It’s not easy telling you I want to be more than your BFF.
Hello, it’s me, one of the Nice Girls (NGs). I’m here, on behalf of all the NGs sitting in the corner. When you get your heart broken, we are the friends who listened to your drama and your life dreams.
There may be a chance we want to step outside of the friend zone and date you. What happens if your NG friend has romantic feelings for you? If you do not have the desire to run into her arms, I have a request. Please do not break our hearts.
I still believe in the inherent good in all people and realize that it is not your intention to hurt a woman, especially an NG friend. I am not lecturing you as a brain doctor or mindfulness teacher, but as a woman who has had her heart broken. I thought I would share the wisdom I learned while healing the pain in my journey.
NGs are different from drama queens.
I was his close friend for almost three years. We supported each other through career and relationship transitions. We shared a love of trivia, Sting, and the Sunday New York Times. All of a sudden I was left feeling confused that my text messages and phone calls were not being answered like they once were when I was a friend. I did not know that I had to now engage “the game.”
NGs don’t play “the games” because we don’t know the rules or have time to learn the rules. We show up as our real and authentic selves, and it is likely why you chose us a friend. NGs are successful in our professional lives, pillars of the community, God-conscious, and often single mothers. We recognize that if men are serious about dating and a potential relationship, they welcome honestly expressed feelings. We hope you feel the same way.
If you don’t have similar feelings, please don’t try to play games with us. Leave that to the women who enjoy playing those games. Yes, those women exist, but they can also be the women who bring all the drama, trauma, and stress into your lives.
Forgive us if the timing is awkwardly imperfect.
It took me over one year to build up the courage and try to find the right time to tell him the secret in my heart. I was sure there was more chemistry there than just our friendship. I was so nervous that I randomly and awkwardly vomited out my authentic and humble feelings when he called me during a business trip. I wasn’t sure if he was dating anyone else or in still in love with the last woman who broke his heart.
In trying to please everyone, we NGs build up courage and wait for the perfect time. The perfect time is the moment to say those scary words, “there are more feelings and chemistry present, could we move beyond the friend zone?” There is no perfect timing. Likely, the statement of admiration we rehearsed in our heads never flow out with the same grace and ease that was present in our imaginations.
Take a moment to process your response (and to get over your shock.)
Initially, I exhaled relief because I spoke my truth to him. Then the fear took over, “oh crap. I just broke every rule in all of the dating books.” Cue my analytical rationalization, “I don’t have to play by those psycho-babble rules. I mean Steve Harvey couldn’t even read cue cards correctly? Why should I listen to Steve tell me to, ‘think like a man?'” I am a mindful woman. Being mindful is being present in truth, love, and compassion. (gulp, it turns out you were right Steve.)
I understand that if you have been thwarted into a place of conflict and confusion. Here is a beautiful, kind and smart woman; why didn’t you notice her feelings? Do you have similar feelings? What are you supposed to do next? Will this ruin your friendship?
Whatever you do, pause, think, and tell the nice girl in front you the truth. Let her know if you feel caught off guard. Ask for time to process the information.
Sex may not be on the menu.
Unless we specifically invited you to join us as a friend with benefits, please do not cross that line. If you are not feeling a genuine connection beyond sexual attraction, be very careful about sexual intimacy. Let me spell this out—do not lead us on with all the smooth lines. NGs may want sex only in the context of monogamy. Even if you both agree on becoming intimate, take things slow. Rushing into intimacy, a relationship, and sex could cost you a friendship.
Be honest, even if you are scared.
Transitions out of a stable friendship can fuel fear in both individuals. Dishonesty, lies, and seduction only feeds fear. Avoid heartache, confusion, and ugliness with honesty. Be upfront if you are still dating or in love with another woman. She may not be aware that that a long-standing friendship doesn’t move her to the top of your list of women that you are interested in dating.
Don’t feel guilty if the feelings are not mutual, just speak the truth. It may cause temporary disappointment but will keep the friendship intact in the long run.
The mindful path teaches us that disappointment in life is inevitable if we are attached to a desired outcome rather than just going with the flow. This journey showed me that life gives us painful lessons not to stew in sadness, but to grow and build a more resilient heart.
If you have recently had a drive-by-love proclamation by a sweet girl you put in the friend zone, please proceed with caution. If you are not ready to settle down into love and a relationship, we hold no judgment. Just drive thru, and please don’t run over our hearts. In the end, there is an NG inside of us women still holding on to hope for love.
Photo: Getty Images
“That’s great DJ, good for you to “rise above it” or whatever you tell yourself when you pat yourself on the back. This writer herself might not be a good target, but this article she wrote certainly is a great target. ” Really, going to lash out a me now? Ok, lets go there, and lets put this right up here at the top and do some man talk. I think it will be a great opportunity for many women, and some men to see it, and perhaps learn a bit more about men. First, I’m not patting myself on… Read more »
A warm hug.
This is well written and intelligent insights DJ.
Thank you, Kim.
When I get a little spirited, or write quickly, my dyslexia kicks into overdrive. Glad that it was at least legible, as I feel that it is important to open our minds on this, engage in real discussion as to how it effects us all, and not fall prey to anger and resentment.
To empathize means confronting our own grief and hurts. It’s easier to respond with anger. It’s better to respond with compassion. I think part of the anger is that some guys felt used, string along. I knpw wpmen have had boyfriends who used them and they’ve had platonic friends who’ve used them. What I think is less evident is whether women have had platonic relationships with men who used their sexual attraction ti get things from them. I suspect it’s true, but some guys will probably need a woman to actually come out and say it before they give it… Read more »
Missed your reply first time around, john. Yes, I can see that.
There are two certainties here.
One is a great lack of communication between the sexes.
The other is that I miss Dr. Romie. Enjoyed reading her.
@ anthony “If I wanted to be “fair”, assuming it would ever happen in my life (which it wouldn’t), I’d have to be a complete asshole to so many women who completely shut me out of their lives at the simple admission that I even so much as thought they were attractive.” I’ve had it both ways and maybe that’s why I have the opinions I have. I’ve had crushes on women who were friends and then mentioned that I had a crush and immediately lost the friendship. I’ve had cases where I’ve had a crush on a friend and… Read more »
Thanks for sharing that. Maybe it’s me, but I love comments where people talk about their own experiences, and then sum it up with a “moral of the story”. In this case, I agree with what you’re saying. I would say though, I feel wrong about your last sentence. I don’t want to say that a woman who couldn’t handle knowing that I was attracted to her wasn’t an “actual friend” before that. I know, in my heart, that they really were. I am, perhaps, a bit odd in this: Like how some people have a hard time using the… Read more »
I’ve always had a soft spot for the (nice) girl in the corner.
However, they rarely wanted anything to do with me.
I’ve even had NGs as friends, who have kind of pre-emptively turned me down, either directly to my face or via a mutual friend, by seemingly out of the blue and rather matter-of-factly state that “I hope you’re not interested…?” !
Then again I never knew the rules of the game either.
The problem with expectations is that they are almost always disappointing. It’s hard not to have them, but the less you do the more relaxed you will become. It’s better to be pleasantly surprised.
Dr. Romie makes great points and I applaud her for putting into words those lessons, both men and NGs should learn from. I have been the Nice Guy who never wanted to cross the line for fear of losing a great friendship in the process. Looking back maybe there were some occasions that I should have dared to cross that line, but after seeing what other males had done in terms of breaking their hearts and inflicting unnecessary wounds, I didn’t want to be the one to add to it. (I was a dog in my romantic relationships but not… Read more »
Looking back at the comments, I think that one issue is that men are told two different things and each puts us at a disadvantage / makes us the bad guy. In many articles, men are told that you are not entitled to kindness. Kindness is a gift. In other articles like chivalry, men are told that it’s either an obligation or somehow makes you a better man (not person because that would mean that women would have to be chivalrous to be better also) so it’s a component of masculinity whether through obligation or because it makes you a… Read more »
I have a friend. She’s a nice girl and 20 years younger than I. She would be the ideal life partner except that she’s not conventionally attractive. I had no sexual attraction to her. She poured her heart out to me as well; her fear sadness, and resignation of never having a man. The thing is she was truly a friend of mine. I cared for her and I think that’s one of the ways it departed from the typical friend zone experience. When she needed me, I was there. I just didn’t feel a sexual attraction to her. I… Read more »
Flip the genders and I really relate. Actually just told a woman who I’ve been friends with for a while now and it’s been odd ever since. I’m not sure if it’s her or I that can’t go back to being really close friends. It may have something to do with some type of intimacy being present before in a FWB type thing or what.
Skipped the intro and went right to the depth of the essay. Loved it after only a sentence or two, Then I realized why, “The girl in the corner”. Yanno, there comes a time when all the flash and bang fades away, the sexy, the excitement, the wildness ebbs in finality. We will age, we will endure hard times, have stress, and have kids. The looks will fade, the body begins to drop, and 20 years in we begin to realize that the only thing holding it together is the mortar that is us, who we are to each other.… Read more »
Hello DJ, this is Dr. Romie- GMP resident Nice Girl. (And the “Nice Girl in the Corner”) Don’t apologize for “bleeding all over the essay”, I welcome your thoughts. I want to use my skills as a physician, mindfulness teacher, and wisdom as a woman to help empower men.(The mission og GMP). I firmly believe that when men feel empowered, the world will also become a better place for women as we are your mothers, friends, sisters, girlfriends, wives, and daughters. I will never lose hope that in working together we can make the world a more peaceful, happy and… Read more »
Talk about entitlement. Guys aren’t machines that you put friendship tokens into and have sex come out.
I understand the impulse Zemus, believe me I had snarky comments running through my head too. But presumably Dr. Romie doesn’t subscribe to that “Nice Guy(tm)” BS that gets slung at men, so she doesn’t deserve the scorn. (I mean, I assume she doesn’t, anyway) Rather I think the tone deaf people here are the editors of GMP who published this article presumably without a trace of irony or self-awareness, after years of heaping condemnation on Nice Guys who dare to be upset not only that their feelings are unrequited, but at the idea that maybe women also have an… Read more »
All the “nice guy” articles that get bandied about here and everywhere, and then they want sympathy for women for saying the same thing we’ve been trying to say? I’m not having it, least of all from a HuffPo writer. No, I’m giving them what they’ve given us, and if she has something to say about it she can come down here herself and do so.
But who is they, Zemus? is she “they?” Or is she just a nice girl that is in the same boat as so many of us that once went that route, so many of us that do not have the ability to articulate it? Is that not what we deal with when we hear how privileged we are because some fat white guy has a seat in congress? We are the Borg? We become not individual men with, like, actual feelings, but targets, because we are seen as “them” by the sick, lame and lazy. It’s tough, I know it… Read more »
That’s great DJ, good for you to “rise above it” or whatever you tell yourself when you pat yourself on the back. This writer herself might not be a good target, but this article she wrote certainly is a great target. This is a joke of an article and any woman who describes herself as a “nice girl” and complains about not getting male attention is just physically unattractive, that’s all it is. Men and women are very simple, we are all beyond shallow. You could be everything a woman says she wants in a man as far as your… Read more »
Yeah, but there’s a certain “rise above it” attitude too. If I wanted to be “fair”, assuming it would ever happen in my life (which it wouldn’t), I’d have to be a complete asshole to so many women who completely shut me out of their lives at the simple admission that I even so much as thought they were attractive. Problem is, I’m actually a nice guy, for real. So I believe in giving better than I receive. It doesn’t help to be as bad as absolutely everyone else in your life has been. It’s sappy and stupid, but I’m… Read more »
“It doesn’t help to be as bad as absolutely everyone else in your life has been.” But staying the course and continuing to get your generosity and general niceness taken advantage of does help? Yeah, no. You might be terminally nice, but I was fortunate enough to have the niceness and naivete beaten out of me through life experiences. Besides, I certainly feel a lot better when I am a ruthless, cruel person to those who have earned that treatment rather than being a pushover nice guy. “It’s sappy and stupid, but I’m old and useless now anyway, so I’ve… Read more »
I’m sorry you feel this way, and I know where you’re coming from, because I’ve often felt this way myself. It’s hard being harshly rejected thousands of times for years, and it’s hard knowing that with some tiny changes (in many areas of my life), I could become that ruthless, cruel person who succeeds beyond my wildest dreams. I know (due to some creative hacking of the test results database), that at least according to one exhaustive, multiple day, 9 hour IQ test I took, I scored 174. I may (or may not) have been recently involved in software security… Read more »
Aside: Those articles, and people who slam “nice guys”, they’re mostly from assholes who wouldn’t know what it really means to be an actual nice guy. Sure, they win…every time, but at what cost to their own integrity? I may have failed at life (never been on a date, never been in a relationship I really wanted to be in, never married, genetic dead end) but I did so on my own terms, where I’ve never really compromised on my integrity and core values, and have done good things in the world otherwise. I have lots of regrets, but I… Read more »
You express this so well I want to print it out and keep it for ever.
I am impressed, and I admire you deeply!
….and you made me cry.
I’m glad that, for once, I managed to put something I feel into words that resonate. But now I’m at a loss for words. All I can do is thank you for the validation.
We’ve had our share of (hopefully always civil) agreements and disagreements in these comment threads for months, but I’m likewise deeply respectful of everything you have to say. Thanks for being here.
Outstanding, Sir Anthony. Well thought out, laced with immeasurable awareness, lucid and heartfelt…and just a touch of black heart, bull in the china shop tuning that I hope I’ve had a part in bringing out! We’ve talked about my adventures with bullies, defending those picked on, but what I’ve not mentions is that although more a jock in both highschool and college, I grew very tired, very quickly of that jock strap mentality. I associated with what we tend to call, nice guys,nice girls, and nerds. Why? Because they were good, gentle, aware individuals with a depth, awareness, and sense… Read more »
As always, very well said. And thank you for the compliment. Coming from you, it means a lot. 🙂
Well you are that nice guy turned good guy of which I wrote, and now an exemplar of manhood. Defined it for me anyway.
Well said, 8.
Good evening Zemus and 8Ball, This is Dr. Romie- self appointment GMP Nice Girl. Thank you for leaving your honest comments on my post- it is helpful to understand what a man’s point of view is on the issues of dating, relationships and heartbreak. I am not entitled, nor do I make an assumption about men being machines. As I mentioned in my reply above, my intention for being on GMP is to empower men (the mission of GMP). When we empower the men in our lives, the world is a better place for the women too. I am the… Read more »
I find it funny. It’s not that you have dumped on nice guys, it’s that exactly what you’ve written has been echoed by nice guys, and the vitriol launched at them for saying the exact same thing from a man’s perspective has been shot down SO hard, it’s almost laughable. I’m not kidding. The kind of vitriol consistently spewed at a man for saying these things is pervasive, all encompassing, and somewhat shocking. But having said that, I’m trying to rise about it. Knowing how I’ve been treated my whole life, I know that in a hypothetical case where, for… Read more »
You missed the point Zemus was making entirely. There are dozens, no, HUNDREDS, of articles exactly like this except from a male perspective, and every single article like that is flooded with mockery and scorn directed at the guy who wrote it. You should be treated no differently, especially as a woman on a website whose purpose you claim is to empower men. You are not a “nice girl” – you are just unattractive, and that goes for all self-proclaimed nice girls. You being a so-called nice girl would have no affect on you getting attention if you were easy… Read more »
“maybe women also have an obligation to let someone down gently if they don’t reciprocate.”
The sad thing is I suspect that there is sexist stereotypes in that as well. I think it comes from the belief that women will always be compassionate while men will tend to heartless brutes so men need to be told and women don’t. I doubt it’s conscious, but that is the thing we try to work through here. Even the editors have social constructs / beliefs that they’ve internalized. We can always strive to be better.
Why doesn’t she deserve the scorn? There are plenty of genuinely nice guys who write those articles and they become the butt of every joke in the comment section. So because she’s a woman she should be different? No. Never. She needs to experience the same kind of vitriol, especially writing on a man’s site, although I question that this is even a site for men being that all the articles read like a feminist’s idea of what men should be. Which makes sense considering that the CEO is a woman. I just take solace knowing that I don’t know… Read more »
Whether she deserves or not is actually besides the point. What ground do we have to object to the way feminists have treated men if we willingly, and on your case I suspect gleefully, turn around and dish out the same when the opportunity arises? And if we were to do that, would she then not be justified to continue the cycle on the next “nice guy” she encounters? Because we did it to her? I refuse to engage in that sort of nonsense. I can only control my own behavior therefore if I want this bullshit to end, it… Read more »