This comment was by brad, in response to the post “The World Needs More Teds Than Barneys” by Mark Radcliffe.
I agree with the title of this post, ie the that the world needs more Teds than Barneys, but I disagree with the black or white division of men into Ted & Barney categories. In college I had a friend who was always complaining that women would choose “charismatic bad boys” over “quiet nice guys” like him. I listened to this for years, and never had the guts to tell him that the problem wasn’t women… the problem was him. He was quiet, yes, but that didn’t automatically make him a nice guy — many guys who think they are “nice guys” actually aren’t, in part because they don’t strive to improve their ability to communicate and support their friends and partners. This particular friend was actually a really hard guy to like — rude, self-centered, and really adversarial and difficult to talk to, even when you’d known him for years. He’s neither a Barney nor a Ted.
One of my best friends now is the opposite… a guy who can confidently approach any woman at any bar and fare very well, and who also happens to be one of the nicest, most sincere and caring people I’ve ever known. He’s more of a Ted than a Barney, but based on the logic of this article he should be dismissed as a Barney.
My point, if I have to boil it down, is that Teds should be careful about vilifying men who might appear to be Barneys, and should instead look at themselves for areas where they can grow and get better at connecting to people, whether romantically or otherwise, and at being a more complete person. Yes, being “on” at a bar is a skill, but we can all walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. The conversation skills that help you meet new people can actually overlap quite a bit with the skills that make you a supportive friend, or a good listener. And it’s a little ridiculous to suggest that guys who are good at approaching women in bars are able to do so only at the expense of financial responsibility, cooking skills, and neglect of their mothers.
And I say all of this from the perspective of someone who was paralyzed by shyness for twenty five years and, while still not the most outgoing person, still believes his life has been greatly enriched by learning to be more bold in public.
—Photo AP/Matt Sayles