On The Supposed Idea That Girls Only Like Jerks

The supposed ‘fact’ that ‘girls only like assholes’ [alternately: ‘girls don’t like nice guys’] is so widely-distributed and oft-cited that it is often accepted without question. In fact, this statement is in such common employ because it’s convenient.

Consider this: A male who is an asshole would not describe himself as an ‘asshole,’  because the definition of ‘an asshole’ would be ‘someone who is oblivious to the negative impact of his behaviors/personality on others.’ Therefore, if you were to ask any individual ‘are you a nice person,’ their most likely response will be ‘I think so,’ or ‘I try to be,’ or ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘yes.’

Oddly, the percentage of individuals most likely to reply ‘no, I am an asshole,’ are rarely actually assholes. They may engage in antisocial behavior for the purposes of driving others away from them and thereby fulfilling the prophecy of their low self esteem, but people who make negative statements about themselves to others – thereby attempting to pre-judge themselves on the other person’s behalf – are generally just fearful and often emotionally frail, not in much condition to be an asshole to anyone. For that matter, they are not in much condition to be attractive to anyone, either, meaning that it is unlikely for anyone to complain that a girl prefers such a person.

Conversely, those most likely to insist they are ‘nice guys’ are probably not. Again, consider the facts: No one would describe themselves as an asshole except for people who are probably not assholes, and most people either believe they are nice or are ambivalent about their self-assessment. Genuinely nice people will generally only testify that they endeavor to be good to others; it is the person continually describing themselves as a ‘nice guy’ that should provoke the greatest warning sign, as they are potentially a narcissist (and therefore more prone to oblivious anti-social behavior) – or at the very least, if they were demonstrating their purported ‘niceness’ to others through behavior, they would have no need to continually claim it through language.

Therefore, when a guy complains that a girl only likes assholes and does not like them because they are a ‘nice guy’, there is an inherent flaw in their argument: A self-described ‘nice guy’ is likely to be an asshole, therefore if his statement were true she would have an equal or better chance of liking him. Further, if the person the girl likes is, in fact, an asshole, he probably described himself to her on OKCupid as a ‘nice guy’, thereby making it difficult to prove that his asshole status was the reason for her attraction. But given that the person complaining is assumed to be a likely asshole, it’s equally possible that his assessment of the guy she likes as ‘an asshole’ is flawed.

In conclusion, if you are being continually passed over by the objects of your affection in favor of people you think are stained jerks in the face of your niceness, you should perform the following steps:

Step One: Stop talking about what a ‘nice guy’ you are and perform an honest self-evaluation to determine whether in fact you actually are one. Be advised not to confuse self-effacement or martyrdom with niceness. Perhaps if you follow girls around doing only what they want to do and subverting your will in favor of theirs, you will think you are being nice, but others are liable to view you as a doormat, potentially lacking in will or direction, and/or bereft of substance to contribute to an ideally-equitable relationship. These are not desirable traits in a partner.

Also, self-effacement that focuses on other individuals is rarely the generous act of radiant kindness that you think it is; the hidden, actual motive for such behaviors is manipulation, as you may or may not be aware of believing that there will be some karmic ‘reward’ for your generosity, e.g. the girl will eventually ‘realize how great you are’ i.e sleep with you.

Those who don’t receive this reward often become resentful and/or creepy to an extent that multiplies the longer your ungratified crush continues. Being resentful and creepy, feeling entitled to have someone suddenly discover how great you are, or waiting on someone to sleep with you are not desirable traits in a partner.

—-If you have performed your initial self-evaluation and determined that you are not confusing self-effacement with niceness, move on to Step Two. If you are, do not continue to Step Two and go to therapy. If you have decided you are actually not a nice person, skip to Step Four.—

Step Two: You have decided you believe you really are a nice person, after an honest inventory of your actions that determines you generally aim to be kind to others for positive reasons without being self-effacing and manipulative. In that case, perform an honest self-evaluation to determine whether you are choosing the right women: This includes ensuring that the women in which you become interested are generally your peers in lifestyle, appearance and personality, versus electing your desired mate on arbitrary metrics that you have culled from fantasy novels and/or the mainstream media.

If you honestly do pursue women with whom you have verified, through engaging interaction and actual real-world contact, that you have several common traits – or different, complementary traits– and you still ‘strike out’ frequently, you may lack confidence or an ability to express yourself well.

If you claim that you generally pursue women with whom you do actually have key values and lifestyle traits in common, you should evaluate whether you actually even freaking know the woman before you make that determination.

—If you have performed your Step Two self-evaluation and you have determined that you are a generally nice person who is confident and expresses yourself well to women who are an appropriate match for you, then you should cultivate patience. Don’t waste your time on people who don’t appreciate you, and stop blaming ‘assholes’ for taking your women away. Yammering on about how you don’t understand why you’re single because you are so nice makes people suspect you are an asshole [see introduction]. It can be lonely being single, but it can also be gratifying if you have the correct degree of independence – and as a happy coincidence, healthy women generally find independence attractive.

If you have performed your Step Two self-evaluation and you have determined that you generally choose the wrong women or that you don’t actually know the women well before deciding to pursue them, move onto Step Three.—-

Step Three: Just because men on buddy comedies can be slovenly, unemployed and perpetually immature disasters and still make it with gorgeous long-suffering sweethearts doesn’t mean that really happens. I mean, have you ever seen that happen in real life, bro? Get real. Generally people with ungrounded and destructive lifestyles only conduct unhealthy relationships with others who have ungrounded and destructive lifestyles.

In fact, if looks are your primary or even secondary determining factor, that’s probably your problem right there. When considering whether to pursue a woman, you have likely become fixated on what she can offer you or do for you, and not performed an evaluation of whether you can offer her substance of equitable value.

In some cases, the equation works in reverse: You often pursue women because you believe they require you, that you would be ‘good for’ them, or any such infantilizing ‘rescue behavior’ that has one of two results: You drive away women who are doing just fine, thank you, or you attract self-destructive individuals who are looking to be rescued. Your problem is the latter issue if your relationship history has acquainted you intimately with the DSM-IV on more than one occasion, or if you have guiltily, after a few drinks with friends, admitted you cannot resist a ‘crazy girl.’ If that is the case, then your presumed ‘niceness’ is a veneer for poor self-esteem [Return to Step One].

Step Four: You have determined you are not a nice person. In that case, the reason women don’t like you is not because you are a ‘nice guy,’ but is in fact some other reason you may arrive at through honest self-evaluation. Plenty of women in fact like nice men very much, so you might try to work genuinely being nice, not making yourself a victim of the somewhat-fallacious ‘asshole principle,’ and stop calling other women’s boyfriends assholes.

However, whether or not they would describe themselves as such, this world is replete with assholes, and plenty of women do like them. You could stop pretending that you are such a ‘nice guy,’ embrace that you are an asshole, and probably date more of the women who supposedly like assholes –but those women generally have a lot of problems of their own.

Disclaimer: I’m not a therapist and this article is pretty much a joke. Next time: Advice for Girls Who Only Like Assholes. Because actually that’s totally a thing. TC mark


More From Thought Catalog



  • fran

    Too good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    I get this

  • Anonymous

    “They may engage in antisocial behavior for the purposes of driving others away from them and thereby fulfilling the prophecy of their low self esteem, but people who make negative statements about themselves to others – thereby attempting to pre-judge themselves on the other person’s behalf – are generally just fearful and often emotionally frail, not in much condition to be an asshole to anyone.”Oh. That’s me.

    • Loserland

      Thoooose types of guys are such losers.

    • Loserland

      Thoooose types of guys are such losers.

  • Jordan

    Very good!  As I’ve gotten older, despite my own dating problems I’ve realized that “girls like assholes,” while definitely a possibility and it happens, isn’t really a good enough phrase.  Girls, everyone in fact, likes confidence, which a lot of assholes (whether they would describe themselves as such or not) have.  And the “nice guy” who doesn’t have confidence is most likely to be making this statement.  Being a nice guy and being attractive to the opposite sex aren’t mutually exclusive!  As long as you’re doing Step  Two, being a nice guy is a plus in everyone’s book.

    I would say I disagree on one thing though, a true ‘asshole’ guy probably knows he is, and would probably say as much if asked buy another guy or a girl friend.  He just probably doesn’t care, or it’s worked well enough so why bother changing?

    • ix

      It depends on what you define as an ‘asshole’. I think Leigh is right, many so-called nice guys really do engage in (emotionally) manipulative behaviour, whether consciously or not, and I would say that is asshole-ish. It is of course a different kind of asshole than the one that sleeps with your best friend behind your back, the day before your wedding, but that doesn’t make it less bad.

      Of course, the alpha male type has much more self esteem and so does get the girls, while the “nice” guy, well, doesn’t. 

      I’m glad I’ve always felt like a bit of an asshole though. Phew. ;-)

      • Jordan

        Yeah I’d say I was referring to more aggressive things.  I wouldn’t really say the ‘manipulative’ things she mentioned were asshole-ish, moreso sheepish or clingy or weird.

  • guest

    basically the moral of the story is: girls like nice guys who have a fucking backbone. there’s a difference between being confident and being an asshole. nothing makes me run for the hills faster than an insecure dude

  • Sean Li

    Like the Joker is to Batman, genuine nice guys need the assholes for balance! IF THERE IS NO BALANCE, THE WORLD WOULD EXPLODE.

  • http://twitter.com/DaveVoyles Dave Voyles

    Couldn’t disagree more with the article.

    Assholes, KNOW they are assholes. Hell, they tell everyone. That’s the whole point of the Alpha Male.

    But very funny and entertaining none the less :)

    • Javier Pickle

      I hate the term “Alpha Male” as a descriptor, it just irks me. This is just a word choice annoyance though; I agree with you. I know many, many dudes who readily describe themselves as assholes and are really and truly cocky inconsiderate asshats who have no issues with self-esteem/self-deprecation at all. Example A: Tucker Marx. In fact I’ve heard someone self-deprecatingly describe themselves as an “asshole.” It’s not pathetic enough a term because it implies, I think, a degree of agency at the very least and even a requisite amount of self-confidence needed to ignore other people’s feelings. Guys calling themselves assholes is a lot like girls calling themselves bitches: it may or may not be an accurate description but it’s almost always used in a ‘positive’ way.

      • Javier Pickle

        *In fact I’ve NEVER heard someone self-deprecatingly describe themselves as an asshole.* is what I meant.

      • http://twitter.com/DaveVoyles Dave Voyles

        Right, of course, most (if any) would never tell a stranger that they are an asshole, but plenty of dude-bros would gladly tell their friends about last evening’s conquest. 

      • Javier Pickle

        Actually, I have heard people describe themselves as assholes in a self-deprecating way but it’s only when they’ve DONE something inconsiderate and feel bad about it. They aren’t really describing themselves–more accurately they’re describing an isolated action. If you stopped them on the street they would never say they were an asshole out of nowhere.

    • guest

      human dudes are not wolves brah

  • xuene

    Liked because this is hilarious and you do not write like some idealistic Romanticist who somehow got caught in the midst of the 21st century. It’s a shame I can’t say this for all writers – but I guess it’s those idealistic Romanticists who make you shine. Just like assholes and good guys, eh?

  • guest

    ‘Nice guys’ always get super bitter when you won’t fuck them

    • mieke

      so fucking true

  • xra

    it’s not about nice guys and assholes, it’s about psychosocial dominance

  • http://www.tariqwest.com/ Tariq West

    A friend suggested to me once that we are all searching for someone who is capable of devastating us but will choose not to. She lamented that often we find the former and not the latter. Perhaps this is because we are more focused on finding people who challenge us (in healthy, and sometimes less healthy ways) and make us feel vulnerable, than we are on finding people who will cherish our vulnerability and match it with their own. 

    I think this is what every “nice guy” who’s been the pseudo-gayfriend to an asshole-dating girl he’s crushing on should understand: she isn’t into you (apart from the fact that she may find you straight up romantically/sexually  unattractive in body, personality, lifestyle etc…), because you are too accessible, don’t pose enough of a challenge and are seemingly more, not equally as, vulnerable as she is.

    • guest

      Really, it doesn’t have a lot to do with accessibility for me.  It’s usually because they’re a.) not attractive to me and b.) black holes of dark, scary emotional need.

      • guest

        BUT REALLY it’s usually because they’re not cute.

      • guest

        BUT REALLY it’s usually because they’re not cute.

      • Tay

        i agree with this, tbh. usually when i’m really physically attracted to a guy i’ll overlook his assholishness or nice guyness cuz, well he’s hot.  i guess you can go into some pop psych reasoning for why nice guys are not successful but i’d bet the biggest thing working against a lot of them is just not being hot.

  • http://brianmcelmurry.blogspot.com/ Brian McElmurry

    We’re all assholes

  • Charles Reinhardt


  • Mal Reynolds

    Girls don’t like you if you’re an asshole or if you’re nice.
    They like you if you’re pretty and slim.

    If they like you for that, ALL girls will like you.
    So you don’t have to be nice, they’ll keep coming anyway.

    If you’re ugly nobody likes you, so what do you do, you become niiice.
    You try to get to deeper emotions to get them to like you.

    But that bond is weak, the looks, the sexual appetite is, in fact, everything.

    Girls don’t like assholes, guys become assholes because they are liked by girls, overwelmingly, because they are pretty. Some ugly guys are assholes out of frustration, ARE THEY LIKED BY GIRLS?

    “nice” is the icing on a cake thats not very good. When the cake is good no one gives a fuck about the icing.

    That is why. They don’t care. If they are assholes.

    • Javier Pickle

      You sad bro?

    • Javier Pickle

      You sad bro?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh


    • Javier Pickle

      You sad bro?

    • xra

      nah man looks are like 30% of the female attraction pie, the rest is behavioral cues

  • http://twitter.com/pandafresh Christian J. Ruiz

    TLDR; does that prove am somewhat of an asshole?

  • girl

    those “nice guys” (aka i’ll be there for you so that oneday you’ll fuck me) are the bane of every girl’s existence. i’ll take a straight up, no apologies asshole any day of the week over that emotionally manipulative crap.

  • girl

    those “nice guys” (aka i’ll be there for you so that oneday you’ll fuck me) are the bane of every girl’s existence. i’ll take a straight up, no apologies asshole any day of the week over that emotionally manipulative crap.

    • guest


    • Guest

      And then you’ll cry and bitch and moan that the asshole left you for a hotter woman (and, he will, dimwits like you aren’t worth hanging on to).

    • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

      Have fun with herpes.

      • Cass

        have fun being alone.

    • Liz

       Oh this is so true! The only once that break my heart, leaving me crying for month are those “nice guys”  who promised the moon and universe. They tell you nice things and make you feel spacial, but in the the end they leave you heart broken. The “straight up no apologies assholes” are actually the nice guys who have the guts to be honest and respect the other person enough to say: “hey baby you’re cute and all but you’re not the love of my life. Les just have fun.”

  • http://twitter.com/crapface Hannah Foster.

    Interesting article.

    One thing I’ve always found, though, is that ‘nice guys’ are often the worst of them all. They have this inherent way of making you feel incredibly special despite the fact they fancy you about as much as they do their grandmother. They don’t know they’re doing it, but they make you fall hard and fast only to, ultimately, let you down and break your heart. At least with a dickhead you know where you stand; they’ll fuck you nice and good and then leave you in the lurch but that’s fine because you’ve come to expect that. You never know where you are with nice boys. 

    • guest


    • NC

      YES, so fucking true!

    • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

      You’re retarded.

  • Sippycup
  • http://twitter.com/DaveVoyles Dave Voyles

    Let’s be honest here – women love the drama.

    That’s not to say that men don’t either (because many, most certainly do).

    What fun is it in knowing that someone is going to be there to “care” and “hold” and “love” you? Sure, that’s great when you’re ready to settle down and want to give up your freedoms. Freedoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re locked down, and are stuck banging that one single person for the time being, but the ability to go freely – travel, explore, meet new people and not worry about repercussions. Ever go to a new or exotic location when you’re single and not have an issue speaking to some wonderful, entertaining, and beautiful person? Well it’s certainly not the same when you’re committed to someone else, because in the back of your mind you’re constantly wondering “is this appropriate? Would I want him or her approaching the situation in the same manner?” 

    The fact of the matter is as such: Assholes/bitches naturally bring forth drama and a sense of adventure. Sitting home and watching movies every night with your lover can only go so far. It’s that sense of trouble or action you receive when going out with that asshole, and never knowing how the night will end is what REALLY drives people towards assholes/bitches. In my uneducated opinion.

    • guesst

      Guy, you are fucked up.

    • Kelly

      YES….I have had a lot of experience with this.  I love assholes and I think it is mostly because I can relate to that type of personality.  I always tend to gravitate towards that rebellious, fun, spontaneous guy, however they tend to be  the selfish ones that are reckless with my  emotions.  The guys/girls that just want to sit at home and cuddle all night are usually nice and stable…but they tend to be ..well, boring. Assholes are just fun, and isn’t that all we ask for when we are young?

      • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

        I love that women age so horribly, because as soon as you hit 30 its all “oh shit gotta find a man before I’m really old and ugly!” One great thing about being a guy is I’ll look pretty good when I’m 60 :) 

        So you want the assholes now, and will switch to the good nice guys to marry. Ever thing nice guys want to have spontaneous rebellious fun too? Just cuz we dont club it up DJ’s In My Car B-L-M-A-R like a guido doesnt mean we dont like having fun.

      • Yup.

        Women and men both age horribly.  How do you even know what you will look like when you are 60, moron?  If you ask the majority of women they will say that men are more attractive when they are younger.  You think Johnny Depp looks good now? Fuck no, he was FAR more sexy 10 years ago.  Get off your high horse, you sound like a typical misogynist douche, oh, how very unique!

        Anyways, if you’re a dude and you’re boring with no sense of humor or sense of adventure, it doesn’t matter how attractive you are, you’re still a bore, so..no thank you. I’m NOT talking about guidos here, I’m talking about guys that don’t act like they’re 70 years old. Guys that are laid back and are up for anything are HOT.

      • http://profiles.google.com/mopeyprincess mopey P

        I’d rather hang out with a boring or a guido than some douche thinks he’s hilarious for making self-aware jokes about his male privilege and that its okay b/c “I was just kidding, calm down are you PMSing or something? I took that one Women’s Studies class in college gawwwd”

      • Li

        for someone who tries to convince others that he’s a real “nice guy” who doesn’t attract women because he’s simply socially awkward, you act like a real asshole. 

  • Catt

    I love you for writing this. Finally, someone gets it. <3

  • Mr Shankly

    Sure is missing the point in here.  I don’t know why you felt the need to claim that it was all a joke at the end  (to hold back the shitstorm of angry, sexually repressed ‘nice guys’ from commenting? Too bad bro), seeing as you seem to wholeheartedly believe most of the theories you’ve mentioned. I don’t mean to write an essay here, but I guess it’s inevitable. I’ll try and put this as concisely as I can.

    So you can split the entire demographic of guys everywhere into two groups. Those with confidence and those without. The confident guys generally fall under two categories, assholes and good guys. The unconfident guys are your oh so hated nice guys (that’s not to say that none of them are assholes, but disregard that for now). Don’t get confused, none of these titles are self confessed, they are simply parameters to fit into. Thus your first four or five paragraphs are redundant and effectively nullified.

    Your assholes are your alpha male self important pricks. They like girls because they get to fuck them. It’s doubtful that they’ve ever had any trouble attracting girls, because they exude confidence and masculinity. As a result, it’s no surprise that they have little respect for women. It’s also no surprise that they women they often attract have little respect for themselves.

    Your good guys are, well, your good guys. The good guys are a much neglected category. They’re the nice boyfriends, the nice friends (who still get laid), most likely the majority of guys. They’re confident (to some extent), respectful and decent. Nice guys tend to group good guys and assholes together out of jealousy and misanthropy.

    Nice guys are guys with no confidence, with social anxiety, and anything that falls under those subheadings. Nice guys don’t know how to interact with women so they are usually overlooked as potential mates. Out of a lack of exposure to them, nice guys often put women on a pedestal, deifying them, further decreasing their chance of being seen as anything more than a friend. They often obsess over girls (leading to being viewed as a creep, or in conjunction with a lack of social ability, actually being a creep). They see the good guys and the assholes getting all the girls, and they see them getting hurt. ‘All guys are assholes’, say the women. The nice guys look on, thinking to themselves that if they ever had a girl who loved them they’d do anything for her (whether or not this is the case is yet to be seen). To them, it’s no surprise that females are so disillusioned with their male counterparts, after all, women only go out with assholes, right? So what would they know?

    I don’t know if that’s clarified anything at all. It’s a fucking long comment so I doubt anyone will read it. It’d just be nice if girls could realise that nice guys aren’t so out of narcissism or self righteousness, it’s out of social ineptitude. No nice guy wants to be a nice guy.  They want to be a good guy, they just don’t know how.

    • the obvious

      The “nice guys that are nice guys with no confidence” actually can do well with women if they are cute.  If they are ugly, oh god, they don’t stand a chance with women…

      • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

        Ive been involved in male modeling in the past few years, so I cant be that bad to look at, yet I have as much trouble attracting and interacting with women as Urkle did. Its like Skankly said, the lack of confidence plus social anxiety and awkwardness pretty much put me in a hole I cant climb out of.

      • Bitch 1

        MALE modeling? Well, there is your problem, you are a pussy boy and most guys assume you are gay. sorry!

      • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

        I dont care if GUYS assume I’m gay.. but you raise an interesting point. Maybe girls too just think I’m gay? I do wear some fashiony clothes. shit.

      • Mr Shankly



  • coffeeandinternets

    When in doubt, blame everything and everyone around you instead of fixing your own shit that could be getting in the way of your happiness.

    Works. Every. Time.

  • CapturetheBomb

    If I am told I am a nice guy by others, and therefore believe it, does that make me an asshole?

    Reason why I am single is mostly due to the fact I have low confidence and I am very shy.  Also, even though there are plenty of attractive women, none  share more than one or two areas of interest with me or are heavily into all manner of drugs and alcohol.  Sort of picky, too.

    • smiles

      you’re not a nice guy, or an asshole..you are just a fucking loser.

      • LOLshelly

        LOL you truly are a waste of oxygen…and an asshole.  Congrats!

      • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

        This is the guy who gets the girls.

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