“Nice guys finish last” is a common trope heard from men complaining that many people they desire go for “bad boys” or men who don’t treat their partners properly. However, one of the main issues with this attitude is the suggestion that a man is only being a “nice guy” for his own gain – usually romantic. What this phrase is actually trying to do is to encourage empathy for men who attempt to be nice for personal gain, whilst condemning the recipient of this “nice” behaviour for not appreciating it. Today I want to talk about why you shouldn’t be a nice guy, should instead aspire to be a good guy and why ensuring there is a clear distinction between each of these is important.
The Difference Between Good Guys & Nice Guys
Let’s be clear – there is a difference between the two. As mentioned, a “nice guy” is kind to someone for their own personal gain but a “good guy” is kind to someone because he understands that is the way people deserve to be treated. If you want people to treat you with respect and good nature, this behaviour must be mutual. When dealing with people you don’t know, you must lead with that behaviour – respectful and good natured.
On top of this, it is important to remember that changing your behaviour solely to gain the trust of others is misleading at best and outright manipulative at worst. Why does someone who has nothing to offer you deserve any less kindness than someone who you stand to benefit directly from? People gravitate to individuals who are consistently generous with their time and kindness simply because they are good company and fun to be around. Remember the below quote the next time you are introduced to someone who stands to give you no discernible return:
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”—Malcolm S. Forbes
A Good Guy Understands People Don’t Owe Him Anything
This is a key point to remember, particularly when dating someone or talking to someone you are romantically interested in…
Just because you are interested in someone and are nice to them, doesn’t mean they owe you anything.
If you’re being kind to someone to date them or get them into bed, then you are duping them for the sake of your own desires and this is not the behaviour of a good person. As disappointing as it may be, it is best to accept that they may not be interested in you – or one reason or another. There is no need to be rude or mean or complain about being dumped into the “friend zone”. Do you have any idea how much trust and respect it takes for someone to refer to you as a “friend”? Be kind to these people because you want to be kind to them, respect their decisions but if they aren’t interested in you then continue to be respectful. They are not contractually obligated to like you because you label yourself as a “nice guy”.
Endeavour To Treat Others Like a Family Member or Friend
If nothing else, this should put perspective on how you perceive your own behaviour. If you’re chatting to a man or woman, imagine they are your son/daughter facing the same behaviour. How does it look to you? Would you be impressed or angry? Charmed or disgusted? Either way, you’ve got a clear idea of how your behaviour looks to others. Why do they deserve to be treated any differently to the way you would want your loved ones to be treated?
Respect & Kindness Are Like Karma
To paraphrase Mark Rylands in Wolf Hall, the world pays you out what you put into it. If you want people to respect you, respect people first. If you want people to be kind to you, be kind to people first. Life is practically Newtonian in the way that each of your actions creates an equal reaction towards you. Focus on being the first point of an exchange and leading with behaviour that inspires similar behaviour in return. If it isn’t shown to you after that, simply walk away or continue to be the bigger man. You’ll earn more respect that way instead of throwing a tantrum and insulting others.
Ultimately, in the argument of good guys vs. nice guys, it is about understanding that you have self-worth. You don’t need to con people into liking you, you will be liked for simply being who you are. There’s no need to manipulate others or be dishonest and there’s certainly no need to make people feel bad for having different opinions to yours. In the end, people will discover who you truly are. Wouldn’t you prefer that to be the goodness they see from the start, rather than a hidden deceitfulness that they eventually find? An honest man has nothing to fear, so be honest and be kind. Then you’ll find you rarely finish last.
Thank you for checking out this guide about being good guy instead of a nice guy. Make sure to let me know if you have any questions or feedback you would like to discuss in the comments section. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for updates, conversation and chat on my activities and the blog itself.