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On “Nice” Guys And Being The Scorpion

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Today’s post is 100% inspired by some old post-it notes that I found in a box while moving. The notes were a gift from a friend and were the sort that allowed you to address and leave a message for someone along with your current mood. There was even a fun numerical gauge for expressing how strongly you were feeling about whatever little message you were leaving for the recipient. While I lived with my friend Katie we pretty much left each other snarky little messages daily. It’s always fun to find messages from your BFF4L declaring her prowess at salad making or to take your frustration out on the worst co-worker ever in the form of a post-it note. There’s something satisfying about slapping that little note up on the fridge even if it is only for you and your roommate to see. It was in the notes that I found one that evoked memories of a long ago friendship and the assumptions of a “nice guy”.

Among all the inside jokes and random one-liners that Katie and I exchanged I found a note declaring, “To: Katie For: Always being the Scorpion. You can’t help what your nature is.”

66A fair representation of the “nice guy” and any women he encountered.

I looked at the note in my hand and suddenly I remembered who had written it, and the conversation that note had sparked in our house. The note’s author was a self-proclaimed “nice guy” who just didn’t understand why Katie wouldn’t return his attention. He was the kind of guy that fell for nearly every single girl that crossed his path even I had even been on his list at some point before he realized that I just wasn’t in the cards. Sure, he was pleasant enough, but conversation always felt forced almost like he wanted something from you except that you weren’t quite sure what. Every conversation seemed to hang on an unasked expectation, which led to awkward interactions and misunderstandings. He would drive nearly two hours in to town to hang out on your birthday but then end the night complaining to you how he just didn’t understand why your best friend wouldn’t date him.

“I’m a nice guy. Why don’t girls notice that? Why do you all like jerks? Is there something attractive about that? I guess I won’t ever be a hit with the ladies if that’s the case because I was raised right. Maybe one day I’ll find a girl who appreciates a nice guy.”¬†

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My reaction to the “nice guy” and his little diatribe women’s dating choices and how nice he was.

Dating and relationships isn’t always clear cut and navigating love and friendship is a part of life that consists of pretty much one giant gray area. You can’t help who you are attracted to and in turn you have no power over who returns your affections. Knowing that you are not able to control who reciprocates your feelings is a part of life and, well, free will. Just because you are into someone doesn’t mean that they have to by default feel the same way. It doesn’t matter if you are single and they are single, it just doesn’t work that way.

Too bad for the “nice guy” he never seemed to understand this and just went about targeting every female friend he happened to make until he was alienated within our group of friends. All the girls knew that he was “that guy” and just rebuffed or never¬†took any of his attentions to heart. It was standard procedure to brief any new girls about his tendency for infatuation, but for some reason no one ever talked to him about his behavior. Once after a night out I sat down with him and made an effort to set him straight about things. “Girls don’t have to like you just because you’re a nice guy, you know.” I told him in a low voice to avoid waking my roommate while we sipped on lukewarm beers in my living room. He looked at me with a confused look on his face, “What are you talking about? I’m not saying that every girl should like me…it’s just that A GIRL should like me.” His voice raised slightly as he said A GIRL.

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What our conversation looked like that night.

I sighed and motioned for him to lower his voice, “A girl will like you when you’re yourself. You don’t have to use this “nice guy” card to get a girl to like you. I think it’s actually doing the opposite because we can tell that it’s like..I don’t know…”, I faltered over my words before continuing on, “It’s like a gimmick or something and it just makes things feel cheap.”

“It’s not a gimmick, it’s who I am. I can’t help who I am and all I want is someone to see that I’m a nice guy and appreciate that, that’s all. I thought you would understand that.” He was mumbling now and set his beer down with a sigh. “Look, I should go. I’ll talk to you later or something.” And just like that he was gone with an indignant tone and we never brought up our conversation again.

I talked to Katie after that and we agreed that something needed to be said and she even point blank told him that she just wasn’t interested in him like that. Still, it didn’t stop his indignation or entitled behavior concerning her affections or that of any woman that he felt should be attracted to him due to his “nice” guy qualities or his self-proclaimed gentlemaness. There was no making him see that his actions were not those of a “nice” person, never mind a “nice guy”. We made sure to avoid situations where he would be in the mix and made it very clear that we wouldn’t tolerate his actions anymore.

Even though we cut the “nice guy” out of our lives it was like a slap in the face from the past when I saw his passive aggressive note to Katie. It wasn’t in her nature to be the scorpion, a name that he gave her, and explained to me was based on the fact that scorpions stung and hurt everything around them because it was what they were made to do. My friend wasn’t made to hurt people and she certainly wasn’t made to lash out at everyone around her. However, she was made to like, love, hug, or kiss whoever she wanted. She was made to be free from pressure or the expectations of someone who felt entitled to her affection and attention. She was not made to feel guilty because she didn’t care romantically for someone she thought of as a friend. Nor was she made to “give him a chance” or bow to incessant badgering to date, kiss, or hold hands.

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Never ever feel pressure to date someone. EVER.

I write this today because not all “nice guys” are nice. Not every boy or man that crosses your path is entitled to your affections, body, or attention just because they treat you decently. Sometimes, a woman can feel pressured to like the “nice guy”, to give him a chance and to stop wasting her time on jerks. You can’t help who you are attracted to and if it isn’t there, it isn’t there. Don’t force things because you want to prove that you are different or because maybe all that pressuring is starting to sway you. Date whoever you want and do it free from judgement because truly “nice guys” are first and foremost, nice people and what nice person wants to strong arm someone else into doing what they want?

  • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

    Ughhh love this post! I’m so sick of the nice guy diatribe – like why do you a) feel the need to constantly remind me that you’re “nice” and b) feel that because you’re “nice” every girl should just automatically love you and want to spend their life with you? Attraction doesn’t work like that, and it’s absolutely bizarre that women get told off for not liking a guy based on the singular fact that he’s a “nice guy”.

  • http://www.andpossiblydinosaurs.com/ Caitlin

    This is SUCH a wonderful post. And bravo for calling him out on it, even if it wasn’t successful. Sometimes you just feel so awkward and uncomfortable that calling people out on their BS is impossible.

  • http://www.callitadventureblog.com Torie

    This is beautiful. It has been my experience that self proclaimed “nice guys” are typically the actual jerks. Maybe they didn’t start out that way, but by leaning on the nice guy argument as an entitlement to every crush evers’ feelings, they became this twisted, macabre version of a “nice guy”. It doesn’t help that they are almost always the ones prone to crushing on everything with boobs that crosses their path. It is uncomfortable to call people out on their self-destructive behavior, but I give you props for trying. You can’t change someone who isn’t ready or doesn’t want to change, but at least you didn’t let the behavior go on and on and on without at least attempting.

    I agree with this post so hard I am leaving a novel length comment. <3 Thank you for writing it and writing it so eloquently.

  • http://the.pyreflies.org/ Jessica

    Agreed, I feel like guys who use the title “nice guy” sometimes really aren’t nice at all. I think, personally, if someone was just super nice it comes off as creepy… does that make sense? My friend had this boy who really liked her, he was a very sweet guy but … it was really creepy lol I think it was creepy because we didn’t even know him, he didn’t know anything about either of us and all of a sudden he was telling her how pretty she was and waiting outside her class, asking to carry her books… like, it feels stalker-ish. I think guys shouldn’t think that going up to a girl being a “nice guy” or overly sweet is going to work, because it’s not… it just freaks us out! and I do think girls like the “jerks” more because it’s harder to get their attention… and if you can get a bad boy to notice you, it’s kind of like a mini victory? that’s what I think anyway :P

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

  • http://kaseyatthebat.blogspot.com/ Kasey Decker

    this is everything. I can completely relate + I could not have possibly said it any better

  • http://www.themisadventuresofmorgan.com Morgan Krakow

    I love this. The “nice guy” title is so overrated and almost used to bully women into doing something because they feel like they have to! Which is absolutely silly. It’s fantastic that you called him out on it! Kudos to you both :) x

  • http://www.routebliss.com/ Christina McCall

    Because so many guys play this card (especially in online dating profiles), the *real* nice guys like my brother (who shows he is one through his actions) often get overlooked :-/

  • http://www.thestyledunce.com/ Katie @ The Style Dunce

    PREACH. Aw I miss the days living with you. And I totally remember that note now and not really getting its context. Thanks for having my back with that fool.

  • http://thethingsiamcrazyfor.wordpress.com/ Camila

    Very good post! I used to sympathise with ‘nice guys’ but then I had so many guy friends stop being my friend when I started dating someone or told them I wasn’t interested and then I realised what I want is a ‘great guy’! My boyfriend is a typical nice guy but he would never make someone feel guilty for not being interested in him, etc. he’s genuinely a nice person and a great friend! That’s what guys should realise, like you said, that they should be themselves and that’s what attracts ‘a girl’ – the right girl! Girls do feel when it’s genuine!

  • http://mariellegreen.com/ Marielle

    Ugh, I hate the “nice guy who always gets friend-zoned” thing. It’s just a dressed up way of whining about feeling entitled to sex. Good move calling him out on it; hopefully, at some point, he had a revelation and stopped reminding women how “nice” he is. . .

  • http://yourstrulyjanette.blogspot.com Janette Garcia

    The entitlement some men feel is ridiculous. And then all they do is complain about being the nice guy and it’s so annoying. It’s scary to see how many men think this way as well. I’m glad you brought up the issue!