The Nice Guy in the Middle

Sometime last year, I stumbled upon an article originally written by Fu-Zu Jen for the Wharton Undergraduate Journal and it was titled: Ode to the Nice Guys.

As I read the article, I began to feel a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. A feeling of being appreciated, and of being gratified. Finally! One woman somewhere on this planet has realised the most common error of her gender, I thought. Finally, someone has acknowledged the all too common female practice of taking the nice guy for granted.

I reminisced about the many conversations I had had with girls who complained about their wayward boyfriends & love interests, the many times I had told them point blank what the problem was, and the not so many times I had been that nice guy – the one who got “friend zoned,” who was “too close for comfort,” and who was “too good of a friend to risk losing.”

Thus I was originally planning to write a simple encouraging article for the nice guys, the guys who are still being jerked around by the fancies of their female friends… but then I stumbled upon another article called The Nice Guy Dilemma by Susan Walsh. She unlike me, had had an entirely different reaction to the article. As had another blogger called Matt Savage in his piece titled Why the “Ode to the Nice Guys” Is Complete Crap.

As you can see, Matt wasn’t too keen on the ode at all, and his article albeit valid, focused on a specific type of “nice guy” – a nice guy born of low self- esteem. While Susan focused more on presenting the facts and allowing the reader to make up their own mind. However, in the process of addressing nice guy fallacies and eschewing their opinions, they both neglected to address the majority of guys who face the nice guy dilemma: the people that Matt calls the “Good guys,” that Susan calls the “Beta Males”, society calls the “average joe”, and I now call “the nice guy in the middle.” For this nice guy lies somewhere in the middle of Susan and Matt’s discourses.

Because this nice guy’s dilemma is not entirely due to cowardice. Nor is it due to “friend zoning” but rather, it is one caused by a misconception: The misconception that “getting the girl” is a selfless act…

You see, while it is true that being nice involves acts of kindness and that kindness is an attractive quality to women, those in the middle must realise that this only applies in the general sense. When it comes to showing that you like them, women want to see more selfish tendencies. They want to see that you want them above others, like them above all others, and prize them above all others – and if you do like them, this should already be the case.

But because this starkly conflicts with the altruistic tendencies he naturally shows to be attractive, this nice guy faces a problem. How does he come clean with his emotions without pulling an entire 180° that will scare the girl away? This dilemma coupled with a fear of rejection and separation is what separates the jerk from the nice, and the nice from the spineless.

For the jerks are quick to show their selfish tendencies, the spineless are quick to hide them, and the nice are forced to make a choice: Be a jerk for a minute, or a coward for a lifetime? Because the choice is one that must be made within a time limit, and the longer one takes to decide, the closer they are to being friend-zoned forever.

That said, making the choice to be bold and go after what you want is still not itself a guarantee of success. As there are no guarantees in the world of human relations. Still a move must be made despite the risk; Not because one is prepared to fail, but rather because succeeding is totally worth it.

So as we say goodbye to valentines day, I hope that some of you made the right choice. I hope you were a total jerk, and you went all out to show her how you feel, how much she means to you, and how much of an asshole you are willing to be… for her. <3

Damola Mabogunje

Software Engineer by day, Blogger, Poet and Author, by night, I spend my days writing everything from the convex comma, to highly complex code.

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