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No More Mr. Nice Guy

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – GlasgowPhotoMan

One of the reasons I love being married is that I don’t have to play the dating game anymore.

I won.

However, there was a time when I thought I would die alone and wrinkly.

As a rehabilitated “nice guy” I’m here to offer some hope for anyone stuck in the dating morass.

Nice Guy Syndrome

First, some quick background. I grew up with military parents, strict discipline, attended church and was raised to be chivalrous.

You know, holding doors, pulling out chairs and all that – a modern day knight in shining armor wannabe.

And I was good at it.

I was a goodie-two-shoes and parents loved me. The catch is that the ideal type of guy parents want their teenage daughter to bring home rarely actually gets brought home.

High School Dating Purgatory

Needless to say I didn’t date much in high school. Like at all. You see, when I hit puberty this wonderful genre of Christian books on dating started hitting the bestseller list and ruined my life.

That’s right, I’m talking about Joshua Harris and friends. I kissed dating goodbye and never kissed a girl until my freshman year of college.

Now, I’m not saying would have rather been a teenage Casanova, but at least one high school sweetheart would have been nice. Instead I had a pity date for senior prom. Ugh.

Anyway, back to the cure for being a nice guy.

The nice guy has 3 big problems.

1. Friend Zone

The friend zone is the dreaded place of brotherly love all nice guys loathe. It means you will endure coffee faux dates, talks about movies and maybe even trips to the mall or a baseball game without ever a glimmer of hope for a kiss goodnight. The nice guy is the buddy, the bro, the never-risk-the-friendship-for-something-more dude. The friend zone sucks unless that’s your destination in the first place.

2. Whining

A nice guy’s favorite pass time is to complain about it. Whining about the friend zone and pining away for the object of his affection. Very attractive, right ladies? Yeah, not so much. A nice guy moaning his time away about being a nice guy will repel girls faster than smelly gym socks. Okay, maybe not that bad, but pretty close.

3. Ignorance

The trouble with a nice guy is that often times he simply doesn’t know how to become more than friends. This is where being brought up or having a natural disposition to be chivalrous is not enough. Good manners, a clean haircut and engaging conversation only go so far. To borrow a concept from Blast from the Past (always a good decision), there is a difference between a nice guy and a good man.

Nice guys, it’s mostly your fault that you’re in the friend zone. You know why? Words. You might have respectful, funny and intelligent down pat. There is just one word you are missing.

If you don’t want to be in the friend zone you are going to have to do something about it.  The solution isn’t necessarily easy, especially in you fear rejection, but it is simple. You’re going to need to man up and ask the lady out. GASP!!

From my time battling the friend zone and watching nice guys futilely pursue young ladies I’ve found that the common denominator for the dudes is failure to take initiative. A woman will not go on a date with you unless you ask her.

 Seems logical, right? We’ll get into types of dates in a follow up post, but it boils down to the nice guy manning up and having the confidence to risk rejection.

If she says “no” move on. If you can’t tolerate the friend zone then let her go. There are plenty of fish in the sea.

Question: Men – are you a nice guy stuck in a rut? Ladies – any tips you can offer the nice guys?

EdiTOR’s Note: Our family recently delivered our third child. As such, some blogging buddies of mine have graciously offered to write a series of guest posts to allow my family to spend a little time together – away from this blog. I’m deeply grateful for such friends, and I hope you enjoy their writing!

Today’s guest post comes from KC Procter, who is a self-proclaimed “…regular Christian dude, husband, father, MBA & cubicle ninja…” sharing the adventure to becoming great. He blogs about tidbits from the trenches of fatherhood over at SomeWiseGuy.com and you can find him on Twitter @ThatGuyKC.

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  1. I don’t know if I herald from a different world. a different time, or both. But that never applied when I was growing up. I might have been a mite crazier than others, more active in more things than others, but I did just fine in the dating department (and deportment, I might add). Add 30 years and my kids (from the parent’s point of view) did just fine, as well. (And, two are no longer in the dating game; I’m not quite willing to bet my youngest isn’t either.)

  2. lol this reminds me of my youngest son’s dilemma. He has no problems talking with girls, being in their company is easy for him. But he has learned that the minute the girl puts the “ie” on his name he is in the friend zone. His name is Scott. His nickname is Scoot or Scottie. He says he has learned that no girl wants to date a Scottie.

    • Hey Shawn,

      That’s funny and astute.
      Imagine if the girls had called you Shawnie.

      My nickname as a kid was chip, couldn’t imagine being called chipie.

    • Haha! That is an interesting situation. I don’t know how old your son is, but here’s hoping he finds a quality girl who calls him “Scott” from the start.

      I would suggest that he stop letting people call him “Scottie”. If a girl he is interested in slips in a “Scottie” he could say something like, “You can call me ‘Scott’. Can I call you later?” :)

  3. I went through this very thing. Then went to college and transformed into the opposite and got lots of meaningless dates. Not sure which was worse.

  4. Tor,

    It takes a real man to admit he got bamboozled.

    On the other hand it sounds to me like life came together pretty well for you and maybe it wouldn’t have had you been distracted by sweethearts.

    Only the Best,
    Les Dossey

  5. Initiative is important, for sure…so is trusting God and prayer. you can get all the dates you want by being a good conversationalist…but you’ll only get the one that matters by God’s faithfulness.

  6. I broke up with a nice guy once because he didn’t take the initiative– we were supposedly “dating,” but really, we were stuck right in that friend zone. He started letting me know right away that he was interested for real. And then I married him. :)

  7. I never had the friend zone problem. I had the “I was too dense to realize a girl liked me and wanted to be asked out” problem. My hs yearbook was filled with girls saying how much they had liked me and had hoped I would ask them out. DOH!

    Here’s hoping I don’t end up wrinkly and alone :O

  8. Looking at my 30th reunion next month (across the country, so not going, sadly), I was thinking about how all I wanted in high school was to get a date. Then old friends started popping up on Facebook of the crush variety and… others I couldn’t remember. So I looked them up in my yearbook and started reading all the comments my friends had written. No less than 30 girls gave me their phone number suggesting I call them over the summer. Blink blink. I know I read them at the time but it completely went over my head. I had no idea!

    I do remember several of the crush-girls I didn’t pursue because I enjoyed the friendship too much to risk it; others were nice girls and being a teenage-non-Christian-male, I only wanted one thing and knew it… I decided not to inflict myself on them. Unfortunately, I got over that and fell for a nice girl, proving myself to be the cad I knew myself to be.

    Praise God for forgiveness!

    Little did I know that God had the girl for me growing up in my shadow. Go figure. :)

  9. An admission: I think women sometimes love that some nice guys don’t know how to get it past the friend stage. it’s safer and you still get male companionship.

  10. I would say this is a pretty concise snap shot of my high school dating career, right up until the application of taking initiative.

    Since dating is an exchange between freewill agents, initiative is not going to make the problem go away. Much like a set of keys will not start a car that does not have fuel in it. I had plenty of initiative but no success.

    I think that you captured the salient parts of the argument in this one section, “I was a goodie-two-shoes and parents loved me. The catch is that the ideal type of guy parents want their teenage daughter to bring home rarely actually gets brought home.”

    And why is that? Probably the same kind of reasoning that allows us to witness (in a normalized sample set of high school and college girls I met) so many no-one-can-tell-me-how-to-live girls in their teenage years become free-to-express-themselves women in their twenties, make the leap to emotionally-bankrupt-broken-women in their thirties. Generalization? Sure it is, but I never was successful with the the girls who would not be wooed by boys who did not want to take advantage of them. Funny, a lot of those girls ended up moms first, married second, subsequently divorced, remarried, wash, rinse and repeat.

    The same thinking that you lay out for boys yields the exact same results for girls but inverted. Boys without initiative who are exiled to the friend zone are unfulfilled. [ Corollary to that would be that if the girls who will not have the chivalrous boys are probably not worth having.] Girls who do not respect themselves enough to be treated well by boys who respect them generally end up unhappy by the time the figure out what they want with their lives. Feel free to disagree (I have seen it way too many times to be anecdotal). Then again, may be I am wrong.

    • Well said, Donovan. Echoes what my folks and wise mentors told me growing up.

      In high school I worked at a pizza joint as the only guy among 15 girls and I saw the same scenario play out repeatedly.

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