Seeing this comic today got me thinking: Are “nice guys” actually “nice”, and why wouldn’t a girl be attracted to niceness? What’s really going on here?
The way I see it, there are nice guys who are attracting women, and there are nice guys who aren’t. Being nice just doesn’t factor into the equation all that much; at least in terms of the initial attraction.
Nearly every guy I know has had to overcome a massive, crippling fear of being rejected by the opposite sex. It begins with the onset puberty, comes on full force in high school, and for some poor souls it might last an eternity. Oftentimes, Mr. Fear of Rejection thinks that if he’s just nice enough to a girl, she’ll eventually get the hint that he’s interested in her. And when she does, she’ll fall heads over heels for him without him ever actually needing to ask her out directly, thus avoiding the chance of rejection altogether.
Plenty of other nice guys have gotten past the fear of rejection, and have started asking girls out. And giving them lots of compliments. And buying them dinner, with flowers and gifts thrown in. Sometimes writing a poem or creating an animated South-Park-style video expressing that he understands she’s not ready for a serious relationship and he’s willing to wait and work at being the kind of guy she wants to be with. (No, I’m not speaking from personal experience. Leave me alone.) And doing everything short of falling on his knees and begging the girl to be with him, sometimes before he’s even gotten to know her!
Why does this happen? Because everything that nice guy is doing to try to win the girl over is not making him more attractive to her, and in all likelihood is making him less attractive. Seeking approval by bending over backwards for someone, especially someone who hasn’t put in much effort themselves, sends a clear message: that you are beneath them, and that you are not a valuable challenge.
And a lot of times, that “nice guy” behaviour leads to a few qualities that aren’t so nice to deal with: being defensive, complaining, overprotectiveness and insecurity.
What are women attracted to, then? Qualities that we normally associate with successful, grown men: confidence, leadership, self-control, indifference (like not throwing a fit if she hasn’t responded to your last text), and independence. Notice that nice isn’t on the list, but being a jerk isn’t either.
Of course, some guys take their confidence a little too far, and that’s when they enter douchebag territory:
There are always some women who are attracted to “bad boys”, because bad boys usually demonstrate attractive qualities, and by being jerks they seemingly pose a challenge. The women’s misguided logic might be something like, “Well if he treats me like trash and is willing to lose me, he must be worth more than the other guys.” And that’s a shame. But if the girl has respect for herself and knows what kind of man she deserves, she’ll move on once she sees past the initial attraction.
The point is, you don’t have to be a bad boy to be attractive to women. You just have to be confident in who you are. And the thing about being confident is that it’s not something you have to struggle to learn or gain. It doesn’t take years of practice. It’s something you already have. You just need to shed all the insecurities, fears, and self-doubts and let that inner confidence come to the surface. And when a guy has confidence in himself, he won’t need to spend all his time trying to bribe or convince a girl to be with him – which is what “nice” guys do – and he won’t have to, either.
Side Note: While we’re on the topic of attraction, I came across an article recently about women who pursue men (rather than being totally passive and waiting for men to come to them), and basically how societal expectations make men turned off by those women. Who are these men that get turned off when a woman shows that she is into them? Yes it goes against expected gender roles, but if a girl is valuable enough to attract men when she’s passive, there’s no way that being aggressive would land her less dates. It could just be that when she gets aggressive, it advances to the point where the guy has to tell her he’s not actually interested a little sooner than he would have otherwise (which might never happen if she were solely playing the role of the pursued). So yes, women who pursue men get rejected sometimes. Because that’s what happens sometimes when you pursue. But I’m going to need some controlled studies and large sample sizes before I believe that guys are actually turned off by a woman who is confident enough to make the first move.