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The Real Reason Nice Guys Finish Last

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You’ll notice a trend in my articles that speak about men being kind, respectful, and loving – particularly towards women. I don’t often use the word ‘nice.’ When I talk about ‘good men’ finishing first, that is a very different message than ‘nice guys’ finishing first. Why? Because it’s true what they say, nice guys do finish last.

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But, how can I say that when everything I talk about seems to be in the direction of being nice?

To make sense of this, we first need to define what we mean when we say nice guy. I used to be a nice guy, and I used to always finish last when it came to women. I wouldn’t get the date, I wouldn’t bring someone to the dance, and I was always the best friend. But I couldn’t understand it because I was such a nice guy!

That was, and is, exactly the problem. When we say someone is a nice guy, or that we ourselves are a nice guy, what is it that we are really saying? What we are saying is that he is a people-pleaser. He is flexible, probably to a fault. He is a chameleon and can usually adopt the qualities of the people around him in order to fit in.

On the surface, this may seem like a collection of positive qualities, but is it, really? What’s really happening here is that we are describing a person who does not have their own defined identity because they are always trying to make someone else happy or to fit in with another group or make sure they don’t offend anyone by saying something out of line. What we get from this is basically a pile of silly-putty that the world around him molds into whatever they want him to be.

And he doesn’t even know who he is.

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A man like this can never truly hold a woman’s attention or respect because all he will end up doing is conforming to her every want and need and sacrificing his own happiness to do so. She wants a teammate, she wants a man, not a puppet. And very often, that’s what being a nice guy makes you.

What men who describe themselves as nice guys are really saying, whether they mean it this way or not, is that they are willing to sacrifice their own standards and wants and needs to make other people happy – particularly a woman, because they think this is the only way they can keep her attention. They say this without understanding that it makes them not only boring, but untrustworthy. How can you truly trust someone you don’t really know? And how can you really know someone who is always trying to fit into the mold of what someone else wants without defining themselves first?

A man who has a strong identity and knows who he is will stick with it. One of the strongest driving forces in human psychology is staying true to how you identify yourself. “I AM…” What comes after those words? If you are an athlete, your identity drives you to get up, lace up, and work out every morning – because you are an athlete. If you are an avid reader, the second one book gets finished you will be on to the next one, because you are an avid reader.

But if you are a nice guy, you will be whatever the people around you want you to be. Society conditions us to think that being ‘nice’ is a good thing but being ‘too nice’ is a bad thing. What I think, is that they are very often one in the same.

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Being nice does not get you respect. It does not get you noticed. It does not get you that promotion. And it does not get you the girl. If you are always trying to be nice, you probably will not always be honest. If honesty will hurt someone’s feelings or offend them, a nice guy will avoid it completely. This is avoiding the truth (which we call lying), and since when did that become a good thing?

Does this mean we should walk around being mean and offending people all the time? Obviously not, but we should be living a life of integrity which does not always entail making every single person around you happy. When you attempt to do this, you lose your own identity and wake up one morning wondering who the hell you even are. You will wake up wondering why you get mistreated when all you do is try to give everyone else what they want. You will wake up wondering why you never get what you want.

Trust me.

So, men, instead of being nice – be kind. Be trustworthy. Be strong. Be respectful. Be caring. Be honest. These are the qualities we should really take pride in.

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8 Comments

  1. Mary Brown on September 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Hello I agree somewhat I was the nice girl however I’m still nice,kind,loving,faithful,loyal,integrity,I think sometimes as women we only look on the outside instead of the heart what is real important.I wanted to say I was invited to the prom,dances,I didn’t go cause of my shyness not because I said no to a nice guy,sweet,kind.I just wasn’t whole myself so I missed on a lot cause of my shyness.I said that to say some times girls look back n they kick themselves cause they could have had a nice time with a nice,sweet,kind person.I can’t speak for any other women but I want to say I don’t think a nice guy should stop being nice nor kind I think u r who u r like u said nobody can change u from being who u r at the root no matter what.it would truly come out the real u.I know n I admire sweet,kind,nice,gentlemen to be honest people.women are lying if they said they didn’t want a man who is.I bet all them girls look at u now n wish they could be with you instead of the most popular.I never was into vanity I never was drawn to the popular just cause everyone was,to be honest I like quite,nice,men if it’s the real person.I would treat him like a king not walk over him cause it’s not in my nature to treat others less than worthy of love.Please stay nice,kind,loving,thoughtful it’s someone will appreciate what you have to offer love changes everything.be blessed n may your yrs.days,mos.be filled with a woman worthy of you n all u.have a sweet day.

  2. Makayla Angell on September 26, 2014 at 7:35 am

    You often discuss how nice guys finish last but what about nice girls…. Is it also fair to say that if we’re too nice we’ll get walked all over? I just wonder how “crazy girls” (the irrational flip out on my boyfriend for no reason types) always seem to be the ones who aren’t single.

    • Joe Hannibal on October 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      There have been a lot of explanations for this, but the truth is actually quite banal; crazy in the head means crazy in the bed. As in, a good many of the emotionally volatile, selfish and demanding women take all that energy into the bedroom with them. It isn’t always true, but it is true enough to become a cultural perception among younger men.

      Take heart though; men who are immature enough not to care about how much abuse they have to go through for the good sex generally aren’t worth dating, and men who grow out of thinking that’s okay (and some of us do) generally are.

      And we’re out there.

  3. wallflowerblossoming on September 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I think this very well applies to women, too. Unfortunately, I was a “nice” girl or a people pleaser most of my life. I woke up to that fact just a few years ago and have spent the last few years finding out what I really like and do not like. Yes, I lost some so-called friends in the process, but doing this has reinforced to me who your real friends are. Not an easy transformation, but a necessary one. Thanks for the article, it was a good one!

  4. de on September 26, 2014 at 10:45 am

    This article is spot on. Nice is shit.

  5. […] to do better with women. They think the problem is that they are a self-professed nice guy, and sometimes that is the problem. But most of the time, the wrong questions are being […]

  6. […] to do better with women. They think the problem is that they are a self-professed nice guy, and sometimes that is the problem. But most of the time, the wrong questions are being […]

  7. The Real Reason Nice Guys Finish Last - on December 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    […] article originally appeared on James Michael Sama’s Blog. Follow him on Twitter and […]

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