Nice Guys Finish First


Just got off the phone with a client and became inspired to write this piece.

My client is a nice guy. Mid 30’s, intelligent, successful, and serious about finding a relationship.

We’ve been working together for a few months and he’s been lamenting his lack of success.

I reiterate old themes, try to put things into a much-needed perspective.

I remind him that it’s a competitive space, that it’s a buyer’s market for women.

He tells me that he doesn’t want to have to lower his standards for online dating. The same women he can get in “real life” don’t respond to him online.

I remind him that at a party, she doesn’t have a hundred men lined up to talk to her. On, she does. The strength of online dating lies in its ability to give us access to total strangers; the downside is how difficult it is to keep their attention.

We go over an email that he wrote to a woman. She didn’t write back. He wonders if he did anything wrong. I assure him that he did not.

He muses that it must be nice to have hundreds of people writing to you. I let him know that it’s a burden for these women – and that lots of great guys get lost in the shuffle.

He reminds me that each letter he writes that goes unanswered is a blow to the ego. I told him it shouldn’t be. You can’t take online dating personally. Just like a baseball player fails 7 times out of 10, an online dater is going to get a lot more rejection than acceptance. Don’t let the process affect you; just be grateful for the potential that it presents.

Finally, we get to talking about the woman he’s writing to. They spoke on the phone last night for the first time. The conversation lasted for an hour and change. She asked for his number at the end. Mission accomplished. But my client wants more pointers.

“What do I do next?”

“Email her and tell her you had a lot of fun last night. Mention something specific from your conversation. Ask her a question or two. And find out the next time she’s available to talk on the phone.”

I’m a big believer in the phone.

“But what about creating mystery? I don’t want her to think I’m too interested.”

An old wives’ tale, I assure him. But he’s citing references:

“I read in David DeAngelo that nice guys finish last. And “The Rules” talks about waiting a week in between conversations to build up anticipation and establish that you’re busy.”

I’m paraphrasing, of course. But the gist of it is that all of the experts out there have people believing that the way to forge a happy relationship is by playing games.

I wrote about this extensively in a chapter from “Why You’re Still Single” creatively called “Don’t Play Games”, but to reiterate: NOTHING GOOD COMES OUT OF PLAYING GAMES.

Playing games attracts people who plays games. It repels people who don’t want to play games. And everything that you do that is in the least bit calculating is pushing you farther and father from what you claim to want – an authentic relationship where you can be loved and accepted for who you are.

Nice guys don’t finish last. Nice guys without any balls finish last….

Ask most women what they’re looking for and you’ll get some version of “a nice guy with a little bit of an edge”. They value his ability to be a man, take control, make decisions, speak his mind and march to the beat of his own drum. None of those things prevent a guy from being nice. They just mean that he’s not a desperate kiss-ass.

Nice guys often confuse these two things. Because they’ve tried to “nice” their way into women’s hearts and failed, they’re convinced that they have to start being jerks. Uh uh. Decent women have no tolerance for jerks. They just don’t want a guy who values himself so little that he has to try so very hard to impress.

The confidence that a man projects is the magnetism that draws women.
The kindess is what keeps women there.

Confidence without kindness describes “bad boys” that smart woman have long ago given up.
Kindness without confidence is the charge against the wishy-washy “nice guys”.

But if you put confidence and kindness together…well, I’d say you have a pretty irresistible combination of traits for a man.

So let’s sum up:

Confident men treat women well.
Confident men keep their plans after they make them.
Confident men can express vulnerability and caring without seeming weak.

This territory isn’t exclusive to nice guys who finish last. This is for guys who won’t bend over backwards to the point where they are spineless.

And in case you don’t believe me about the game playing, here’s the best example I can provide to make my case:

You know what a woman says when a guy she likes calls her the day after a date?

“He’s so sweeeeet!”

You know what a woman says when a guy she doesn’t like calls her the day after a date?

“He’s a creepy, needy, stalker.”

The phone call doesn’t change her opinion. She’s already made up her mind.

So if you’re a nice guy who went on a nice date with a nice girl, try being authentic and call her the next day.

It would be a nice change of pace.

Join our conversation (118 Comments).
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  1. 21

    hunter, it’s the same thing with girls and ‘bad boys’ – we get attracted to these edgy guys because we find them sexy, only to go through the drama, games, etc. these relationships never last.

    It’s the initial attraction that causes people to overlook someone who would be a better relationship partner. As for guys and bitchy girls, I’ve seen these girls in action, many would step over their friends to get a guy’s attraction. And the same guys go for these girls again and again and again…

  2. 22

    …and then they complain ‘why do I keep meeing psycho’s – are there any good women out there’??

  3. 23

    to downtowngal,

    too bad some women keep these edgy guys, mostly, until thier late 40’s….

  4. 24

    hunter, believe me, the edgy guys don’t last that long. most women grow out of them by the time their 30

  5. 25

    to downtowngal,

    by the time their 30, or after their 30th anniversary?….hhmmmmhh

  6. 26

    Now I understand…it was all a waste of time in the First Place.
    Guess I’ll start studying for the Ministry, now.

  7. 27

    I also think that some women get validation in believing they are “really sexy” if a bad boy choses them. Some may feel the nice guy is just being nice if he compliments her, digs her, or wants her body. Or that maybe his standards are somehow not as high as a guy who is perceived to be able to get any chick he wants. So, theoretically, if he choses you (the bad guy), then you must be pretty hot, right? If a woman has self esteem or confidence issues, we might not believe the good guy that we are great or hot or sexy or whatever or think we don’t deserve the compliments and attention of a nice guy or a nice guy with balls. So we often end up with one extreme or the other – like so many people do if they are still coming to terms with things and who they are. The other end of the fence being the TOO NICE guy that the article from the woman at Amherst refers to.

  8. 28

    to jessica,

    ..That is why all single who want to date regularly, should keep a friends only woman at his side… doing this men attract other women, because, women will then say, “if he is good enough for her, he is good enough for me”…..

  9. 29
    Michael Ejercito

    I wonder what online dating is like for women.

    Do they get more rejections than acceptances?

    1. 29.1

      No.   Online dating is the total opposite for us Michael.      I like to tell guys this so they understand why they don’t get responses.      I am in my mid 30’s and so I cannot imagine what the women in the 20 something age range get.   When I was on match I would get around 30 emails a day more on the weekends and that does not count the winks and IMs a would get. On Ok cupid it was double that. If I changed a picture or something OMG. I eventually just shut my profile down because I could not keep up with Ok cupid.       Most of the guys just looked at my pictures and so what happens is we get a lot of men that email us that are totally not a match.    Meaning they live really far away are a lot older or younger, don’t want kids, etc but we have to weed through all these emails.   I got tons of inappropriate emails, and also even more repeat nasty emails from men like why have you not responded, do you think you are too good for me, we are perfect for each other that type of thing.    We have our pick so no we don’t get as much rejection as you do. I almost never sent out any of my own emails because I spent all of my time trying to weed through the ones I was getting!      But sure the few times I emailed guys some of them did not respond and I just moved on to the next one, no issues.   But also I never emailed guys that I clearly did not meet their criteria no matter how attractive I thought they were.      That’s what I wanted men to do to me!      Women have a lot more choices than men do online so hang in there and understand as women we really are not being rude, and we really are trying, but we are being bombarded!

      1. 29.1.1

        You are not trying as hard as men. Every message takes more time to write than to read. Men are putting more time and effort into it than women, and most of their effort is wasted due to women’s refusal to match it.

        1. same song

          ever consider that it’s how youre going about it that’s the problem?

          let’s say in your allotted time period you can look at profiles and send generic “hi” messages to 100 women but those messages have a 1% response rate.

          in that same time, you can actually read the profiles and send detailed messages (reference her profile, something you have in common, ask a question, strike up an actual conversation ) to 6 women but those messages have a 30% response rate.

          which is a better time investment?

          men will never get it. most women do not go to paid dating sites for quick lays. she’s not there for the same reason you are. she doesn’t date for the same reasons you do. she’s not looking for what you are. until men figure this out they will never have success in online dating.

    2. 29.2

      It’s hard to say, since most (not all) women still only respond to e-mails, and don’t initiate.

      However when I was on OLD, I would look at at how may men viewed my profile, vs how many men actually e-mailed me, and the disparity was BIG.   I mean as in HUNDREDS of men viewed my profile, but only a handful wrote to me.

      By the same token, I “soft rejected” just as many men in the same manner.   I viewed most of the profiles that were sent to my inbox as a potential match.   I did searches based on age, zip code etc. and looked at profiles that initially interested me, but since I did not write the first e-mail, I suppose every guy who saw that I looked at his profile and nothing more could take that as a rejection as well.

      When I decided to try “making the first move” I would favorite a guy or like one of his photos, at most I would comment on a photo, rather than send an e-mail. None of that ever ended well.

      I wasn’t too surprised tho, I was in my 50’s and I know women past a certain age are overlooked,   even within our own age group.

      However, I did experience “rejection” in the sense that some e-mail convo’s would just stop, a phone call would not lead to a date, or a first date would not lead to a second date, or a second date wouldn’t lead to a third. I had a few “almost relationships”,   we got to the point of exclusivity, calling each other boyfriend/girlfriend, but one didn’t work out because he lied about one of my dealbreakers (smoking) and one guy went back to an ex-wife whom he described as a drug addict who fleeced him out $25,000.

      But I’ve done the same thing.   I’ve stopped e-mailing without explanation.   One of two reasons usually, the convo got inappropiately sexual, or the the e-mail convo showed absolutely no signs of ever leading up to a face to face meeting, so I stopped wasting my time.

      I would say all in all if I added up all of my “rejections” vs “acceptances” it was pretty evenly split between being rejected, being the rejector, and mutual lack of interest.

      A little over a year ago I met someone with whom there was and still strong mutual interest and it is going very well.   So the number of rejections vs acceptances doesn’t really matter now.   It only takes one mutual acceptance.

  10. 30

    DT Girl, I agree with all you have stated. I am not 40 yet, and have come to the realization that what I am looking for is a good guy with some spine. It’s hard like hell, but I do get myself out of a situation with a bad boy as soon as I find out he is one. As soon as I get that notion no matter how attracted I am to him, I will pull away.
    I am in my late twenties, but even though armed with this knowledge, I feel like I will hit 40 soon and still be single. Datings a bitch.

  11. 31
    Tom Lee

    I am a nice guy, but very kinky indeed :-).

  12. 32

    You know, reading this over again in the context of the new post, there’s something here that amuses me.

    If this guy feels he can do better “in real life”, why is he on line at all (if he is, as he says, looking for a committed relationship)??

    Is he one of these, like Dan, that’s a personality/looks “3”, looking for a looks “9/10” (and not giving a hoot about her personality), thinking he can “do better”?


  13. 33

    I saw an article on a non-secular site that had a section for singles. The article was about women wanting to be pursued. Women want to be courted, pursued, and won. I believe that most (and there are always exceptions, of course) self-respecting women do not want to chase after a guy.

  14. 34

    that’s so true! a decent girl don’t play games. games are only for players, not for someone who looking for a real relationship. listen guys, if u are following those dating rules, no decent girl gonna stick.

    to starthrower68, chasing means calling, ask her outon a date, pay attention on what she likes, etc etc. not playing games in any circumstances.

  15. 35

    I agree with Evan here. I here so many guys say that women like jerks and it’s very frustrating. Because the men that say that are already thinking the worst about women. So how could they ever expect a good woman to want to be with them. We don’t want jerks or bad boys. We want a truly “good man” who isn’t a push over and has his own mind.

  16. 36

    Seriously people, it’s guys with CONFIDENCE who gets the girls- bad or nice…it’s all about the confidence factor! You ask a girl out, you are more likely to go out w/ a girl. Nice guys with NO balls are too insecure and shy to ask a girl out. Let’s get this all straight… girls like a confident guy – bad or nice. Therefore, if you are nice, more likely you will be in the relationship longer. Evan, great points on your articled. Loved every bit!

  17. 37
    mrs stone

    i think that although nice guys do finish first, the obsatcles that they have to face because of their nice heartedness are great much greater than that of say bad boys. take my husband as an example… the nicest man you woulod ever meet, but because of past experiences with women his heart when i met him was so guarded and today we still face issues because of it… i think that all guys start out as nice guys, but because of the pressures of the world nice guys in many cases turn nasty. the same goes for women!

  18. 38
    mrs stone

    i also believe that we women are sometimes blinded by our own needs we forget to stop and appreciate our nice guys! i have that problem sometimes, not problems with appreciating my man, i do appreciate everything he does for me, i have a problem with showing him that appreciation and love! its all a matter of reminding ourselves everyday to show the appreciation we feel! good luck in the future !

  19. 39

    I agree with many of you who have said that women are attracted to a confident man (or the perception of such) that seems to emanate more from men who are typically regarded as “bad boys.” This is usually a first impression that usually runs its course when she realizes that the guy is a jerk. In the process, so called “nice” guys may be discouraged and throw in the towel in regards to being a “gentleman.” Nice guys aren’t necessarily “indecisive” or “lack confidence” by the way. You can be respectful and courteous and not be a jellyfish. Again, it is a deception that bad boys use to win the affections of the lady over his rival who is straight laced. Usually when women reach a certain age, they know what they want and through a series of hard knocks have learned to see past the initial impressions that bad boys give as confident, exciting men since they know the consequences down the road of entering into a relationship with them. That is why younger guys nowadays seem to be pursuing women in their 30’s more than ever – women that age will recognize that being a nice guy doesn’t mean he’s a wimp and that after its all said and done, nice guys make better relationships. It is the immaturity of young women who fall into the trap of dating jerks – I saw it time and time again in high school and college. However, when they matured, perhaps after a failed relationship and/or marriage or two, they married a guy that they wouldn’t give the time of day a few years before. Men do the same thing – they are excited by “bitches” or women who play hard to get only to realize after winning their affections that they got all fluff and little substance. Its probably been like this since the dawn of time in some form or another. Women like confident men – so nice guys – you need to show that side of you too.

    1. 39.1

      Another element too is that confident men tend to approach and pursue more.   So Mr. Nice guy may be hiding in the shadows complaining about how all the jerks get the women but what is he doing about it?

  20. 40

    This is so so true.

    Most girls looking for a relationship CAN’T STAND when guys try to play it cool. Nothing is more of a turn off than a guy who acts like he’s too “busy” or “too good”. If she’s into you, she loves when your humble, sweet and vulnerable. And a nice girl won’t take these qualities for granted and walk all over you.

    Girls BRAG to their girlfriends about meeting a guy who lavished them with ATTENTION. “He calls me everyday and says the nicest things”. These are the things girls can’t wait to tell their girlfriends. And Evan is right… we like CONFIDENCE and need to know that a guy is not going to let us walk all over them, but for most of my friends… the more attention a guy shows, the more points he gets. 🙂

    If a girl is acting “wishy-washy” it has nothing to do with how nice you are and everything to do with the fact that she’s just not that interested, YET. If she’s still talking to you… she’s mildly interested and trying to figure it out.

    Don’t buy into this bullcrap about playing it cool. Look at it this way… most guys out there are busy TRYING TO PLAY IT COOL, so you’ll stand out if you lavish her with attention. And if she starts taking you for granted, gently put her in her place for it and let her know you won’t tolerate that. If she likes you, she’ll respect you more and snap out of it. If she continues to treat you bad, she’s not the right girl for you anyways, so move on. 😉

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