And Still more comments from and about Nice Guys...
From: "Tom Anderson" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Maybe if she had stuck it out,
she'd have found that reassurance and returned affection would give the Nice
Guy the confidence to be a little more even tempered and balanced in his
giving and receiving. She'd have found that he really is a Nice Guy who is
interested in her happiness and well-being. That he appreciates her and
loves her. Why would this be too much to ask? If he indeed continues to
act as you portray, then perhaps he is not receiving the positive
reinforcement he seeks. He can only reason that if his actions haven't been
effective, it's because he hasn't done enough yet, not because he's done too
Subject: nice guys aren't necessarily self-loathing
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 17:00:14 -0400
Your article on Nice Guys(tm) was enlightening. Thank you so much for
sharing such genuine and concise insight. It really struck home. However,
I think one aspect is perhaps a bit spurious. You seem to contrast
"ego-inflated, arrogant jerk" with insecurity and even self-hatred. This
presumption was made without any reasoned argument. The real adverse of
arrogance would be humility and inhibition. Clearly these are not bad
traits, except when taken to the extreme. The problem with Nice Guys is
that they lack confidence in themselves, but this does not automatically
mean they dislike themselves. You can be quite comfortable in your own skin
and still not feel confident skydiving, surfing, skiing, or any other
activity you perceive to be risky. The main thing that the Nice Guy
dislikes about himself is his lack of confidence regarding relationships,
but not necessarily his character, beliefs, or appearance.
With love, as with skiing, one is faced with the catch-22 of needing
confidence to be successful, but only gaining confidence after success. Why
would someone who is naturally (even perhaps genetically) predisposed to
humility presume to feel confident when seeking to attain a relationship
having never done it before (or at least not successfully)? Anyone who is
cautious will not put themselves out on a limb, particularly if they have
done so before and fallen off. Some people have garnered confidence from
other arenas such as sports, music, money, wit, friends, etc. This is why
jocks, wiseasses, popular or rich guys, etc., are often successful at
establishing sexual relationships (but not necessarily keeping them)...
because they think that their success in other areas makes them desireable
or deserving. Success even raises testosterone levels. Some people are
just born with great looks, so they are physically desireable, and this
gives them confidence. But what does the Nice Guy have to offer? He hasn't
proven himself in anything that anyone has positively reinforced him for.
He knows that he has lots of love to give to someone, if only someone would
This doesn't make the Nice Guy deranged. All he wants is a healthy
relationship like anyone else. But the fact that he is unconfident and
timid makes it difficult to establish one. Here's where your article makes
plenty of sense regarding his tactics, but not his reasons. He is not using
"underhanded" tactics to "score" with women... he really wants to become
intimate with someone, not physically but emotionally. Therefore, he begins
relationships at the emotional (friendship) level, rather than at the
physical level, and hopes that the whole thing will flesh out as the woman
begins to understand how wonderful he is. He is anxious for someone to give
him the attention he desires, so that he may prove himself worthy of a
fulfilling relationship. In return, he hopes to reward the one who has
payed him notice with all of the undirected love he has bottled up. He
seeks love, and attention, and confidence. The physical relationship is of
course desired at some point too, but that's not usually the primary goal of
the Nice Guy when he is interested in someone.
The Nice Guy is genuinely prepared to give the eventual recipient of his
love everything she desires. You suggest this is undesireable because women
find it too clingy and overwhelming. But the sad state of the matter is
that the Nice Guy is only doing everything he can to impress and keep her.
So he tries everything he thinks women want... everything they complain they
didn't get from their prior arrogant, ego-inflated boyfriends. He gives her
attention, and flowers, and gifts. He says he loves her. He doesn't know
how much is too much or too little, but he doesn't want to err on the side
of too little lest she think he doesn't truly care. So he lays it on thick
hoping she'll bask in his appreciation and tell him when enough is enough.
Ok, so maybe this is too much. Why doesn't she just say so? Ask for some
space and to tone it down a little. But no, she runs away back to the
arrogant pricks who treat her like crap!
I was a Nice Guy(tm).
I was attracted to and became involved with a "hard
luck" case. Just as you say. It's not that I wasn't successful in other
areas of my life, but I wasn't successful with women because I was always
shy. Intellectually, I was very confident, but not socially. I just think
differently than most people. My "hard luck" case I'm sure took advantage
of this, as she needed help out of a situation.
Nonetheless, despite the
less-than-sincere nature of our relationship, it was win-win. I felt I had
made a connection with someone, and was able to share my emotions and
experiences. She found a safe harbor in me. I may have idolized her a bit,
and she certainly liked the attention to an extent. I gave her everything
she wanted, and all I wanted in return was to be loved and understood. It's
years later and we're still together, the Nice Guy and the "hard luck" case.
I have the confidence to ask out other women if I wanted to, but I still
don't want to. I love her, and she says she loves me. We became engaged.
But our relationship became strained. She said she didn't feel deserving.
She felt guilty for getting more out of the relationship than I. Does this
mean that she never actually gave the one thing I wanted in return, her
love? Did she use me and put on an act? For six years?
Or does it mean that she puts more value on the food and the car and the house and the money
than her love. I don't. The thing is that I'm actually a Nice Guy, but she
can't seem to grasp that. I don't want anything in return but her love.
She seems to think that I need more than that though, despite my
After reading your article, it made me think that I am the cause of our
problems. At first read, it made lots of sense. But I don't think there's
anything else to be done. Looking inwardly and blaming myself would only
breed the insecurity which you point out is not healthy in a long-term
relationship. I don't believe I've done anything to precipitate any
problems. In fact, she says I'm very confident, and in fact right in most
of my decisions where we disagree. I always ask her opinion on decisions,
as you say the Nice Guy does, but usually only after I have clearly defined
my opinion on the matter and defined some sort of scope in which she could
make a decision that I'd be OK with. I do not hate myself. I am not
insecure. In fact, until she started talking with an ex behind my back, I
was very content. She is not the only source of my happiness, but a large
part of it. How could the person you love not be a source of happiness for
you? Why is that a burden? I am not burdened by my responsibility to her
happiness, only disappointed when I fall short. And why would it be selfish
of me to think that I am the best person for her? If I loved her and
believed there was someone better, then it would be selfish to hold on!
The problem is that SHE is not self-confident. SHE feels inadequate.
How is it the problem of the Nice Guy, when he provides everything a woman
should want, everything she claims to want, and she rejects it? Or would
you simply attribute this to me picking someone who is neurotic?
tend to be manic-depressive. Maybe your article doesn't actually apply to
me at all, I don't know. Maybe it's staring me in the face, but I don't see
it. In any event, I'd surely appreciate any further insight a Heartless
Bitch may have. Clearly I have none with regard to women.
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 12:39:28 -0400
Subject: A submission for your Nice Guys section
I came across this in a profile of a guy on Match.com:
"If you can't get along with me, most likely you don't have many friends. I am as laid back as it comes, and in a relationship, as long as you are truthful and faithful, I don't care what you do. Why is a guy like me single? Because these traits also come with a "walk all over me and kick me to the curb" sign. I am shy when I meet people for the first time, so that doesn't help in getting dates either. I am a mountain biker, rock climber, and camper when possible. I like to be out in nature. Conversly I can also sit in front of a computer or TV for days straight if the right game or project comes along. My interests span from counted cross stitch and cooking to engines and woodworking. It's hard to not keep me interested.
I'm looking for someone that isn't crazy, but can laugh at almost anything . and likes to do just that. She must accept me for who I am without change, and be looking for . okay, maybe not looking for, but anticipating a long term relationship. My perfect someone is nothing special, but she will want to be with me whenever possible. She will not like to argue or fight. She will be my best friend as well as my lover. Outgoing, athletic, and/or outdoors types are favorable, but not a necessity."
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 12:21 -0400
Subject: Male Flame form : Mark
COMMENTS: I really dont have the words to describe my toughts about this site. I dont feel angry, scared, saddened... little amused and bit pitiful towards you. Mainly, because I often react that way to people trying to cope by hating others not like them or by violence. White-power movement is the closest thing next to you in my opinion. Though I understand that some power can be gained by this I dont see it as a sign of great willpower or inner strengt. You seem to have sharp tongue and that is usually a sign of certain intellect but I see you weak inside as many racists, misogynists and such. Funny thing is, you are just like the guys who hate women, you are female misogynist. I gues its okay in a world that has so many opinions, flood of information etc. that you give up and form yourself hating someone/something that could be put to blame. Or then you are just mean, spiteful... In that case, all of thats been written above is of no use. Because that would mean you are the bully in the school who never grew up.
MyOtherName: Sincerely yours, Mark.
From: "Alex Agranov" (email@example.com)
Subject: good work!
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 19:27:17 -0700
I'm a 27 year old
"nice" guy and I want to thank you for your website, I think it's very
refreshing. I think the most important think you emphasize is for people to act
like adults instead of emotional children.
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 23:54 -0400
Subject: Male Flame form : James
COMMENTS: Yikes. Is this the only way to get a comment read? I stand ready for some more verbal whipping when you discover what a simpering douche I really am.
Anyway, heres' the story. I've become a friend to a woman I care
about. I know she doesn't want to be with me, but I can't help being a
little happy when she's around. I enjoy her company. She's told me how
glad she is that I've been there for her, which makes me happy
But I've come to realize that i'm guilty of the
faults of a nice guy. The only difference in my situation is that I
haven't told her. So I've been committing a lie just to be near her.
Pretty stupid, eh? There wouldn't be any point to it. I'm not going to
go into details, but trust me on this one. There've been times when all
i wanted to do was be straight with her, but I didn't want to make her
uncomfortable, or we were having so much fun that I didn't want to ruin
things by having her reject me.
But now what? I'm a manipulator and
a spineless worm. She says I'm a great guy and likes to have me around,
but I just can't stand it. I can't tell her the truth, because she
doesn't want me to, or doesn't feel the same way about me, and it would
ruin our friendship. But I can't hang around if being her friend means
committing a lie by trying to pretend I don't have those feelings for
her. It sucks. Yeah, yeah. Poor me. I bet anyone who's ever loved
someone in vain wouldn't laugh.
Therefore, I'm just gonna split.
Anyway, you aren't dear abbey. I should thank you for pointing out a
moral lie, and an especially painful one for me.