Nice Guys Are Actually The Worst

Shannon Ashley

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Everybody knows a nice guy. But nice guys today don’t just finish last. Instead, they announce their presence up front and whenever they feel the least bit threatened. We need to talk about the nice guy persona, and why so many men feel the need to make sure people know they’re NG club members.

ICYMI, "nice guy" is no alibi.

Men often refer to themselves as a "nice guy" in response to allegations of sexual assault. Can we finally put this myth to rest that simply calling yourself a "nice guy" somehow removes any suspicion of guilt?

It's not as if giving yourself some arbitrary label of being nice means you're somehow incapable of crappy behavior. Pretty much every skeezy dude in history was known as a nice guy to somebody. Including Jeffrey Dahmer.

Shouting, “But I’m a nice guy!” really doesn’t cut it.

Likewise, “nice guy" is not a valid excuse for bad behavior.

Men need to stop calling themselves a “nice guy” to excuse any time they say they didn’t know they crossed a line. “But I’m a nice guy!” Yes, so you’ve said.

Calling yourself a nice guy doesn’t somehow excuse you from basic standards of decency like keeping your hands to yourself or putting women in unnecessary and uncomfortable sexual situations. You’re still expected to follow the rules of proper social decorum.

If you're really as nice of a guy as you say, you're going to listen and change your behavior without making excuses.

"Nice guy" is not some badge of honor.

Self-proclaimed nice guys wear their label with pride. So. Much. Pride. But it’s devoid of any meaning. Be honest--it's a generic positive quality. We call somebody "nice" simply because we have no reason to call them anything else.

"Nice" is about as basic as one gets. "Nice" people offer niceties, and niceties are nothing but... nice. You can be nice purely out of obligation, concealing an inner bad attitude, and no one may even know. Nice.

Nice people don’t have to talk about being nice.

But let’s assume a person is nice. As in truly, legitimately, genuinely... nice. Even if we pretend that means something, doesn’t the whole self-proclamation aspect ruin the whole darn thing? How nice can anybody really be if they are so worried about other people agreeing to see them that way?

Men, in particular, seem preoccupied with this idea that the world owes them not just the adjective of nice, but also a set of gold stars for being so dang nice.

And really, what's the alternative? Do you really need props for not acting like an jerk? Isn't that just a little bit too needy, boys?

Nice guys commonly hide ulterior motives.

Do you want to know who really gave nice guys a bad name? So-called nice guys. You shot yourselves in your own darn feet when you called yourselves nice guys, claimed to be happy as "just friends" but then flipped out when too many women wanted to just be friends.

Nice guys gave themselves a terrible reputation for only being nice because they felt like they had to do it just to get whatever they want. Nice guys became synonymous with entitled guys, and too few nice guys ever tried to be anything else.

Why are so many men concerned with everybody knowing they're a nice guy?

My simplest guess is because it's easy and society is only beginning to demand more. It's easier to maintain a certain status quo rather than striving to be... better. Just look at how angry some men are about the Gillette commercial. People take issue with the idea that men could behave better, because they mistakenly believe it calls out all men. They take issue with the concept of toxic masculinity because they think calling out bad behavior throws all men under the bus.

There's an analogy running around social media that sums things up... nicely. Basically, a cheeseburger is a type of burger, just like toxic masculinity is a type of masculinity.

One type. Not all.

Nice guys need to aim higher.

Want to know what’s much better than a nice guy? A kind man. Kindness gets stuff done with no ulterior motives or pretending to be friends right now only to push for sex later. Kind men care about other people and doing the right thing, but nice guys demand that the world does good by them.

A kind man comes in many forms, but at its core, kindness is the quality that Gillette ad endorses. Kindness knows no gender, yet it takes strength to be kind in a world that expects that boys will be boys.

Yes, nice guys complain about women preferring bad boys. And maybe that narrative helps you sleep at night. You can believe that you're being unfairly left out of the dating game for being too nice. But anyone can tell you that in the real world, the more mature and stable a woman is, the more impressed she is by kindness. Not niceties. Seriously, grown women swoon for kind men because they know their own currency.

You think that nice guys finish last, but kind men go the distance. They're not waiting for the world to owe them anything. Instead, they're seeking out ways to make this world better.

Quit worrying about being known as a nice guy. In fact, quit trying to get recognized at all. Figure out what it means to be kind. Then be kind.

That way, on the occasion that someone does call you a nice guy, it will mean something even better.

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Single mama, full-time writer, ex-vangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. I cover real-life issues, like family, parenting, relationships, and spiritual abuse.

Cleveland, TN

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