To All The Nice Guys Finishing Last
I know you’re the nice guy, but you’re not really getting what you want out of relationships and no one really knows (or perhaps has said) why. While I know tons of people less prepared or qualified who have entered into a relationship and even marriage, I've also found some common beliefs that have kept us nice guys’ process from being as smooth as it could have been. My hope is as you read through these truths, it frees you up to enjoy being yourself while also winning over the girl of your dreams.
IT'S NOT YOUR JOB TO PROTECT HER HEART.
I’m sorry if you were taught this. I was too. I spent years of my life guarding women’s hearts…from me …and my romantic interest. Justin Cambell articulates this journey so well in his article "Don't Guard Her Heart":
“This idea is often rooted in the idea that guys are bad and girls are innocent. This affects Christian guys in a lot of subtle ways that aren’t good. First, it can keep them from asking out anybody or certainly from taking things forward if they aren’t sure they want to...Secondly, this is one of the ways we’ve helped Christian guys become less attractive because they end up coming off as “nice" guys. We end up “declaring our intentions” or “having the talk” at times when we don’t have to. We end up being so accommodating that we become annoying...Essentially while trying to guard everyone’s heart but our own, we end up either overplaying our hand or not playing our hand at all.”
Gentlemen, It’s her job to guard her heart. Your job is to guard your heart. Yes, to clarify, some men need to hear that they should respect and be considerate of a woman’s feelings and not play them. You, Mr. Nice Guy, are on the other end of the spectrum. Let me translate this concept of “guarding her heart” for you: “Don’t be a player. Respect her like you do any other human being. Give yourself a chance. Give her a chance. Let her decide what she wants to do with your interest."
LEARN HOW TO FLIRT.
You're probably super sweet - but flirting is a bit more playful. I’m not saying to “be a flirt” I’m saying learn "how to flirt.” You’re not trying to get her in bed by manipulating her -this isn't about getting an internal need to be liked met. This is about communicating your interest and enjoyment of each other in that unique, light-hearted, playful way. I actually sucked at flirting and my roommate called me out on it. I thought I was flirting but everyone else just thought I was being kind and encouraging. Flirting is more of a give-and-withdraw dance, than just full-on-give. It’s much more like a game of tag. I ended up watching youtube videos of how to flirt and not be creepy and how to help me learn the slight tease that's needed in the dance of showing your interest.
IF SHE SAYS NO, MOVE ON.
This is not the romantic comedies we grew up on - where she comes back four years later while you’ve been waiting all this time. (Cue rain scene from the Notebook). Here’s what you do: Pursue. If she says she doesn't know, keep pursuing and win her over. If she says ‘no’ - move on. You don’t want to wait another six months of pursuing or “waiting for her” when she’s not interested. Sorry, bro. It sucks. I get it. I’ve gotten it many times. Don’t waste more of your life waiting for a ship that’s not coming back. If it’s meant to be, God will bring you two back together for another shot. You can trust Him to do that. He won’t let you miss something good that He’s intended for you. Hanging on to a romantic idea when she’s already declined - only feeds into a fantasy world, sets yourself up for greater hurt, and steals you from being present with others in your life.
ASK GOD TO BE YOUR WINGMAN.
I don't care how confident or outgoing you are, we all need a wingman. We need someone to set you up so you can have that conservation, have good details be shared about you, and whisper words in your ear when your brain stops working. I asked God to be my wingman and join me in the process of dating. If I see a girl I like, I'll tell God "If you give me an opportunity to talk to her, I'll take it." Then roll with Him as He works.
CHANGE YOUR APPROACH.
If your current approach on dating/courting/romance hasn’t been working, maybe it’s time to try a new routine. If you normally like to become friends and get to know someone before you ask them out, skip that process and just ask her out on a date or for coffee. It's not THAT over the top, girls like that too. Lower the stakes. If you normally ask her out right away, then get to know her before you try to take it to the next level. If you don't know how - let’s try something new. I know it can be scary, but having the right mindset and some simple language when you walk up to her, can go a LONG way. I actually wrote another article on this that you can use when you’re being brave and asking her out.
DON'T ALWAYS BE THERE FOR HER.
While some guys do need to learn how to show up and help - you're too good at this. You're too present. You're basically in the boyfriend spot, without any of the commitment. You want to help, and that's great, but you're either "fake dating" or she feels a bit smothered by all of your help. If you wouldn't be able to date another girl because your time and emotional attention is on this girl - you're probably too invested. Without taking the risk of being more, this moves you into the "great guy/friend/just a brother" zone. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and she'll need a little absence to see you in a new light. You're saying you're just friends, but you're not. You don't have that strong of a commitment to garner that much of your attention. When you build a fire, you start with small pieces of wood (time and attention). Once the fire grows, then you can begin lavishing more wood on. Start slow and let it build.
MAYBE YOU JUST HAVEN'T MET HER YET.
Yes, it's that simple. There are great girls out there for great guys like you. Don't become a “bad boy” or a flake to get a girl - that's not you. So why are you single? Maybe there are some areas of growth in healthy emotional boundaries or personality points of tension - or maybe you just simply haven't found the right one yet. Maybe she’s not ready. Maybe she’s not in your city. Maybe she’s off climbing a mountain or getting her Masters Degree. Whatever the case, if she’s not here yet, keep growing, developing, building your life and living well. Whenever you do find the one that you choose, she'll be happy to have a guy who has learned to be strong, brave, and kind.
Here’s the good news: at the end of the day, you have what it takes to make a great relationship work and go the distance. You’re caring, sacrificial in love, willing to build her up, and have incredible character that’s been tested over the years. You’ll do great in the long haul. The same thing that makes a good first date is not the same thing that makes a good husband. You may just need to adjust your approach for this leg of the race.
Some friendly advice,
President of the Nice Guy's Club
P.S. It’s okay to be frustrated that things aren’t working out well, but don’t forget you’re not being kind just to get a wife. You are being kind because you are a man of integrity, who treats women with respect. You are setting the standard for women all around you - not just the one who will end up sharing your last name. Remember, Jesus is kind. Never believe your kindness is a negative. The world needs more kind men.