Friday, September 26, 2014

Nice Guys Don't Exist

Everyone adapts their behavior to the people around them, and in response to the situation at hand. We are nice to people we like and mean or bitchy to people we don’t. We are friendly and cheerful when things go well and short-tempered or depressed when they don’t. Yeah, sure, there are some people who are generally more disposed to (for example) mean or more egocentric behavior than others, just as there are some people who are more disposed to (for example) kind or generous behavior than others; but even they are more mean or kind to some people, and less egocentric or generous to others. And of course there are some people whose behavior is less affected by circumstance than others, but not to the point that it isn't affected at all – and not even to the point that it isn't affected significantly. We like to think of personality as static and constant, intrinsic to each person. But the reality is that personality is merely a name we give to a set of behaviors coming from an individual; and those behaviors are very much mood-driven, situational and dynamic.

This misconception plays into our perception of the opposite sex significantly. Consider how frequently you change your behavior towards the men in your life…

If I approach a girl in a bar awkwardly, and then speak to her in a low voice because I am nervous, she isn't going to be attracted, and isn't going to respond well. The fact that she is short with me, or excuses herself immediately to go to the bathroom doesn't mean that she is a "bitch;" it just means that I didn't attract her enough. The next guy who approaches her might approach her confidently and genuinely, and have her wrapped around his finger the rest of the night.

If I have a dead-end job and lack ambition, my girlfriend isn't going to respond to me in the same way as the guy she dates next (i.e. after she dumps me), who is intentional in his career and gainfully employed in a position he truly enjoys. I might tell my friends that she was “cold” or “distant” but they'll know as well as I will that her next boyfriend probably has none of the same problems. Or maybe she is the one complaining that he is cold and distant.

The same kind of girls that ignored me when I was young and lacked confidence now treat me entirely differently, because I am older and far more sure of myself. At twenty years old, it was tempting to view those girls as stuck-up or bitchy; but the reality is that they were probably acting like angels towards some 30-year-old who was much more attractive due to his age, maturity and position in life.

I am not saying all of this to make a point about women, but to make a point about men – because men work exactly the same way. It is easy to believe that a certain guy is an asshole because he dumps you without an explanation, or that another is an authentically nice guy because he treats you well. But I am telling you: those men behave in entirely different ways with different girls.

The guy who you think is a player because he hits on three other girls before taking you home, then never calls you the next day – I guarantee that he is genuine and respectful and serious with other girls he dates. I know this because I've been that guy plenty of times. Some women I treat well and with respect, and others I don’t. If I see a girl I'm attracted to and whom I respect, I change my game completely. My male friends do the same.

The guy who is a dismissive asshole to you is a babbling, nervous idiot with the girl he is crazy about, and the guy who is such a gentleman to you absolutely crushes the hopes of girls that he doesn't find attractive, or doesn't respect. Likewise, the guy who never calls you back isn't “flaky,” he just doesn't care that much about you. I am sure there is a girl out there who has complained that he was needy and contacted her too much. And I am equally sure that the guy you were dating who seems to have “commitment anxiety” has at some point in his life practically begged to be in a relationship with a girl.

The thing is, nice guys don’t exist. “Douchebags” don’t exist. The behaviors we describe with these terms are not innate and static characteristics of any given person; they are behaviors that change depending on the other person involved and the circumstances surrounding the interaction. Of course there are men out there who are more disposed to certain types of behavior than others; but the degree of attraction a man feels for you will affect his behavior towards you far more than anything intrinsic to his personality, and the degree of attraction he feels for you is significantly affected by the kind of behavior you'll accept from him.

So instead of complaining about the dearth of nice guys or the abundance of douchebags, start thinking about what you can do to make then men in your life treat you the way you want. Because that is what is going to make the difference – not finding some "perfect guy" with some supposed personality type. You don't find perfect men, you elicit perfection from men.

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  1. Thank you so much for this post and this blog Andrew. English is not my first language so excuse the mispellings

    I'm a woman in my early 20's and I used to be so clueless about men and I just wish I discovered this blog sooner in my life.
    Fortunately, I found your blog right before entering my most eligible years so I'll be much more prepared now.

    Since I read your blog, I can already see some changes in my love life, especially thanks to the posts "Cut Him Off" and "The Importance of Silence After Break-Up".
    Your advice worked so well that the guy contacted me a month after he broke up with me, at 5AM. He seemed more interested to learn my life and gave unclear explainations about why he stopped contacting me without apologizing.
    I suspected all of this was another trick to get into my pants but he wasn't that into me so I told him he could go fuck himself anyway.

    It would have never happened that way if I didn't read your blog, I would have probably wasted MONTHS on this guy trying to get him back (thinking his sexual attraction could eventually grow into love), instead of focusing on meeting new guys.

    But I know better now so I wanted to say again: thank you Andrew!!!

    Best regards from France!

  2. Andrew, I usually agree with you 100%, but I think you need to be careful about what you mean by "respect". To me, the most important part of it is the "decency, kindness and causing no harm" bit. Obviously, if a man is crazy about a woman he's going to be way more prompt about setting up dates, calling regularly, etc. and that sure as heck doesn't make him a jerk.

    What about the guy, however, that is only casually interested in a woman and makes fun of her to others when he's not calling her up for a hook-up? What if he refuses to walk/drive her home late at night and she's left to walk home in the dark at 3 am by herself? Is that really ALL about how much he likes her and what she's willing to put up with? Does it really say nothing about his character?

    What about the woman (and a former coworker of mine actually did this) that cheats (with zilch remorse) on her boyfriend, who paid her bills when she went through a layoff and always treated her very well? That's just because she doesn't like him enough or he's not acting manly enough? Again, does character not factor at all?

    "Of course there are men out there who are more disposed to certain types of behavior than others; but here is the main point: the degree of attraction a man feels for you will affect his behavior towards you far more than anything intrinsic to his personality..."


    I think you're great, Andrew, I think the issue is that you're not acknowledging that there is some behavior that is absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt unacceptable. I'm guessing that you would say it's common sense that abusive behavior is wrong. Sadly, there are people in those situations who may read this blog and are not in a place to make that distinction.

    Maybe, at the very least, we all need to take a look at what the word "respect" means to us.

    1. "What if he refuses to walk/drive her home late at night and she's left to walk home in the dark at 3 am by herself? Is that really ALL about how much he likes her and what she's willing to put up with? Does it really say nothing about his character?"

      Of course some component is about his character, as I say in the post; but the point is that I am 100% sure that there is a girl out there towards whom he acts like the perfect gentleman - or a hell of a lot closer to the perfect gentleman than he acts towards the girl in the situation you describe. I am not saying that 100% is affected by his attraction and respect for the girl, but it is more than is affected by his "personality" - because personality is not some kind of static, intrinsic thing.

      "What about the woman that cheats on her boyfriend, who paid her bills when she went through a layoff and always treated her very well? That's just because she doesn't like him enough or he's not acting manly enough? Again, does character not factor at all?"

      Sure, it factors in a bit, but again, there are men out there that your former coworker wouldn't dream of doing that to (George Cluny or the James Bond types - or whoever you consider incredibly attractive).

      The point isn't that character doesn't count at all, it's that if you have this "static" view of personality, what you are really doing is shirking your personal responsibility for your romantic happiness. And the more you do that, the lower your chances are of actually finding a man that satisfies you.

      And by the way, I am not saying that a guy being a douchebag is acceptable. But in light of the fact that you have absolutely no control over his behavior, but 100% of the control over your own behavior, boundaries and standards (which, by the way, matters more), it makes all the sense in the world to focus on those things, rather than throwing your hands in the air, calling him an asshole, and never questioning what part of his behavior you might have allowed or even encouraged.

    2. Ahhhh, I think I see what you're sayin'. Whether it's lack of character or situational, it's up to you to remove yourself from him or her. Agreed! I guess the distinction I'm making here is that "disrespect" can go from 0, aka "mildly sh*tty behavior that 99.99% of adults have been guilty of at some time or another" to 10, aka "Ray Rice" and we all should be careful with what we mean by "respect"!

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    4. BTownGirl, you were so right in your first comment as no good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.Respect doesn't depend on circumstances but on the quality of the character.
      Andrew, love your blog, but this was definitely not your best.

  3. Wow fantastic post Andrew. Have u thought about getting in touch with the authors of The Rules as I go about publishing your book? Your philosophies align so well, hey would love you I think!

  4. I'm going to be a big bitch about this. (See what I did there?) I don't think we should make assumptions about what people think of us in this way. You have no idea what's going on in someone's head, and I don't think we should take others' behavior so personally. And that's what's being suggested here: that if someone is treating us poorly that it's our fault, we did something to displease them, we weren't pretty enough.

    I had to grow up real quick when my last boyfriend passed away unexpectedly. The kind of people I want in my life are authentic and open, not "attractive" or "successful". And I think there are people who prize and recognize this kind of maturity in others... Everyone else is a jerk face.

    1. I disagree with your assertion that personality is amorphous. There are such things as legit, ingrained personality disorders. These are characterized as long-lasting, rigid patterns of thought and behavior: borderline, narcissistic (ahem!), obsessive-compulsive, antisocial, paranoid, avoidant, histrionic, etc. etc.

      I think the more appropriate word here would be mood. Maybe that's why I'm acting all butt-hurt today. Moods are very fluid, temporary states. Personalities are more stable. Something in my personality likes to get tangled up in semantics. Another part of my personality is ADHD and bored of arguing. Carry on.

  5. This post is one of the most resonant for me.

    I know someone who is tends to rant and rave about his personal life in the workplace - from when he was in a relationship and domestic partnership to now that he is single with his varied drinking and dating escapades. He is generally well-liked with a light-hearted personality and sense of humor so there's a certain charm about him when he talks about non-work topics. My problem is his tendency to overshare, where knowingly or unknowingly, he thinks everybody else within hearing distance cares or is interested. I can understand that sharing about our non-work lives makes us human rather than just employees but I made a comment that there has to be some level of discretion. I heard him say that he doesn't filter a lot.

    The point is, I made my decision to distance myself from situations where I find his oversharing too excessive to the point of being inappropriate. I'd even call him on them where applicable. He would then tone down but it won't stop him to keep on talking to those who remains his audience.

    In other words, he acts differently towards me (more professional with a certain guardedness) than I notice him act with others who fawn over his dating stories. He knows my boundaries and I'm grateful that he respects it. I do miss hearing the other lighthearted and inoffensive topics that he would generally share to others that he stopped sharing with me but I have accepted that as a consequence of what I asserted and his ability or inability to know the difference.

    He will always be the person that he is but just as this blog entry indicated, it's not static. He's not as friendly with me. We are collegial but our interactions are strictly business now. I'm sad on some level because we used to be close friends but it makes the work environment a little calmer for me.

    So Andrew's point doesn't apply to just dating but in other settings as well

  6. Meanwhile, there are always outliers or extremes. I watch a lot of crime shows or enough of them to acknowledge that certain people have manipulative behavior (with the label of being evil or having medical imbalance) that deliberately adapts as a means to an end. I think that's beyond the scope of this blog entry or Andrew's point and better analyzed by trained psychological or crime profilers.

    Just saying.

  7. Okay, so I get that your point is that whether you are the kind of woman for whom a man wants to be his best self determines whether he will be or not. Fair enough, to an extent.

    But here's the thing -- I'm not *solely* interested in how he treats me. I'm generally interested in how he treats other people on a day-to-day basis. Integrity, character, and a solid moral grounding are extremely important criteria to me in any man I'd ever consider being in a relationship with, and a lot of that is determined not just by how he treats me but by how he treats people generally.

    For example, a guy may be a perfect gentleman to me because he's enamored with me, but I wouldn't want to keep dating him if I saw him be rude to the waiter on our date or if I found out that he had stolen money or obtained his position in his career by doing immoral things. I may be able to change how the man treats me, but I don't know if I can make a tiger change its stripes. He has to take integrity seriously for himself and not just because I want him to. Anything else would be a hollow, forced character who I wouldn't be able to respect.

    1. That's a fair point, and maybe a topic for another post.

    2. Same here, Mary! I once declined a fifth date with a guy because he was incredibly rude to a Dunkin' Donuts employee. Not exactly a turn-on, am I right?

  8. Andrew, I dont agree. Douchebags DO exist. The difference is that you walk away from them with your head up and your dignity intact. There are guys who are unable to treat women (ANY women!) with respect. You have to drop them like hot potato, then you can keep them out of your reality, therefore, they won't exist in your world. They'll still exist in the world though.

    I can tell you, it's ignorance to say that you can ''make'' everyone treat you the way you want to be treated. I do agree that your behaviour can have an impact on your relationships, but only to a certain extent can you 'change' other people's behaviour towards you. There are people who wont respect you no matter what you do or require. That's when your boundaries have to be UP, and you have to leave the arena FAST! There will be people who are unable to respect or treat you the way you want to be treated... It's the sad truth, you cannot change other people's behavior, you can only change your response to theirs!!!

    1. I absolutely agree that if a guy is an asshole towards you, you should cut him out of your life. That is part of what I mean when I talk about "what you can do to make men to treat you the way you want." I probably should said "what you can do to make the men in your life treat you the way you want" (in fact I think I will update it) - and part of that is removing from your life the men who don't treat you the way you want.

  9. Andrew does this explain why people with characters of man whores with mental issues or anger management problems have limited options? Character is kind of like a tree and reputation its shadow. Shadow is what people think they are and the tree is the real thing.

  10. Andrew how many aliases do you use on this blog to make it interesting?

    1. Depersonalized from earlier version.

      All you've proven in this post is that you don't value integrity & principle. Rationalizing that being a douche who was unable to commit in past relationships because those women were not worthy of commitment shines a light on the guy rather than those women, as it would vice versa, for women. Should a guy profess dating & sleeping with countless women now believing that those women who he consciously dated were not good enough, can you not see the hypocrisy? The faulty rationalizing is contradictory as others in this post say. It is not okay to treat people like shit & think it okay. That makes a person look bad because she/he should be expected to treat people they are in relationships better than the homeless people they do not know. What people like that say & do should be taken with a grain of salt because their guide is the wind that blows in any direction at any given time. Their word is meaningless like a chameleon's.

      Chameleons become whatever they need to in order to fit it at the moment. There's no integrity or stability. It's the kind of character that is so convinced of something, but then is equally convinced it is wrong, but then again is equally convinced it is right, only to conclude that it is wrong again.

      As I said before, you make a great overarching point, but remain blind to the implication. As I said before, character is a tree and reputation its shadow. Shadow is what people think they are and the tree is the real thing.

    2. I agree, Jo H. Only people who lack integrity would act different depending on the person they are dealing with.
      Consistency is what we should value. Consistency in words, thoughts and actions and we should pay attention to pasts behaviours as they are reliable indicators of future patterns.
      Actions have their foundation on values, so they shouldn't be ignored. This is why a cheater would always be a cheater and a man who hits a woman would do it again.
      So if someone is treating us poorly, we should have it clear that that is only a reflection of who they are, not of what we mean to them.
      Andrew, as I said, great blog but not your best.

    3. Andrew wrote this post because there is a discrepancy between who he is (an immoral douchebag who uses women for sex) and who he thinks he should be (a good Catholic who respects women, someone with integrity.)
      Some girl probably rejected/dumped him because he was being a douchebag, and he's trying to rationalize it away by saying that she didn't elicit respect from him, so it's really him who rejected her. He can't grasp the possibility that women actually care about how a man treats people other than herself (i.e. she's not a narcissist), which talks a lot about him. It's "projection through and through."

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  12. I absolutely agree with this post!
    The guys I date have to be on their best behaviour, otherwise I cut them off.
    It means I date less, but when I do, it's with great guys.

  13. Hmmm. But the same guy who lets Girl A walk home alone at 3am yet treats Girl B like a princess because he wants to seduce her (that element really is key: he wants - or doesn't want, or doesn't care- to seduce) will probably end up doing something inconsiderate to Girl B once he falls out of love/lust, or once something doesn't work out the way he thought it would. It could take a week, or 10 years. When he doesn't see the benefit or doesn't care anymore, Girl B's feelings will not be considered and she will become Girl A to him...

    It *absolutely* is a question of character: I recently met a guy who talked to and about certain women like crap. However, he was more than nice and sweet to me, in speech and gestures. I thought "oh, he actually can be nice!", but when I broke it off, he started talking to and about me like crap, too... I should have known. Anyway, I classify him as a douchebag without hesitation.

    To me, a nice guy is a guy who isnt' only being nice in order to seduce you, or because you're above his league and he's intimidated, or because he thinks you're The One. All these reasons are driven by lust or passion and will fade away. I want a guy who, when we fight, when we disagree, when I change, when I grow old, will stand by me and be kind to me. A nice guy, who of course puts his best foot forward in order to court me, but who doesn't hide a generally bad character behind some seducing smiles and attentions. You get my point...

    And yeah that word "respect"...You sound like a slut-shamer really... It is in situations when what we should do goes against what we egoistically want to do that our character is tested and really shown. Hence people of poor character (douchebags, in simplistic terms) will let Girl A walk home or send Man B flying when he hits on her at the bar because "why bother, I'm not even into her/him", while people of good character will drive Girl A home and chit chat with Man B at the bar who took the time -and had the guts to- approach her. Just sayin'...Respect the person as a person, not as a conquest.

    Still, thanks for your posts, your blog is cool.

  14. I agree with your larger point about accepting a man's rejecting behavior at face value and moving on. It's a waste of time to indulge in armchair psychoanalysis. On the other hand, good treatment from a man does not indicate good character or good intentions. More information is required before a woman can judge whether he might be a suitable partner. Obviously, the standards are far lower for short-term mating than for a long-term relationship.

    While context for behavior is important, the truth is that personality traits are generally deeply ingrained. They are thought to be at least half heritable. There is an enormous body of research on the Big 5 traits, which include openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism. Background, upbringing and hard wiring are all important in the development of our unique personalities.

    For example, promiscuity is highly correlated to high extraversion, low conscientiousness, and low agreeableness. In addition, we now now that the DRD4 genetic mutation on a dopamine receptor is strongly linked to impulsivity, gambling addiction, substance abuse, violent tendencies and promiscuity. (Sorry to get so wonky.)

    From a female standpoint, the worst possible case is encountering the Dark Triad male. This constellation of traits includes extreme narcissism, lack of empathy and manipulative behavior (Machiavellianism). The Dark Triad male, or Total Douchebag, may be capable of short-term generosity and romantic behavior, but this cannot last because he doesn't actually feel the things that create emotional intimacy.

    Unfortunately, opportunistic men are overly represented in the dating pool because they are frequently (or always) single and on the market.

    When a woman is rejected she should move on. There's no percentage in even lingering thoughts about why a man doesn't like you.

    The problem arises when we get attention, affection and respect from someone who actually has poor character and is not emotionally available for any kind of real relationship. This can take time to assess, and leaves women feeling confused and hurt.

    I wish I could say that men like this are rare, but I've encountered many in my work. Because they tend to stay on the market forever or reenter it frequently, they are disproportionately represented in the dating pool. It's one of the reasons I encourage women to search seriously for a life partner beginning right after college. These two posts may be of interest to your readers:

    1. Excellent post, Andrew. All a matter of perceptions.

      @Susan Walsh, I'm curious as to why you're here. Is it to obtain new recruits for your blog, then ban them from commenting there, for no reason other than you don't agree with them?

    2. Digra, Susan is welcome here, as are you. You both bring valid perspectives to the table. How she controls her blog comments is her prerogative, and an issue for HUS so let's leave it for discussion there.

      I actually have been thinking about Susan' comment recently, but because it is pretty in-depth and deserves a real response, I haven't had time yet to sit down and reply.

      Anyway glad you liked the post.

    3. Susan,

      "On the other hand, good treatment from a man does not indicate good character or good intentions."

      Absolutely agree.

      "While context for behavior is important, the truth is that personality traits are generally deeply ingrained. They are thought to be at least half heritable."

      See, I would never describe half-heritable as "deeply ingrained." Some might learn that and think "wow personality is half heritable - it's so static," but I hear that statistic and think "wow personality is half heritable - that's really fluid and changeable." I guess it depends on what preconceived notions you have about the rigidity of personality.

      Granted, these "dark triad" males are not the best guys out there, but I don't think too many people disagree with that. I definitely don't. But I was trying to make the point that, hey look, even these dark triad guys will respond differently to some girls than to others, and a large part of that has to do with those girls' personal boundaries. So rather than sitting around complaining about some guy being "douchebags" it makes much more sense to try and figure out how much that douchiness is magnified by what kind of BS the girl is willing to accept.

    4. Also, I think the line that is throwing some people off is where I say "nice guys don’t exist. 'Douchebags' don’t exist." But this wasn't meant to be a literal statement (I admitted earlier in the post that personality is to some extent static). It was meant to be an admonition to start acting as if a guy's behavior is totally dependent on your behavior, that is, on your boundaries - to act as if "nice guys" and "douchebags" were just names we apply to male reactions to female boundaries and limitations.

      Why? Well for one, because men do respond well to boundaries and they will actually be less "douchy" when they aren't allowed to be. But also because it's just a hell of a lot better than the alternative - that is, throwing your hands in the air and complaining about the lack of nice guys or abundance of douchebags, and completely overlooking the part of male behavior that you can control by your demand. It's kind of like complaining about shitty politicians and then not voting.

      In fact, it is exactly the same thing that Roosh all these Return of Kings guys are doing by complaining about how "unfeminine" and fat and whatever else "all American girls are." They need to hear the same thing: that the opposite sex responds to what you allow when you are the kind of person who earns and demands it. Complaining gets you nowhere; the only real way you change anything is by changing yourself.

    5. When women ask in despair "where are all the good guys gone???", and say "all men are assholes" like myself shrug it off, and walk on by. Why? Because we see what women say, and what they *respond* to in actions. There is a wide discrepancy between those two. Even with all the human logic, Biology never fails.

      Dark Triad types are a small subset of men (there are women with these traits as well), and for all their complaining, women flock to such types like moths to a flame. Get burned, complain again, repeat. Female logic at work - 'fixit' instinct I call it.

      Good men learned from bitter experience that being nice, genuine and kind doesn't pay. Shame.

    6. Ladies would do well to read 'The Manipulated Man" by Esther Vilar, then gain some insight from the male perspective. A book written by.. a woman.

  15. Andrew,
    Good post, but Susan, thank you for above comment. The question I was about to ask addresses your post. Andrew, what if a guy is a sociopath? Would his behavior change based upon the girl he is with ?

  16. The reason I ask this question is because there is a practice called 'psychological manipulation' that sociopaths use in order to make 'victims' (or whatever term you want to use) dependent on them, and they do this by making their 'victims' feel like it's their fault, ie. that they are not good enough for their abuser. I went through a relationship like this a while ago and it's taken me a very long time for me to accept it and stop blaming myself for not being good enough for him, as it was that this type of antisocial personality (aka sociopath) is hunting out vulnerable people to use, manipulate, and take advantage of. It's been really tough for me to get over this, and it really hurts that the reason this guy was so abusive was because I wasn't good enough for him.
    That being said - I agree with your point that no one should put up with this type of behavior, and now I know if I meet this type of personality again to run away.

    1. It seems like this was an extreme case, and probably a guy like that wouldn't treat other girls that much differently. As I pointed out in the post, there are people out there whose behavior is more static than others. So I wouldn't beat yourself up for not holding on to a guy like that (anyway why would you want to hold on to a guy like that?), because I doubt any girl would be good enough for him.

      The statement "nice guys don’t exist. 'Douchebags' don’t exist" is very intentional hyperbole. The heart of the post is in this part:

      "the degree of attraction a man feels for you will affect his behavior towards you far more than anything intrinsic to his personality, and the degree of attraction he feels for you is significantly affected by the kind of behavior you'll accept from him.... So instead of complaining about the dearth of nice guys or the abundance of douchebags, start thinking about what you can do to make then men in your life treat you the way you want."

      If you take that on board, you're golden.

    2. Thank you, that makes definitely makes sense

  17. See, I think what Andrew says makes perfect sense. I feel like most of the commenters are reading this post in absolute rather than relative terms.

    Let me explain... if "niceness" were measured on a scale of 0-10 (0 being completely heartless and 10 being wholly kind, romantic, and wanting to commit), each person is capable of their own range. While a jerk may be capable of 0-5 and a good person could be capable of 6-10, this does not change that a man will vary how he treats you based on how much he likes and respects you.

    At least that's how I took it.

    1. Well, if the vast majority of commenters are interpreting it one way, and if Andrew thinks all those commenters are misinterpreting him, then he should edit his post to clarify what he means. The post as written shows a disturbing devaluation of the importance of character.

  18. Nice post Andrew as it applies to both men and women!

    I have a question for you though Andrew. What factors would make a man approach a woman who has a sister who is of similar or identical physical appearance to her and it appears he is interested in both at least to some degree? How would one sister go about creating more of an advantage to herself by facilitating his approach if she is also interested in him to at least some degree?

  19. Andrew,

    If a man dumped you or fooled you in your worst time, such as when you got sick and fat, or even unemployed -- worse still, his fooling you in your worst time made it even harder for you to get out of the bad situations, would you really blame on his changing shitty behaviors on yourself so that after you one day eventually manage to stand up on your feet and put all your shits together, you could go back to him begging him to accept you and treat you well again?

    Assuming if the one riding down suddenly after riding high is a man, if after he gets into a bad situation, or even a bad personal condition such as getting sick, or financially broken, his wife then abandons him in his illness or bad times, (or worse still, fooled him around after he began to ride low which made it even harder for him to get out of the bad situations) even if the woman is not at fault, would the man really have the dignity to recover on himself painfully, just so after this event he can get back to the ex-wife so she would treat him better again?

    When you are well in all aspects, you of course get way more people friendly towards you. But is that the only way how relationship works?

    There has got to be something more than that, I think.

  20. When people say 'niceguy' they are basically referring to a male that confers direct benefits on his mate.

    Two types of fitness benefits (direct and indirect) are thought to drive the evolutionary mechanisms of mate choice.

    Direct benefits are those that increase the fitness of the choosy sex through direct material advantages. These benefits include but are not limited to increased territory quality, increased parental care, and protection from predators. There is much support for maintenance of mate choice by direct benefits[7] and it is the least controversial model to explain discriminate mating.[8]

    Indirect benefits increase genetic fitness for the offspring. When it appears that the choosy sex does not receive direct benefits from his or her mate, indirect benefits may be the payoff for being selective. Examples of indirect benefits include better genetic quality and more attractive offspring. R. A. Fisher described this less obvious model in a book called The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection.[9] Fisher explained that, through indirect selection, fitter individuals inherit both the genes and the mating preference for some indicator trait. This linkage of an indicator trait and the preference for such trait results in exaggerated phenotypes and is known as Fisherian runaway selection.

    When guys say girls don't like 'niceguys', they are basically lamenting the fact that they see guys who are not conferring direct benefits on females being sexually successful (instead of themselves who are willing to confer direct benefits).

    When girls say there are no 'good men' left, it's possible they are also referring to there being no men willing to confer direct benefits on them. But it's also possible that the women mean that there are no men of high fitness/quality left rather than referring to the men's propensity to engage in the particular 'good/nice' behaviour of conferring direct benefits on them.

    1. I think females (as well as males) select for competitiveness, attractiveness and pair bonding traits from a mate. None of them is so clear on if they incur direct or indirect benefits. But when females refer to "nice guys" I think they refer to the pair bonding traits in particular.

      Competitiveness could incur genetic advantage but it may also have direct benefits in the form of social resources it can provide for wife and kids. Even if it is about social resources purely without genetic advantages, then the benefits of kids on the resources instead of the wife still are part of indirect benefits.

      Attractiveness mostly only have indirect benefits to offspring (unless the unattractiveness is serious as to indicate parasites, diseases that can be passed on, in which case attractivenss would also have a direct cost/benefit relationship with the wife). But on that ground, young and fit males usually have higher physical attractivenss than their older counterparts. I do not think that when women complain about lack of nice guys, they are complaining the lack of young and fit guys. Usually young guys are poorer than older guys for it takes time and years to accumulate wealth and achievements.

      Pair bonding also have both direct and indirect effect on wife and kids. Humans unlike turtles who just lay hundreds of eggs and leave them be, have way fewer kids yet they invest way more time raising it generally. That is also why human kids are stronger, bigger and more intelligent than turtles. Pair bonding lets adults to bond and make a commitment so that kids can grow up. When the main consideration is on kids rather on the wife, this part is about direct benefits rather than indirect benefits.

      When women complain about guys being not nice, they usually mean the third one - pair bonding traits. This tendency can also inherit. Adults who care less would have worse evolutionary advantages, so that their grand kids would suffer even if their kids luckily grow well. They may also refer to some of the second traits - attractivenss. Because if a male has bad lifestyles his sperms would be harmed. Nice guys also mean guys who is responsible for himself, such as do not drink alcohol excessively as to be an alcoholic and someone who does not think about kids until he is too old to have the peak attractiveness and sperm qualities as well. For the first factor, women may find someone who is long term oriented (for example) desirable as a mate, which also correlates with him being competitive. When women mean nice guys, it's not as simple as asking for direct benefits.

      If women only care about sperms, not the male persons, actually ALL women can pro-create only with the only male on top of the herd. Women can just have sex out of her league and get kids from the good genes with the only top male in the herd. This would leave every other male in this world out of any chance of reproductions.

    2. Typo:
      When the main consideration (of pair bonding) is on kids rather on the wife, this part is about *indirect* benefits rather than direct benefits.

  21. "Seeking direct benefits" would be the most obvious when women seek for ugly divorced old men with lots of money.

    But I do not think that when women complain about the lack of nice guys, they refer to the lack of old and ugly and divorced sugar daddies. They mainly want to say the bad reality against the ideal of having a young and and responsible and caring guy with good life styles and kindness so that even if the family is not rich enough, they can still as a team work out tough times and still have the family hold together, as a shelter from storm where kids can grow healthily and adults can live happily.

  22. The more I read your blog, the more I am convinced you have narcissistic personality disorder. Most men who become obsessive about attraction but have no clue how to discuss actual relationships do, especially those who make a career out of it. And then of course who do Narcissists attract? Those who were raised by narcissists that don't understand rejection and being used in an objective sense because that is what's normal to them. Instead of tell your broken hearted readers to improve their appearances, you need to advise them to go to therapy and learn what normal, healthy adult relationships are.

  23. Meh I'm not buying it. Any guy or woman who treats another rudely and with disrespect lacks character and empathy. Period. While it's true we all adapt to our circumstances a decent person does not behave like a "bitch" or "douchebag". They weren't raised that way or are comfortable behaving that way. If I was a guy, I would actually be quite offended by this post. I know and have many solid, good guy friends who have never (at least in the 10 years plus that I know them) ever treated a woman like a douche.

    1. Right on Anongirl.

      While I agree that how someone treats you reflects how they value you, character trumps all. A "nice guy" will still dump a woman he doesn't care for - but he won't enjoy it, and he'll certainly make a reasonable effort to be sensitive. Quality women (and I count myself as one of them) want nothing to do with men who are selfish, rude, or otherwise have poor character.

      I think this is a case of "what got you here won't keep you here." As in, yes, women like men who are confident, successful, and attractive, and will initially be interested. But if the character is not there, a quality woman moves on.

  24. I agee to an extent. But a person's natural inclination towards meanness or kindness in any situation should be stringently evaluated. Because there will be a time in a relationship when you're not your mate's favorite will they treat you then? Probably the same way they treated the person they never liked.

    When I'm considering someone, an important question I ask myself is: If I were to divorce this man, is it likelier to be messy or amicable?

  25. Hi Andrew,

    I discovered your blog some time ago, ignored it during my (first ever!) relationship and am now revisiting it after the breakup.

    What I want to know is directly related to your post on how "Nice Guys Don't Exist".

    The problem I found with the guy I was sort-of-seeing was that he wasn't Really Nice. In some respects he was quite a sensitive guy - he would ask me where I thought we stood and would talk with me about personal events in our pasts. The problem was that he kept pressuring me to make things "official", saying that he "really liked me" and there was a lot of "scope" for where the relationship could end up.

    I now know that he was a) deeply insecure and b) possessed of the sort of deep-seated hubris one can really only associate with insecurity. It makes me laugh, in retrospect, that part of the reason I dated him was that he seemed to have it all "together" - but now I know he was only pushing that aspect of himself to the forefront for (his and) my benefit.

    He also said during the breakup that he had been "putting [me] on a pedestal and saying what [I] wanted to hear", because I seemed like a "high-investment girl who had standards". That was simultaneously somewhat flattering, and also outright disturbing, because his behaviour had actually fallen short on several occasions - so what is his normal standard of behaviour?

    He was absolutely right, by the way. I like Nice Guys. I appreciate gentlemen, but I appreciate more the boy who will pick up a sick friend and bring them to A&E. So I "have standards", and I guess I successfully got him to respect those standards while he was with me.

    Your post says that men treat each woman differently depending on the degree of attraction involved, and this man was nice enough to me - until I made it clear I wasn't interested. The way he dealt with the breakup has bordered on harassment and demonstrates a lack of respect. He's also made denigrating comments about "generic girls" and how they can't hold his interest. I don't know about you, but I've never met a girl (or boy) who was generic - most people are interesting if you listen hard enough.

    Which suggests to me that your conclusion isn't acceptable - shouldn't I look at how he treats other people who he isn't seeing? Shouldn't I have the right or the obligation to demand that a man treat other people decently, as far as they are able? Should we be seeking to look further than interactions beyond the two of us?


  26. Everyone will show his or her true colours sooner or later. The author of this blog states that he is treating some women nicely, with respect, but he can be mean to the women that he does not respect. So, there is a general predisposition, a character trait (to despise some women). Well, how long can anyone wear a mask? Yes, today you may be attracted to a particular woman and you will behave in a certain way. However, tomorrow (in a year, in 2-5 years) you will demonstrate your true colours with any woman. There are key personality traits that are static. You can change your behaviour, your approach, but in are, who you are.

    1. Very true statement! Just because you respect one woman at one point in time doesn't mean you'll always think of her in the same way, three years down the line. What you are capable of doing in your worst behavior is a very good indicator of your values and character.
      There's a lot of truth in the saying “If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” If you treat them significantly differently, treating one really well while treating the other like crap, you don't have good character.

  27. So when a guy tells me "life is too short" to make our relationship serious or steady (though we spend a lot of time together and share mutual interests and activities), I assume he's just not attracted enough to me/not the one he's looking for? Pls reply... would really appreciate it.

  28. Hi,
    Why are you asking this question? The answer is obvious. He tells you directly that he does not want anything serious, so believe him. Read the posts 'Cut him off' and 'The importance of silence after the break-up' and follow the advice! It takes about 6-12 months to get over someone if you stop seeing him.
    If men say something, they mean it. You have choice. You either agree to date him on his conditions or you do not. If he is not serious, he will dump you anyway, sooner or later. So, do not waste your youth in vain. There will be other guys who will want to date you or to marry you in the future. Good luck!

  29. I agree with this post to a certain degree. The thing I agree with most it the title: There are no nice guys. This is pretty much true. A genuine nice man is almost non-existent (because men are sociopaths as a group (to some degree)) When a man is really smitten with a woman...he will really turn on the charm and act all great...but that is only as long as he actually thinks he can "get" her. If he thinks he can't get her or the woman actually makes him wait it out (sexually or whatever), he can go from prince charming to a monster very fast: And thus lose "respect' for her. Again...I think bad behavior is more than just about how attracted to a woman a man is. A man who was raised very well and it as close to a nice guy as possible (if this exists) is respectful of all women that he would actually have the courage to ask out. Yes, he may be especially nice and over-the-top gentlemanly with a woman with whom he is smitten, but he doesn't treat any woman like total crap. Again, this kind of man is almost impossible to find. But I don't see how Andrew can blame the man's behavior on the woman necessarily. Some guys, no matter how much game a woman has, how many boundaries she has, how smitten he initially felt, are just assholes at the core. Even if he succeeds in winning the "woman of his dreams" with all his great behavior, he will still cheat on her with his bimbo 25 year old secretary 20 years later. So the bottom line is look for the man's true character...and not how he impresses a woman in the courtship phase. LOL!

  30. So what about guys who have hot and cold behavior? One minute they are nice and sweet to you... then The next time you hangout with him he is an asshole?

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