If you regularly browse Thought Catalog, you may have read Emmi Jacqueline’s post: 6 possible reasons you can’t find a nice guy and you probably browsed the comment section to find, as usual, people on both sides of the fence wonder how accurate or judgmental the piece is.
There are lots of complaints from women and it’s understandable. The post was made to address what girls do wrong. When an article titled “6 asshole things that every guy does” comes around, there will be lots of guys explaining how it doesn’t apply to them.
I sympathize a lot with Emmi’s article, mostly because I’ve suffered from or seen all of these in my close friends. But I don’t want to just shift blame on the women I’ve met and say that I’m a victim. I don’t believe that “they” are the only reason of my rather unsuccessful love life.
So, here’s my take on the reasons why people don’t find nice dates.
Before reading the following list, I implore you: if one (or all) of these points don’t apply: good for you! Now please don’t think of yourself as the sole representative of all women (or men). Just take a healthy step back and realize how something that you may be doing well may actually be something other girls are doing wrong. We’re all struggling.
1. Girls friend zone all the nice guys
A lot of (nice) guys will tell you the same thing, this isn’t new. However, it’s important to say it again and again and again: there are lots of girls who take nice guys for granted. Not a singular friend, mind you, but the existence of nice guys out there.
It’s true, however, that it’s not OK to start dating someone that you’re not attracted to. If your best friend Johnny is a nice guy but you’re not attracted to him, there’s no good reason to date him, period. It’s healthier to tell him that you’re not interested in dating him.
The real problem here is what commenter Guai Zi Zhao said: The crux of this discussion is that what woman find “attractive” isn’t what they claim to be looking for
What drives a lot of (nice) guys crazy is a girl who says she wants a nice guy but doesn’t really look for it. For these girls, niceness is a platonic ideal but not a requisite for dating a guy. So, instead of saying “girls friend zone nice guys,” it’s more accurate to say that some people (boys and girls alike) are not really coherent when it comes to picking a partner.
Instead of telling girls to not friend zone nice guys, I’d tell them to really think what they want in a relationship. If you want a nice guy, put it as a priority. If you don’t mind, then go for whatever floats your boat, but please make up your mind about who you want. (Boys, the same applies to us. Don’t just say that you want to date a nice girl. Look for her instead of hoping that one will fall from the sky)
2. Unrealistic expectations
It happens. Blame the media, society, your family, peer pressure or whatever. Everywhere you go you find unrealistic expectations of body, health and money presented as “the normal thing”. It’s no wonder how many people have self-esteem issues that come from these expectations.
The advice here is to learn to separate fact from fiction. What we see in TV, ads and movies is a constructed, artificial reality, tailored to be funny and attractive. Life is never that clear-cut. Life is imperfect and living beings are perfectly imperfect.
Know yourself and love yourself. This is the most fundamental thing to do. Chances are, your body, your wallet and your skills are not equal to what you see out there. There are things you can change about yourself to become a better person, but even those have a limit. Know your limits and push them if doing so will make you a better person.
Adjusting your own expectations will help miles in your expectations of others. You’ll know how everyone has their imperfections here and there, and how they are a struggle to us all.
This one is the same for boys and girls.
3. You end up with a fixer upper
This one ties in a lot with the previous point. People will never be perfect and expecting so will only lead to unnecessary disappointment. Even though Hollywood wants us to believe it, love is not magic. Loving someone will not automatically save or fix him or her. Love is not a magic pill that makes everything better.
Love does mean caring for someone else as much as you care for yourself or even more. Love means wanting him or her to be a better person, but not a perfect one. Love is selfless. If you want him or her to fit your own standards, that’s the polar opposite of love; it’s being selfish, it’s wanting others to conform to your norm.
Love is accepting. Love means wanting the best for someone else and helping him or her go through the good times and the bad. (Wow, apparently this one applies to boys and girls as well. Who knew?)
4. You equate asshole personalities with masculinity
Remember that talk about expectations? Same problem. Lots of heroes in the media are assholes. Lots of asshole characteristics are praised. I wish I was making this up. Remember how love doesn’t “fix” people? Many girls think that love will somehow erase the bad things about an asshole and leave only the good ones. Many girls see in a stereotypical macho man a guy who is secure about himself, willing to defend and protect his girl and someone who gets what he wants; but more often than not these are the result of insecurities about himself (see: unrealistic expectations)
I’m sure you’ve heard of a girl who keeps coming back to her boyfriend even after she learned he cheated. The story of a single mom who was abandoned by her former boyfriend. The story of the guy who can’t break up with her girlfriend even though she is a gold digger or a cheater. These and many others come from thinking certain attitudes are the sign of “character”.
This one applies to the boys as well! Please girls, don’t fall into that common and “recent” trap of thinking that being bitchy is good. Don’t become a stereotypical asshole.
5. You look in all the wrong places
There really isn’t much left to say about this one because it’s easily actionable and down to earth. It’s common sense, and as such, is rarely followed advice
This goes a lot with what you want from a relationship (see number 1). If you want the kind of guy who is craving attention from everyone by being loud and having his shirt half unbuttoned, then go for him. If you want a guy that enjoys a quiet drink at a jazz bar, go to a jazz bar.
It’s true that you don’t always get what you’re looking for, but you can certainly improve your odds by being in the right place at the right time. I’m sure that the girl who closes her eyes while listening to Beethoven is “nicer” than the one who downs shot after shot every Friday night. Wait, this one’s for the boys too!
6. It’s you
We’ve come full circle. Once you know what you want and what is a priority for you in a relationship, you’ll most likely get it.
Of course, priorities are different for everyone and they all must be based in realistic expectations. This is why nobody will ever fit in your “list of 43 characteristics of a perfect guy/girl“.
But once you have a rather firm grasp on yourself and what you want, it will be easier to get it. If you really don’t want a cheating guy, dump him the minute you catch him cheating and don’t look back. If one of your priorities is a girl who is economically independent, leave her if she gets dependent on you.
If you want a nice date, make it a priority to yourself.