Many women have had experiences with at least one Nice Guya t some point in their life; it’s not an unusual phenomenon. And many of those women have a lot of things they wish Nice Guys understood — because honestly, if everyone on the planet took these lessons t heart, then we’d be living in a much friendlier world. In fact, that’s what this AskReddit thread posted by Redditor u/PirateJohn75 is getting at: Asking, “Women of Reddit, what do you wish self-proclaimed ‘nice guys’ would understand?”, it lays out, in no uncertain terms, exactly what “Nice Guys” really need to know. The thread isn’t new — it’s from about six months ago — but this stuff is timeless, so let’s dive in anyway.
When I say “Nice Guys,” I don’t mean guys who are nice. I mean Nice Guys ™ — guys who like to go on and on about how “nice” they are, when really, they’re not nice at all. They’re just acting that way because they think they can get something out of it. And that is not nice — that’s manipulative. A lot has been written about the Nice Guy ™ phenomenon, so I’ll send you here, here, and here for more — but the below lessons should also serve as a pretty solid primer on how not to be a Nice Guy.
Worth noting: A lot of the points I’ve pulled out below were suggested by many, many different Redditors; whichever version of the point is displayed in the screenshot is almost entirely arbitrary, based pretty much entirely on which one I spotted first. Know, though, that whoever is featured in the screenshot is likely far from the only person who suggested that particular point — and the fact that so many folks felt the need to bring each of these up just underlines how serious the issues underlining them really are.
Also worth noting: The question was phrased as asking “women of Reddit” what they think about “nice guys,” and indeed, women are frequently on the receiving end of behavior like this coming from men; however, most — if not all — of these points stand no matter what gender you are or which gender(s) you’re interested in.
There’s a lot of bad dating advice out there. This? This is generally good dating advice — and also solid advice on how to be a decent human being. That’s something we should all strive to be.
Head on over to AskReddit for more.
1What Women (Don’t) Want
An awful lot of toxic ideas about “romance” and “love” are perpetuated by the media we consume. It’s all well and good to watch and/or enjoy them; it’s possible to enjoy a thing while still being critical of it, though, and here’s an excellent example of why it’s actually important to do just that. Because of how unsafe the world often is to women, these things are frequently not at all romantic. They’re scary.
Really, really scary.
2You Don’t Get A Cookie For Being “Nice”
You also don’t get a gold star for not being a jerk. The bar for being a basically decent human is incredibly low. You don’t get a reward for clearing it.
3Being Nice Is Does Not Grant You Any Entitlements
The same way you don’t get a cookie for clearing the incredibly low bar of basic human decency, you’re not owed attention or affection from anyone simply for being nice to them. You know the saying “virtue is its own reward?” It’s true. Don’t be nice to people because you want something out of them. Be nice to them because it’s the right thing to do.
Put more bluntly, it’s this:
And now, a cautionary tale. Don’t be this guy:
4This Is The Difference Between A Nice Guy ™ And A Guy Who Is Nice
The Nice Guy ™ brags about how nice he is, likely because he mistakenly believes that he’ll get a cookie for being so nice. A guy who is genuinely nice (or, y’know, just a person who is genuinely nice, because people of all genders are capable of being nice) doesn’t. This is an incredibly important distinction.
This comment illustrates how points two, three, and four are connected:
5Being Someone’s Friend As A Method For Getting In Their Pants Is Not Actually Being A Friend
It’s being manipulative. And that is not cool. But it happens all the dang time:
Friendship isn't a “consolation prize,” and it's not a tactic. It is what it is — friendship.
Which brings us to our next point...
6The “Friend Zone” Doesn’t Exist
Again: Not a consolation prize; not a tactic; not "less than" dating someone. Friendship is its own thing, and that is not only fine, but even better, it is actually awesome when the friendships are good.
And this is why it needs to be its own thing:
7Nice Guys Don’t Necessarily Finish Last
I would argue that anyone who says, “No ever likes me THAT WAY because I’m such a nice guy! WOE IS ME!” is, in fact, a Nice Guy ™, as demonstrated in point number four, not a guy who is nice. It’s common dating advice, but if you find yourself continually being rejected, it’s time to look at the common denominator: Yourself. Sure, it might be everyone else in that you’re always going after people who aren’t the right match for you — but if that’s the case, then it’s worth trying to figure out why you’re always going after people who aren’t the right match for you. But also, it might be your behavior (are you being creepy?), so do some soul searching and take a good, hard look at yourself. Here is a good resource with lots of information on how to do that, and what to do with what you find.
8There’s A Reason For The “Soft No”
I know. Soft nos suck, and it would be much easier if we could all just say, “Would you like to go out on a date?”, “No, thank you,” and carry on with our lives. But giving someone a hard no can turn into a frightening situation really quickly depending on that person’s reaction to it, which is why a lot of women in particular tend to use soft nos when turning down a date they’re not interested in. Just… know that, and understand it. And if someone does turn you down, whether it’s with a hard or soft no, just say, “OK, I understand,” and leave that person alone. It will help enormously.
9Sex Is Not A Right, It’s A Privilege & And Choice — For Everyone Involved
This. Just all of it.
10Also, You Don’t Get To Make That Choice For Someone Else
One person doesn’t get to decide for all involved parties that they’re going to have sex. But if you are an uninvolved party, then you don’t get to decide that other people who are not you aren’t going to have sex. We all get to make those decisions for ourselves, and if the people we want to have sex with also want to have sex with us, awesome. If not, we all respect that and go our separate ways. And if we all start out with a yes and someone changes their mind, then we stop. Agency and consent: Two things that really, really matter.
11All Of This
Learn it. Love it. Live it.