Women ask me, “Where are the good guys?”
It’s a funny question because the good guys are literally all around us. We don’t have to look far to find one or two specimens of this seemingly endangered species. The problem is they go unnoticed.
Now, I’m not talking about the guys who say they’re good but actually aren’t. I’m talking about the guys who are good and don’t say anything (because good guys are too good to say they’re good). They’re the ones who have a secure attachment style. They’re comfortable depending on others (and vice versa), are comfortable with intimacy, and are open & direct about their feelings.
But back to the question at hand: Why can’t women see the good guys who surround them?
The way I see it, there are two glaring blind spots…
A big problem with a lot of good guys is they can’t/won’t flirt to save their life.
Flirting is a vital skill. If a guy doesn’t flirt with the woman he is interested in, how will she realize he is interested in her? There needs to be at least a little flirtatious banter for her to notice and consider him a potential lover.
I know tons of these types of guys who can’t/won’t flirt and it breaks my heart because they would make great boyfriends, husbands, and dads. But chances of that coming to fruition seem so slim because women see them as BFFs, not BFs.
Luckily, many good guys who can’t/won’t flirt end up dating women they’re friends with (which is fine BTW but severely limits options). Slowly slowly, their platonic friendship evolves to become romantic over the course of months or maybe even years as they get to know each other better and get more comfortable around each other. It’s when they start playfully teasing and have opened up to each other does she see what she’s been missing and the relationship comes to fruition.
Some guys don’t even notice a woman’s flirtation. She may gaze into his eyes longingly, flip her hair or even say, “You’re so cute, why are you still single?” but even if he’s interested he won’t realize (or doesn’t want to show he’s realized) she’s flirting so nothing comes of it.
I’m not blaming men completely. Women have their issues too. Namely, we have this habit of equating drama and volatile behavior with love.
Good guys are level-headed, supportive and kind. They’re straightforward with their feelings and don’t give mixed messages. These are all wonderful qualities but we seem to have a knack for falling for guys who give us the hot-and-cold treatment. That emotional roller coaster is addictive.
The guys who give us mixed signals usually have an avoidant attachment style. They avoid commitment and intimacy and think being dependent on a person is a personality flaw. Their “subtle indicators of uncertainty and unavailability” can make you feel anxious and insecure. Each time you attempt to get close, they pull away. But when they feel sufficiently independent, they come back with a loving gesture.
After a while of these ups and downs “you start to equate the anxiety, the preoccupation, the obsession, and those ever-so-short bursts of joy with love. What you’re really doing is equating an activated attachment system with passion…(and) you become programmed to get attracted to those very individuals who are least likely to make you happy.”
So here’s the issue: If she has fallen for her fair share of avoidant types she will equate the emotional rollercoaster to be an indicator of love.
Conversely, if a nice guy who is forthcoming and honest tries to position himself as a possible SO, she may think there’s no chemistry and/or he’s boring because she’s not getting the highs and the lows she’s accustomed to.
What to do?
We need to work on both sides of the equation.
If the good guys want to expand their options, they need to learn how to flirt and show their sexy and playful sides. Sound hard? It isn’t. It’s a question of learning some skills, building confidence, understanding what is appropriate, and practicing. Let’s talk if you’re interested in coaching sessions.
Women, on the other hand, have got to realize that love can be passionate without being dramatic and good guys can be passionate while still being good. Sound hard? I think this one is a little harder because dramatic love affairs are crazy addictive and it can be hard to convince a woman that it’s worth breaking the cycle because good guys are her best choice.
Take it from Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer at Facebook). In an interview with The Financial Times, she advises women to marry the nerds and good guys. She would know – her late husband, Dave Goldberg, was the epitome of the good guy. He wasn’t a babe and didn’t seem super suave but who fucking cares? He made up for any of those shortcomings by being supportive, kind and understanding. And he was an amazing dad. It would have been such a pity if she hadn’t looked past his blah façade to discover the gem of boyfriend/husband/father behind.
For there to be more successful relationships us women need to be less reactive to the first impression and give good guys more time to show us their multiple layers. The good guys, by the same token, need to learn how to flirt and be confident enough to flirt so they can show women that behind that squeaky-clean exterior lies the man of their dreams.
If you want to find out what your attachment style is you can do this quiz (2 minutes) but I prefer this one (15 minutes) because it’s more comprehensive and gives you a nifty graph to show you where you score re: previous romantic relationship, your mom, your dad, and your friends.