A “Nice Guy” worries that he is “too nice,” but a Good Man never has to worry that he is “too good.”
If you’re a woman who’s tried online dating, chances are you’ve experienced the hypocrisy of a man who describes himself as a “nice guy” on his profile, but then messages you with unwanted sexual advances and threats. Their alleged niceness comes off as entitlement, and when you don’t reward them for being nice, they become abusive. It is through this type of behavior that the term “Nice GuyTM” was invented, because the idea of a man patting himself on the back and expecting worldwide recognition for something as basic as “niceness” is something women consider a joke and a red flag.
This behavior isn’t limited to dating sites. Go to a bar around last call. Go to a college dorm. Watch any movie where the “Nice Guy” gets the hot girl in the end. Women in real life are sick of men being influenced by these movies, and they invented the term “Nice GuyTM” to show these men how their actions are anything but nice.
So what’s the difference between being a “Nice Guy” and a “Good Man?” Here at The Good Men Project we invite people to join us in “the conversation no one else is having,” so how is this conversation about masculinity and good men different from the “I’m a nice guy” lecture that women are sick of?
Nice Guys envy what other men have; Good Men understand that everyone’s circumstances are different
It’s hard to see the woman you love in the arms of another man, especially if it’s a man you dislike. It’s also hard to see a man you dislike surrounded by affectionate women, whether you like those women or not. You wonder what that man has that you don’t, and assume he must be a better man than you. As a defense mechanism, you lash out at women and create a false narrative of what women want from men. You start telling yourself that women won’t date you because you’re “too nice,” and that if you were a jerk like the guy surrounded by beautiful women in his Instagram photos, you could get women, too.
Problem is: when you say stuff like that, you sound like a jerk, and a whiny jerk, at that.
The man you call a jerk possesses many qualities that are attractive to women, and if you’re sitting at a computer, resentfully staring at photos of women who won’t date you, chances are you don’t possess those qualities. The solution is not to blame the entire female gender for your loneliness, but to be at peace with what you have instead of coveting other people’s lives. That same guy could just as easily be looking at David Beckham’s Instagram and cursing God for not granting him everything David Beckham has. As Lao Tzu said, “If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled.” Think about what you have to offer the world, not what the world has to offer you, and find fulfillment in that. The world will never give you a dream girlfriend just for being a “Nice Guy.”
Nice Guys want women to like them; Good Men want to like themselves
Don’t get me wrong: we all want women to like us, but a good man doesn’t stake his entire self-worth on women’s opinions of him. A Good Man accepts that, no matter how good he is, some people will dislike him, and he is at peace with that. A Nice Guy expects everyone to like him, and he expects women to reward him with affection. A Nice Guy worries that he is “too nice,” as though that’s the reason women won’t date him, whereas a Good Man never worries that he is “too good,” because he understands the intrinsic value of being good and doesn’t care whether it results in women dating him.
It is important, though, to acknowledge that no man wants to be the envious, entitled “Nice Guy,” and that most men want to be good. We are just sometimes confused about what makes a man good. We grow up being told that women aren’t superficial, and that men’s greatest flaw is being too superficial. We are taught that women want a “sensitive man,” but we don’t yet understand the difference between narcissistic sensitivity and empathetic sensitivity. Women don’t want a man who is only sensitive to his own feelings; they want a man who is sensitive to everyone’s feelings, or at least sensitive to hers.
Moreover, it’s inaccurate to say that women only want a sensitive man, and it’s inaccurate to say that women aren’t superficial at all. Women want men who make them feel physically, not just emotionally, safe, women want their children to have attractive physical features, and women want a partner they find attractive, just as men do. Women rarely choose a man they aren’t attracted to just because he’s “nice,” just as men rarely do.
Nice Guys “finish last” because they see themselves as losers; Good Men finish last because they make sure everyone gets to finish
If you only care about women liking you, then you have a narrow-minded outlook on what you can do for humanity. Think about all the injustices in the world: victims of violence & neglect, people stuck in extreme poverty, survivors of natural disasters. Surely you have more to offer than just being one person’s boyfriend or husband, but helping those who are truly suffering is too difficult for a “Nice Guy,” especially when there is little or no reward accompanying it.
Imagine if Oscar Schindler, Martin Luther King, or Mahatma Gandhi had asked, “What’s in it for me?” They all would have led lives filled with resentment, bitter that they sacrificed so much for the good of humanity but were not rewarded accordingly. But these were Good Men, not “Nice Guys,” and their fulfillment came from within, not from others. Schindler didn’t save 1200 Jews because he thought it would look good on his Match.com profile; he did it because humanity needed him to, and because nobody else would.
When a Good Man has the ability to help, he helps, and knowing he has made a difference is all the reward he needs. Yes, he has his physical and emotional limits, and we don’t all have to be self-sacrificing martyrs just to be Good Men, but we do have to constantly ask ourselves, “What more can I do?” instead of “What more can I get?”
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