I’m not a nice guy anymore

I’ve realized something over the last… year, I guess.  I’m not a nice guy anymore.  

Depending on how long you’ve been following me that might not make much sense, but for most of my life I was the absolute, stereotypical, boy scout, “nice guy”.  I was the first to forgive pretty much anything.  Easy going?  I was a pushover.  Second chances?  Hell, lets push it to fourth or fifth chances.  I had friends, girlfriends and regular acquaintances that treated me like shit and I put up with it.  Wasn’t forgiving them, being there for them when they needed it the important thing?  I let the whole world lean on me, I took care of everyone else.

I’ve actually written about bits and pieces of this over the years as the nice guy act broke down.  About how I was pushing off my issues by trying to help other people with theirs, but that’s only part of the problem.  I think the larger part has to do with my appalling lack of self worth during those years.

You see, if you don’t put a whole lot of importance on yourself than it kind of makes sense that no one else does either.  Or that they take advantage of it… leading to fourth and fifth chances.  You put up with things you shouldn’t, just thankful to have people around.  Maybe it’s what we think we deserve.  Maybe they’re too good for us so we suck up the bits of pain and disappointment and chalk it up to balancing the scales.

Maybe a wife that cheats, knowing that her spouse will always be around.  If people can get away with it, chances are they’ll try.  In fact, I was such a nice guy that if Cat hadn’t pushed for the divorce -so she could marry someone else- I’d probably still be married to her, however unhappy I was.

But in the following years, as a single guy trying to figure out how to make it in the world, I’ve learned a lot of tough lessons.  And the first was that Mr. Nice Guy had to go.

The world is not a nice place, it’s full of heart break and assholes, with so many people trying to take a slice of what you’ve got.  Whatever you’ve got.  Whether it’s cash, mobility, energy, love, sex, whatever, there’s someone who wants it.  There’s someone who will do whatever it takes to get it.  There are a lot of desperate, unhealthy people who, for whatever reason, think that what you’ve got can make them whole.  People who, instead of trying to heal others to avoid their own issues, seek to use people to try and solve their own.  Sex, money, drugs, love, whatever.  And if they get their teeth into you they won’t let go until something better, flashier comes along.  I could draw an analogy to Cat here but that would be something of an oversimplification.

And I’ve learned.  It hasn’t been a clean or easy process but I’ve learned.  Mr. Nice Guy flaked away, bit by bit, leaving behind… what?  I’m not sure myself, but it’s a whole lot less forgiving.

Every person has their own intrinsic value and deserves to be appreciated.  Even me.

I learned to value myself.  My time, energy, love, talent, humor and (least of all) my money, have value.  I might not be the smartest guy, the best writer or artist, or the most attractive, but I have value.  I’m not going to waste myself on people who don’t appreciate me, I’ve spent far too much time with those that don’t already.


So, gone is Mr. Nice Guy, what’s left is far more Old Testament.  There’s almost no forgiveness left.  While the potential sins are far fewer than those in the bible, the punishment for breaking ‘my’ sins are just as severe.  If the hand offends, chop it off.  They are absolute.  Respect, appreciation, equal effort, consideration, honesty, fidelity and consistency.  I don’t care if you’re broke or a millionaire, an asshole or a saint, a republican or a democrat, illiterate or a PhD, if you can maintain those values we’re cool.  If you can’t, fuck off.

Fuck fourth or fifth chances, most breaking the rules now won’t even get a second one.  I’ve learned the hard way that most people don’t change, as much as we’d like them to they don’t.  If they’ve sinned against me once then they’ll do it again, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.  I’ve given far too many people far too many chances, and how many of them changed?  None of them.  All I did was waste my time and delay the ultimately inevitable end.  If the hand offends, chop it off.  The sooner the better.

Me.  I have value.  My life, my time is valuable.  It’s not always easy to say that but it’s true, it has to be.  It has to be true for all of us, we all have value.  Those that get my time and energy, that’s a gift.  All of us, our time and energy is a gift.  If that gift isn’t appreciated, if I’m not given the respect due to EVERY person on the planet… Well, I have better things to do. 

Mr. Nice Guy is gone.  If that’s who you’re looking for, I’d suggest going elsewhere.

And if you’re reading this, take a long look at your own life.  Who are you gifting your time to?  Do they appreciate it?  If not…

12 thoughts on “I’m not a nice guy anymore

  1. I think there is a huge gap between having the esteem that says enough on allowing myself to be taken advantage of (Mr. Nice Guy) and being the cynical person who assumes the worst in people. I think you’re right that people who have done you wrong have the capability and there is a good chance they will do you wrong again. It’s akin to a biting dog. Some dogs never bite. Some do it once, and have no qualms about eventually (or consistently) doing it again. I’ve learned to just be a tad more careful around these types, if I am around them at all. There is that middle ground between Nice Guy and Cynical Guy. I don’t know you, but I really hope you find and/or stay on that middle ground.

    • I’m actually quite happy with where I am right now. I know how cynical this post sounds but that’s only one side of the coin. I give people a lot of credit, a lot of leeway, but there are limits and that’s what this post was about. It’s just like that biting dog you mentioned, even if you bring it back into the house how will you ever trust it again? Once that line is crossed it can’t be taken back. Maybe things change, maybe even some people change, but once that line is crossed things are different. And, unlike if it’s your dog that bites, we choose most of the people in our lives. When someone does us wrong we don’t have to keep spending time with them.

      • With the exception of a couple of relationships that I “hoped” had changed, for the most part I don’t work backwards. I can work with you (the hypothetical you) to a point if I know you are capable to doing me wrong, but I’d treat you the same way I did the biting dog. I’d be wary, and understand at any moment that SNAP could occur again. And if it did? Then I’d kick you to the curb and move on. Sadly we can’t have bad people put to sleep, but we do it to animals. There is levity and truth in that sentence. LOL

  2. Perhaps I have issue with the term Mr. Nice Guy – you can be a nice guy and still value yourself, still respect yourself to not be taken advantage of. This feels like it comes from a place of hurt, anger, frustration, and it makes me sad.

    I am glad that you value yourself enough to not be walked over, however.

  3. Well said.
    Amen to all of that. I think, to some extent, all people get this way as they get older. For obvious reasons, we get cynical and expect the worst.

    You hit the nail on the head here – self worth and second chances… It’s difficult to draw the line between caring and desperation. But again, as we age we learn more about that line and who we will let cross it.

  4. It is good to have these realizations and make changes to protect oneself, but be careful not to fall into victim or perpetrator mode. I liked this quote I once read, “Remember that people aren’t against you, they are for themselves.” We are all doing our best, even those of us who fail your values litmus test (one I agree with by the way). Good for you for valuing yourself. I still think you’re nice, though. 🙂

    • Lol, I’m about the furthest thing from either victim or perpetrator that exists. I’m a cynical observer. I get what you mean though.

      And, yes, I am a nice guy on an individual level. Just don’t push me too far. 😉

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