Are You a Nice Guy? Then Quit Calling Yourself That!

Would you say you’re a “nice guy”?

Do you ever wonder why “nice guys finish last”?

Does it feel like people just take advantage of you because you’re “too nice”?

Do you ponder if women really are attracted only to jerks?

Do you feel like women just don’t appreciate you?

“Nice Guys” are a total turn off. It’s not because women are attracted only to jerks. It’s not because every woman sets out to crush a guy’s spirit with reckless abandon. It’s because “nice guys” aren’t really nice at all.

I’d like to think that the term “nice guy” is so overused that it’s been forgotten about completely. Sadly, I know that’s not the truth. There are still plenty of guys who want to call themselves “nice” and want to think the stereotypical thoughts.

A guy can think he is nice, that’s fine. It’s OK when it’s part of a whole picture. If a guy takes the next step and calls himself a “nice guy”, trouble’s a-brewin’! Why? Because it says something about how the guy sees himself.

If he just thinks he’s “nice”, and happens to be “a guy”, it’s just like any other personality description. He could say he’s kind, caring, funny, whatever. No big deal.

When a guy says, “I’m a nice guy,” it usually seems to be followed with, “but for some reason…”

“But for some reason…”

  • “…Girls don’t like me.”
  • “…I can’t seem to find anyone good.”
  • “…Everyone just wants to use me.”
  • “…No one is interested in me.”
  • “…Girls only seem to be interested in jerks.” 

But why should a guy never call himself a “nice guy” again?


1. Genuinely nice guys don’t go around calling themselves that.

If a guy is genuinely nice, he need not mention it. Does a jerk have to tell people that he’s a jerk? People figure it out on their own, and usually pretty quickly.

By telling someone, the “nice guy” instantly gives off an air of desperation. When someone tells me they are a “nice guy”, a bunch of different thoughts run through my head and instantly, my guard goes up.

If a guy has to tell me he’s nice, then he’s already thought about it. If he’s already thought about it, chances are he’s already thought about why he can’t seem to get anywhere with the women.

It implies that he’s already got a misogynistic viewpoint layered deep under the “nice” outer shell.

2. What does “nice” even mean, anyway?

“Nice” is almost a stupid word to begin with. Think about it. What does it even mean? What does “nice” have over “pleasant” or “kind” or “caring” or “thoughtful” or any other variety of words?

Look at all the different definitions available for “nice” on Dictionary.com:

nice
adjective, nic·er, nic·est.
1. pleasing; agreeable; delightful: a nice visit.

2. amiably pleasant; kind: They are always nice to strangers.
3. characterized by, showing, or requiring great accuracy, precision, skill, tact, care, or delicacy: nice workmanship; a nice shot; a nice handling of a crisis.
4. showing or indicating very small differences; minutely accurate, as instruments: a job that requires nice measurements.
5. minute, fine, or subtle: a nice distinction.

Why couldn’t a guy just say he is kind? Better yet, why not just be kind and not have to say anything about it?

“Nice” as an adjective to describe a person has so many implied meanings (kindness, thoughtfulness, pleasantries, mild-mannered, calm, patient, considerate, gentlemanly, nice to look at, etc.) that it’s sort of too all-encompassing to have any relevance.

3. “Nice” sets the bar too high.

Think about all the different meanings of nice, mentioned above. If a guy wants to call himself a “nice guy”, that’s going to be what’s expected.

A “nice guy” will have to be gentle, romantic, patient, sweet, thoughtful, understanding, so on and so forth – all hours of the day. All days of the week. If a guy basically can’t live up to the title he’s giving himself. Why bother giving it?

In the impressionable girl’s mind, she’ll be thinking of a “nice guy” that she can take home to her parents that will get along great with her dad and help her mom clean up the dishes after dinner. Her parents will love him, her friends will be envious, he’s just so nice.

The “nice guy” is going to eventually snag a girl that doesn’t know to avoid so-called “nice guys”. She’s already gotten the talk, now she’ll be eager for the show. It’s an unrealistically ideal impression to pursue.

4. “Nice Guy” translates to “Desperate Guy”

If someone has to spell out what they are, they probably really aren’t

Broadcasting a title of “nice guy” hints at something. It hints that the person proclaiming the title probably has trouble convincing people of it. After all, genuinely nice guys would be fairly warm, approachable, friendly. People would likely want to be around them.

If a self-proclaimed “nice guy” is using the title, he probably isn’t receiving this sort of attention. He’s feeling lonely, somewhat outcast. He wonders why people don’t accept him more warmly, since he is a nice guy. He’s feeling somewhat desperate.

Only those that are desperate themselves are attracted by desperate individuals. Otherwise, desperation is a complete turn off. And, in a normal person, it’s detected rather quickly. 

What About Real Nice Guys?

Obviously there are real nice guys out there, some may even mistakenly refer to their self as such. If a guy is really a “nice” guy… That’s fine. But the phrase should be avoided at all costs.

Someone who is genuinely worth their weight won’t need a phrase or title to define him. Others will provide the flattering adjectives, he will have no need to assign them to himself.

But one should not aim for niceness.

Someone who is kind, compassionate, understanding, responsible, mature, fun, and good-natured would be a far more valuable person over someone who is merely… nice.

If a guy drops the “nice guy” attitude, and pursues kindness, compassion, maturity, and understanding instead, they wouldn’t have that problem of finishing last.

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Posted on August 11, 2011, in Health, Life, Love, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hm. This article got me.

    It really appears that almost every single point in your argument about a pretty broad and intricate topic seems to travel down one narrow line – your personal dating confidence. It makes me wonder about how you, or most women actually would deal with rejection, desperation and loneliness when you feel that way. I think we all (both genders) try to self-promote when we feel undervalued. Sure, the methods are usually way different, but desperation is not a unique male disease. I’ve had enough girlfriends go suddenly manic on me to know that a female can feel insignificant too. In my tantalizingly confident male opinion, the stigma you’ve picked out may tend to exist in a guy who unwittingly goes after the type of girl who thinks the kind of things this article says.

    What I gathered from this article, is men are supposed to be confident but not cocky while at the same time being humble and not self-promoting – and NEVER insecure… even when we are single. Well, single is about as insecure as it gets for anyone. I would say standing in the shadow of such unreasonable expectations, what else is an actual good guy left to say – ‘But, I’m a really nice guy…”

    Maybe the difference is the good guy thinks you are special enough to convince how nice he would be to you… and the other one has to fool you and be vacant because he knows that he probably won’t be.

    I could be wrong too. I mean, there’s not many answers to begin with when it comes to dating, but I don’t think you should be advising anyone to shoot people down because they say they’re “a nice guy.” My advice… just tell them self-promotion is a universally poor idea, and maybe you’ll both meet someone nice.

    1 star.

    • Thanks for the feedback. You bring up very good points. However, I’m really just referring to the term “nice guy”. And I don’t mean in it regards to myself.

      I didn’t mean to imply that females aren’t desperate or that males can never be insecure or talk about their achievements. My focus is really on the phrasing “nice guy” and the stigma attached to it that often befalls he who uses that phrase in describing himself.

      It’s like the difference between saying “I’m funny” versus being funny. If you say it, you have a created an expectation. If you make someone laugh, they’ll simply think it of you.

      To put it another way… be nice if you want, but don’t use that phrase because many females won’t accept it very well – and the ones that do, you may not want.

  2. It’s funny…. I think we’re both dancing around the same point, but that’s really the beauty of opinion.

    Really we agree, self-aggrandizing can be one of the ugliest traits possible. But… I would argue that erring on the side of humility, albeit to the right audience, can be endearing 100% of the time. But personally… I really love and respect that particular audience. There is this cult of over-confidence that exists recently, and it seems impossible that somebody down to earth could possibly battle that alone, but…
    Myself, I’ve grown somewhat disgusted of people who always seem to have the proper reaction. It kind of makes it seem like everything is a game you have to win instead of a dumb fight you choose to surrender.

    Overall, I actually just wish I could take back my original vote on your article… thanks for responding fairly to another opinion on your own subject matter. I deeply respect that. I suppose I just thought that those of us who feel self-attuned to how awful we really are might appreciate a voice on this one.

    Final impression – Keep up the thought provoking articles and enjoy your inevitable success, thanks.

    • Now I appreciate your comments even more. You made me laugh (I mean that in a good way). I know “Heartless Bitches” is a weird choice, but when I first found it (years ago) I thought it was funny. A lot of what I say and do is in the interest of (attempted) humor. There are other sites like HBI, and I wasn’t trying to associate myself with it (I’m not a feminist of any sort). Just using it as an example that many people feel that way, which was part of what prompted me to write the article.

      For Heartless-Bitches, I do find that it goes a little overboard, but most of it seems to be in jest… I think. I hope?

      I 100% agree about the over-confidence problem and the idea of things coming off like a game. I actually know many “nice guys” that have trouble finding someone. Part of it is a lack of confidence, but one that’s understandable in light of their situation. If someone has experienced rejection many times, it’s only natural to be a bit withheld, frustrated, and/or desperate. But considering how many people view desperation, it would be like a punch to the gut to use a title that women might view as desperate (without even giving the guy the opportunity to prove otherwise).

      I hope that makes sense… I’m writing tired. I write while tired WAY too often.

      Either way, I welcome your opinions whether they be the same or different. And I really appreciate all your feedback!

  3. Yikes uh, one last thing though… sourcing a website on this issue with the address “heartless-bitches.com” doesn’t seem like the most psychologically unbiased source. Just sayin…

    I mean I carefully read a handful of comments there from a number of “men” who, months after reading, claim to have been healed of their ‘nice-guy-ness’ by virtue of the very post they’re commenting on.

    I call BS there. Fodder for already submissive types, in my opinion. Surely a strong woman can tell when she’s having her ass kissed… and that forum is professional level ass-kissery/denial. The guy I’m defending here doesn’t go seek advice on a site called heartless bitches.

    But just to bring it back to this, I think this individual article stands above that foolishness. So my appreciation for the idea here still lays in tact… just really felt compelled to say I’m ignoring the link…

  4. No fireworks but I just had to say oh lawd… very unfortunate mandatorty edit:
    I looked into that site after I wrote that, and even though I still think that one thread was pretty much how I described it before, the site is actually good stuff. It’s late. Go women.

    *Delete account*

  5. As an after thought, I suppose I should’ve replied to each of your comments individually, but I rolled it into one response, mostly out of habit. All the same info in the end though.

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