I don’t have a problem with guys who are nice. Nice people are great. Awesome, even. Some of my closer friends are guys who also happen to be nice.
However, one person, an acquaintance really, decided to remove himself from the fold of my Facebook friends because I posted a link to this article on Wired. The article is a gentle yet witty bit of advice to those individuals who describe themselves as ‘nice guys’:
If you are describing yourself as “nice” you are like one of those tiny motels where the sign out front just says “Air Conditioning — Color TV.” You are saying “I have nothing to recommend me other than a bare minimum level of acceptability.”
I found it amusing and posted it because the topic of “Nice Guys” is one I find amusing and irritating.
However, this ‘friend’ of mine first commented that he strongly identified with the subject of the article, and felt like it was personally attacking him. After two of my female friends commented in support of the article, he responded by accusing (them or the article, I’m still not sure, having deleted the comments) of making generalisations and not knowing him at all (and, further, cussing me out). Then, before I could respond, he promptly unfriended me.
Which was odd. Because for one thing, this ‘friend’ was not someone I regularly interact with. With his reaction, he made some pretty broad assumptions about my attitude and the article’s intentions, which, had he known me and the topic a bit better, he would probably not have made. For another thing, not the first article I’ve posted over the last two years on the topic of ‘Nice Guys’. And it was, by far, the least harsh and most forgiving.
What I would have said to this ‘friend’ before his, in my opinion unwarranted, reaction, was this:
The problem isn’t that some guys are nice. It’s that there are some guys out there who think ‘nice’ is enough of a rubric to attract a mate. Who think that being nice entitles them to a happy ending. Who think that because they are nice, their romantic feelings should automatically be reciprocated. THOSE ARE THE GUYS THE ARTICLE IS REFERRING TO. If the attitude I described above doesn’t apply to you, then you are not part of the problem. Guys who are shy, meek, timid, introverted or in other ways possibly labelled as ‘nice’ but actually, when you get to know them, are, funny, talented, intelligent, kind and caring: you’re ok. I shouldn’t have to say it, but yeah: If you’re nice but you don’t think that means a guaranteed ticket to pantyland, then these articles aren’t about you.
Sadly, ‘nice’ is not enough. There are plenty of guys who do have a lot more to offer than ‘nice’ and being nice – as in kind, considerate, caring, understanding, forgiving, warm, cuddly – is a plus. But it is not, and in my opinion should not be, enough in itself.
Part of the problem is that too often, a clear definition of what ‘nice’ means is difficult to ascertain. I’ll tell you a story.