A letter to that Nice Guy I ignored that one time

A comic depicting the difference between what a Nice Guy thinks is happening between him and a girl and what is actually happening.

a shift in perspective can help.


Dear Nice Guy,

I’d say you probably don’t remember me, but I know you do. I know you remember me the way you remember every single girl you’ve ever latched onto like a leech who also happens to recommend books and carry shopping bags. I know you remember me because this is a small town and people talk and you wouldn’t believe some of the things people tell me you say about me, except that I guess you would because I know for sure that you said them.

I know you’ve waxed poetic at length to anyone who will listen (and a fair few people who won’t) about how I don’t know what I’m missing. And you know what? I guess you’re right. I don’t know what I’m missing. Maybe if, somewhere between the endless offers of a lift home and the free coffees I didn’t want and the little intimate gifts “just because”, I’d read your mind and deduced using my psychic powers that you were in love with me, things might have turned out differently. (Like maybe I’d have filed a restraining order. Maybe I’d have stopped seeing the favours you did me as the acts of a friend and started seeing them as the acts of a predator. Maybe I’d have never allowed myself to be alone in a room with you. But I digress.) For the sake of argument, let’s say you’re right and I don’t know what I let slip by when I decided to go after that [confident] jerk [with a sense of self-worth and a whole host of interesting hobbies] instead of letting you woo me like a princess in the tackier class of fairy tale.

Then what?

You want me to know you’d have treated me like a princess, but I’m not a princess. You want me to know you’d have worshipped me like a goddess, but I’m not a goddess. You want me to know you’d have waited on me hand and foot, but I’m a functioning human being with agency and independence and I don’t need anyone to wait on me. You want me to know you’d have given me everything I could ever have possibly wanted, but you’re wrong there, because one of the things I wanted – one of the things I still want – is not you.

That’s the thing, see? You could drive me to the edges of the Earth as a “favour”, you could come shopping with me and take me out to dinner and watch movies and let me cry to you over the phone, but you couldn’t make me want you as anything other than a friend and you still can’t. You’ll never be able to. Oh, sure, if you’d asked me out when we first met, before we settled into the routine of girl-and-secret-admirer, maybe I’d have thought about it. Maybe I’d have let you take me out to lunch at a little bistro somewhere and we could have talked like real people and not like Pygmalion attempting to breathe life into his Galatea, and maybe we’d have found out that we had things in common and it would have led to a few more dates and maybe a relationship. Or maybe I would have turned you down and you’d have felt sad about it for a while but you would have moved on and we could have been friends – real friends – and you wouldn’t be obsessively combing through my Facebook photos at midnight and I wouldn’t be writing you this letter.

But you couldn’t make me love you just because you wanted me to, and you still can’t.

You say I’ll regret it. You say that ten, twenty, fifty years from now, you’ll be the one that got away. You say that when I’ve been rejected by a string of [confident, interesting, engaging] jerks and I no longer have my youthful beauty and I’m too old to have kids, I’ll wish I’d settled for you. And maybe you’re right. Maybe one day I’ll be fifty years old and single and childless – but even then, I still wouldn’t regret not being with you. I wouldn’t regret not signing up for a lifetime of being treated like a marble statue on a pedestal created by an obsessed boy-child with an ideal of perfect womanhood to which I could never truly measure up. I wouldn’t regret avoiding that slavish devotion, that expectation of reciprocity of a passion I didn’t and don’t and will never feel. No, I’m sorry – even if you end up being right and I find myself alone and unloved and unlovable, I will never regret that.

Since we’re making predictions, though – and oh, how you love to do that when you talk about me (did you really think I wouldn’t hear of it? did you really think they’d never tell?) – let me make a few of my own.

I predict that I’ll have an enjoyable, interesting relationship with my jerk (who has introduced me to sports and taught me how to shoot a gun and helped me rediscover my love of philosophy and supported my dreams of being a writer and held my hand while I cried without expecting anything in return). I predict that if things don’t work out, I’ll find someone else, and maybe he’ll introduce me to painting or sculpture or belly dancing or yoga or basketball because he’ll have interests other than pleasing me and he’ll want to share them with the woman he loves. I predict that some day, if I choose to, I’ll marry one of those jerks you hate so much and we’ll probably have a few kids and we’ll fight sometimes because nobody’s perfect, not even people in love, but we’ll make up because nobody stays angry forever, especially people in love. And maybe we’ll divorce in five years or maybe we’ll grow old together and see the birth of our great-grandchildren, but the one thing we won’t do is live out some fantasy of a man “winning” a woman with niceness and a woman showing her gratitude with sex.

That’s what you never understood about relationships, Nice Guy. You can’t win people, not with all the put-on niceness in the world. You can’t mould yourself into what you think a woman wants and hope she’ll fill all the gaps in you. You have to be your own person (do you even know who that is any more?) and cultivate your own interests and live your own life and hope that one day, you’ll find someone who thinks your life is pretty neat and wants to share it with you, someone with a life of her own that’s so neat you want to share it with her.

That’s a relationship, Nice Guy. Not unwanted gifts and free rides home and pining over someone and hoping that if you hang around her long enough, she’ll feel the way you want her to feel. A relationship is two people sharing their lives – their messy, imperfect, fantastic, exciting, terrifying, amazing lives – because it’s what both of them want to do, not because one of them wants the other to want it.

This guy I’m seeing, this jerk? He’s pretty sweet. We’re talking about getting married, maybe having kids some day. He read Hamlet for me because I mentioned I liked Shakespeare and I went to a football game with him and had the time of my life. We fight sometimes and we laugh a lot of the time and we never expect anything of each other that the other wouldn’t be willing to give. I think maybe we’re going to go the distance. But even if we don’t, it still will have been worth it, because he’s helped me grow as a person and I’ve helped him grow as a person and neither of us is Galatea and neither of us would want to be Pygmalion because what kind of relationship can there be between a man and his idol?

I hope you figure that out one day. I’d hate for all your prophecies about other women to come true for you.

Get over me. You never had me to begin with. You never will.


A girl who goes for jerks.

269 thoughts on “A letter to that Nice Guy I ignored that one time

  1. Don’t really love the generalization of an entire group of people, as “nice guy” is an extremely broad term that can apply to people other than who this is aimed at, but I still agree with the sentiment.

    A girl can date whoever the fuck she wants. She doesn’t owe you a damn thing just because you’re not a dick. And that’s all being “nice” really is. It’s “not being a dick.” It’s not that hard to not be a dick.

    If your kindness is real, if your “niceness” is actually something special and unique, and not just a crutch you use for having nothing else to attract someone to you, then people (not just girls, people in general) will notice and appreciate it.

    To all the “nice guys”” out there, I have a word of advice. LEARN SOMETHING. Learn a skill, or study a subject, so that you have something to offer other than “not being a dick.”

    There is nothing wrong with being a nice guy, but there is something extremely wrong with being a nice guy with strings attached.

  2. I know a couple of guys like this how women do not appreciate them and they worry they may be too nice and too friend zoned. But, he won’t meet people, he wont go on dating sites or if any one tries to chat him up he is oblivious… and the cycle continues

  3. This post alone has made me realize that everything I ever thought about love was wrong. Sincerely, from this day a former nice guy

  4. I saw this and thought of you…
    “Worked hard or me and my daughter and he bought everything I want; but I need love of my family-not things”
    This is from the girl who was kidnapped by Isidro Garcia and in the news lately.

      • OK so I am 70 odd years old and I don’t get it. That drjekyland mr jibe bastard needs to be ignored. There are men out in the real world who are decent and don’t expect favours all the time for just being with you. I don’t understand why you respond to some of these people. You have a fantastic point to make. Keep making it, but leave the morons behind – they will never learn.

  5. Thanks for sharing this. Now I can share this to my guyfriends after all the whining I hear from them of being ignored for a jerk after all the things they’ve done for the lady.

  6. Pingback: Light to heavy: not a real post | aka gringita

  7. Reblogged this on flootzavut and commented:
    From the comments: “There is nothing wrong with being a nice guy, but there is something extremely wrong with being a nice guy with strings attached.”
    The difference between being a nice guy because you’re a nice guy, and acting like a nice guy because you’re trying to get into someone’s underwear.

  8. I would like to thank you for writing this article. I admit, I allowed my own bitterness to get me to be one of these ‘nice guys’, but I am glad I did not reach the point of no return.

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