The nice guy vs. bad boy debate has always been a popular discussion — as it seems, so too is judging and shaming girls based on which type they tend to go for the most — and as a girl, it sometimes influences my decision making in romance and relationships. I can never seem to get it right. Guys either like me too much or not at all; I guess I am one of those girls who likes bad boys.
That realization was not easy to come to. I mean, yes, it was plainly obvious ever since ninth grade, when my heart was broken by a 15 year-old boy who sold marijuana at his Catholic school, but I didn’t find any solace in that. Realizing a fault within yourself and your inability to change that is incredibly frustrating.
Romantic comedies are increasingly telling me that love and happiness is found with the nice guys, and media outlets like to make me feel bad when I don’t go after the nice guys. Correction: people like to make me feel bad for not going after nice guys. Women who like bad boys are often antagonized. We get labeled as shallow sluts for putting guys we’re not attracted to in ‘the friend zone’ or not wanting to go on a date with them, the result of which is disheartening and exhausting.
There’s no way to win: I am either blaming myself for hurting someone else or kicking myself for allowing my heart to get bruised and battered again.
Recently, I met a boy my age that has numerous positive qualities and also happened to like me a lot — yet he just didn’t do it for me. I went out with him a few times because as a woman, I am always encouraged to say yes and give the guy a chance, but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t that into him. Just like so many other guys before him who, for whatever reason, were just not that into me. Such is life. However, since I have it so ingrained in my head that it’s the bad boys that I like and the nice guys that like me, I was racked with guilt and obsessed over it for weeks. I complained to my friends about what a bad person I was for ending things, with the hopes of clearing my conscious and getting some sort of validation.
You see, when a guy shows an unreciprocated interest in me, I get this feeling like I am doing something terribly wrong, so I ignore what my heart is screaming at me, take a deep breath, and go out with him. Inevitably, and in no time at all, our little relationship crashes and burns.
Now, I’m starting to think that we’ve been looking at things wrong this entire time. The two categories of eligible men — since categorizing people on a binary scale, i.e introverted vs. extroverted, seems somewhat unavoidable — should instead be good for you vs. bad for you. Or perhaps the better phrasing might be be wrong for you vs. right for you. Large and over-the-top romantic gestures (again, thanks to romantic comedies) are associated with kindness, but what we’re forgetting is that there is something fraudulent and admittedly creepy about strong feelings that develop too quickly. There are so many factors at play in beginning and developing a relationship. Moreover, what a person needs in a partner is unique to the individual. You can fall for the boys that are wrong for you and they can fall for you in return, but ultimately it won’t work out. And for a guy to be one that is right for you, it isn’t enough for him to just have feelings for you. Wanting someone doesn’t make it so; it takes two to tango, etc. etc.
What I never realized before is that there is a difference between guys that are nice and guys that like you, just as there is a difference between men who have rejected you and men who are genuinely bad people. Feelings are so personal and so complex, and this is doubly true for romantic feelings. Whether or not a person has feelings for you has as much to do with their niceness level as it does what size shoe they wear. In your lifetime, you will turn down plenty of people who hand you their hearts, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a lot of crushes get crushed. And there’s nothing wrong with you for saying no.