Sunday, 6 January 2013
Yes, Another Blog About Nice Guys And The Friendzone
In recent weeks there's been a lot of debate about the concept of Nice Guys and the dreaded 'friendzone' they inhabit, some of it sparked by the infamous and now-deleted 'Nice Guys Of OK Cupid' tumblr, which collated examples of men who considered their lack of dating success to be (somewhat counterintuitively) the result of them being 'too nice', while in many cases demonstrating attitudes towards women that were anything but.
I don't want this post to be a critique of that tumblr, or of anyone else's views on the issue, but a more personal take on why I think Nice Guys are a problem. For the uninitiated, when I talk about this stereotypical 'Nice Guy', I'm talking about those guys who think that women 'always go for jerks' and thereby 'friendzone' men who would be much better for them. By being 'too nice', these dudes think they've inadvertently locked themselves into a inescapable prison of friendship through which neither sex nor romantic love can ever be smuggled. Because Nice Guys, as you may have heard, inevitably finish last. However, actual nice guys are, well, nice. You and I have no beef, nice guy.
Now, this may be hard to believe, but I haven't always been a confident, swaggering ladies' man, turning knees to jelly and breaking hearts on the reg. Reader, I've been rejected by women, I've been attracted to women that weren't attracted to me, I've had crushes on women and never actually told them, and I've felt waves of nauseating self-pity about the state of my love life, (and droned tediously on about it) in the past. When I was younger, I'd been the guy sat with a similarly unlucky comrade, complaining about how clearly I was lovely and awesome, and yet the object of my affection had stupidly spurned me for some kind of grotesquely horrible walking dick of a man. I wish someone had told me back then that this actually made me sound like the awful one, because ultimately, figuring shit out for yourself is hard. So this post will attempt to explain why I think 'friendzoning' is bullshit and you're an awful person, by giving you men out there some things to consider, should you find yourself one day explaining to some pitying observer about the quasi-masonic Great Friendzone Conspiracy that's keeping you from getting rightfully laid.
1) Being 'Nice' Isn't Everything
Look, a lot of things are 'nice'. Tea is nice. Hot water bottles are nice. Sheets of as-yet-unpopped bubble wrap are nice. Very few of these are likely to send you spinning into a lust-filled frenzy, though as ever, your mileage may vary on this, and I judge ye not. My point is, the kind of spark of attraction needed to make a woman interested in you is probably not going to be set off by niceness alone. Physical attraction is not the be-all and end-all, but the nature of attraction is complex and nebulous, not a simple one-item checklist containing merely 'basic human decency', which you can fulfill and expect to be rewarded with endless, dizzying fuckfests with the partner of your choice. So, what else you got? Are you smart? Are you funny? Do you have an excellent beard? If your answer to all three is 'no', then you're going to need to consider what your qualities are that a woman might like, and put them front and centre. Or just grow a beard. Either way could work.
2) Are You Being A Hypocrite?
'So, we've established that you've not got much going for you in the personality department beyond that you're 'nice'. Now ask yourself if you'd date a woman who you felt no physical attraction to, and whose company you didn't particularly enjoy, if she were just kinda, y'know, nice. Can you honestly say that if a woman earned enough mate points, bought you enough rounds, helped you into enough taxis, you'd suddenly fancy her? If not, why are you expecting women to suddenly drop 'em as soon as you've 'been there' for them enough times?
3) Those Guys Dating The Women You Think You Should Be Dating Might Not Be As Bad As You Think
I know, I know, he looks smug as fuck swanning around with the woman who should be yours because you once listened to her cry about a break-up. But what do you actually know about him? You profess to like this woman, and yet you think she's intentionally shunning happiness with you in order to date some unholy mixture of Some Prick From Jersey Shore and Hitler? Have you stopped to consider that he may actually be nice in the conventional sense? Or that, even if he isn't, he may possess a lot of other positive qualities that she finds appealing? If you respect women, then respect their decisions, and understand that they're not playing some unfathomable game somehow designed to alienate you. Not everything is about you, and other people's consenting relationships are frankly none of your business.
4) Declaring Your Intentions Is Hard But Important
This sucks, but honesty is a good quality. Are you attracted to your friend to the extent that it's eating you up inside? Tell her, if you can. It may hurt if she wants to just be friends, but it's not especially healthy to have an air of unspoken desire hanging between you and your friend. Ask yourself how many of the 'friend' things you do for her are actually because you care about her, and not because you want to get in her pants. Ask yourself if you'd want to know if your friend was in love with you. Tell her, and be prepared not to like the answer. Or, if you feel you can't, don't tell her. You don't have to. But don't fail to tell her, and then passive-aggressively complain behind her back that she's failing to read your signals, or putting you in the 'friendzone', or dating douchebags because she's a fucking moron. Accept that your inability to tell her is a problem YOU have to deal with, not her, and try your best to deal with the situation in a manner which is grown-up and not insulting.
5) The Friendzone Is Not Really An Actual Thing
If a woman is just your friend and not someone you're having sex with, that is what we in certain circles call a 'friend'. Yes, what you have there is a friendship, one between you, a man, and a second person, a woman. This can sometimes happen. The chances are she's not 'put' you there because women get off on torturing men, but because she simply wants to just be friends with you, like you might be with a dude. Sex is not the default interaction between men and women. Sex is a thing that happens between two (or more!) people that express a sexual interest in one another and then gratify it by mutual consent. It's not something you're supposed to expect, but which women then cruelly decide to deny you from their lofty position as the gatekeepers of the sexual realm. Friendships with women that feature no sex can be rewarding. Try viewing said woman as a person rather than a target for your dick, and see what happens.
6) You May Not Actually Be That Nice After All
Look, are you REALLY that nice? You're complaining about women refusing to sleep with you, but you haven't told them how you feel. Is that nice? You're friends with a woman, but whenever you do something for her you note it down mentally as yet another thing you've done which inexplicably went unrewarded with blowjobs, as if it should have been. Is that nice? Think long and hard about your expectations of women, and whether they're reasonable. And consider whether you're maybe acting with an unearned sense of entitlement. Be aware that what you think of as 'nice' (reluctantly listening to a woman's problems while wishing she'd shut the fuck up already and touch your penis), may not be what she defines 'nice' to mean. Perhaps she thinks of a 'nice guy' as someone who likes her with no ulterior motive and who isn't concealing his true feelings for whatever reason.
In conclusion, I'm not setting myself up as an expert on women, or relationships, or men, or indeed anything, because I am demonstrably an expert on none of those things. I don't know what to tell you if you can't find a girlfriend. I do know how tricky it is to let a woman know you like her in a way that's obvious without being aggressive. So if you do tell her, be considerate, because you're putting her in an awkward position. And think about how to deal with a 'no'. These things are all problems that will happen over and over again. Ultimately, though, my point is this: women aren't so incredibly stupid as to not appreciate you being nice. It just takes more than that. And it's not always palatable, but you can't just comfort yourself with the belief that women are just fucking ridiculous because they're failing to adhere to the clearly correct dating formula you've come up with in your head. But let's say you think that, that you firmly believe it. In that case, by all means say it, but be aware that saying it repeatedly does not make you any more attractive, or convince people that you're The Guy. It may just make you sound entitled, disrespectful and self-involved, with an inflated opinion of your own worth and a significant lack of understanding of what women are after. And that, sadly, ain't all that sexy.
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Awesome post. Straight to the point and sharp as a tack. Busting these myths makes safety and the pursuit of genuine happiness a lot less overgrown a path for all concerned.ReplyDelete
Brilliant article! Hearing my male friends complain about being "friendzoned" always never quite sat right with me and up until very recently I have never really seen any criticisms of the whole concept. Now it makes perfect sense, and your article was very clearly written. Have shared on Facebook hoping that the people who have moaned to be about being "friendzoned" in the past read it, and realise their mistakes. Well, one can hope...ReplyDelete
Love this, especially 5 & 6. Thank you!ReplyDelete
this is the biggest bullshit I have read in a long while.. and I read the bible mind you!ReplyDelete
plus, all the examples the writer comes up with are only how it is seen in HIS personal view.
the truth and the absolute brutal truth is, the older women get, the more dissapointed they are in past romances, the more women will go for someone they do not have to much of an emotional connection to.. its all a game of safety...
This, friends, is why wasting sympathy (and words) on Nice Guys is a waste of oxygen.Delete
Thanks, Anonymous! Not sure I'd compare my work to the Bible personally, but still, flattered.Delete
"all the examples the writer comes up with are only how it is seen in HIS personal view" Thanks for pointing this out, though I feel I beat you to the punch a little by writing "I don't want this post to be a critique of that tumblr, or of anyone else's views on the issue, but a more personal take on why I think Nice Guys are a problem".
I thought there was some good points in this article, although I agree...Women tend to go for men they don't know because they don't want to "ruin" and existing friendship.Delete
@ben268 Not really in my experience, that's actually what someone says when they're being polite about not being attracted to you.Delete
I have a feeling, Anonymous, that you are:Delete
1.) Not a woman, so you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about
2.) Have been in the 'friendzone' at some point in your life
3.) Do all these things and you are only getting defensive because you don't want to admit to it
4.) Are either bitter and single, and therefore are subconciously pushing women away from you to avoid rejection by doing so
5.)Extremely immature, so you feel the need to treat women as if they are objects, therefore subconciously pushing them away from you because they can tell that you're in actually a total dick.
A good article. As a "nice woman", I can tell you that being nice is not the same as being exciting, and it's certainly not enough to catch the eye of a hot man. I was lucky enough to stumble on someone who not only thought I was nice, he thought I was *interesting*. Now (20 yrs down road) I have the job of staying interesting. Staying nice is the easy part - but it's not really enough.ReplyDelete
- Nice in California
This is an excellent article, I wish you had been there when I was a teenager.ReplyDelete
My only complaint is you advocate growing a beard as a way to get women, as a beard owner I am sad to say that is not true.
As a beard-loving woman, I'm sorry to say that it hasn't worked for you yet. Maybe you should try styling it in interesting ways so that you can make people curious?Delete
Like braiding it... or shaving it like a character out of the Hunger Games, or dying it a strange color. Or maybe you should dress like a lumberjack to fit the theme. Who doesn't like lumberjacks?
This article is pure gold - factual and hilarious.ReplyDelete
Beards rule. And niceness. People can be nice and sexy at the same time, it happens. Look at Dumbledore -- wahay.ReplyDelete
Oh what value this would have added to my life during my college years, when I just didn't get what I was doing wrong :) Although, I was from the perspective of NOT wanting to friendzone, I just ended up there because of lack of confidence and experience. Although, your advice here still applies... I just think the majority of friendzone cases involve men desperately trying to figure out how to escape it.ReplyDelete
Ah Jonathan, thanks for once again making me laugh til I cried. Having only discovered this blog in the last six months, I can only beg you to write more. You know, if you want to. There must be some more boneheaded shit published by the Mail, surely.ReplyDelete
thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Where are you Ropes? Hope all okay.ReplyDelete
I started reading this with some trepidation, since so much idiocy on this subject is spouted by 'nice' men, but finished it thinking 'brilliant, well done'. Will definitely share as necessary.ReplyDelete
Hey Jonatahan, nice blog BTW. What wrote delivered a kick to the groin for me. Wow, I'm the guy you where saying here. And I wasn't even aware of it. T__T This will help me alot bro in my quest to rebuild myself. And your post reminded me of one thing, RESPECT. Thanks and more power. :)ReplyDelete
Yay, someone who LISTENED! Thank you!!Delete
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This post speaks to me in a positive way ... I could've used this swift of a kick in the rear posterior back then. I wish it had been posted in 2006, but better yet ... it's posted now. I spent way too much time, money, and sanity in the friendzone trying to make a relationship out of our "friendship." The friendship ended after another year and in the 6 years since then I've harbored unnecessary feelings of resentment towards her ... all due to my feeling of entitlement you spoke of.ReplyDelete
I hate that I've held onto that feeling for so long ... but admitting it was I who was at fault is my first step towards finally letting myself moving on.
Okay, as a shy woman whose friends have a history of finding her attractive and expressing interest, I will admit the perception of 'friendzone' is not one without evidence, because my friends are about a billion times more valuable to me than a romantic partner could be, and I therefore really have been unwilling to risk a friendship by embarking on on a type of relationship that I don't see as superior, only more fragile. So I *did* tell pretty much all of them, quite honestly, that I wasn't about to risk their friendship on that, even the ones I found rather attractive. (None of them cut ties afterward, either. Win.)ReplyDelete
On the other hand, there is a snowball's chance in Hell I would even consider a stranger's proposition, whereas each friend got at least a little bit of thought, because I trusted them already, which made them infinitely more acceptable mates than 'Dude or Chick X.' Honestly, I would say someone who was a friend but not a close one *is* in the best situation vis-a-vis perceived risk of dating, since they're a known quantity but the status quo isn't yet precious.
But this, again, is from a shy woman who doesn't habitually date; people with different social habits would have different metrics.
No! Don't listen to him!ReplyDelete
DON'T GROW A BEARD.
Women are afraid of beards.
Woman Who Is Afraid of Beards
Incredibly astute and well written post; the best I've read in a very long time. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Gotta love how articles and blog posts like this always bring the fedora McNeckbeard friend zone apologists out of the woodwork.ReplyDelete
A girl can wear whatever she wants, and guys are not supposed to notice unless it is the guy(s) she is interested in. Of course sometimes girls just dress the way they want for themselves. Then there are the girls who do dress they way they do for the attention they receive. It is entirely within the context of the situation that you could possibly be within. This is a difficult situation for many men and as a result some men opt out, others try to simplify, some try and never adapt while others realize the situation and learn as much as they can on how to operate within the social boundaries provided.ReplyDelete
To Anon. 1 Aug 4:39: Try not reacting to what women wear and just react to what they say to you. There's no problem noticing what a woman wears, but apparently your reaction and your "operating" is unwelcome. (Double-takes and whistles are creepy.) Outside of pickup bars, don't react so that women you don't know notice you noticing, okay? And I think you're talking about women, not girls; please avoid checking out actual girls unless you're a boy.ReplyDelete
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Its just another mental and emotional prison men put themselves into when it comes to dealing with women. I do not believe that every guy who is in the friend zone with a girl wants to pursue a sexual relationship. Some guys really do want more than that but remember, we are men, expressing emotion is not something that we easily do. We are not naturally hardwired for that. Some guys don't want to seem like a jerk for speaking honestly. Everyone has that right.ReplyDelete
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