Nice guys. Fuckboys. Different names. Same concept. Old debate. Since the inception of the internet there have been countless rants on both sides about the useless clamoring of nice guys the world over, desperate for any inkling of affection and hopelessly frustrated by the endless parades of women claiming to want their favorite romantic comedies played out in front of their eyes. He tries and tries and tries in the hopes that maybe, one day he’ll get it right and she’ll realize that he’s the one for her. On his off days, he broods about his wasted affection and her complete inability to notice that he would do anything for her.
On the other side of the table are the woman who “just don’t feel that way about him,” who value his friendship, who love having him around, but are frustrated and discomforted by his repeated attempts to push the bounds of their friendship into the realm of romance. She spends an unreasonable amount of time trying to negotiate the treacherous waters of maintaining a friendship with him, without communicating romantic intentions that don’t exist. At the end of the day she is either angry that he expects what she cannot give or racked with guilt over the fact that she does not return his feelings.
The nice guy is, without fail and without exception, either a tragic hero who epitomizes the illogical and hypocritical strivings of women everywhere or else a pathetic sycophant who has managed to turn the object of his affection into just that. An object. One that he has placed on a pedestal. For the sake of proving his worthiness and moral superiority, he bends over backwards for her repeatedly in the name of “love,” when in truth he is only trying to justify the unfairness of his predicament.
1. Both parties are at least a little psychologically unhealthy and trying to fulfill unmet needs.
The nice guy doesn’t want affection, he needs affection. Craves it so much that he’s willing to chase it at the expense of his own self-respect, which stinks of desperation and will never be attractive to anyone. Men with self-respect move on, recognize that they won’t feel like crap forever and accept that you cannot change other people’s behavior. The nice guy has a deeply ingrained unconscious belief that he can never do better than the pseudo affection he gets from her; that the best he deserves is a pale imitation of a real relationship.
The girl opposite the nice guy jumps from relationship to relationship where she is ultimately emotionally unfulfilled. If her romantic relationships were healthy she would not entertain the nice guy because she wouldn’t need to. If her boyfriend were emotionally supportive, she’d go to him, not the nice guy. If her boyfriend were attentive, she wouldn’t entertain the nice guy’s “friendship” and repeated pushing for romance because it undermines her actual relationship.
2. People like attention.
If you keep buying someone things, offering to do favors, or running to the rescue, they’re going to keep asking for you. Human behavior is complex, but at our core, we all seek pleasure and avoid punishment. Having people pay attention to you feels good. She’s not saying she’s in love with you and she’s not evil and twisted. It’s just nice to feel wanted.
3. Feelings can’t be helped in both directions.
You don’t return his feelings, but be aware that he cannot separate his feelings from his actions. He might not consciously expecting anything when he does nice things, but it’s ultimately his feelings that are driving him. This doesn’t make him entitled, it makes him human.
By the same token, just because she wants you around, doesn’t mean she needs you. No single action, text or conversation will make her attracted to you. Understand that human behavior does not occur in isolation. Everything you do will impact the other person, but you can’t control how others feel. She doesn’t owe you reciprocation or attention. Love is not and should not be a matter of quid pro quo.
4. There are plenty of perfectly decent men and women that don’t have this issue.
You can be a nice guy and have self-respect. You can be nice girl and find someone who meets your needs that you also happen to be attracted to. The world is not black and white, the good ones are not all taken and members of the opposite sex (or same sex) are not all automatically terrible people. Ask yourself what you can do to change your own predicament and you might be surprised at the answer. Make an effort to change it and you’ll be unsurprised at the results.