Nice guys and general stuff

From: (Paul J. Wilczynski)
Subject: Nice guys / meeting women

I've been reading a lot of postings from guys who are having problems finding a relationship. Many of them (but not all) speaking of their being a 'nice guy' and not wanting to be aggressive.

This is coming from someone who's 43. I've wanted to comment on these postings for a while, and finally decided to do it.

When I was a teen thru my mid-20s, I characterized myself as a 'nice guy'. Same story I hear here on a regular basis ... lots of women would tell me what a great catch I'd be for someone else. Sounds nice the first time you hear it. Maybe the second, and possibly the third. After that, it gets old really fast.

What I finally realized, after a *long* time, was that I was waiting for "something" to happen, and it didn't. I *certainly* didn't want to offend a women by suggesting we be something more than friends, did I? I *certainly* didn't want to risk getting my face slapped by suggesting (in any manner) that the bedroom might be an appropriate place to spend the rest of the evening, did I?

Let me tell you, in no particular order, what I've learned about this whole thing called "relationships between men and women". Take it for what it's worth ... and remember it's often worth what you pay for it. Some of these points are interrelated ...

1. With rare exceptions, women are not offended if you make a pass at them, as long as it's done with some amount of taste. In fact, after a fairly short period of time (mileage may vary), women draw an important conclusion if you *don't* make a pass. And that conclusion is that you're not terribly interested in being more than a friend. Let me explain that I consider 'make a pass' to be a very broad term ... it can be something as non-threatening as putting you hand on her arm briefly and telling her that you think she looks especially nice tonight.

2. If you're interested in a women as possibly more than a friend, you *have* to tell her that - somehow - fairly soon. Probably by the end of the first date. Again, it doesn't have to be anything Outrageously Significant, but it's got to be *something*. (see last sentence above). It doesn't have to be words. It at least has to be some sort of signal.

3. On the subject of compliments:

4. *Practice* dealing with women, especially if you're shy. They usually don't bite (some do, actually, but that's another topic and doesn't come until somewhat later in the relationship ...) How? Easy:

5. On the subject of being "aggressive" (which "nice guys", of course, don't like to be) ...

I could go on, but that's probably it for a start.

Comments? I'd be interested in comments from women as much as men.


From: (Paul J. Wilczynski) -------------------------------
Subject: More on Men and Women

Because of a flood of positive mail (well, a small flood) in response to my recent posting about relationships between men and women, I thought I'd pass along a few more random observations. Remember: advice is worth what you pay for it, and this is based on my experience. Your mileage may vary.

Since I actually got more responses from women (saying that many of the points applied equally to women, too), I'm going to divide this up into sections.

A. Both sexes ...

1. Remember that members of the opposite sex are people, just like you. Women aren't orifaces, guys. Guys have feelings too, women.

2. One of the things that you'll come to find most attractive about a person of a the opposite sex in terms of a relationship is that the person is attracted to you. I have to give credit to a discussion in some newsgroup to this idea, but it really hit me when I read it. Think about it: if a person doesn't *want* to have a relationship with you, that's really not an attractive quality about the person, is it? Ever take a course in marketing? A market is defined in part by those people who want what you're selling. If a person doesn't want what you're selling, the person isn't in your market! Not everyone is going to want what you've got, great as it might be.

3. Smile. Not grin, but smile.

4. *Try* to see beyond what a person of the opposite sex looks like on the outside. Of course, if you look at a person and have to suppress a gag reflex, that's probably not the one you want to spend a lifetime with, as nice a personality as (s)he may have.

Remember all those pithy little sayings like "beauty is only skin deep"? Well, try to remember them. Some of the most beautiful women I have ever known you wouldn't notice walking down the street. But when they smiled that special smile at me and only me ... whew. If their Weight isn't quite Proportional to their Height (WPTH), so what?

Of course, on the other side of the fence, the campus beauty queen is only human, too, beneath all that lucious, sexy, curvy ... (oh, stop it, Paul!!!!)

5. Try as hard as you can not to get involved with people who are married, no matter what they say about the state of their marriage, unless they're separated and have filed papers for divorce.

6. Think about what you say before you say it, from the point of view of hearing someone else say it to you.

My worst experience in this area: the first time I ever bedded a woman was when I was about 23. (Late bloomer, obviously). She was about 10 years older than me and previously married. Things were going well, but I was nervous. Right at Beginning Moment, she looked up at me and said "Is this your first time in saddle?" The situation turned out fine, fortunately (she took the role of Teacher), but the phrasing of the question could have used some work.

B. For men ...

1. I hate to say this is this section, but I think it may apply somewhat more to men then women. Keep yourself clean, ok? You may have a great mind and a stunning personality, but if your potential sex partner has to hang odor eaters around you, it's making the situation just that much more difficult.

2. Forget about the idea of getting into bed with a woman with the intention of both of you keeping your clothes on all night, unless that's the way you want the relationship to be for the rest of all time, or unless you happen to be into the sex game called "I'm a priest, you're a nun". If it's late at night and you're a long way from home (or drunk) and she offers with the caveat that no Private Parts will be exposed, politely decline the offer. Tell her that she's much too attractive for you to be able to do that without being overwhelmed by passion (assuming you believe it, of course), then sleep on the floor or the couch.

3. Often (not always, but very often) when a woman tells you about a problem she's having, she's not looking to you for the solution. What? That doesn't make sense? See intro to section C. What she's often looking for is comfort and reassurance and knowing that you're there.

That's why, when you analyze the situation and present her the options as you seem them in decreasing order of probable success, she looks at you like you're from Mars and/or bursts into tears and/or storms off saying "you haven't heard a word I said!".

Note that this doesn't really apply to a women who comes to you the day before a final saying she doesn't know the material. She's looking for your notes or a course summary she can stick in her shoe for consultation, not your comforting words that she'll ace the test in spite of having no concept of what the course was about.

I understand, the nuances of this are rough. Stick with it.

C. For women ...

[This section's a little tough for me because, frankly, I don't really understand women. No man will *ever* absolutely understand women, hundreds of books oriented towards Understanding Women to the contrary. Oh, I understand them *more* as time goes on, but it would take more than one or two average male lifetimes (AMLs, as we call them) to Understand them.]

1. Whoever invented the game of "play hard to get"? Sheesh. Lots of guys have enough lack of self-confidence without playing *this* game. I mean, you don't have to come out and say you want to bear his children, but try to be honest.

2. Men's emotional swings can be just as wide as yours, PMS notwithstanding. Your smile can make a guy's day (or week), and your lack of attention can bring him to the depths of despair.

3. Rejection is *very* hard for a lot of guys to take, so if you're going to be doing any rejecting, give some thought to how you phrase it. Personally, the rejection phrase I've found easiest to take is "I'm already involved with someone". That wasn't a rejection of anything about *me*.

That's it for now,

From: shirriff@sprite.Berkeley.EDU (Ken Shirriff) Subject: Nice Guys vs. Jerks 
(summary of a discussion)

Q: Why do women go out with jerks instead of "nice guys"? This is one of the age-old Usenet questions that bores nearly anyone who has been on the net more than six months.

There are several different meanings of "nice": Being a friendly, decent human being: generally a good thing. Being inoffensive, shy, boring, lacking self-confidence: almost always bad. People labeled "nice guy" usually fall into the last category; people can be nice without it being the defining facet of their personality.

There are several different meanings of "jerk": Being an actual jerk: not attractive to most women. Being self-confident, assertive, outgoing: generally a good thing, but the nice guy may consider him a jerk.

The nice guy vs. jerk debate thrives on this ambiguity, as well as the false division of people into nice guys or jerks. Women generally prefer self-confident guys over shy, boring ones, but this does not mean they prefer "jerks" over "nice guys".

Men labelled "nice guy" may be submissive about their emotional needs. They would generally rather avoid an argument rather than let one develop. They are not loud or aggressive, and generally despise men who are, usually on the grounds that such men are insensitive and heedless of hurt they do to others. "Nice guys" face several impediments to relationships: they lose out in competition to assertive men and they appear to lack self-confidence. (Andrew Bettison)

The canonical scenario is the woman always tells the nice guy about what a jerk her boyfriends are, but never goes out with nice guy. The nice guy remains single and frustrated (also known as LJBF: "let's just be friends"). a) The woman probably doesn't need to discuss her boyfriend when everything is fine, so the nice guy may form a unjustly negative image of the boyfriend. b) A barrier to a relationship with the nice guy is "don't sleep with friends". c) The interesting question in this scenario is why does the nice guy stick around with this woman who is draining his emotional support when he could find someone else. Note the symmetry that he is attracted to this "jerk" woman instead of finding a "nice woman".

Being fun and interesting is the quality that gets you friends. Being nice is the quality that helps you keep the friends. Being sexy, flirtatious, and aggressive at the right moment gets you in bed with the woman you want. (strake)

It is not true that women, in general, prefer assholes. Women, in general, prefer guys with self-confidence. Unfortunately, assholes are generally pretty self-confident. (slf)

"Being *nice* is not enough." Okay, fine, you're *nice*. But you also need to be *interesting*. (Pooh)

Maybe the cause-and-effect are backwards; guys who attract lots of women are jerks because they don't have to be nice.

Some women say "you're too nice to go out with" as a "polite" way of saying "I don't want to go out with you".

Clearly some women do go out with jerks (e.g. codependency, women who want extra excitement, women who want to "rescue" the jerk). However, lots of women do go out with nice guys; after all, most nice guys end up in relationships, married, etc. Besides, why would you _want_ to go out with a woman who is attracted to jerks.

From: (David Abbott) -------------------------------
Subject: Re: Helpful Hints to NicePeople(tm)

Karen Ronan writes...

This won't be very thorough, but here are some hints to "nice people" on how to stop others from taking advantage:

- Give serious thought to how you feel when you have been taken advantage of: e.g. hurt, betrayed, disappointed, scared, embarrassed, angry. Think about exactly what behavior of your friend triggered exactly which reaction in you.

- Think about whether this reaction is entirely justified, partly justified, possibly an overreaction, or what. Think about whether the reaction is the same one you've been feeling since childhood in similar situations. Think about whether you want to have this reaction for the rest of your life, or whether you are ready to change the reaction. (Sometimes you will still want to have that reaction.)

- Think about whether you maintain your emotional boundaries or whether you allow others to invade your emotional boundaries. If you let them invade your boundaries, what are you willing to do to prevent this in the future? Are you willing to say "No"? Are you willing to say, "I'm angry"? Are you willing to say, "I'm finding it hard to tolerate what you did, and I'm very hurt"? Even if it means the other person will get defensive and angry with you? Are you willing to stand up for yourself because your feelings are important ?

- Think specifically about what you /can/ tolerate as opposed to what you /actually/ tolerate. Give yourself permission to stop tolerating what is intolerable.

- Permit yourself to refuse people access to you if they're incapable of treating you respectfully.

- Respect yourself and respect others. Believe that others are doing the best that they can, even if they are operating at a very low level. People don't have the perception that you do. People don't know what you are feeling or thinking and are unconscious of hurting you.

- Think of communicating your feelings as giving information to someone, not as imposing demands on them.

Other hints welcome.


- Keep a diary of everything hurtful or enjoyable, and read each entry a week later. You soon realise if you are an oversensitive bastard.

David. [...]

Lars P. Fischer <>

(Sat Sep 17 00:09:13 1994)