Posted by Some Dude on September 27, 2011 at 10:00 am
Hi all! You may know me as a prolific commenter on HarvardFML; this is my new and improved means of doling out relationship advice! Got a question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and watch this space for my answer! Today, I’m going to talk about nice guys and finishing last.
You’re a nice guy, you treat women with respect and courtesy, and you’d make the perfect boyfriend. But you repeatedly struggle to get the women you find most attractive to even see you in a romantic light. Though frustrated, you chalk it up to a run of bad luck and keep trying.
Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. And the problem, I’m afraid, isn’t luck, it’s you. You have a bias that’s blinding you.
Take a step back and challenge your assumptions. On some level, you believe that niceness is right and eventually rewarded. Parents think they’ve done a good job of raising us right if they drill that into our heads so thoroughly that we are nice by reflex and don’t even think about it. Unfortunately, the world works the way it does, not the way we think it ought to. There’s a reason nice guys finish last.
Look at the casanovas around campus. It’s not niceness, so what are they doing right? Women tend to be attracted to men who are more confident, more interesting, more fun, and so on, than they themselves are. Nice doesn’t help; it can even hurt. Nice is bland and can look submissive – and women aren’t attracted to those they perceive as their lessers.
So, what can you do, without joining a motorcycle gang or a Final Club? I know you don’t want to abandon your good intentions. Fortunately, you don’t have to. You can still be fundamentally nice and still make this work.
Let’s start small.
Don’t steal looks and hope the girl you were looking at didn’t notice. Turn your head and look at her. Let her notice you looking! Don’t be embarrassed. Wait for her to break eye contact first. So many guys are irrationally afraid of so much as being caught looking at a girl – by being unafraid, you mark yourself as different, confident, and independent. And once you realize that there are no negative consequence, it can be quite liberating.
Imagine you’re with very close friends or siblings. You feel perfectly comfortable poking fun at them, delivering playful insults, right? You’re not worried it’s going to hurt their self-esteem or make them angry. Girls are not porcelain dolls; you can talk to them that way too. It makes you honestly more fun to be around. Take a risk and say something edgy; saying nothing is worse than saying something wrong, so don’t worry so much about saying something right. Your heart is in the right place, and if you say something wrong it’s more easily forgiven than you think.
Trying to be nice often manifests as submissive physical behavior. Lean back when you’re sitting down; you can respect what a woman is saying without leaning in. Slow down and don’t be in such a rush, either to get where you’re going or to say what you’re saying; you can respect her time without rushing through your part of it. She’ll appreciate your respect just as much or more if you don’t go out of your way to demonstrate it.
You can be genuinely nice and not be hamstrung by it. Once you stop letting the nice reflex have total control you’ll realize how much it was holding you back.