Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Letter to all Nice Guys,

So the nice guy letter's making the rounds again. (Ragnell's got a reaction up here.)

Honestly, I know a lot of guys, many of whom are friends of mine, who at some point or another could have written this letter. They're not bad guys, but they are frustrated and unhappy.

The letter's ridiculous of course and represents some utterly abhorrent statements, but I really think that it's just some guy, someone who probably IS a nice person most of the time, venting his unhappiness. It's sad more than anything else, because I don't think anyone's told this fellow (and so many others) what he really needs to hear.

To All the "Nice Guys" of the World:

I understand your frustration. No one likes feeling marginalized or ignored. No one likes being passed up and overlooked. You're not wrong in feeling upset about that.

I genuinely believe that you are nice, perfectly likeable people most of the time.

But I also know why you can't get a date.

It's a fairly common pattern. Guy sees an attractive girl, gets shot down for someone she likes better. It's a part of life. The trick is then to keep asking until you find the right one.

But sometimes the right one never materializes, right? You ask and ask, and you get nowhere! Ever! And each time, she ditches you for some loser who isn't as nice/smart/handsome/whatever as you!

Of course, it's natural to start resenting the girls. All girls. Because you don't really want to deal with the real problem: you.

Don't get mad. I'm not saying it's because you're not nice enough or not handsome enough or not smart enough. For every girl out there who dumps you for the muscle bound jock or pimply faced nerd or cigarette chomping badboy, there's a girl who would gladly date a guy like you. And every so often, she'll even be a girl who matches up to your tastes as well.

(It is, I'd like to point out, perfectly okay to reject an interested girl who isn't what you're looking for. You have every right to look for particular qualities in a woman, you just have to realize that the more specific qualities you seek, the lower the pool of options...that doesn't mean they're not out there though.)

The problem is by this point, you've scared her away.

It's not your fault, not completely. You're frustrated. That's natural. You missed your shot with a girl because you weren't what she was looking for. That's annoying. It hurts. And it's okay to feel that way. But the thing is, you have to let it go. Because if you don't, we'll see it.

Most people aren't terribly good at hiding their emotions and odds are, you're not either. And we can see that you're frustrated and upset and unhappy. We can see the resentment and bitterness and expectation of failure.

But we're not mind readers. We don't know why you feel this way. We don't know how many girls before us that you've asked out and been shot down. We don't know how lonely you are or how much your confidence has suffered. We don't know that you're scared that once more you'll be turned down flat by someone you'd like to get to know. We don't know that the relationships that you have gotten have turned out badly.

We don't know that you're really, most of the time, this really awesome guy that we'd probably really like if we gave you a chance. We don't know anything about you. We don't know that your bad mood here is just because you're afraid of being turned down flat yet again.

We just know that you seem to be bitter and angry with us for something that we didn't do. And honestly, would YOU want to spend time with someone like that?

And maybe that guy in the corner IS a jerk, but well, he's not angry at US. So maybe there's something there for us instead.

We've missed out by not giving you a chance, that's true and it's sad. You might have been the one. But we'll never know now.

It's a vicious and unfair cycle. You've been rejected, you're angry and hurt, you expect us to reject you, act accordingly, and get rejected again. It's awful.

But this is something you can fix. It won't be easy. But you can. All you have to do is let it go. Repeat to yourself: "There are other fish in the sea."

There's the cheesy cliche that confidence will get everywhere. But there's some truth to that. Desperation, bitterness and pessimism are usually turn offs. We don't want to be your scapegoat. We don't want to be your savior.

Keep asking. Don't take it personally when you get turned down. Don't invent reasons. "I wasn't her type" is enough. Try again.

Don't offer to be friends if you don't mean it. We'll take you at your word. If you want more, say so. If you get turned down, try again with someone else.

You will find the right person. You will. It may take a while. You'll have bad experiences along the way. But she's out there.

Just please. Stop sabotaging yourself. You deserve better than that.

My criminal law professor tells my class all the time: "People stupider than you have become lawyers." That works here too. Plenty of people who are uglier, stupider, lazier, meaner and creepier than you have all managed to land the partner they're looking for. You can too.



  • At December 20, 2007 2:24 AM, Anonymous Mike said…

    This is honestly the most polite and nice of all the resposes to this guy's letter that I've read. (and a crapload have popped up in the last week)

  • At December 20, 2007 2:29 AM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    Great post, Kalinara. Wanna go out?

  • At December 20, 2007 2:41 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Mike: Heh, it's definitely a...provocative piece.

    I really do feel sorry for the guy though. It sounds like he's more miserable and clueless than he is malicious. I've known quite a few people in that sort of situation.

    Zaratustra: Hmm, no, sorry. But keep trying! You'll get there! :-)

  • At December 20, 2007 6:59 AM, Anonymous earl allison said…

    Thank you. It was polite, decent, and well-said. And that means a lot online nowadays.

    No, I didn't write the orignal, but I can still use the information to help myself.

    And since you shot down zaratustra ... nah, j/k :) Wouldn't do that to you :)

    Take it and run.

  • At December 20, 2007 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've never commented on your blog before but I just wanted to thank you for writing that- well said.

  • At December 20, 2007 11:29 AM, Blogger ticknart said…

    Kalinara, thanks for not jumping on the usual Nice-Guys-are-all-jerks-and-need-to-realize-it wagon and writing about how frustration often leads to stupid generalized statements by people, nice or not.

    Letters like this one, and most of the responses I've read to it, drive me nuts because there are some of us guys out there who would rather have some really good friends, who happen to be female, than try to use friendship as a way under the bra and into the pants. Hell, that's what I used to think the whole Nice Guy thing was about.

    Thanks for being thoughtful.

  • At December 20, 2007 4:10 PM, Blogger Patrick C said…

    I don't think I've read this nice guy letter. Do you have a link to it?

    I think I get the gist of it based on what you wrote, and I definitely think you have a fair and balanced response. I'd like to see what the "nice guy" wrote though.

  • At December 20, 2007 5:48 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Eek, I forgot to link it didn't I?

    Here's a link:

    It's...something else really. But I still think he's more miserable and venting than anything else.

  • At December 21, 2007 2:44 AM, Blogger Evan Waters said…

    I think you've nailed this one, more than some of the other responses. Sometimes when this subject comes up the response will be that any guy who ever thinks anything like this is obviously not a nice guy at all, but it is sort of a downward spiral. I was lucky that I held out long enough to get confident on my own and start having relationships, so I now am in the position that I know I'm not repulsive to all the opposite sex. But there's definitely the danger of falling into that trap, and it takes a lot of introspection and effort to really get past it.

    It's really that the "nice"/"not-nice" axis isn't what this works on, but more a passive/assertive thing. It's not bad or wrong to have a more passive personality than others, so long as you don't let it fester into a passive-aggressive personality.

    (And of course there are SOME women who do date jerks and SOME nice guys with bad luck, and that wrecks the whole curve.)

  • At December 21, 2007 11:01 AM, Anonymous WM said…

    It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that I found your post a tad condescending. You did make some very valid points, but I found your delivery a bit smug. Ragnell's response was more forthright, offensive, but in the long run, kinder.
    Men who say they are nice guys, are really trying to manipulate their object of desire. Have you ever heard The Lone Ranger admit he's The Lone Ranger? Only in an emergency.
    Those who cry about getting shot down because they are nice guys, for the most part, deserve it.
    The few times I've gotten shot down is because she just has poor taste in men. I'd let her know, she may or may not have a laugh about it and then we move on.
    Thank you all the same, Kalinara. You are still a delight.

  • At December 21, 2007 4:05 PM, Blogger M. said…

    I don't think you were being condescending, unlike WM, but I do agree with him on the rest of his response.

    "Nice Guys" (tm) aren't. They aren't Nice. They're emotionally manipulative and passive aggressive.

    I used to be the great defender of the "Nice Guy." But, after working in bars and having had my own "Nice Guy" incidents, I keep seeing the same pattern of emotionally manipulative bullshit played out over and over and over.

    Many of these guys are extremely misogynistic. I actually had one tell me that a girl owed him sex because he bought her dinner.

    Don't get me wrong, I have no patience for the girls who know what's going on and let these schmucks keep spending money on them. But an awful lot of women just don't get it, they think these guys are really their friends when all these guys want is to get laid. And watch how quickly that "friendship" disappears when you finally figure it out and tell him no. Then he's justified in posting a rant on the internet all about how you've "wasted his time."

    Wow, that got specific.

  • At December 21, 2007 4:46 PM, Anonymous WM said…

    Wow, did that really come off as condescending on my part? Giving my opinion is condescending? Disagreeing with the way somebody whose work I happen to like, and look forward to reading in the morning, just after the news is condescending? If you thought that, then I do need to phrase things better. I've been known to come off as a little "in your face," when it was not my intention.
    I'm not sure now, did this come off as come off as condescending? Sorry.
    That said, I know a lot of guys who do delude themselves into thinking that the girl is "digging him," when she is only trying to be polite. You try to warn the guy, but his head is filled with the promise of intimacy. That would fall under the category of his problem and I have no kind of sympathy for him.

  • At December 21, 2007 6:30 PM, Blogger M. said…

    Perhaps I phrased it badly, but what I meant that unlike you, I did not find her condescending.

    Meaning that while YOU found her condescending, I did not.


  • At December 21, 2007 7:33 PM, Anonymous WM said…

    Wow, now I really feel like a schmuck! I'm glad that I was wrong, though. There was certainly no harm intended.

  • At December 21, 2007 8:55 PM, Anonymous WM said…

    Now regarding that guy: I went ahead and read his comments... again. He definitely is an a-hole and deserves no mercy. There are actually really nice guys out there that deserve all the best based on their sincerity. They eventually do because they learn from those awful experiences without losing an ounce of integrity.
    That guy isn't one of them. Screw him!

  • At December 21, 2007 10:06 PM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…

    When girl's can't get dates, the reaction is always that we need more make up, need to do this need to do that, lose weight, fake interest in guy activites, etc etc, there are whole books and magazines on this subject XD Why do these "nice guys" think that when nothing they try works, that they shouldn't mebbe think about some change to what they're trying or their approach? :\

  • At December 21, 2007 11:32 PM, Blogger Ununnilium said…

    Hey, person who wrote that letter? Hey, nice to meet you, I'm a nice guy. And, well, I hate to say it... you're not. >>

    Seriously, someone who whines so much about other people's behavior isn't actually being nice. Wimpy and nonconfrontational doesn't mean nice, something both you and your prospective target need to learn.

  • At December 21, 2007 11:50 PM, Blogger Evan Waters said…

    Now regarding that guy: I went ahead and read his comments... again. He definitely is an a-hole and deserves no mercy.

    Maybe it's just my religion but I'm given to believe that all people deserve some measure of mercy. Its quality is not strained, it falleth as a gentle rain from heaven, etc.

    I think it may be too late for this guy in particular, but what's needed overall is more clear explanation of the reality and less "you suck". Speaking as a guy who used to be in that place where I was being nice but not making any non-platonic connections, I know it's hard to pull yourself out of that zone and that it's easy to fall into the kind of resentment that the OP managed. It takes a bit of soul-searching.


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