of her books, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women and Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man. The synopsis provided on Wikipedia for the second book is

        "Faludi argues that while many of those in power are men, most individual men have little power. American men have been brought up to be strong, support their families and work hard. But many men who followed this now find themselves underpaid or unemployed, disillusioned and abandoned by their wives"

        Reading the comments here I get the vibe that there are no are NO MEN'S ISSUES no exceptions if you are a man complaining about men's issues you are a misogynist bitching about teh menz. I don't want to be one of teh menz but I have had a feeling for a while that there are issues that effect men that are not just misogynistic complaining. So I will read Susan Faludi's books as a starting point for research.

  • Anthony

    Those rules are really different for everyone. Some people make call what you consider acquaintanceship friendships, but that doesn't mean they don't count to those individuals.

  • Becelec

    OMG Veronica and Logan in Veronica Mars. When that happened, I lost my shit.

    • Vic

      They were great when they were enemies and antagonists. When they fell in wuv it was borderline unwatchable.

  • Anonyleast

    *If a

  • Becelec

    I'm going to chime as a serial friendzoner. I have a lot of male friends, more male friends than female friends really. A lot of these friends have had pants-feelings for me at some point in time. Some I knew about, some I suspected, and some I had no idea about. At no point, was I in any of these friendships for a "period of comfort". I am friends with these guys because I genuinely like them and they are really cool people. I don't use them for anything, not for dates, not for attention, not for an ego boost, not for a shoulder to cry on. We play video games or go see a movie or hit the pub. Things that you would do with a regular old friend. I did these things with them when I was single and I do these things with them now that I am not. Some of them confessed that they liked me, others never did. The ones who confessed their likeage did not chuck a hissy fit when I said I wasn't interested. Not one of them chucked a hissy fit at me when I got a boyfriend. This is because these guys are genuinely nice, decent people who are happy to have me as a friend anyway. They don't expect squat from me and I don't expect squat from them. Being friends with a cool person of the opposite sex is not that fucking hard. It is not a burden. If it is, maybe they aren't really your friend or you're not really all that nice.

    And yes, you can go from friends to sexy times, but for that to happen then FFS she needs to actually find you sexually attractive. Coz if she doesn't, you could be the sweetest guy in the world, but that still won't make touching your penis appealing. Some guys seem to forget that sexual attraction needs to go both ways…

    • Akai

      I've some friends like this as well. The difference is also that while they'd enjoy having sexytimes with me, they also don't have oneitis. They go off and flirt with other girls, and (presumably) get laid. We move on with our lives.

    • dave

      Ms. Becelec – Great post! The pickup artist instructors insist that those male friends of yours who are "genuinely nice, decent people who are happy to be your friend" , just cannot be your friends. I would rather see some of these guys, who struggle with this, have some real, live female friends to talk about things, many things, without being punished for it!

      • Trooper6

        Who is going to punish them for having female friends?

  • Delafina

    While I'm not interested in defending Nice Guys, because Nice Guyism is creepy and dishonest (not to mention ineffective), I think that some of the problem may be that there are quite a few men out there who don't have emotionally intense relationships with friends, while it's uncommon for women to *not* have emotionally intense friendships. So the woman in these situations is treating the Nice Guy like she would any other friend — expressing affection, sharing her feelings, showing interest in his feelings — and he interprets this sexually because he doesn't have any other models for the intensity.

    I read a book called "Self-Made Man" once, a memoir written by a woman who spent a year masquerading as a man. The takeaways from the book were myriad: the privilege men enjoy that women don't even recognize was sort of stunning, but the flipside was how lonely a lot of adult men are, because the emotional intimacy between men allowed by our culture is so limited.

    Of course, this isn't an excuse for Nice Guyism — it's more of a wake-up call that our model of masculinity needs to adapt enough to accept full-fledged friendships between men (and platonic relationships between men and women). When all those eggs — sex, non-sexual affectionate physical contact, emotional intimacy, actual conversations about feelings, etc. — are in one basket (a girlfriend!), the stakes for finding a relationship are going to be pretty high, and men without particularly strong senses of ethics or empathy are going to do unethical things.

    • enail

      I think you're really onto something here. It's a very common thread in the comments for a guy to want a girlfriend b/c he's *lonely*. If they feel unable to have emotional intimacy or support outside of a relationship, no wonder so many guys desperately want a relationship, any relationship, however unhealthy that may be. Homophobia and the idea that men shouldn't have feelings are very harmful; these are things we as a society need to change.

      • OldBrownSquirrel

        You make friends, you invest time and energy into the friendship, your friends find romantic partners, and your friends drop off the face of the earth. Witness this enough times, and it's easy to conclude that romantic partners are the most reliable long-term friends, because when they drop off the face of the earth, they take you with them.

        • Trooper6

          Or you could see it the other way.
          My friends are with me for life. I have friends I still talk to that I've had since Kindergarten. Romantic relationships don't usually last that long.

          Romantic relationships may last till you die, maybe. But I can name at least 5 friends who'll be with me until I die, guaranteed.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Friends you talk to? Sure. Facebook friends? Fine. Do you do stuff with them on a regular basis? Not everyone can do that. I live 1400 miles from my old elementary school; I can't casually get together with my old friends.

          • eselle28

            Different friendships serve different roles. At this point in my life, the people I socialize with in person aren't the same people I have deep emotional connections with. It's still nice to have casual friends who have common interests and who can get together to pursue them. But the friends I can call on the phone and pour my heart out to are valuable as well. The fact that I don't see them in person very often doesn't mean that we're not friends or that they don't have an important place in my life.

          • Lilly

            BFF and I met in summer camp over a decade ago and still talk on the phone daily.
            Love that other people have cherished friends like that.

            And Trooper6, you're a lucky man; I can only name 2 friends I know for sure with survive the decades with me. "You are truly lucky if you can count true friends to fill up the fingers of one hand."

        • eselle28

          Some friends do that, yes. But there are other people who have learned that having friends is valuable, whether you're in a romantic relationship or not. In adulthood, it's fairly easy to identify these people, because they will be the ones who have long-lasting friendships. People who only want friends when they're single will mostly have friends they've only recently met.

          Also, as I think many people commenting here have learned, romantic relationships aren't always permanent and can end over all sorts of issues that wouldn't otherwise end a friendship.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            There are two contexts in which it's most common for people to drop off the face of the earth:

            1) NRE (New Relationship Energy): Two people just started dating, and they're way into each other, to the exclusion of the rest of reality. It's a temporary phase, and people often start restoring contact with their old friends when they start coming up for air, typically after a few months.

            2) Arrival of a baby. New parents don't have time for sleep, let along in-person socializing. Many new parents go years before seeing another movie in theaters, for example. Say your good-byes at the shower. They'll eventually emerge from this as well, but it's a longer-term thing, and if they have another baby, it's back to square one.

            People might be back eventually, but one should be prepared for people to drop out of game night (as a good example of time-intensive in-person nerdy socializing) for months to years at a time because of Real Life, which in many cases is a direct or indirect effect of dating.

          • eselle28

            All of that sounds right, and I've certainly had friends who've had to pull back because of one of those two things. Occasionally, you'll also have a friend who's going through an unusually stressful period at work or in school who will also be unavailable (when a friend graduated medical school, she flat out told us that we wouldn't be seeing much of her for the next year or so because she'd be spending most of her free time sleeping).

            But I don't think any of this supports the idea that it's good to expect your romantic partner to meet all of your friendship needs. I would say that a better lesson would be to try to have several friends, and to be careful not to drop out too long yourself and to be proactive about contacting old friends when your children are old enough or your work eases up.

          • Orv

            As a dad with a new baby I'd like to offer a counter to OBS's point. I would LOVE IT if more of my friends came to visit. I'm not going to leave my partner alone with our baby while I go out and chill with the boys, and damn do I feel awkward bringing the little guy out with me to see my friends. I still have a couch, and a TV, and a fridge, and prepare meals on a regular basis, though, and it sure would be nice to watch a football game (ok maybe not this year), or a dvd, or just hang out and share a meal. Sometimes we forget friendships go both ways. Your married with kids buddy might be trying to avoid being a drag on the group by having to leave early, or bring his kid along, etc. Doesn't mean you can't offer to drop by his place with a six pack (or other alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages of choice) and spend some time together.

        • Delafina

          One of my male besties started dating a woman, and it got serious enough that they got married, and now I have another friend: his awesome wife.

          Your model is far from universal.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            That's an ideal case. Some women are going to have issues with their partners socializing with other women. Granted, that's a problem, but it still happens.

          • Delafina

            But it's far from a rare case. My experience is not universal, but neither is yours.

          • Paul Rivers

            I'm going to agree with OldBrownSquirrel.

            I have a lot of female friends, but if they're single the expiration date on the friendship is usually "when they get a *serious* boyfriend". There's the:
            – "no longer has common interests because she's wrapped in with her boyfriend" one
            – the "everything we do is now analyzed under the microscope of whether it's 'appropriate' that she's doing this with another guy so it's no fun to even hang out any more because if we have a good time that's bad" one
            – or my least favorite, the "a topic that never bothered her that much before is suddenly so offensive she can no longer be friends with me" which always happens shortly after her and the new boyfriend get "serious"

            I still have a fairly large number of female friends – I just first met them *after* they got serious with their boyfriend/husband/etc. Then there's not so much drama about it.

          • Delafina

            I knew almost all of my 12 close male friends before I met my boyfriend (who, given our relationship is going on five years, is fairly serious). There are only 3 that I met afterward. Several of them got girlfriends (or wives) in the time that we've known each other. On neither side did getting a significant other spell the end of our friendship. Granted, this is just my anecdotal experience, but I feel like 12 people is a pretty decent sample size for one person.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          Every relationship (friendship and family included) ends in one of two ways: breakup or death. Instead of sweating that nothing lasts forever, why not focus on the good times while they're available?

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            It's not about sweating; it's about decision-making. You find yourself with an open spot on your dance card. What do you want to do to fill it? Do you want to find another platonic friend who's likely to disappear once someone less platonic wanders along? Or do you want to follow everyone else's example and couple up?

            I'd argue that friendships are more pliant than romantic relationships, precisely because they're not generally exclusive. Friends can see each other less often and remain friends without actually breaking up. The practical effect, though, can be to leave a social void. What we're discussing is how to handle those voids.

          • eselle28

            But it's not an either-or choice. Few people's lives are so hectic that they can't look for both friends and romance, and having friends can be helpful when looking for love. I don't mean in a creepy Nice Guy way, but because knowing more people means you have access to parties and activities where you can meet others, and also because you're less likely to expect your partner to meet all your emotional needs (honestly, I understand some people here relate to others like that, but someone who expected me to be not only his best but his only friend and confidante would scare me off of a relationship immediately).

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            I've never said that one should rely solely on romantic partners. Scroll back a bit. I'm trying to explain why people might reasonably see a relationship as a way of dealing with loneliness. For my purposes, I'm defining "loneliness" as "I don't get a lot of social time, especially face-to-face social time, with other people," in large part because that's most of what I'm dealing with in my life right now. I have friends, lots of friends, but most of my friends are either Far Away (especially the single ones) or Too Busy (married, esp. with kids) or both. I'm getting divorced, following a ten year marriage. Before I moved in with my now-ex, I was sharing an apartment with several other guys. Of the three other guys who lived there at various times, one moved to the other side of the country, another moved to the other side of the country, got married, and had kids, and the third moved to a different country, got married, and had kids. Part of the problem I have now, that I have nobody to hang out with IRL, is admittedly a function of my mostly hanging out with my wife for the duration of the marriage, but the fact remains that the only real alternative to finding one person to hang out with (and sleep with) for a long period of time is to deal with high turnover. Coupling up — which is, after all, what most of them are doing — seems like a good option.

          • eselle28

            I guess I can understand why people do this, but I don't think it's a healthy alternative to having a variety of relationships.

            I can understand why you and your friends have drifted apart. It just doesn't seem like the same barriers would still be there if you sought out some new friendships. I suspect many potential friends who are single and divorced will have already finished having children. People will still find new relationships and move, but that's one very substantial life change that's not going to be happening as often.

            I also think you may be looking at romantic relationships very much through the eyes of someone whose last relationship lasted for a decade. Finding one person to hang out with (and sleep with) may come with high turnover as well. As with friendships, it can be good to have multiple people to rely on.

          • Delafina

            Why is this a dichotomy? You can do both.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            You can, but you should expect platonic friends to drift apart eventually, one way or another.

          • Delafina

            No, you shouldn't. As I just said in the other comment, your experience is far from universal, and if I took such a cynical view toward my friendships, I — deservedly! — wouldn't have any.

          • OldBrownSquirrel

            Long-term relationships involve commitment, people being there for each other. People change jobs and relocate to stay close to their partners. People almost never change jobs and relocate to be close to their friends; nobody's going to see it as a personal betrayal if a friend moves away and leaves you behind. Friendships just don't imply the same level of commitment that romantic relationships often do. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; it's just how things work.

          • Delafina

            "Friendships just don't imply the same level of commitment that romantic relationships often do."

            And I'm saying that some do. I've known people to move to where their friends are. I have a friend who's considered moving out here several times, because I'm here.

    • CmE

      Maybe I've just got lucky but I don't really recognize this "lonely adult men" stereotype. Sure, I wouldn't call my male friendships emotionally intense on a daily basis – we mostly just hang out, play some games, and shoot the breeze 90% of the time – but when we want to express feelings and share problems the other 10% of the time, we do. It's accepted and acknowledged that it's fine to do so. As for expressing affection, nothing beats the man-bear-hug.

  • LeeEsq

    Really? To me it seem that people call themselves sex-positive are distinguishing themselves from the Evangelicals and Catholic clergy rather than second-wave feminists. The second-wave feminists can not exactly be defined as sex-negative in the way that sex-positive people seem to define the term. The ones that were sex-negative like Dworkin came from academia where they didn't have to worry about practical implication of their ideas.

    • Trooper6

      But the term sex-positive is used mostly in contra-distinction to second wave feminists–though it would expand to address the negative messages women get about sexuality in general. It came up during the sex wars in the 80s which had as their catalyst debates within the feminist community over pornography and S&M, among other things.. One of the big markers of this debate was the publication of the lesbian porn magazine, On our Backs, which was deliberately poking at the title of the second wave really-not-porn feminist newspaper Off Our Backs.

      Any how wiki has a page on sex-positive feminism

  • Nit

    I will admit that yeah, I've been the "nice guy" and I remember that xkcd strip where it talks about the nice guy and I actually agreed with the guy who was saying all that shit. Now I still catch myself falling into that habit of being the nice guy, but man I am trying not to be, and breaking a bad habit is hard. I once found someone on OKcupid and we hung out, she was really cool, very honest about anything I asked and a amazing girl, only to scare her off at the end because I told her that I felt like I started to like like her (I'm a very honest guy and I'm upfront with how I feel) when she only said she did not want to date at the moment. I should have been more clear headed and thought things over and just focus on building a good friendship with her instead of thinking we would end up as a couple, because really she would have been just a really good friend to me. Now I lost a good friendship all because I fell back on my old pattern. But I will keep on trying to be better.

    • Akai

      Well good on you, man, and good luck with finding the right lady for you. Even when we fall back, it's better to get back on the horse and keep trying.

  • Matt C

    It really isn't that difficult to understand:

    – Start a friendship with a girl – FINE
    – Start a friendship with a girl you're attracted to – FINE (after all, you are interested in getting to know her)
    – Find you have feelings for her and be honest about it – FINE (and if she can't handle being friends with you after that, well, you aren't meant to be friends)
    – Find you have feelings for her and lie about it, hoping that she'll one day fall in love with you – NOT FINE
    – Thinking that being nice will make her fall in love with you in and of itself – NOT FINE
    – Confusing your fantasy for reality and lashing out at her for not taking part in the fakelationship – NOT FINE

    • Delafina

      OMG, it's a proto-flow chart! Love it! 🙂

      • Matty C

        Hahaha I have Visio right here…. so tempted… must do actual work however!!

  • Matty C

    One other thing that changed my view on 'one-sided crushes'. It's from a book called "Breaking Hearts: The Two Sides Of Unrequited Love" (I highly recommend it!).

    When you crush on someone, you have to understand that for them it's really something that's been put upon them with no choice on their part. As the person with the crush, there are positive aspects to the experience – you get to fantasize about what it would be like the two of you together, you get a lot of emotional needs met and you're in the position with the advantage.

    For the person being crushed on though, it's different. Assuming they have no romantic feelings for you, then through no choice of their own, they now have the burden of your expectations. They have the burden of knowing they'll have to hurt you one day. They have the burden of the uncomfortable situation and they have the burden of wondering if the friendship is really genuine and if it would survive them rejecting you. They don't get the positive aspects of it that you do. Instead, against their will, they've been put in a position where they have to hurt someone, which no decent person likes to do. While you get to fantasize about the marriage and the life together, they have the worry of hurting your feelings, doing something they're not comfortable with, possibly ending a good friendship. All through no choice of their own.

  • Skriller

    I think there's an attitude here that just because a girl/woman is attractive, she automatically ought to be some kind of patron saint of generosity with her affections. Frankly, plenty of attractive girls (and, you know, some women too, but I think it's worth noting that we're expect maturity out of 18-year-olds) are not particularly nice people and kinda just want to have sex with attractive men (god knows I've been one). Now, who else in this equation wants to get with someone primarily because of their good looks? (Oh wait, nice guys are all about being in love. My mistake. The fact that these girls are all very pretty is a coincidence, I'm sure.) Women should have the right to be as shallow as we want without being shat on for it.

    • Matty C

      Absolutely agree, anyone has the right to be as shallow as they want. Which means they have to take responsibility for whatever it is they get back.

      What you're missing (or at least it comes across in your comment) as that it's often not JUST ABOUT LOOKS. Certainly looks play a part, but there's a massive difference between someone you think is 'hot' or 'attractive' (hell I can't really count how many women I see in a day that I find attractive) and someone that I've "fallen for", that I really 'like like' as they say.

      This whole "all guys are only about sex" thing needs to go, it's just another bad gender stereotype. Finding someone physically attractive also doesn't mean you can't truthfully also find them a good friendly person. One does not invalidate the other.

      There are women I've fallen for where I DIDN'T immediately go "oh wow she's hot!! ZING!!". Yet as I got to know them I find them more hot; it might be the way they laugh or smile, or often just that you start taking more of an interest.

      • Paul Rivers

        Actually, I think that what's missing isn't that it's not just about looks. For some guys it is.

        What's missing is that girls just looking to hook up with hot guys still claim that it's not about looks. Ask for advice, and you'll get a lot of rhetoric that you're "not treating her as a person" (often from people who have absolutely no idea how you're treating her). Advice to change everything about yourself. Etc etc. Then it turns out that all she cares about is that you're not good looking enough.

        Guys *understand* about not sleeping with someone because they're not attractive enough. Sure, people would still complain, but there wouldn't be as much deep rooted anger. It's that your told your problem is about your personality – when it's really about your looks – that really starts to piss people off. It's that you've been told that women "don't do" that your whole life, so you strung yourself out concentrating on the things that supposedly women wanted…only to have some girl claim that that's what it is, but it's really just about your looks…or social status, or something.

        Guys *understand* physical appeal, lol.

  • Meyer N. Gaines

    "there’s a young woman out there who’s feeling confused and hurt when she found out that someone she trusted"

    Don't make me laugh when I'm eating. Women aren't stupid, especially not as far as this is concerned. They know their guy friends are sexually interested in them unless the guys have situational ulterior motives. It's just that the woman chooses to tolerate the males in exchange for a feeling of validation (the orbiter phenomenon).

    Anyways, as I said before, when "befriending" a woman, you should always look for what she offers you. Maybe she helps you with Biochem homework. Maybe she and her friends can get you into exclusive clubs for free. In such a case, it's not worth it to declare your sexual interests and possibly make things awkward. I mean, why kill the goose that lays golden eggs?

    If the woman is not useful to you in the professional or social fields, declare your intentions. If she also likes you, cool! If she doesn't, just say "peace bro" and don't speak to her again. No big loss anyways.

    • Trooper6

      Sometimes I like to imagine that you are just making up these attitudes. That you are doing some sort of Andrew Dice Clay performance art.

      But then I realize that you are serious and I get sad. Hopefully, you won't reproduce so you can't pass on your bogusness to another generation. I would dread you being a father to an impressionable boy or girl. That would be the worst.

      Also, Meyer, do me a favor. If you start deciding that you need to start shooting women like PUA's Allen Robert Reyes or George Sodini…go to a psychiatrist first.

      • Meyer N. Gaines

        You make it sound like I'm mentally unhinged lol…I'm really just an economically minded guy.

      • Meyer N. Gaines

        But anyways, I wish you could be more specific. What exactly is wrong about what I said?? Romance and friendship should not be excluded from rationality. All I'm trying to do is take a rational approach to this matter.

        • eselle28

          Protip: Describing people as "useful" is creepy.

        • Anthony

          The main issue is that it seems like you are using people. You interact with people because you get a specific thing from them. What are you giving back in these scenarios?

          There is nothing wrong with not being friends with any certain person, but it also seems like you're saying women can't be your friends unless they are directly valuable to you in some way. If you don't apply that same attitude to male friends, then you're a misogynist. In which case, do we need to explain why that is distressing? And if you do apply that same attitude to guys, then refer to question one.

          • Paul Rivers

            "but it also seems like you're saying women can't be your friends unless they are directly valuable to you in some way"

            I'm sorry, but – there is no gender separation on this one. Girls will not be friends with most guys unless the guys are also useful to them in some way. Honestly, a lot of guy friendships are based on this as well.

            Girls have entire complicated stories – themselves – describing the same process Meyer describes in not dating people who are "to useful to lose".

          • Anthony

            The issue that I take with Meyer and Guest is that they aren't applying the same ideas to men. If they were using all people, fine. Their users, and I find that to be a negative quality in people, sure. But I really dislike their idea that they can't be friends with women, only women, unless the women are offering something beyond the normal friendship stuff.

            Again, it's not that they are using their friends. Well, okay, it's partly that; I'm not okay with that. But it's the fact that they are misogynistic users that I really don't like. Whether or not women do this doesn't matter. I'd think it just as wrong for them to do it, I just don't have an example of them doing it here. And, for record, I'd have a problem if a man was friends with women just fine and only had men as 'friends' to use them. Or if a woman was in that position. Misanthropy is something I have a big issue with.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      So does that apply to guys (romantic stuff aside) too? Do you "befriend" someone strictly on a basis of what they can do for you and whether or not that benefit is worth the effort?

      Also, are you really saying that if a woman is useful, you should never be honest because, while it might escalate things, it might also make them awkward?

      • Meyer N. Gaines

        For guys it's a bit different because the sex stuff doesn't get in the way. I have plenty of guy friends who provide me with little utility, but are fun to talk to. For a woman, though, the sex stuff it a problem. So the woman needs to provide me with additional utility to justify me putting up with that problem.

        As for the second part of your question, well, yeah. I mean, when you declare your intentions, you should be prepared for anything. She might go out with you. She might never speak to you again. Better not to risk the latter.

        I'm actually really surprised at the response I got. All I did was try to take a rational, economical approach to the situation. For some reason, people think I'm a sociopath for doing so. I dunno, maybe Americans have an idea that love and friendship should be excluded from rationality. My culture taught me differently.

        I really don't understand what I said that was wrong haha.

        • Tim

          I agree with you.

          What I want some of your critics to look at is the converse of the situation. If you know that a person would be useless to you down the road, would you befriend that person? And useless can apply to many things. For example, you know that person borrows and doesn't return. Does that sound like a good potential friend? What if the person handles himself as an asshole?

          Most of us would have a screening process – we would all like to weed out the people that are potentially bad for us in some way from our social circle. But then, how is that process different from what Meyer N. Gaines said? It isn't. He simply chose a more crude way of expressing his thoughts.

          P.S. I am sure Trooper6 can come up with evidence against this argument based on his own life.

          • eselle28

            You're talking about avoiding people who are actively harmful to you, and who probably have some negative personality traits to go along with those harmful behaviors.

            Meyer seems to expect that friends will contribute something besides their glowing personalities and their friendship. Choosing not to be friends with someone simply because that person isn't helpful for career networking and can't get you freebies or favors? That seems awfully shallow.

          • Tim

            And what do you call people who are not harmful to you?

            By avoiding people that might harm you, you would naturally and organically drift toward people that are helpful to you. Like I said, Meyer simply chose a crude way of stating his opinion. If you befriend people that are good for you, you get good friends; if you avoid people that are bad for you, you get good friends.

          • eselle28

            Decent human beings? Some of them are potential dates, some of them are friends, and some of them are just good people who I don't have much to do with because we don't have friendish feelings for each other.

            No, you don't. The world isn't made up of people who abuse your trust, on one hand, and people who can do you favors and get you access to material goods and status, on the other hand. There are plenty of people who do no harm, and whose contribution to your life is the joy of their company, which is a very different thing than being able to help someone get into a nightclub for free.

          • Trooper6

            The binary is not harmful vs. useful. Those are completely different axes.

            Meyer said he'd remain friends with women who could, for example, get him into a club. He didn't mention if that woman was a nice or kind person…or if she liked to kill puppies in her free time. Only valuing what people can get you, means you don't care about them–including what kind of people they are. So people who are harmful to you (or more likely to others), but after you do the cost-benefit analysis you decide they give you enough use so you'll hang out with them anyway.

            That is messed up. Thinking only about use-value means you'll hang out with the guy who rapes and beats his girlfriend because he'll get you a job. A person like that…is just a terrible person. Self-centered, selfish, a user, someone who does nothing to better society. Really just terrible.

            My friends aren't "useful" to me, because I'm not a user. Simple as.
            I'm also not irrational. If a person is unhealthy for me, I'm going to disconnect from that person. If a person will give me free things but is a huge misogynist, I'm going to disconnect from them. If my buddy is awesome, but I can look at his/her behavior and rationally guess that they might be suicidal, then I call professional help. Having compassion and empathy doesn't make you irrational.

            Meyer uses "rationalism" as an excuse to be a user, a misogynist, and a jerk to women. That is in no way related to making sure the people you hang out with are healthy for you.

            Also, Meyer can't seem to control his libido, by his own admission, since he always thinks sexual thoughts about all women and it is out of his control.
            So Meyer I'm adding more advice to my earlier advice about not murdering women. Also, don't rape them. Since you can't control yourself and you don't care about women beyond what they can give you (sex or something else), that sets off red flags. So don't rape women. Also, you probably shouldn't date them either. Clearly, also don't murder or beat them. — This goes for all you guys who keep ranting about how terrible women are.

            Meyer, maybe you could turn gay? I mean, you are a body builder and you don't like women. So you'd fit right into to some gay male subcultures. On the negative side, then gay men would have to date you…and I don't think anyone should be subjected to your user-ness.

          • Meyer N. Gaines

            Lol…don't you think I wish I could turn "gay" (ignoring that homosexuality as we know it is a modern social construct, but anyways…)?

            Where did I say that I "couldn't control myself"? And don't you think that a "bodybuilder" needs to control himself every day, denying the pleasures of alcohol and carbs just so he can look his best?

            Really, all you're doing is making bizarre strawmans and twisting my words to your own ends.

            Some people like having women as unconditional friends. Some people don't. Neither side is right and neither is wrong. And I find it sad that you seem so judgmental of people who don't think exactly as you do.

          • Delafina

            No, people who aren't interested in having women as friends are wrong, because they are treating half the population as less valuable/less fully human than the other based on something as arbitrary and unimportant as chromosomal makeup.

          • dave

            Ms. Delafina – Then you need to convince the pickup artist instructors. They are holding classes as we speak , to teach guys to stay out of that horrible, dreaded "friendzone" that you just described.Either you are getting pleasure from a woman or you are being dishonest for actually being her ,"ugh!", friend!

          • Trooper6

            No one has to teach the PUA instructors anything. They are a bunch of bozos, and they aren't going to listen. This website, and the many wonderful people on it, are all dedicated to showing how PUAs are not correct by offering an alternative. That will change things.

          • Anthony

            Or, you know, the whole misogyny part of it. That could turn people off to his opinion.

            I have no issue with staying away from negative people. But Meyer requires that his female 'friends' have attributes that his male friends don't need. What is sounds like he's saying is that his female 'friends' get him things, help him with things, or somehow enhance his life beyond being friendly. And his male friends are the ones he spends his free time with and doesn't make demands of (aside from the normal expectations of a friend).

            There also feels to be a distinct lack of caring about his female friends. Maybe he doesn't care about his male friends either, but something tells me that's not the case.

          • Meyer N. Gaines

            I said this below, but anyways, I have plenty of male friends whom I just enjoy time with.

            But I don't see how you can do that with a female "friend." Even if you don't want to, you always have sexual thoughts about her in the back of your mind. At least I do.

            It's annoying. It's a liability. To me, if the woman does not want to have sex with me (which is totally fine btw) then she needs to provide something to overcome that liability. Maybe that is career networking. Maybe she can get me into a club. Maybe she can connect me to other romantic prospects. And so on.

            But if she can't do any of those things, then she's a liability, and she needs to be cut from my life.

          • Anthony

            Anecdotal-ly, all of my close male friends have close female friends. And all of my close female friends have close male friends (aside from me and my other friends, of course). Maybe you can't be friends with women because you can't control your own attraction, but that does not apply to all men. I don't think of my female friends, even the attractive ones, as a 'liability' to be around, because I can control myself. I can separate being physically attractive and wanting to sleep with someone, because I don't want to sleep with every person I find physically attractive.

            If you want, I think you should look for ways to do the same. But I'm also just completely mystified as to why you choose to not be friends with women whom you don't find attractive. That doesn't make any sense, unless you find every woman physically appealing to you. Which, that's totally fine, but then I refer back to the first sentence of this paragraph. It would seem that the real case is that you just don't value women the way that you value men, and then I think you have a major problem.

          • Meyer N. Gaines

            I have pretty low standards as far as sexual partners go, so I find a lot of women appealing.

            And I don't know how you can value women the way you value men. The men in my life are people with whom I have seen heaven and hell. The people who I've poured my heart out to in my time of need. The people who understand the physical, emotional, intellectual, and sexual conflicts I experience precisely because they are those men.

            How could I do that with a woman?

          • Anthony

            How did you do it with a man? That's (probably) exactly how I did it with women. And with men. To me, there is no difference. Their bodies look different, but that's about it. What difference, aside from the fact that you are attracted to women, is there for you?

            My standards for sexual partners include more than just physical appearance, but I won't begrudge you for that. I was just genuinely curious. Also, you didn't answer why you can't be friends with women that you don't find sexually appealing.

          • Tosca

            Oh, my. You are a terrible person.

            FYI, I am a human being. I have the same thoughts, feelings, dreams, fears, etc as any human experiencing the human condition. I am not some alien. I mean, dear LORD.

            Props to you for being so open about it, though! Hopefully, women will avoid you.

          • Orv

            Here's the disconnect: YOU cannot stop yourself from having sexual thoughts about any woman you're around. You view (or at least in this discussion you present) this as a defect in her, that it is her responsibility to overcome by providing you utility above and beyond what you baseline require in a friend. The point you're missing is that your inability to stop being sexually attracted to every woman you meet isn't a problem with them, it's an issue internal to yourself.

            The next problem in your attitude is that you devalue women, you treat them as "less than" people. For men, you view (or seem to view from your argument) friendship as a something of a neutral state, where each party brings their relative value as a human to the equation. With women, you assert that, to you, they have no value (because your inability to control your own desire negates their inhered value as a person) and therefore they are only valuable for the services they provide you. Even women who are having sex with you get caught up in this equation (they aren't valuable as a friend because you'd have to stop yourself from thinking about sex at times when they don't want to be having sex). This is a problem because it literally treats every woman you interact with as a thing. Either that thing brings you a benefit (sex for a woman who's bringing sex, some other utility otherwise) or it is worthless to you. When you present an argument that says "Men have worth to me because they are people, women are worthless unless they're fucking me or doing something useful for me," that's a shitty argument, and it makes you a shitty person for asserting it.

          • Briznecko

            It's annoying. It's a liability. To me, if the woman does not want to have sex with me (which is totally fine btw) then she needs to provide something to overcome that liability. Maybe that is career networking. Maybe she can get me into a club. Maybe she can connect me to other romantic prospects. And so on.<blockquote/>

            Shorter Meyer N. Gaines: Yes, women arn't sub-human or anything, but if they arn't fucking me or touching my junk, then…what else are they good for? What? Why are you calling me a misogynist?

        • Gentleman Johnny

          You are correct that the American version of friendship does not normally enjoy a rational economic approach. If I'm using someone to get something I want from them, that's an economic transaction, not friendship. I have plenty of friends, male and female, who provide no tangible benefit aside from enjoying their company.

          That doesn't mean rationality never enters into it. I won't hang out with people I actively dislike or who are bad for me. That's not the same as expecting that my friends must provide me any sort of utility, including sex. I know you're not a sociopath but it comes off that way because it sounds like the only reason you see for friends is their utility and that you want to maximize that utility without thought to things like respect and honesty.

          • Meyer N. Gaines

            I have plenty of male friends whom I just enjoy time with.

            But I don't see how you can do that with a female "friend." Even if you don't want to, you always have sexual thoughts about her in the back of your mind. At least I do.

            It's annoying. It's a liability. To me, if the woman does not want to have sex with me (which is totally fine btw) then she needs to provide something to overcome that liability. Maybe that is career networking. Maybe she can get me into a club. Maybe she can connect me to other romantic prospects. And so on.

            But if she can't do any of those things, then she's a liability, and she needs to be cut from my life.

          • Paul Rivers

            "But I don't see how you can do that with a female "friend." Even if you don't want to, you always have sexual thoughts about her in the back of your mind. At least I do."

            Lol – wut? I agree with something you wrote earlier, but if I couldn't be friends with girl I had any sort of sexual thoughts about, I would…not have any female friends, and find it hard to keep a job.

            I like…halfway agree with your original sentiment…some of my female friends seem to expect that I would treat them like I was dating them, even though I wasn't, just to be friends with them. Expecting me to talk them into making plans or doing something, being extremely difficult to get them to call me or text me back – just generally expecting me to do all the work of talking them into doing stuff. Making plans then not following through on them. They definitely needed to be very "useful" to me for me to put in effort to be friends with them.

            For girls who acted like my guy friends, I've learned from experience not to make them *to* important to my life, just because of what I wrote earlier about how once they get a "serious" boyfriend they tend to disappear. But other than that…I use pretty much the same criteria as my guy friends.

            I had a friend who just wanted to hang out my house and play video games – but she wanted to play relatively girly video games that I wasn't really interested in. She wasn't "useful", so I don't really hang out with her. But…that's the same criteria I use for my guy friends as well…

            It's like you're really, really roughly trying to say that you don't stay friends with girls based just on physical attraction if they don't want to date you. Well…that makes sense. But "sexual thoughts" – wow, I could not function in society if having sexual thoughts for a girl who's not interested in dating me meant I couldn't be around her. That's just…nuts.

        • Wise Blood

          You cannot possibly be attracted to every woman. What about really ugly women? Couldn't you just be bros with them?

    • Vic

      Exactly. Stop it with this absurd pedestalization. Women are absolutely aware that their male friends want to sleep with them. Because they are not foolish children. The notion that this "reveal" comes as some heartbreaking shock to them is naive beyond words.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I'll stop my absurd pedesti. . .whatever as soon as you stop the shameless generalizations. Having platonic female friends is exactly the opposite of putting them on a pedestal. Expecting that they can't read minds is exactly the opposite of putting them on a pedestal. Accepting that its very uncomfortable when a "friend" suddenly flips out because you're not interested romantically despite "all they've done" is not putting anyone on a pedestal. Or do you mean putting myself on a pedestal because I can have a friendship with a woman without (or despite) physical attraction? Would you also assume that you can't have a gay friend because he must secretly want to sleep with you? What if its two women and one's a lesbian? Can gay guys have platonic female friends? What about two bisexual people?

        • Meyer N. Gaines

          You didn't answer the question.

          On one hand, everyone exalts women as masterminds of emotional warfare, mindreaders who can tell exactly what a man is thinking, mental detectives who can sniff out any disingenuity.

          On the other, you have women claiming "hurrr durrr I didn't know he wanted to put his penis in me."

          You can't have it both ways. What is right?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            You didn't ask a question before now, not in this particular sequence anyway. My answer is that women are people. Some of them are better at detecting deception than others but none of them are perfect. Show me where I've ever said otherwise.

          • Delafina

            I don't know how many times people here have to tell you that not all women are the same. Some women are enormously emotionally astute, and some have super-low emotional intelligence. JUST LIKE MEN.

            Moreover, it's not exactly uncommon for an individual human to be able to read some people in her/his life very well, and have a harder time with others.

      • dave

        Vic – What? You mean that these women, put here to be manipulated and bedded, have brains in their heads? What can you be thinking?

    • Womynarewhores

      Hi there! My mother didn’t love me enough and now I want to take it out on other women since I can’t get to her instead!

      I also want you to know that I am utterly surplus to requirements for this blog and have wisely volunteered to be kicked! Kthanxbai!

      • Tosca

        Yes, we're all completely biased! Unlike you, "womynarewhores"!

        Troll better, fool.

        • Dr_NerdLove

          No worries. They got to meet Mjolnir.

        • Mel_

          But how can we be so mean, using such vicious words to describe certain men's behavior as "entitled" and "dishonest"? That's clearly far more insulting than saying all women are whores. < /sarcasm >

  • Anonymous Coward
  • Anonymous Coward
  • Robert

    Those work nicely in written formats like these comments. For actual speech, when I'm talking about the Nice Guys, I like to stick a word in front such as "trademark" or "faux".

    • enail

      I'd use air quotes.

  • eselle28

    I think the syllogism reflects the binary thinking of Nice Guys. The world is not, in fact, divided into them and the Bad Boys. There are lots of good guys who aren't Nice Guys, and lots of men who are somewhere in the middle on the morality and the aggressive/passive aggressive spectrum.

  • OldBrownSquirrel

    "Thing is, the term came from the Nice Guys™ themselves."

    Actually, I looked it up, and the term was coined by Heartless Bitches International. Honestly, I'm not making that up. And yes, I'm drawing a distinction between "came from" and "coined by."

  • Artimaeus

    I've personally never felt like I've been friend-zoned. I've definitely crushed on girls who haven't reciprocated, but these were more causal acquaintances that I admired from afar, and, in fact, of the two times I've developed feelings for a close friend, she's happily reciprocated. But I have a lot of sympathy for people whose suffering is self-inflicted.

    I agree, people need to hear that Nice Guy behavior is unethical and ineffective, but that message needn't be delivered with so much scorn and condescension, which judging from the comments a lot of the guys here are picking up on. Why alienate the people that you're trying to help?

    • Delafina

      If a guy believes he's entitled to sex because he pretended to be a woman's friend, and that a woman who turns him down is some sort of betraying slut, I'm not interested in helping him so much as I'm interested in letting him know that A) what he's doing is not ok and B) it's not going to work for him. If that helps him, great. If he gets a clue and starts behaving like a decent human being, great. But I don't particularly care if that happens. I just want him to stop, and to let him know that he is not the wronged party here. The betrayed party, here, is the woman who thought she had a friend, but whose "friend" was only interested in getting in her pants, and then gets blown up at when she isn't interested in putting out. (The equivalent of pretending to befriend someone in order to, say, get a job you're totally unqualified for at their company, and then revealing that you were only ever interested in using them to get a job, and getting angry when they say they can't get you the job.)

      Guys without the entitlement issues, I have some sympathy for. Some. They're still being dishonest.

      I reserve most of my sympathy for people whose suffering *isn't* self-inflicted, or whose self-inflicted suffering isn't also *hurting other people.*

      • Artimaeus

        I'm not one to tell you who you should and shouldn't care about, what's the point in telling somebody that he's wrong without also telling him what's right. The guy may not be the "wronged party", but he has almost certainly been wronged by his peers, the media, and an entire culture that has taught him that relationships are earned, rather than negotiated.

        This idea that you "earn" relationships is practically everywhere in the way we talk about and think about courtship– hell even your job analogy has some unfortunate implications. After all, it's not like there's a list of necessary qualifications that one needs, and that individuals either have them or don't. The typical Nice Guy believes that he is, if fact, qualified for the relationship, and that his qualifications have been demonstrated through hours of attention, listening, and whatever else Nice Guys do. And in all fairness, I'd also be pretty pissed off if I had put in a lot of work getting a degree and building up my resume and interning for a company, only to see the job go to some other schmuck whose only qualifications are (from my perspective) "looking good in a business suit" and "smooth-talking the manager".

        The point is that rather than attacking the men, I think it's better to dissect and attack the cultural dynamics that produce these men, which we are all subject to, to some extent. Attraction is built on subjective, shared experiences, not earned by acts of heroism or devotion. The sooner guys get that through their head, the sooner they're going to be able to pursue happy, mutually fulfilling relationships, and everyone will be better off.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          The job metaphor doesn't really work with the Nice Guy, though. If you want that metaphor, the Nice Guy is the one hanging around in the cafeteria being nice to all the employees of the company in hopes someone will offer him a job who then gets resentful when "his" job is filled by someone who applied for it.

          • Artimaeus

            Not really– the Nice Guy believes that the qualifications include being "nice", "attentive", "respectful", which is why they get so self-righteous and indignant when they ultimately make their move and are rejected. The point is that it's a stupid metaphor.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Exactly, they think they're qualified but they're not. So instead of sucking it up and applying they suck up TO someone in hopes that what they want will just be offered. Not that my version is any less silly. . . 🙂

      • Artimaeus

        And I should also say that men are more likely to change their views about relationships if they aren't being shamed for it.

        • BiSian

          By calling out bad behavior, we are attacking specific manifestations of this crap. Cultural dynamics? Yeah sure, I get it, this shit doesn't happen in a vacuum. The culture is responsible. Rom-Coms are terrible at repeating the Nice Guys' favorite wet dream of how she'll one day realize you're the perfect one for her all along.
          There are specific people behaving badly. I can't talk to our culture, but I can talk to specific people who exhibit problematic attitudes towards women and relationships. This makes me think of the foot analogy for creepy behavior. Are you familiar? It basically says that motivations NEVER excuse bad behavior.

          "If you step on my foot, you need to get off my foot.

          If you step on my foot without meaning to, you need to get off my foot.

          If you step on my foot without realizing it, you need to get off my foot.

          If everyone in your culture steps on feet, your culture is horrible, and you need to get off my foot.

          If you have foot-stepping disease, and it makes you unaware you’re stepping on feet, you need to get off my foot.

          If an event has rules designed to keep people from stepping on feet, you need to follow them. If you think that even with the rules, you won’t be able to avoid stepping on people’s feet, absent yourself from the event until you work something out.

          If you’re a serial foot-stepper, and you feel you’re entitled to step on people’s feet because you’re just that awesome and they’re not really people anyway, you’re a bad person and you don’t get to use any of those excuses, limited as they are. And moreover, you need to get off my foot."

          Replace "foot" with Nice Guying or your preferred term. It doesn't matter why the guy is doing it. He needs to stop.

          • eselle28

            Thanks for posting that – I'd been trying to remember how the foot rant went. I think it's highly applicable here.

          • Artimaeus

            Dealing with inappropriate behavior in real time is different from writing about it on a blog. In the first case, the women involved are trying to protect themselves, which they have every right to do. Here, however, the goal is to help educate and improve the menfolk, and the best way to do that, IMO, it to address their motivations directly.

          • eselle28

            My take on this is that there's plenty of room for both. The Doctor chose to write this article, which is quite critical of Nice Guys. Other people may wish to write something different that tries to get at Nice Guying from a perspective of more sympathy for the Nice Guy.

            That being said, the things said above don't stop being true just because you dislike the tone.

          • Anthony

            In my personal life, I usually take a more gentle approach when dealing with people when they have problems (not just Nice Guying, but everything). Mostly I do that because personal interactions can cause way more harm when shame and condescension are involved. But you need to be a certain level of hard with people. When you go too easy on people and try to lessen the pain they feel, you can leave too much room for interpretation on their part. Sometimes things just need to be, "No. You're doing it wrong, and you have to stop now."

            That doesn't mean gentler method can't work, but the harsh mode was used in this case. Both methods will appeal to different people. Even though Nice Guying generally comes from a certain behavior and personality, there are still variations from each person. This harsh article will (hopefully) appeal to some, and the gentler version will (hopefully) appeal to others. DNL does run the blog, so he is entitled to hand out advice as he sees fit. I absolutely understand your argument, and it can be argued that this method of dealing with Nice Guys won't work. I'm just trying to present an alternate way of approaching this conversation (about whether or not to be gentler to the Nice Guys).

          • BiSian

            I agree. Key your approach to the person you are dealing with.
            However, in my experience, people (not just Nice Guys, not just men) are experts at ignoring gentle reproaches. Partly because gentle often translates to subtle, especially when women are trying to be gentle. And too often that gentle approach, i.e. saying "Wow you're such a great FRIEND" is ignored because plausible deniability.
            I don't see condescension being necessarily linked to saying. "No, stop that." It's a matter of using your words, saying exactly what the problem is, and that you want them to stop.

            Also Artimaeus, if you want to write a blog about a gentler approach to calling out Nice Guys, do it. Seriously, post the link here or on the forums and I'd happily read it.

  • Guest

    I just don't make friends with women I'm not dating. The only women I have a desire to be friends with are the ones I'm sexually attracted to, so I save the friend stuff for family, women I'm dating and guy friends. This makes things a lot less complicated for everyone. Women are good acquaintances and if you are around each other long enough a strong acquaintanceship can develop. Friendship = spend personal time with/on; Acquaintanceship = happen to be around when you are spending personal time.

    • Anthony

      Why aren't you friends with women? Why are male friends better than female friends?

      Only having a 'desire' to be friends with women you're sexually attracted to is not actually being friends with them. You're trying to get close to them so your sexual attraction can be acted upon. If you truly treat women in this situation as friends and you do normal friend things, you should stop doing that. It's not okay to treat a person like a friend when you really only see them as their genitals.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        To be fair, he could mean that the opposite way, too, that he specifically wants to be friends with a woman that he also has a romantic attachment to. It doesn't have to mean "I want to be friends to improve my attractiveness to her". I even understand how in some circles, having opposite sex friends would make dating more difficult. Some people on both sides are really paranoid about their SO having friends of the opposite sex. I'm not saying its healthy, mind you.

        • Guest


        • Anthony

          That's fair. But he said that he's only friends with women he finds attractive. So it's ultimately still not about the fact that she is a friend, but that she is a woman he's attracted to. Maybe that's not on the same level as being a "Nice Guy," but I still don't think that is a healthy mindset, at all. Not to mention a misogynistic mindset.

          • Guest

            I said I'm only friends with women I'm dating/seeing/involved with romantically. I was going to put pursuing but that it ambiguous. I said "desire" because I'm won't be friends with women I'm attracted to unless there is more. I didn't realize that post was so complicated.

          • Anthony

            No, it's not complicated at all. You're not friends with women. If they happen to be someone you want to/are dating, then you'll be around them. That's usually not called friendship, though, it's called courtship. And if you turn it into friendship, then it's called being a "Nice Guy," something I think is talked about a bit in this article and the comments.

            Like Becelec said, you're missing out. Friendship with women is just as awesome as friendship with guys. You still haven't said why male friends are better, and I'm starting to think it's because there is no answer to that question.

          • Guest

            I don't remember saying guy friends are better. I also didn't say I avoid women. And you are right: it is courtship. It's also courtship when I'm spending personal time with 'friends' I want to sleep with. It's too bad I want to court all the women I want to be friends with: they are good people, and they make good acquaintances.

          • Anthony

            "so I save the friend stuff for family, women I'm dating and guy friends"

            That's where you implied guy friends are better. I never said that you avoid women, just that you aren't friends with them. You are basically repeating yourself, saying that, "I'm friends with women when I want to sleep with them." Except, like I said and you agreed, that's not friendship. So, you're not friend with women. You date them or you court them. But, if there is a woman you're not attracted to, she is automatically disqualified to be your friend. Maybe you don't see it, but this attitude is not helpful for society.

          • Guest

            I can play this game too: "If they happen to be someone you want to/are dating, then you'll be around them."

            That is where you assumed I avoid women. Even if you didn't I am interpreting that is what you said.

            I think a lot of people pretend others are their friends when they are just acquaintances. Most of our disagreements are probably more to do with definitions, since that is the only thing that matters with internet discussions when all we have are words.

            You can look at my reply to Becelec to see how much interpretation and assumption is flying around here. I'm sure that will get a bunch of dislikes, eventually, but I meant it in an endearing way. That tells me that people are looking for condescending, misogynistic, sexist, abusive, rapist creepers when they apply to posts. I think that is a problem with society, too.

          • enail

            I don't think it's possible to mean something in an endearing way. 'Endearing' is only about the other person's perception of you; it's not a quality for which your intention matters.

            "Sweetie" is a word that's rarely used with strangers in a non-condescending way, though, so I'm curious, though, how DID you mean it? Genuine question.

          • Guest

            I mean it was sweet of her to be considered that I was missing out. Maybe she was being sarcastic though.

          • Guest


          • Anthony

            No, I use the same definition for friend and acquaintance. I don't pretend that anyone is my friend if they are just my acquaintance. None of my disagreements have to do with the definitions you are using. It has everything to do with the fact that you, simply, are not friends with women. And you have no desire to be friends with women, and I'm still not entirely sure why. Roughly half of my close friends are women, and I think they are all great people (naturally, why else would they be my close friends?). I'm not friends with them because they can get me things or do things for me, and, hell, half of them don't even live in my timezone. I'm friends with them because I like them as people. That is generally regarded as the meaning of friendship.

            Maybe that definition is making this conversation harder, but definitions are not the only thing that is important to an internet discussion. Opinions matter as well. It's my opinion that your misogynistic and condescending attitude are bad for society. I truly, honestly hope to live in a community someday where opinions like yours don't exist.

          • Guest

            I don't know why I'm doing this, but I will. You are just going to spin what I say whichever direction you want.

            Acquaintance = someone I treat like a friend, have a good time with, but will not go out of my way for.
            Friend = someone I will also go out of my way for.

            I don't think I can help you understand any further though, so I'm done.

          • Delafina

            Yup, we get that you're a misogynist. Thanks. I'm not sure what else there is to say.

          • Guest

            I'm also a misandrist because those definition applies to both sexes.

          • Trooper6

            Not really, it doesn't apply to both sexes because you don't apply both terms to both sexes. You can be acquaintances to men and women, but you've admitted that you are only friends with men and not with women. That mean you won't ever go out of your way for women (your definition of friendship) unless they are blood related to you or you are having sex with them.

            You don't treat women as well as you treat mean, you don't treat them equally. That is messed up. And means, I don't trust you to treat the women you date well either.

          • Paul Rivers

            Sorry, but I agree that what "Guest" is saying is common, has merit to it, and is something that is fairly common for both genders to do with friendships towards the other gender. As I've said before, the vast majority of my close female friendships ended up having an expiration date of whenever she got a "serious" boyfriend, no matter if she insisted that that would never happen, we would always be friends, etc etc etc.

            And that's in addition to what GentlemanJohnny said – "I even understand how in some circles, having opposite sex friends would make dating more difficult. Some people on both sides are really paranoid about their SO having friends of the opposite sex. I'm not saying its healthy, mind you."

            I *do* make friends of the opposite gender, but I can definitely see a case for not doing it.

    • Becelec

      Missing out dude. We're pretty cool.

      • Guest

        I know you are sweetie. I have lots of you in my life.

        • Delafina

          Wow. Condescending asshole, much?

        • Becelec

          Thankfully I've got none of you in mine.

    • eselle28

      If you don't feel you can have healthy platonic with women who you find sexually appealing, I think it's correct not to pursue friendships with these women.

      I'm curious why you don't have any desire to be friends with women who you don't find sexually attractive, though. Is there something about interacting with women you don't enjoy?

      • Guest

        I am just fine with them as acquaintances. Maybe my personal history has something to do with it. I have 8 people in my immediate family who are women, and who all live close to me, and no men.

        • Anthony

          It's not that you are just fine with women as acquaintances. It's that all women that you don't find attractive can never be your friends. That's along the lines of thinking, "I'm fine with having black people as my acquaintances, but they aren't my friends." And when people ask you why? "Well, black people are scary, so I'm only 'friends with them' (read: using them) when they can get me things or get me into cool places or help me with stuff."

          • Meyer N. Gaines

            The case is different and you know it.

          • Anthony

            Really? Because I don't know. What's different about it? You (and Guest) can't be friends with women because you're attracted to them. I presented the analogy of someone not being able to be friends with a black person because black people are scary. In both cases, when said group (women or black people) can offer something more (ability to get into a club, help with work, introduction to potential romantic partners), then you can be 'friends' with them. The only way that it's really different, is that black people only represent 14% of all people (in American) and women represent 50%.

          • Delafina

            No, it's really not different at all. It's viewing one group of people as less than the others.

        • Paul Rivers

          "I am just fine with them as acquaintances. Maybe my personal history has something to do with it. I have 8 people in my immediate family who are women, and who all live close to me, and no men."

          It's certainly possible you could be imbalanced. Having all male friends for a while motivated me (for a while) to go out and make female friends.

    • Vic

      I think most guys fall into this category (not that many around here will admit it). I, too, do not form close relationships with women who aren't both attractive to me and sexually available. Women who aren't both of these generally fall in to my "acquaintance zone."

      • Trooper6

        No, I don't think most guys fall into this category. Maybe a certain type of guy. But not most guys. Here in the land of academia most of the guys I know have female friends we aren't attracted to. As a matter of fact, back when I was in grad school, there was one guy that was a Vic/Meyer/Guest/Paul Rivers sort of guy…and you know what? He was basically shunned by the rest of us guys, because he was a huge creeper and we didn't like how he treated our female colleagues. It was gross. And here's the thing, that Alpha-crap may work in certain environments, but doesn't work in all of them. In a number of environments it will put you at a real disadvantage.

        • Meyer N. Gaines

          Where did I say anything about Alphas?

          I'm just saying that I don't feel comfortable befriending women as I befriend men. And that doesn't make me any less of a person.

          • BritterSweet

            It makes you someone who sees a certain group of people as less.

        • Paul Rivers

          "As a matter of fact, back when I was in grad school, there was one guy that was a Vic/Meyer/Guest/Paul Rivers sort of guy"

          If you're going to call people out by name, try to remember who they actually are, dumbass.

          *I* make female friends without even trying. Given 30 women anywhere near my age, and without hardly trying I can make friends with 5 of them just meeting them once. Most of my job references are previous female coworkers.

          All of my comments are "I've had a ton of female friends, but here are the drawbacks that I found firsthand".

          • Delafina

            You guys can be hard to tell apart sometimes, as your tone is often pretty similar.

            As far as I can tell:

            Vic — troll.
            Guest — don't know enough to figure out what his deal is yet, beyond cynicism.
            Meyer — disappointed idealist. He rather hopes we'll win the debate with him, as that would mean that reality isn't quite as bad as he fears it is, but doesn't have any faith that we will, because there's no cynic like a disappointed idealist.
            You — not a troll, but quite a cynic. I think you rather like to argue, but you get sincere enough at points that you're clearly not just a troll, or even just a cynic. I'm not sure what you get out of posting here.

        • Vic

          Poor baby. He was "shunned" by a bunch of male academics while he banged out the prime females. Such a miserable existence.

          • Trooper6

            Considering that he doesn't have a job because of his attitude, yeah…not so great for him. And sure he "banged out the prime females"–but nobody we all knew, because we told everybody what a creeper he was. And eventually he had to find some woman in another state because he had poisoned the well locally. Now he's married to the terrible woman, stuck in the out of state no where, and can't get a job because we all talk and no one wants a potential sexual harassment lawsuit working at their institution.

            So he's a loser…as are most PUAs in my experience.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I think most guys don't fall into this category (not that many around here will admit it). I do not form close relationships with women who aren't both attractive to me and sexually available.

        OK, now we both have the same amount of proof for opposite theories. However, I will grant you this, I suspect the "can't be friends" crowd is more common in (but still not necessarily common) younger people. I'd hate to put an exact age range on that but I'd suspect that the attitude decreases year by year in a given population.

        • Meyer N. Gaines

          Does it decrease, or does it just get hidden under layers of societal conditioning as time goes on?

          I'm sure all of us remember the SciAm study that showed that young men and women can't be friends. And before anyone says "hurr durr nobody asked the women," remember that friendship takes two to tango. If one side doesn't believe the friendship can work, then it won't work.

          • Anthony

            I hadn't read that article (possibly because this is something I largely take for granted). But now I did, and I read a good portion of the paper that it was related to. First of all, the study had 2 parts. The first part interviewed 88 college undergrads, with a median age of 19.something. I dunno about everyone else, but when I was 19.something I had a very different view of my world. Not to mention that 88 students from one college hardly represents the opinions of all students at any college, let alone for people of any age. Also, I have an issue with the questions asked for that study. They asked something along the lines of
            '1-9, how attractive is your friend?',
            '1-9, how attractive does your friend think you are?',
            '1-9, how much would you like to date your friend?', and
            '1-9, how much would your friend like to date you?'

            Men responded, in order, 4.94, 4.54, 4.55, 4.79.
            Women responded, in order, 3.97, 4.25, 3.9, 4.28.

            These differences are labeled as significantly different. That's funny, they were all within half the standard deviation of each other (SD was 2.0-2.55 for each category). These questions don't ask "Would you be friends with the other person if there was no possibility for a relationship/hookup?" and they don't ask "Was the other person's attractiveness a reason you become friends with them?" AND they take do not take quality of the friendship into account. However, the second study does a better job.

            The second study, without going into the whole thing, basically allowed people (and it asked over 100[!!] college-aged students and over 150[!!!] adults aged 27-52) to give 10 benefits to cross-sex friendships and 10 costs. The SciAm article wisely noted that college-aged (or emerging adults) men were 4 times more likely than women to list "possibility of romance" as one of the benefits and young and middle-aged adult men were ten (!) times more likely than women to list that same benefit. What it fails to mention is that TWELVE PERCENT of emerging adult men and TEN PERCENT of young and middle-aged adult men listed this as a benefit. HOLY FLYING ELEPHANT DUNG! TEN percent of men think that their friendship could lead to romance, and THIS is why men and women can't be friends? Okay, sure only one percent of women felt that same way. There is disagreement. But the VAST majority of people DO NOT think this way.

            So, no, I don't think it gets hidden under layers of societal conditioning. I think it's true that men and women can be friends, and can have friendships that have nothing to do with attraction.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Thanks, saved me looking it up.

          • Anthony

            If it was a study that was of any consequential size, it might be worth reading. I'm totally willing to accept that my point of view is wrong, but you're going to need to present me with more than 4 guys in these comments section and 88 college students to change my mind.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Well, you're welcome to go conduct a 15 year study on that. I'm willing to accept the anecdotal evidence that the "can't be friends" crowd on the comments seems to be younger people (based on what I know) and that there are several "I used to do the Nice Guy thing" people who refer to doing it in their teens and 20's. I won't speak to anyone else's motives besides my own.

            I used to do that sort of thing, too. I used to do the social manipulation thing (although it wasn't really called PUA at the time). I think I've made my present approach clear enough elsewhere. For me it was simply a matter of time. Its not so much about being x years old as having so much time to develop some self confidence and to get to the point where you just don't sweat the possibility of rejection. Knowing that I can meet people, get a date and form a lasting relationship with someone who interests me makes it a lot easier to be friends with women as well.

        • Becelec

          Maybe it's a geographic thing too? In my area, this kind of same sex only friendships is pretty much unheard of, and considered really abnormal. I don't even know anyone like this.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            There might be some of that. Where do you live?

          • Becelec

            I'm in Sydney.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I only know one joke about Aussie dating practices:

            Aussie guy: wanna shag?
            Aussie girl: Not really.
            Aussie guy: mind having a lie down while I do?

            So yeah, there may be some regional gender roles in play there.

          • Becelec

            I've never heard that before! It is pretty casual here, but then again, I hang in pretty casual circles. But I've never in my life seen this kind of men vs women rubbish in real life that I always end up reading about on here.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            It was more a commentary on the absolute lack of romance in the heart of the Aussie male, which I have heard several Aussie women comment on before.

          • SpiltCoffee5

            You might enjoy this, then:

      • BritterSweet

        So attraction and sexuality are the only ways women have any relevance in your life. Gotcha.

    • Guest

      I'm sure a lot of people are going to find this reply thread humourous, for whatever reason. You are welcome.

    • Becelec

      You know I think this all works out just fine. Can't/don't want to be friends with women? That's fine! You go off and do your whole "women are a different species/aren't real people" thing and keep to yourselves. Makes things easier for us because we don't need to sipher through that kind of crap. We can go hang out with the cool kids who like us like Trooper6/Anthony/Gentleman Johnny and have an awesome time being around people who like us and treat us like people. Everyone wins! You guys are happy, coz you can stay away from all the awful wimmen, we're happy, coz we can stay away from the poisonous attitudes, and the cool guys are happy, coz they have more awesome friends in their lives. It all works out!

      • Vic

        Anyone whom I am not close friends with is not a "real person.?" Weird.

    • Guest

      It seems that the LJBF Nice Guy is in catch 22 situation.

      You have a guy who wants to be friends with women, but always wants more after he gets to know her.

      He finds a woman, they start spending personal time together and he develops feeling for her. He lets her know, but she isn't interest, so they go on being friends, but his feeling never go away. He dumps the friendship because it's too hard, and she labels him a deceitful asshole who only thinks of her as a vagina.

      He decides to forgo friendships with most women because he knows he will just develop feelings he can't act on. He's honest with them outright if he's interested in them. This time he is labeled a men-are-better misogynist who only thinks of women as a vagina.

      Here is the problem for me: If a woman is worth being friends with then she is worth getting into a relationship with or sleeping with. If I can't move–from the beginning–towards having both, then I don't want either. I have found that girls who I have no chance of finding physically attractive are the only exceptions to this rule, but I can't say I have met many. Even if women aren't physically attractive to begin with they tend to get better looking the more time I spend with them.

      Maybe I'm off base. I will admit that the OP and the definitions are missing the grey areas and are somewhat exaggerated.

      • Mel_

        "He finds a woman, they start spending personal time together and he develops feeling for her. He lets her know, but she isn't interest, so they go on being friends, but his feeling never go away. He dumps the friendship because it's too hard, and she labels him a deceitful asshole who only thinks of her as a vagina."

        Generally speaking, the woman only considers the guy an asshole if he dumps the friendship *while accusing her of wrong-doing for not getting into a relationship with him*. If a guy said to me, "Look, I don't think I can stay friends with you, because I'm too attracted to you to be comfortable just being friends," I'd respect his honesty and have no hard feelings. But the Nice Guys we're talking about are guys saying, "I'm going going to be your friend anymore, because you're a bad person who used me for emotional support, never gave me the romantic/sexual attention I was owed, and dated less deserving guys instead of me!" or similar. You can see the difference, right?

        "He decides to forgo friendships with most women because he knows he will just develop feelings he can't act on. He's honest with them outright if he's interested in them. This time he is labeled a men-are-better misogynist who only thinks of women as a vagina."

        Again, this is a question of approach. If women labeled every guy who asks them on a date without first making friends with them a misogynist asshole, then no guys would ever go on dates with women they're not already friends with. And yet tons of guys do. You're only going to be called an asshole for making your intentions clear if you do it in a crude or overly aggressive way, like making comments about wanting to sleep with a woman when you've hardly talked to her at all yet.

        There's a wide range of acceptable dating behavior between being a resentful Nice Guy and being an aggressively single-minded player. It's only a catch 22 if for some reason you decide to ignore that wide range, in which case you're putting the catch 22 on yourself–no one else is.

    • Womynarewhores

      I’m kind of amazed that my shitty attitude towards women doesn’t get me laid. Go figure.

      Read username

      • BiSian

        Yeah, considering Oscar Wilde's tendency to say snarky or outrageous things about everything, I really wouldn't take that literally.

        • Mel_

          Not to mention… I'm pretty sure Oscar Wilde isn't the grand high arbitrator of the ultimate truth. Even if he said it literally, that wouldn't make him more right than the many men and women who say they can be friends with the opposite sex. *rolls eyes*

          • BiSian

            The Doctor has a much better way of dealing with trolls than I do.

  • Trooper6

    I've had sex with well over 50 people so far, and I got yes's from all of them. It can be done in a hot sexy way. So…not impossible. And also never was any one drunk. Sometimes, we have had a drink or two, but were we never impaired.

    So…what you think of as being so impossible…not so impossible…

  • Paul Rivers

    The fact that you haven't seen them doesn't mean that they're not out there.

    Lol, what? My point was that mainstream culture is as bad and probably worse in depicting "building a real relationship" than geek culture…then you listed out several geeky shows (and a few mainstream ones). Come on man – you're completely agreeing with my point that geek culture is not worse (if anything it's better) than mainstream culture on this topic!

    You also gingerly avoid one of the biggest examples of developing relationships – a show that lasted well over a decade: Friends.

    I did forget about that one – and that's definition a mainstream show. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Ross and Rachel, Chandler and Monica these are relationships we witness develop over the course of the series.

    It's kind of funny to mention that in the context of this article, as the Ross and Rachael relationship is the quintessential example of Ross "nice guy"'ing it and getting the girl through it. It also seems to be a popular example of escaping the friend zone in pop culture.

    You seem to have missed Ted's relationship arcs with multiple women and the ongoing relationship between Barney and Robin.

    Ehhhh…my exact words were "actually shows guys starting off single, and showing them in relationships that succeed". Barney and Robin didn't last, and the show made kind of a point about how they tried but it fell apart. Ted's relationships – imo – don't count at all – many of them don't last more than an episode, and even the ones that do fall apart.

    Other shows where we watch relationships start and grow: Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

    I'm…not sure that counts under the umbrella of "to build a real relationship"either. Doesn't every single one of those relationships end in disaster – to such an extent that there are running jokes about Joss Whedon only using romantic relationships to torture his characters?


    I've only seen about half of Angel, but wasn't it pretty much the same thing as Buffy?


    I watched a lot of smallville, and again…relationships were almost entirely things that provide temporary plot interest then explode. Didn't the green arrow guy run off, or his girlfriend run off, just when things started to get serious?

    The Vampire Diaries

    Whoa, whoa, whoa…I watch the Vampire Diaries, lol. Everyone who gets into a relationship either ends up dead, or there's the never ending "she's dating steffan…no she's into damon…no she's into steffan…no she's into damon…" thing…a constant competition between two guys is not, imo, "how to build a real relationship". 😀

    Veronica Mars. . . One Tree Hill…Moonlighting, Caste, Cougar Town…Arrow, Being Human…Dollhouse (although everything in that show was dysfunctional)

    Wish I had seen those so I could comment on them. 🙁


    Lol…no way. Joss Whedon doesn't show relationships that grow and succeed. Even the established relationship between Zoe and Wash can't be left alone – he has to kill Wash off! Mal-Inara was just never ending torture for both of them…Doctor-Kaylee is described by wikipedia as "His bumbling attempts at a romantic relationship with Kaylee are a recurring subplot throughout the series"…

    I didn't say no one on tv had relationships – I was referring to trying to find show that "actually shows guys starting off single, and showing them in relationships that succeed" or (how) "to build a real relationship". Friends is a good example that I missed…but I'm not seeing any other, geeky or non-geeky…(at least in shows that I'm familiar with).

    Seem like we've got –
    1. The Big Bang Theory
    2. Friends

    • Dr_NerdLove

      It's kind of funny to mention that in the context of this article, as the Ross and Rachael relationship is the quintessential example of Ross "nice guy"'ing it and getting the girl through it. It also seems to be a popular example of escaping the friend zone in pop culture.

      You wanted shows that show relationships from start to finish. You have SEVERAL of them. Ross may try to Nice Guy his way to Rachel (and gets smacked down for it repeatedly), but he ALSO dates several OTHER women. And again, we see them start to finish. Not to mention that you watch Monica and Chandler become friends, become attracted to one another, then get married.

      Ehhhh…my exact words were "actually shows guys starting off single, and showing them in relationships that succeed". Barney and Robin didn't last, and the show made kind of a point about how they tried but it fell apart. Ted's relationships – imo – don't count at all – many of them don't last more than an episode, and even the ones that do fall apart.

      Then you'd better define what "succeed" means, because relationships end one of two ways: in break-ups or death. Does George Costanza have the most successful relationship of all because it ends in death? Ted's girlfriends have lasted entire seasons, right up until marriage. Barney's relationship with Robin is on-again, off-again, but the two of them are still close and still clearly care for each other. Again – that's a pretty damn good definition of successful to me.

      I'm…not sure that counts under the umbrella of "to build a real relationship"either. Doesn't every single one of those relationships end in disaster – to such an extent that there are running jokes about Joss Whedon only using romantic relationships to torture his characters?

      Strip out the fantasy aspects and you have some of the most realistic depictions of relationships in TV.

      Buffy and Angel have a quintessential teenage relationship – to the point that the man *changes* when they finally sleep together. In the end, they realize they can never really be together, but they still have a great deal of affection and attraction to one another.

      Then there's Willow, who first dates Oz, then Tara, then (ugh) Kennedy.

      Xander too goes from single loser to dating Anya and almost marrying her – until the two of them realize that neither of them are ready to get married, break up and slowly start to get back together again.

      I've only seen about half of Angel, but wasn't it pretty much the same thing as Buffy?

      Fred and Gunn, Fred and Wesley, Angel and Cordelia, Angel dealing with his ex (in the form of Darla)…

      I watched a lot of smallville, and again…relationships were almost entirely things that provide temporary plot interest then explode. Didn't the green arrow guy run off, or his girlfriend run off, just when things started to get serious?

      The relationship between Clark and Lana was all about growing beyond your high-school crush and into the real world. And then you seemed to miss the whole point of Clark and Lois.

      Whoa, whoa, whoa…I watch the Vampire Diaries, lol. Everyone who gets into a relationship either ends up dead, or there's the never ending "she's dating steffan…no she's into damon…no she's into steffan…no she's into damon…" thing…a constant competition between two guys is not, imo, "how to build a real relationship". 😀

      Nobody said "how to build one". Your exact words are "actually shows guys starting off single, and showing them in relationships that succeed". And as I said: every relationship ends in one of two ways…

      Castle, which is another show I should have thought of, is another excellent depiction of a relationship between two characters (although the level to which the show fears the Moonlighting curse is absurd).


    • Dr_NerdLove

      Lol…no way. Joss Whedon doesn't show relationships that grow and succeed. Even the established relationship between Zoe and Wash can't be left alone – he has to kill Wash off! Mal-Inara was just never ending torture for both of them…Doctor-Kaylee is described by wikipedia as "His bumbling attempts at a romantic relationship with Kaylee are a recurring subplot throughout the series"…

      So someone dying means the relationship is a failure? Only immortals have a "successful" relationship?

      Mal and Inara are two very stubborn people who are very clearly attracted to one another but kept apart by their prejudices – Mal, you may remember, keeps calling Inara a whore.

      Kaylee and Simon are a slow burn with a couple of false starts – rather like many people I've known in real life.

      And you're ignoring the most important relationship of all in the show: Jayne and Vera…

      When you come to non-geeky shows, you're also missing things like Two Broke Girls, Mad Men, The League, The New Girl, Grey's Anatomy and – quite possibly – a huge lineup of shows I don't watch since I've cut my TV viewing back to three or four series per season.

      But you're going to have to define your terms because right now you're trying to disqualify shows just because you have a very specific idea of what a "successful" relationship is supposed to be, but you've yet to SHARE that criteria and instead assume it to be universal.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        Never really thought of Two Broke Girls that way but you're so right.

    • eselle28

      "Whoa, whoa, whoa…I watch the Vampire Diaries, lol. Everyone who gets into a relationship either ends up dead, or there's the never ending "she's dating steffan…no she's into damon…no she's into steffan…no she's into damon…" thing…a constant competition between two guys is not, imo, "how to build a real relationship". :D"

      Caroline and Tyler. Their relationship is being tested this season, but they're still very much together. In addition to building a relationship, both of those characters have put a lot of work into being better people – if they hadn't, I don't think the relationship could have lasted.

      I'd agree the Stefan-Elena-Damon triangle is a good example of how not to handle things.

  • Paul Rivers

    The thing that bugs me most about the "Nice Guys" issue is the language. The term itself is antagonistic; it implies, despite all explicit protests to the contrary, that there's no distinction between "nice guys" and "Nice Guys." One glance at the term, and one comes up with a syllogism:

    – There are two types of men: nice guys and assholes.
    – But nice guys are also assholes.
    – Ergo, all men are assholes, Q.E.D.

    Such overtly antagonistic language tends to put all men on the defensive. Moreover, I believe the apparent contempt for niceness in men contributes to the misconception that women prefer assholes. And yes, I know that there's supposed to be a distinction between "nice guys" and "Nice Guys," but the term is still offensive and alienating.


    I wouldn't care if the article was actually like "Well, some guys treat women nicely because they've been taught that's how to treat women, and other guys treat women nicely because they're interested in them romantically or sexually and they want to get to know them better, but some guys act nice but it's completely about wearing her down and trying to sleep with her".

    I wouldn't have a problem with that.

    Instead though, what these articles actually say is something like that a guy being nice to a girl is fundamentally dishonest and manipulative.

    Someone in the comments then says "oh, there's a difference between the different kind of guys" as some sort of footnote. But that's not what what article says – and it's definitely not what it emphasizes.

    You summarized it perfectly.

  • Myster Baad

    @Doc "It doesn’t take much to avoid being a Nice Guy – just some basic honesty, integrity, a little bit of courage and a willingness to treat women as people instead of an obstacle course that leads to pussy."

    The great overarching irony here is that it isn't women who are the obstacle course keeping NGs from sex. It's other men.

    Whaaa, you say? Consider my theory: The NG doesn't get friendzoned just because he's clingy and disingenuous. That's just when the woman lets him know. He gets put in the no-sex box a lot earlier – as soon as he fails to show enough traditional, physical masculinity to trip the social/hormonal triggers of a woman's libido.

    A lot of NGs have bought out of traditional masculinity in various ways. They're romantics, they're sheltered, they don't care for bro'ing down, they're mind-focused and don't know what it is to live in their bodies (besides their dicks, that is). This is all your right as an autonomous human being, fellas. You can still be likeable, interesting, kind and all that good stuff, but keep in mind that you may have to draw the line at exciting a woman until you learn to buy in deeper to culturally accepted manliness.

    I had these issues, too – I stopped being a NG by withdrawing from dating entirely, and I'm not going back until I know I won't be tempted to NG behavior. I am hoping that just being a more low-key, slightly more traditional version of myself will be enough to trip some woman's trigger sometime. But if my theory is right, it will take more.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      That's one view. I see a lot of NG's friendzoning themselves because they don't make a move when they have the chance. Whether that's because of a lack of self confidence, a deliberate attempt to do nice things hoping that will work etc doesn't really matter. The easiest way to get a date is to suck it up and ask. Everything else is details and can vary a lot between any given two people.

    • OldBrownSquirrel

      My thinking is that there are *some* women who are attracted to men specifically, rather than males generically, to draw a distinction between gender and sex. If they don't perceive guys as sufficiently manly, they're not interested. That said, I'm sure there are some women who are repulsed by many aspects of conventional masculinity who would rather not date bros. So if you're conventionally masculine, you're likely to attract some women and repel others, whereas if you're not conventionally masculine, you're likely to attract some women and repel others; I suspect the odds favor conventionally masculine men, up to a point, but guys who aren't conventionally masculine aren't necessarily a lost cause. I don't pretend to be able to tell these women apart, but I suspect that more conventionally feminine women are *more likely* to be interested in conventionally masculine men. That said, there are plenty of conventionally feminine lesbians. I suspect that women who explicitly identify as pansexual might be more willing to consider dating men who aren't conventionally masculine, but I'm sure there are plenty of women who *don't* identify as pansexual who are potentially interested in dating men who aren't conventionally masculine.

    • Tosca

      Displays of "traditional masculinity" is the fastest way to get off MY fuck list. I really hate these generalizations about what women want.

      And this bullshit: "as soon as he fails to show enough traditional, physical masculinity to trip the social/hormonal triggers of a woman's libido."

      As though women are nothing but animals slaves to our instincts and hormonal responses. Women certainly aren't human enough to have real preferences and higher brain functions!

      • eselle28

        Ugh, yeah, not a fan here either. Most of the things that fall under the category of traditional, physical masculinity are things I classify as either "benevolent sexism" or a more neutral "oh, I see you're working really hard at performing your gender…that's nice, I guess, if a little exhausting-looking." Granted, the living in your body bit is a positive trait, but I don't think that's something that's exclusively masculine.

        Basically, tastes vary. I know plenty of women who get off on this sort of thing, but it's not a universal preference.

  • Myster Baad

    Either you're oversimplifying or I, and my theory, are full of shit. I hope it's the latter – what I wrote is really more of a worst-case scenario than a theory.

    However, NGs avoiding honest, outright, repeated rejection is a big issue. Most never learn more than that one hurts, two hurt, three hurt. They don't actually open up to the hurt. If they did, they'd know rejections only stop hurting when you stop counting, and that only happens when you've been rejected more times than you can count.

    The way out of one's misery is deeper into it. But don't try to control it. Self-inflicted pain teaches nothing good. Instead, be fully open and honest to others, knowing they may hurt you. They have the right. And you have the right to feel that hurt, then rise above it. But that's never going to happen unless you feel it. And learn to come back for more.

  • Gentleman Johnny

    Never thought I'd see Nerds And Male Privelege in danger of being knocked off the most commented sidebar but this is the third article in three months to top it. Congratulations, vocal dissenters. You've made this blog's popularity explode.

  • mark moore

    All 3 corners of this relationship are sick. Here's why:
    -"Mr. Boyfriend" is a narcissistic jerk who knows his dumb girl will always come back to him no matter the abuse he heaps on her , due to the insecurity he specifically weeded her out of the herd for. He gets to twist her mind up for his own amusement and to take his frustrations out on.

    -"Ms. Girlfriend" isn't bright enough to understand "Mr. Boyfriend" will never consent to be loved , that you will never please him. You will never do enough for him , because love isn't his aim. Control is , & he gets that by constantly moving the goalposts & keeping you off balance. Too weak to stand up for yourself , you replace the missing intimacy in your primary relationship by accepting the attentions of another male with dubious intentions , whom you abandon when "Mr. Boyfriend" allows you back in his little house of abuse.

    -You've already got a pretty good bead on "Mr. Nice Guy" here , that sick weakling who can't openly declare his desire. I would only criticize the depiction of the "Girlfriend" as the ultimate victim here. She isn't forced to bear the company of either man , she's making a choice to associate. Her weakness & irresolution causes her to unfairly take advantage of another's consolation , only to shut him off when "Mr. Boyfriend" pulls the wool over her eyes again , makes her an abuser too. I turn the question on her :What kind of friend does that? A poor one. Just being passive doesn't mean you're not using people for your own emotional ends.

  • CmE

    Nice Guys should be careful what they wish for. A relationship with a woman who isn't sexually attracted to you really sucks. I mean it's really fucking awful. This is why my rule now is (or would be, should I wind up single again) "sex first, then relationship".

  • nobonaga22

    These types of articles irk me. Whether or not I agree with them, I just have this sinking feeling after reading them. That feeling comes from the knowledge that someone, somewhere, is going to read the article, misinterpret it in its entirety, get pissed off, start ranting, and contribute to the problem at hand. It's not like there's much that can be done about that, and it's certainly not the author's fault. Ugh. Well, welcome to the internet I suppose…

  • a fat ewok

    ah fuck it, Im going asexual.

    • bobnickmad

      I gave you a like because I found your comment funny, hope your not serious. Case in which, hang in there man!

  • Wise Blood

    Here's where it breaks down logically for me.

    If you're posting a rant saying 1) X is mean, because 2) X won't date you even though you're nice, implying 3) you wanted to date X, but 4) X only wants to date mean people, and we all agree that 5) people shouldn't want to date mean people, I am forced to combine 1, 3, and 5, to synthesize the conclusion that 6) you're a hypocrite, and 7) if dating a Nice Person so noble, maybe YOU should stop ranting about your coldhearted crush go out and date a Nice Person yourself.

  • I find these article really one sided. When i meet an interesting nice girl , it takes me just a couple of dates to know if i am in the Friend Zone or i am a boyfriend material to them.

    Many times i have gone out with women and quickly become a friend (because lack of chemistry for example) . I have no problem with these situation. I always apreciate a female friend with whom I can chat, go to movies, do errands together , buy clothes , etc. It does not take me long to find a girl that does see me as boyfriend material. The problems i have with been the friend (and being a Nice Guy ) is the stuff that happens later to me.

    I really try to be a good friend. Support her, hear her problems, going out from time to time, focus in here virtues, not her shortcomings . Be a gentleman when we go out, etc . Be a nice guy in general. After being a good friend for a while (one or two years after our initial meeting ) , they start to tell me stuff that sometimes i laugh , sometimes i dont know if it is life laughing at me. Some examples

    * Why does her my boyfriend not treat her like I treat her: : each person treats there girlfriend somewhat diferently . of course her boyfriend treats her diferent from me (a friend) . Even the diferent boyfriends of the same girl will not treat her the same way. problems with a friend (me) are easily solved because we are friends. Problems with boyfriend take more time and work to solve.

    * Why did we not become a couple when we met : simple, you where not interested in me. Now, several years later, most likely I cannot see her as girlfriend, just as a friend and/or i have a girlfriend at the time

    * My next boyfriend should be someone like you, too bad you are like my brother: I do not know what to say about the time i was told these. I thought that if she met someone like me she would see him like a brother too (that was my logic). Sometimes i think she just wanted to play with my mind to see what i said to her.

    Like i said before, i am not a fake nice guy but after the second of third time if being told any of the above i still dont know if i should laugh, take my time to explain or just ignore it. Still, i wont stop being a nice guy/good friend .

  • Pingback: Austin’s ‘Dr. Nerdlove’ Has Love Advice For Everyone()

  • Brocknoth

    Just got done sharing this article with a friend of mine and his response was less than stellar.

    "So it's a former "nice guy" ranting about nice guys? That's not helping anyone. And the majority of women deserve the negative backlash they get from situations like this"

    "Not all of them do dude."

    "Ok FINE 98% do. If this guy feels like he's accomplishing something by sticking up for the other 2% good for him. He's still not helping anyone."

    See what I mean? My buddy has been trapped in a downward spiral of negativity, cynicism, and bitter depression for a long time now. It's a problem he has to solve on his own but I still do what I can from time to time to push him in the right direction. Regardless of his reaction I think the article still struck a cord with him because he felt it necessary to make jokes about it's content after he was done reading it. I'm really hoping he at least took something away from it on the subconscious level and that it helps him break his current line of thinking : /

  • Guest

    Yet another incredibly one-sided view of a fairly complicated social dynamic.

  • Pingback: Nice Guys and Friend Zones()

  • ClubbingOtters

    The problem here is that the Doctor doesn't live up to what he writes, to quote Harris" it’s worth remembering that there are two people involved in this situation" yea and its not always the guy being a cowardly douche, a lot of the times its some woman taking advantage of a inexperienced guy, usually young and nerdy, that just doesn't know any better. Cliches like flirting to get her math homework done come to mind.

  • Shawn

    As a former (sometimes relapsing) Nice Guy myself, I fully understand the problem of implied contracts between people — “if I do X for you, you’ll give me praise/validation/sex/whatever I want in exchange, and you agree to this merely by not telling me to go away.” Obviously that is a complete non-starter, for reasons amply discussed above. However, Dr. Nerd Love seems to neglect the fact that, for every Nice Guy in the world, there is someone who abused them into being a Nice Guy, and at least one (probably several) people who are willing to ignore their consciences when interacting with Nice Guys because they like free stuff.

    Yes, the Nice Guy is foolish for giving away his attention for free, and dishonest for convincing himself that the other person can possibly be obligated to do anything without ever being *told* what they’re supposedly obligated to do. Yes, the Nice Guy probably needs a psychological baseball bat to the head to snap them out of it, though I’ve found that counseling Nice Guys in a moment of desperate confusion about their failures in life tends to be more successful. But neglecting to mention that EVERYONE has the responsibility to question the motives of others when those motives seem suspicious, regardless of how generous the bribes may be, enables the problem to continue merely by ignoring it.

    Someone who suspects their devoted friend might be a Nice Guy, but says nothing because they like the attention, is complicit in the cycle of abuse. Please, Dr. Nerd Love, go write an article about THAT, just to make sure you’ve explored this issue in its entirety.

    • Shawn

      I am disappointed that this never got a single response, not even a hateful one.

  • guest

    I don't even know where to begin with how much bullshit this is and how much ammunition it gives retards stupid enough to believe in misconceptions portrayed by the media. This shit isn't even worth my input seeing as how there are sheeple who believe what the media says and go along with it without little or no proof. If you reply to me firing off all kinds of bullshit then know from the bottom of my heart I don't give a shit what you have to say and you can go back in believing bullshit.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      You feel so indifferent about this that you felt the need to pop in and make a comment just so we know how little of a shit you give. Gotcha.Thanks for the page views!

  • nodge

    2) You owe me for all the time and effort I put into you.

    While it's obvious that one cannot 'owe' sex (=indentured prostitution?), it is very much the case that, where you have accepted someone's consideration and care, you owe them a measure of the same in kind.
    Is this a controversial thing to say?
    For me, the answer is no; I find the idea that we can take and take from others then discard them odious.

    • enail

      Consideration and care =/= romantic interest and sex

      • nodge

        Yes of course, that's why I used the exaggerated term 'indentured prostitution'
        I just thought this article seemed to say that we ultimately have no obligation toward anyone in our lives – period – rather than specifically in those cases where there is some kind of mendacity on the part of a 'nice guy'

        • enail

          I see what you mean, but I'm uncomfortable with "obligation" and "owe". Being kind to the people who are kind to you is a good and important thing – and in most cases, mandatory if you want to have positive relationships or be a basically decent human being.

          But once we get into "obligation" territory, it gets icky. To me, it gives a bit of a transactional, account-keeping feel – if I do x for you, you have to do x for me. What about when x isn't a general "be your friend, be there for you when you need me" but more specific tit-for-tats? Who gets to decide what the exchange is on various acts of kindness and how they should be delivered? Going with that mindset opens very dangerously into kindness sharking (when someone does nice things unsolicited with the purpose of creating a feeling of obligation in you).

          Always accepting kindness without returning it is being a user, for sure. And it's certainly not unreasonable to expect that relationships be generally reciprocal. The line is fine. But when kindness becomes connected with obligation, at some point, it's not kindness so much as an investment.

        • Mel_

          Technically, we don't have any obligation to anyone in our lives, period, unless you enter a legal contract with someone, in which case there will be specified penalties that authority figures will enforce for breaking those obligations.

          Anything outside of legalities does not come with any definite obligation. There are certain social and moral *expectations*, but given that morals and social mores are subjective and differ from community to community and even family to family and person to person, one person can't obligate another to behave in a certain way just because that's what the first person thinks is "right". I am not obligated to be nice to anyone. I am not obligated to support my friends or tell the truth or be polite to strangers or say thank you when someone helps me. I *choose* to do those things because I believe they are right. But I could choose not to, and maybe people would be offended and act cooly toward me or complain, but that doesn't force me to fall in line. It's still my choice. And there are no "official" penalties, it's all about how each person decides to respond. Some people might choose to continue to be nice to me even if I chose to be mean to them–they're not obligated to shun my rudeness any more than I'm obligated to be polite to their niceness.

          It kind of sounds like you're suggesting that if a guy really is nice, if he doesn't think he's entitled and just really likes a woman, well then, since he's not engaging in "mendacity", she would be obligated to him in some way. But it doesn't work that way. Having good intentions doesn't entitle you to rewards any more than having bad intentions guarantees punishment. You're more *likely* to get rewards for treating people well, and punishments for abusing them, but not because people recognize they owe you–because a happy person is more likely to feel and behave kindly to those around them than an upset person.

          So I'm not really sure what you're getting at. The freedom of human interactions is not the freedom to make other people owe you things, but the freedom to decide who and how you spend *your* time. If you don't like the response you're getting from someone you're being nice to, you have complete freedom to stop being nice to them or to stop being around them altogether. Just as they have complete freedom to chose how they respond to you.

        • Mel_

          And by the way, this lack of obligation does totally benefit you, even if it seems unfair when you want someone else to behave a certain way and they don't. Because it means you're not obligated by other people's expectations either.

          I find it rather inconsiderate that you've dropped in here and started accusing us of wrongly criticizing and stereotyping people who don't deserve it, without offering any proof that anyone's actually doing that other than your own opinion, and ignoring all the evidence already presented in the article and the comments that we are only criticizing overt expressions of negative attitudes, not assuming them without cause. Especially when we are all commenting here to try to *help* guys find healthier and more successful ways of interacting with women they're attracted to. But I can't stop you from continuing to make whatever complaints you feel you need to make, or force you to return our thoughtfulness with thoughtfulness of your own. And I don't want to have that power, because I recognize that you have a right to express yourself however you want, just as I do, even if I disagree with you.

          You can't have it both ways. You can't logically expect that people should have to follow your ideas of consideration by giving you the same, but also expect that you should be able to do whatever you want without regard to *other* people's ideas of consideration. The two positions are contradictory.

    • Mel_

      What enail said. No one's saying a person should be inconsiderate to someone who's been kind to them, only that they aren't obligated to have a romantic or sexual relationship with that person.

      If a woman you find unattractive puts a lot of effort into being nice to you, would you feel it's right for her to expect you to date her? If a guy whose personality annoys you and has no common interests with you puts a lot of effort into being friendly with you, would you feel it's right for him to expect you to hang out with him regularly? Etc. How exactly would you go about *not* accepting someone's kindness or friendliness? They say hi and compliment you and you're supposed to ignore them or tell them to be quiet if you don't want to be their friend/partner? Obviously it's not cool to take advantage of someone's interest and get them to do things you'd only ask of a friend/partner if you're not willing to do the same back, but that goes beyond "consideration and care".

      Just because you want something from someone and are willing to put time and effort into trying to get it, doesn't mean they're obligated to give it to you. Otherwise we lose free will and are subject to the whims of everyone around us!

  • nodge

    "How exactly would you go about *not* accepting someone's kindness or friendliness? They say hi and compliment you and you're supposed to ignore them or tell them to be quiet if you don't want to be their friend/partner?"
    -Personally, I genuinely try to be open and positive to anyone who's done me no harm. If I find someone tiresome, I wouldn't *actively* pursue a friendship etc. But then I wouldn't *actively* work to block them out either.
    "Just because you want something from someone and are willing to put time and effort into trying to get it, doesn't mean they're obligated to give it to you. Otherwise we lose free will and are subject to the whims of everyone around us!"
    -this isn't quite what I meant. A stranger trying to make friends is one thing, but to feel no obligation to someone who's been good to you is the mindset of a user.
    It's not a case of 'losing free will' – empathy and respect for others means that, to an extent (i.e. without needing to *actively* pursue a friendship,) being subject to consideration of others is a good thing, even if it can be limiting in some respects.
    I felt that, while this column rightly criticises dishonest intentions and emotional blackmail, it also slightly overstated the degree to which it's OK to disregard others. (or, rather, understated the degree to which it's not OK…)

    • Mel_

      I'm confused about what you mean here. Can you please point out to me anywhere in the article where it says you should be cruel or disrespectful to people who are being kind and considerate to you? Because I'm not seeing that, so I have no idea why you feel you need to belabor this point. I'm pretty sure everyone here feels that being cruel or disrespectful is not appropriate in most circumstances. But the people being cruel and disrespectful in the scenario the article is referring to are the "Nice Guys" you're also defending.

      Why wouldn't you expect a guy to treat a woman who's been his friend and nothing but friendly and considerate to him with kindness and consideration as well? Why do you seem to think it's wrong for us to call those guys out when they instead insult their supposed friends?

  • eselle28

    To me, both the arrogant twit and the people who enable his bad behavior are problems.

    • Fair enough. The point is that the arrogant twit would be a lot less of a problem if no one was forcing you to associate with him.

      • eselle28

        Sure, but people tolerate quirks in friends that they wouldn't in partners, and other men who have had unrequited crushes tend to sympathize with the man rather than the woman who dislikes him and resents his advances.

        • Who said anything about treating him as a partner? That was already decided in the negative, wasn't it?

          I'm talking about continuing to associate with him at all, and from the sounds of it, those "quirks" aren't on the level that I would tolerate from my friends.

          This is what's so very confusing about these Nice Guy rants. As aweful as these guys are being painted as being, I can't imagine why the women involved would be anything but thrilled to "lose" them as friends.

          • eselle28

            Lots of people are willing to put up with friends who harass other people, but not them. This is particularly the case of the pattern of harassment supports their existing theories – in this case, that women are cruel friendzoners who refuse to date men who truly care about them. It's also the case with nerds who are loathe to socially exclude anyone and who pressure everyone in the group to put up with even the most severe offenses, because that makes them just like the mean evil jocks from high school who wouldn't let them sit at their tables. Nice guys tend to have just the right arguments to appeal to this sentiment.

            A lot of it depends on the situation. In some cases, there was a genuine friendship that imploded. In other cases, the woman resents that a large group of people she cares about isn't willing to expel a member of the group who's making her miserable because they're cowardly, or because the woman doesn't face any social fallout but simply hates having to tell a man for weeks and weeks that she doesn't like him that way.

          • Yes, that explains quite nicely why all the people in the social group are closing ranks. But that isn't what I was asking.

            I was asking why you were interested in being friends with the social group that was closing ranks against you.

            What benefit do you get out of associating with aweful people that makes you think you're better off not cutting abusive people out of your life?

          • eselle28

            Because I'd like to have friends, period. Unfortunately, rape culture means that many people who I meet will support the Nice Guys of the world. This is unfortunately even more true for women who like geeky things.

            Why not work to combat this by condemning Nice Guys, rather than criticizing me for hanging out with Nice Guy sympathizers?

          • So you don't have any other options is what you're saying? The whole of the human race is just one shade or another of aweful, and there are no exceptions.

            And as a result, you hang out with Nice Guy sympathisers because there isn't any social group that won't take your side over his.

            I don't know whether to laugh in your face or offer you a much needed hug, because this is so far from my experience as to be absolutely alien. The entire point of establishing a clique of friends is to include the people who you like and exclude the people who you don't.

            The idea that there doesn't even exist a group of people who would side against the Nice Guy is, well, disproven by the comments of this thread alone, even ignoring the way the vote totals are coming out.

            There are better people out there. You don't have to put up with this.

          • eselle28

            Why are you so opposed to shaming Nice Guys? If we do that, no one will have to put up with this.

            I would note that you have spent many, many posts in this article defending Nice Guy conduct, so you're not exactly a credible source as to what a decent group of people is.

          • Moose

            It's the equivalent of trying to get broskis to shun PUAs or things like that.

            A heavy duty uphill battle that I think most of the nerd population won't understand or doesn't want to understand.

          • eselle28

            So would you say that women should shun all nerds and never be friends with them or sleep with them or date them?

          • Moose

            I'd probably say "Keep your shields up a bit longer than usual, Captain, outcasts pick up different ways of dealing with things that you may not like, and the opposing way of doing things may be considered offensive to them."

          • eselle28

            Again, why? You paint nerds as being absolutely horrible people. Why should women bother putting up their shields at all? If you guys aren't willing to work to fix your community relates to women, why should we bother to engage with it, or the group of you, at all? Why not just go date and have sex with other groups of men, and maybe talk about comics and Doctor Who with some people online?

          • Chaotic Good

            That's just the problem, though, isn't it? Nice Guys and Nice Guy sympathizers are part of the rape culture that we live in. "Everything bad that happens to you is always somehow your own damn fault if you have lady parts, even if they are the direct actions of other people" is kind of one of the cornerstones of rape culture

            You are absolutely right that Nice Guys and their sympathizers are going to be everywhere in this society. They are an inevitability if you want any sort of social life.

            As for Nice Guy Apologists, they are not a far cry from Rape Apologists in their beliefs and methods…and they are just as hard/impossible to convince that men are responsible for their own actions. Essentially, you are probably arguing with a brick wall.

            I guess I'm trying to say that you are absolutely right, and your wisdom is better spent on someone who is not a lost cause. I salute you for fighting the good fight, and I don't want someone so well informed on the issue to get burned out by some Nice Guy Apologist that just won't listen.

          • Moose

            At most positive: They liked the trust and support they were getting from what they thought was a friendship.

            At most cynical: They liked getting the attention and support for nothing, freeing them to concentrate on getting attractive stuff they wanted from the guys they're actually interested in.

  • eselle28

    This article kind of does that.

  • Moose

    Majority, not monolith. Nerds may be capable of more, but making them see that is another matter entirely.

    • eselle28

      I guess I'd like to work on that, because I'd rather not go off and join the jocks and give the awful, sexist, rape-enabling nerds swishies. Cause, honestly, if we put the horrible stuff aside, I have more in common with the nerds.

    • enail

      Isn't that the whole point of this blog?

  • DrThemoWorm

    I'm a recovering Nice Guy, but I want to make a couple of distinctions. First, I never felt angry at the girl of interest for not feeling the same way back, I usually just secretly felt a lot of self-pity and frustration at not truly knowing what to do. I always knew that she didn't *owe* me anything, it was just frustrating as hell because I thought I was showing parts of myself that my other friends have praised as honorable in the past.

    Second, it wasn't just the fear of rejection that kept me from being upfront about my feelings, it was the fear of any friendship we could've had that I truly wanted being tainted. It's like, an air of awkwardness that just makes friendship hard to grow, ya know? I know that it's one of those "get over it and move on" type deals, but again, if I thought she was cool enough to date, I'd especially think so as a friend and I always thought it sucked really bad when I couldn't be friends with someone I really wanted to be friends with.

    One thing that I've considered in thinking about the whole Nice Guy issue… do the friends usually have anything to do with it? Like how I might surround myself with people who kinda enable my Nice Guy behavior by patting me on the back and telling me I was the one who was wronged and that I can find better people, etc etc?

  • John

    I'm afraid to even talk to girls without their consent.

  • Well, shit mate. I always had a problem with the whole notion of a "Nice Guy" but I could never really quite put my finger on it… and you summed it up perfectly. While I enjoy many of the memes about the "falling comrades", I'm pretty fed up with the whole idea as it is. As a mixed blessing, I went through that phase quite early in my life (15 to 17) and have been doing great ever since.

    Spot on, laddie! (pay no attention to the fact that you are probably twice as old as me)

  • Pingback: Just Not a Good Idea Guy/Girl/Q | Growing Effective Lives()

  • Pingback: » Friday Feature*: Doctor Nerdlove()

  • TheGuyWithTheThing

    I have a problem with this article. It seems to assume that all "nice guys" are just closet penises with legs who aren't mature enough to control their desires and reconcile another person's autonomy with the way they'd like things to be.

  • Pingback: 10 Reasons you should Hook Up with the Nice Guy | Attic Chatter()

  • Chazz

    Excuse the thread necromancy but I just wanted to point something out in this article and many like it: What you described is not a Nice Guy at all but a Trojan Horse. I'd love to see an article about the true Nice Guy. The guy who is looking for an LTR -> Marriage -> Family yet is coming up with nothing but rejection at every turn. Does anyone have any thoughts?

  • Marcus

    While I'm not defending Nice Guys, I will say from having been one in the past, it wasn't that I minded being "just friends," it would just feel like I had front row seats to her finding some other guy and feeling for him what she'll never feel for me. Yes, I knew to just get over it and move on, but that was easier said than done and until then, all I had was self pity because I felt completely lost as to how I'd finally stop having to deal with this same thing happening over and over.

    I've grown up a lot since then, now it's just a matter of finding a place to meet people. All the girls are freakin taken in my town 😀

  • Pingback: What is rape culture, and why does it exclude men? | Chey's Pick 'n Mix()

  • xyz

    That Craigslist rant is spot on. I mean, if guys realize that being nice doesn't get you sex from the woman you want, what the hell is the point for being nice to this woman? Basic human decency you say? Oh please, the woman in question more than likely slept with enough guys who lacked that towards her. So why stick to the concept that actually hurts your chances and why not adapt instead?

    • Mel_

      Because simply being mean to women doesn't "get" you sex any more than being "nice" on its own does?

      Because being "nice" doesn't actually hurt your chances unless you think "nice" means "lie to her about how I feel and expect her to read my mind about my intentions" which is not a definition of the word in any dictionary I know?

      Because the things that do tend to make women tend to feel attracted to men (which vary, but there are some factors that appeal to most) can go along with either being kind and respectful or mean and callous, so if you're just as likely to succeed either way, why not also be a decent person?

      Because maybe you want something from women other than just to have sex with them (emotional connection? romance? companionship? enjoying mutual interests together? etc.), and if you go the appealing traits + kind and respectful route instead of the appealing traits + mean and callous, you're more likely to form an ongoing relationship rather than have the woman realize your appealing traits come with some downsides and dump you?

      Because maybe you want to be with a woman who values kindness and respect, rather than focusing on the minority who are drawn to the actually bad parts of "bad boy" behavior?

      Just to name a few.

  • I think there is no problem with the NICE guys if you try to remain nice with them 🙁

  • Alia

    Incredibly valuable post, Doc. Thank you.

    "Nice guys" need to realize that they put themselves in the "friend zone" by PRETENDING TO BE HER FRIEND.
    If you were her friend, and if you're so damn "nice" you wouldn't be so pissed off about not getting laid in reward to your "good behavior". You wouldn't be so pissed off about the "friend zone" which literally just means.. being her friend.

  • Guest

    interesting read, but the title completely misses the point. This article is 100% about the paradigm about being a "friend" in the friendzone, and doesn't address anything about how being a "nice guy" impacts your relationships with women. disappointed.

  • Guest

    this is mostly directed at the teenage dudes reading this, and any girls: there's no guilty or innocent party here, really. I think it sucks that Dr, Nerdlove is taking something that results pretty frequently from little guys in high school taking some time to talk to girls and getting frustrated when it doesn't work out and throwing on a heaping helping of guilt. Way to go dude. Not like they're hurting or anything. For the little guys, the thing that makes you an asshole or not here is not that you liked someone and they didn't like you back or even that you decided to be friends for a while, it's how you react. It stings, she doesn't like you, you screwed up. Dead honestly, if you were way more awesome, charming, funny, handsome or generally kickass then you might not have had that problem with that particular girl, or you wouldn't care because someone else would like you back. Nothing to feel bad about. go pick up a guitar or a kayak, stop eating mac and cheese, take girls on picnics, or go live in hostels in costa rica for a while. Bartending job, anyone? Sports team? Wait to get your braces off? Accutaine? go to a college that's 60% girls and join a non tool bag fraternity or sports team? Swing dancing lessons? There's so much crap you can do it's unreal. Get out there, live a little. Mellow out. Yoga? Painting? if you're to young to do all that and are still in school, just get to about 10% bodyfat and join a bunch of clubs. The big message here: Mellow out.

    On the other hand, i think it's crappy to assume all of this situation is the guy's fault 100% of the time. Yes, sometimes girls really have no idea that the guy who is following them around has a crush on them. My friend mandy, totally oblivious. She had someone (not me) blindside her after a really long time. Not her fault, just unfortunate for everyone. Sometimes, however, certain emotionally immature young ladies have been know to like having younger dudes fawn over them, even when they don't like them back. Perhaps even encourage it a little? Maybe ask them to do things for them? Perhaps make fun of them, or brag to their friends? C'mon, this happens. It's stupid and one sided to pretend it NEVER does. At 14 or 15 when this normally happens, honestly it's pretty damn excusable. basically everyone is just learning to deal with the opposite sex and is freakishly insecure, so immature teenagers using someone as a plaything even though they know it's going to be emotionally hurtful to them happens with both sexes. Really, anyone who decides to take a blanket position here and point fingers is going to be wrong about half the time. Selfish men and women (translation: teenagers) find themselves in these types of situations all the time, and no one is generally evil or even malicious. While injustice and controversy might make for a more bloggable experience, it's rarely the whole truth. hahaha. I can't believe I wrong this long a rant about this. Live long and prosper, nerdlings :P. things get better in your 20s and 30s, just work out, study and try to be social

  • Guest

    if you've read all the way this far into the comments, you need to listen to this. Honestly, this right here, this is what the internet is for. Hilarious. You need a good laugh, the dark corners of depression and the internet have taken you :P.
    Right here. the solution.

  • Pingback: Do nice guys really finish last? - Page 2()

  • ARealNiceGuy

    I agree with him but he's not looking at it from the perspective of a nice guy. Just a "nice guy" which is asinine because some people are genuinely nice to people and get shot down. It ain't about pretending to like or enjoy the same things as someone else. That's being fake. That should never be rewarded, ever. But just being there for a person, with no expectation of anything more coming from it is a different thing. A real nice guy is someone who either gets the girl or ends up in a situation where someone else gets the girl because she goes for a "nice guy." I wanna slap the dude that wrote this because he's like "hey, it's your fault she ended up with someone else." At the end of the day, it's her fault. YOU weren't like hey, go be with someone else because I love you. It was her decision to move on. Even if she told you she loved you or told you what your future TOGETHER would entail lol. This is a load of shit. Being a "nice guy" or rather, pretending to be a nice guy makes you an asshole. Being a nice person means people gravitate away from you unless they're cut from the same cloth. Think about it, people want things that are bad for them ALL THE TIME. The whole sense of entitlement thing is something that would apply to someone being an asshole lol. I've been on the bad side of this and the way I see it, I helped her become a better person and all I had to do was fuck my entire life up to do it. That's the type of realization that changes your entire perspective on life. #EndRant

    • NinaShalinn

      Maybe you want to calm down a bit, take a few breaths, and then read the post again… because it seems to me that you're basicly saying the exact same thing as the doc, that being genuinly nice to people will make good things happend to you and being dishonest and nurture your own sense of entitlement unquestingly will eventually bit you in the ass, only with a sprinkle of angry on top of it.

  • A true good guy.

    Rather than being a “nice guy”, I guess the best way to describe me would be a “good guy”. At the most basic level I’m one of those guys that likes to empathise with people, help with their problems and simply be there to support them with absolutely no expectations in return, anything that comes as a result is simply a bonus and I don’t look or sound like an asshole in the process.

    A little over a year ago, such a mindset and karmic outlook ‘yielded fruit’, for lack of a better term. A female friend, who I had been close to for a number of years before, escaped from a toxic, abusive relationship with someone who doesn’t deserve to even be recognized as a human being. For all intents and purposes, he was a monster in the guise of a human, plain and simple.

    Naturally, being one of the first people that she went to for support, I did what I had done up until that point, supported her to the best of my ability, gave her the proverbial shoulder to cry on (and she definitely NEEDED one after everything she had been through) and reminded her during an incredibly dark, rough time for her, that there is people out there that still care for her and worry about her. I was THERE for her.

    Around a month afterwards, she admitted she had built up enough courage to admit that she had had feelings for me for a long time – it turned out that it had been since before she had hooked up with ‘the monster’, but she was worried things would not work due to the physical distance between the two of us, which is why she chose originally to remain friends and cherish what we had rather than ‘take the next step’ and ruin things due to the distance.

    Long story short, we recently had our 1 year anniversary of being a couple and are hoping to get married some time in the next couple of years.

    I guess you could say the ‘moral’ of this story is that you can be a GOOD guy, without being a ‘nice’ guy. Be honest to yourself and the other person, don’t fool yourself thinking that you are being ‘nice’, with the expection of ‘reward’ for your deeds, simply let life run its course. Enjoy the friendship, If it is meant to be more than just a friendship, things will progress naturally, if they are not meant to be, at least you still have a close friend who will be there and support you like you supported them.

    “Don’t be a ‘nice guy’, be a GOOD guy.”

  • pvblivs

    I think the term "friendzone" is a euphemism. Let's face facts. There are plenty of male "nice guys" that are willing to treat a female friend just the same as they would any of their male friends. But that's not what "friendzoning" is about. It is about when a woman seeks to manipulate the "nice guy" by giving a false impression of sexual availability. Then, when she has the special favors that she wants, she says that she just "wants to be friends." Well, friends don't lead friends on like that.

    The people who have been "friendzoned" feel betrayed because that is exactly what has happened. They were given false signals to get them to provide some special benefit and then shot down.

  • Pingback: Want long lasting love? Marry a "nice" guy - Page 8()

  • Rock Saito

    So what happens when the guy starts out as her friend and realizes he's attracted to her.. Is he lying to himself because he wants to continue being friends and treating her the way he did. Or is he a lying little shit as you tend to think he is. I've been in that position before, where I fell in love with my friend and she got closer to her boyfriend, I told her how I felt and moved on. Did I do that to cash in on "Friend points" Nope, I told her that so that I could move on with my life. I still feel a bit awkward being around them, but I've come to except it. Not all "Nice Guys" are lying.

    • eselle28

      If your intent at the beginning of the relationship was friendship, not romance, this label does not apply to you.

      • Guest

        Yes it boggles my mind so consistently that people for whom the label does not apply nonetheless get fiercely defensive of the label. If you are not being a dick to a girl because she doesn't want you you aren't a Nice Guy TM. Regardless of any of the other elements in common, why can't people understand it's the dickish behaviour that tips the balance??? That's all. Don't be a dick.

        Rock – you weren't a dick. So no, you weren't a Nice Guy TM. You were a nice guy. And that's swell. 🙂

  • I agree that going into a "friendship" with the pretense of having sex is ridiculous and deplorable… unless you're honest from the get-go. However, what if you're just looking for an honest relationship that's rather hard to pick up because being so nice somehow makes you less interesting or less interested? I find myself more often than not, looking to satisfy that "my boyfriend's a prick, god I wish I had someone more caring" niche of girls, probably because I like being a nice guy. I actually enjoy being the shoulder to cry on and being emotionally available when she needs it. I can afford to end up as just friends, but my prime question is why? Why would that happen when I am, essentially what she was looking for. I may not be rich or incredibly good-looking (I'd say average), but I'm what she claimed to be looking for and ultimately she turns me down. I didn't become her friend because I wanted to screw her, I became her friend because she genuinely looked like a nice and interesting person, it was only later that I started to like her. I guess the end message is "Why am I being turned down when I was honest, genuine, and most importantly, what she necessarily asked for?"

    • Delafina

      " I find myself more often than not, looking to satisfy that "my boyfriend's a prick, god I wish I had someone more caring" niche of girls"

      Here's the thing: women who say that generally don't mean "I wish I had someone who's the opposite of my boyfriend." They generally mean, "I wish I had what currently attracted me to my boyfriend, plus more kindness."

      And generally, if what you're offering is "nice," that's not going to cut it. As someone who wrote a really good rant on this subject put it, "expecting a guy to be nice [that is, respectful and courteous] is like expecting the car to come with wheels attached." If all you're offering is "nice," why would anyone want to go out with you? It's not a recommendation in and of itself — it's the *minimum bar for a healthy relationship*.

      "Nice guys" tend to take "my boyfriend's a prick, god I wish I had someone more caring" as "what I am looking for is 'nice,'" full stop. But that's not what women are saying. They're saying that they wish their current boyfriend was nicer *in addition to the other qualities he has that they like.* She likes Qualities A-F that her boyfriend has and wishes he also had Quality G.

      So, chances are, if what you're offering is "nice," you're *not* "what she claimed to be looking for." You're offering Quality G, but there's no way she's going to trade A-F just to get G.

      And when you say you're being honest, what does that mean?

    • eselle28

      You interpreted her complaints incorrectly. When she complained about her boyfriend not being sufficiently caring, she wasn't saying that caring is the trait she prizes most highly and that she'd love to date a guy who exemplified that. She was saying that she'd like to be with her boyfriend, with all of the positive qualities he possesses and also with a few personality and behavioral tweaks.

      She turned you down because as honest and genuine and caring as you were, you ultimately weren't someone who interested her…and because she was already in a relationship she was committed to (honestly, it's hard for me to give the "nice" stamp of approval to someone who's pursuing someone in a monogamous relationship). I think you might want to spend some time thinking about why you have a pattern of focusing your romantic attention on women who aren't single and who seem to prefer men who aren't very much like you. There are likely other women who are both available and likely to be appreciative of what you have to offer in a relationship, and I think you'd ultimately be happier if you could figure out how to direct your energy toward them.

      • Sorry, I didn't mean to imply I was pursuing someone already in a relationship, I meant people who had ended relationships because of the lack of emotional care that their boyfriends afforded them previously. Aside from that, I see your point and I understand that just being nice is not enough. I just wonder what set of traits I lack that ultimately result in me getting shut down without a single date to prove myself. I'm not saying there's always a definitive reason why they say no, there are just too many possibilities, but I'd like to know if it's something I can improve upon or learn. If not, they hey, at least I know why.

  • Pingback: RE: The Problem With “Nice Guys” | Christopher Cantwell()

  • leyshonzi

    I was a nice guy a few years ago, and all I was doing was lying to myself and deceiving myself and alluding myself every step of the way and was pretty down when I found out the other party wasn't interested that way finding 110 reasons why in my head, it's because of this and that, the only problem with that was, my name was not in the reason section, I started the friendship, I threw the friendship label on it, and was not taking any responsibility for me or the parties, emotions at th