Could Nice Guys Be Undercover Jerks?

I’ve been told it takes approximately 5 seconds for you to form an impression of someone. So at a quick glance, you have hastily slapped a label onto a guy you just met; casually classifying him as being either a jerk or a nice guy.  Given the only two choices what’s a girl to do?

Let me try to illustrate by creating two simple profiles:  holding all superficial, but critical factors constant between the jerk, let’s call him Tyler, and the nice guy, Andy.   Both are charmingly handsome, both make a modest salary of 50k and heck let’s throw in a large year end bonus, both are tall and both drive nice cars!  Before I deliver my observations for our subjects, Andy and Tyler.

I want to draw from everyone’s favourite dictionary, for a loose and common understanding of a jerk and a nice guy.  I will briefly blend and summarize the different definitions:

Gathering a description from the most popular definition we are told that “jerks are selfish, manipulative bastards who see women as little more th[a]n sexual conquests to brag about to their buddies or mere objects that are there for their personal pleasure.”   Another definition suggests “ though many women constantly complain about guys like that, most end up with one because they didn’t dig deeper and didn’t try to see through the jerk’s crap.”

Again summarizing from some of the popular definitions of a nice guy, we are told that nice guys have “chosen to define himself from the inside out”.  “The nice guy would never capitalize on a vulnerable girl, objectify or cheat on a girl, he will go out of his way and bend over backwards… no matter how intelligent, understanding, humours, compassionate trusting or loyal the nice guy is the female cohort will always pass him up… [for a jerk].”  ”The nice guy will eventually realize that his dependability and empathy will never be appreciated and all his friendships with females are all one-sided.”

Let’s pause and I’ll let your minds wander off and recall the jerk you’ve dated or know of- yes him. Try to tie in the loose definition (see above) of a jerk with your personal experience for a more effective jerk image in your head. Now think about, the sweet, sensitive and good listener all around nice guy, Andy. Think about how much you actually know about Andy’s past, his behavior and most importantly his thinking process?  Does he seem introverted?  Do you think most people would agree that they would emotionally take advantage of a vulnerable girl? Keep these questions in mind as you read on.

The obvious difference between the two is their personality or disposition. Reading between the lines, it seems that nice guys are jaded and hold a degree of resentment (for not picking him over the jerk) towards the female population  Side note here: Nice guys are somewhat introverted or lean towards that end in a personality spectrum.  But the analysis of dating an introvert is another blog in itself.

With the constants and personality differences in mind, a completely rational girl would pick Andy over Tyler. Being a rational and considerate girl, you have never “castrated the nice guy for comfort” and used him for a listening ear to vent and complain on how all men suck.  What the completely rational girl hasn’t considered is Andy could be subjecting her to a more extensive evaluation, possibly punishing her for mistakes of a thoughtless girl he has dealt with in the past.

If you picked to date the jerk Tyler,  your guard is up and you have considered the inherent risk in dating a jerk.  At some level you have prepped yourself to be more conscious and aware of any type of tricks he may pull.    On the other hand, with Andy, the risks don’t appear to be high, he seems to be a safe and reliable choice.  This is because the inherent risk to seeing nice guys are negligible.  Logically, your guard is down.

In the early stages of seeing Andy, you will love the undivided attention he gives you, making you feel comfortable enough to open up, and hint at his willingness to accept  you for your unique or weird qualities.  He is just focused on encouraging you to genuinely be yourself.  Just because the nice guy doesn’t say it, doesn’t mean he is clear and free from the thoughts a jerk thinks.

After a few dates with Andy, you will realize you learned little to nothing about him.  Since it is in his nature to listen, you will be doing most of the talking.  He has developed an advanced skill to think on his feet and to deflect any unprecedented questions back to you. This attentive listening comes at a price, he is in fact observing you, watching you and gently evaluating if he wants to be with you.  The nice guy has created an unequal playing field.  Andys can be sneaky.  He understands how you think, what tips you off, and how far he can get away with things.

Where you invest your time you invest your love.  At a conscious or unconscious level you will want Andy to reciprocate feelings of attraction towards you. If he does YEAH, then congrats his nice car is gravy!  If he doesn’t, it’s a completely different kind of hurt!  With Tyler, it is almost anticipated, but with Andy it’s a more profound hurt.  It hurts because you believed he was nice and you’ve absorbed the majority of the impact. You opened up and let him in.

If Andy suddenly just dropped off the face of the earth, stopped whatever it is you two had, it would hurt more than it would with Tyler.  YOU INVESTED something. At least with Tyler, you could blame it on him being a jerk!  Rest assured though, nice guys let you go politely and subtly.  Nevertheless, you will recognize this gentle sting of rejection.  However this may still leave your ego and heart bruised.

Of course there is no absolute certainty to what I’m saying, they are just observations I’ve taken note of. This is not to say jerks are a better choice, jerks are jerks nonetheless.  There just may be another side to this nice guy disposition, another side you may have generously dismissed.  It also depends on the type of nice guy you are seeing, you will know what I mean when you encounter one.  Some jerks suit up well as a nice guy.  Some nice guys are actually in fact inherently NICE, while some nice guys come with a hidden agenda.  They know how to play the game well.  This is the Andy I’m warning you about.

So why am I slamming on this poor group of Andys who just want a chance?  I’m not, in fact I’d take my chances with Andy over a Tyler any day.  I’m just simply offering another insight that may be overlooked when dealing with nice guys.

So short answer, nice guys aren’t undercover jerks, but this does not eliminate them from exhibiting some jerk like tendencies.  This goes for everyone, just because someone is nice doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of being mean.  The extent of Andy’s jerkiness is still up in the air, it’s for you to judge and decide! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Jametiks

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