Nice Guys Finish Last

I was reading a fascinating post the other night, Should we cut Men some slack, and it got some thoughts rolling around.  Usually that’s not a good thing but this time I think it was.  I left what I thought was an interesting comment…  And then decided to write a post about a question the author posed.

She asks whether it’s true that nice guys finish last.  I commented on that in my response to her but thought I could do a more thorough post here (some sentences are copied from my comment).

nice guys s

I’m going to qualify this because otherwise I’ll probably end up with hate mail- To a degree, nice guys do finish last. Did you see that, I said “to a degree”.

There are definitely some aspects to being a ‘nice guy’ that can sometimes make a guy seem less masculine, more a friend than a potential mate, and less successful at dating.

For example, typical gender roles would say that men are supposed to be fairly aggressive, loud, sex crazed, never talk about their feelings, insensitive, and vulgar.  None of those are traits that would be associated with the “nice guy”.  I think this can cause confusion during dating and relationships because sometimes when a woman sees a nice guy, who’s sensitive, who talks about feelings, who isn’t aggressive, she doesn’t think he’s interested in her sexually because he isn’t showing “typical” male behaviors.  Or, she isn’t interested in him because he isn’t as aggressive as other guys.  To a degree, we all want to be pursued, and sometimes a nice guy comes across as less assertive in his approach… which can turn some women off.

Sometimes this leads to some perfectly good men wallowing in the short end of the dating pool.

As embarrassing as this story is, I’ll use myself as an example here:

When I first got back into real dating (not just hooking up) after my divorce, my first date I went out with an  amazing woman I met on OkCupid.  She was hot, we had a fantastic time, easy conversation, we totally hit off, and then it came time to say goodnight.  I was playing Mr. Nice Guy and gave her a hug at the end of the evening.  She paused before letting go… for a while… and I didn’t kiss her.  I’d like to say that this was due to the awkward new-to-dating thing (I’d been married for almost ten years, I hadn’t been on a real date in a looong time) but the truth is that I had such a good time that I was paranoid about over stepping.  I had those doubts, I should kiss her… but what if I’m reading this wrong and I ruin my chance with this awesome woman?  It’s only the first date, I shouldn’t risk it, I’ll kiss her next time.  But there wasn’t a next time, she stopped returning my calls.  I mean, she made it about as obvious as she could and I didn’t kiss her.  Looking back, I’m sure that she thought I wasn’t interested or attracted to her because I didn’t go for it.  Nice guy finishes last.  But is that my fault or her fault?  I think that’s the key question.


All that said, I’ve also seen plenty of guys using the excuse “nice guys finish last”, or “I’ve been friend-zoned”, to blame women for their lack of success at dating.  In my example above, was that her fault or mine?  Personally, I’m fucking positive it was my fault that things didn’t progress.  I learned from the mistake and moved on, but some guys in similar situations might not see it that way.

I’m a nice guy, I do all these nice things and pay attention to her, I listen to her fucked up dating stories… but she still won’t sleep with me.  Obviously there is something wrong with women.

Guys that have no luck at dating will sometimes get bitter and blame women for their problems.  It’s an ego thing, the guy can’t see or admit that they are doing something wrong so it must be the entire female gender’s fault.

(The same might hold true for women, though I tend to doubt it.  Men seem to externalize their issues, blame others, whereas I think women internalize it and blame themselves.  Feel free to correct me if that’s wrong, it’s just a guess since I an only speak from a male perspective.)

Now, I typically see this woman-blaming behavior with insecure guys.  They lack the confidence and assertiveness to have success at dating so they end up “friend-zoned” and bitter.  I think that’s probably the type of guy you find trolling in the comments sections online leaving nasty, sexist messages.

Yeah, those guys have issues and not just the dating kind.


What does all this mean?  It means that to a degree there is such a thing as nice guys that finish last.  It means that some of the traits that make a guy nice can also be problematic with women and dating.

For the nice guys: You can be nice but still be assertive.  Rather than saying “I don’t care where we eat” because you just want to spend time with her, pick a fucking restaurant.  There is also a point where it is possible to be TOO respectful when dating (laugh all you want, I know I blew it), women want to be pursued and know that you’re interested.  Step a little out of your comfort zone and a little into hers and you’ll both be better off.

For the ladies: If you want a nice guy, be a little patient with the guys that aren’t as aggressive.  That doesn’t always mean that he’s not interested, sometimes it means that he respects you and doesn’t want to be pushy.  Give him a chance, let him relax a little and show you what he’s really like.

10 thoughts on “Nice Guys Finish Last

  1. If you wanted to kiss her…why not just ASK to kiss her? I’ve been on an exhausting number of dates and I have only had ONE gentleman ASK to kiss me. It SHOWED his interest and he STILL came across as a “manly man” ?…I don’t know I hate that term. But even so, I think the most interesting observation you made was how men and women differ when it comes to rejection. I completely agree you. Men EXTERNALIZE and women INTERNALIZE. Brilliant point 🙂 However: “The Friend-Zone” has nothing to do with being “too nice” …or “not aggressive” enough…it just means the girl didn’t think you were her one. Case Closed. There’s nothing too complicated to analyze there 😉

  2. Yeah I don’t like guys who constantly ask me about my life, msg all the time and are full of compliments. It makes it too easy, there’s no point chasing someone who’s already kissing your feet – there’s no challenge. It can also come off as desperate.

    And on the flip side like you pointed out, the nice, reserved, humble and respectful guys can be unintentionally put in the friend zone because they are misunderstood about their interest level.

    So yes, I do think being *too* nice can be too much sometimes. But if you’re decisive, confident, and even a little bit aloof (give a bit of info here and there but not all at once – we like mystery, and don’t be available sometimes – it will make us want you more), then nice guys can win too.

    It’s not that we can’t be patient with guys who aren’t aggressive (ok it depends how patient we have to be..), but more on our attraction to meeker guys. Like jblondie said, sometimes we’re just not keen. I think the kissing thing can be sussed out by saying ‘I’d love to kiss you right now but out of respect I’ll keep it for our next date’. It’s respectful, leaves a bit of suspense, but also it lets them know you’re keen without being too aggressive.

    If they’re not keen, then you haven’t awkwardly tried to kiss a girl who doesn’t like you, if they’re keen, they’ll contact you for a second date and if they’re super keen they’ll kiss you right then and there 😉 In saying that though, if you know body language (eg she’s touched you a couple of times) and are definite on her interest in you then there’s nothing wrong with kissing her.

    Good post though! Its an interesting topic 🙂

  3. Or enjoy the position of being the initiator/aggressor! I personally love nice guys and am put off by arrogant, presumptuous men, but I’ll agree that it’s possible to be nice and assertive AND that it’s a turn off when your nice guy is too nice to ever make a move. Be a nice guy with some balls, a nice guy that feels the fear and does it anyway. 😉

  4. I think what you say is bang on, Johnny.
    However, it makes me wonder, what do guys think of the girl that doesn’t wait for the kiss and just tries for it herself? (I haven’t ever tried, but I have always wondered…)

  5. Agreed, you can be a nice guy and still be assertive and confident! I really think confidence is the key here and the same applies to the really shy girls who will hide in the corner of the club and wonder why nobody talks to them.
    I think some people mistake confidence for arrogance so they just swing the opposite way and don’t do anything at all like a dead fish…

  6. First off, I freaking that the term “friend-zoned” – if a girl ain’t interested she ain’t interested. There is no zoning, it was never going to be from the beginning.

    Secondly – I don’t think nice guys necessarily finish last. Pushy/aggressive guys piss me off. I end up spending a night trolling them because it’s more amusing than slapping them and walking away.

    I prefer the nice guys. The ones with a brain that can hold intelligent conversation. That have more to them than just the gym and chasing skirts/pants/pandas.

    Do I kiss on the first date? Sometimes. Most times though I’ll just ask.

    I’ve never had anyone say no yet.

    • I totally agree with hating the term “friend zone” which is why I explained how it gets misused. Especially since the term is almost exclusively used by that type of guy, bitter and unsuccessful, you almost never see other people using it.

      Nice guys are definitely the way to go. As, ahem, one myself, I can firmly say that they’re smarter and make better lovers. They also have larger penises too, though I’m not sure if that’s been verified yet.


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