Nice guys don’t have to finish last

I have an inkling into why the cliché “nice guys finish last” has become an axiom. Nice is not enough for many women to find a midlife man appealing.

I’m not suggesting that rude, obnoxious jerks are to be tolerated. But a man who’s nice — and only nice — is not enough. At least not for me.

Despite the myth that nice guys are hard to find, in my dating adventure I’ve met lots of nice men. They are affable, pleasant, agreeable, kind, even generous and thoughtful. But these traits are just the starting point for me to be interested in a guy. If a man lacks these qualities, he’s not for me. I need “nice plus.”

What does it take for a man to go beyond nice? Some combination of confidence, humor, personality, passion (for something in addition to sex), intelligence, integrity, introspection, curiosity, thought-provoking conversation. He needs to be “up to something” in the world, whether making a difference in his neighborhood, with his work, or through a charity to which he contributes time in addition to money. He puts effort towards more than his own workouts and watching his favorite sports teams.

In my dating experience I’ve encountered lots of nice men. However, during our conversation, if nothing was divulged that made me interested in getting to know them more, we do not move forward. Perhaps I haven’t asked the right questions; perhaps they were too modest to share how they single-handedly built 20 houses for homeless families or volunteered every Saturday to mentor troubled youth. Yet for the men who’ve intrigued me, they let slip that they are active in pursuits that contribute to others beyond their families. They are confident yet  humble. They are proud of their accomplishments but not braggadocious.

How do you uncover if a man is more than just nice? Ask him questions about what he’s committed to, excited about, or passionate for. Probe what makes him jump out of bed in the morning. Uncover what makes him most happy. (His answers need to be more than “You,” although some smooth-talkers may try to sidetrack the questioning with that answer.) And you need to be prepared with your answers should he ask you the same.

Sometimes we are seduced by nice if we haven’t had a man be kind or considerate to us in a while, and especially if our last man didn’t treat us with much regard. Only you can decide if nice is enough for you.

What’s your opinion on nice guys? Have they finished last or first with you?


7 responses to “Nice guys don’t have to finish last”

  1. Mike Avatar

    What I find amongst most guys is that they think nice guy means doormat. So they either go the doormat route and wonder why women don’t like them because they are nice. Or they go the other extreme and still complain. Being a nice guy usually gets classified as having manners and being a man of your word. Having an opinion still classifies you as a nice guy.

  2. Devon Avatar

    I agree that nice is great but not enough on its own. I look for intelligence,
    interests and some integrity. Not looking for perfection here, but at mid-life we should all have some depth to our personal profile.

  3. Another Mike Avatar
    Another Mike

    Guys responding here! LOL

    What’s lacking in “nice guys” is passion. Passion about SOMETHING. They’re trying so hard to be nice in inoffensive, that they just seem flat. I had (and still have to some degree) this problem. I’d be totally “into what she was saying”, trying to impress her with my depth and breadth of knowledge on a lot of subjects, but I didn’t dare show passion about anything because that would mean I’d draw the conversation toward myself. I came to realize that this was DUMB!

    Not to mention, I’d just lavish my date with attention, treating her as an untouchable queen. I never disagreed, didn’t make any intimate moves on the first (sometimes even second) date.

    I was ingrained with a totally incorrect set of dating standards as a youth. At our age, these standards actually came from TV and the movies! LOL

  4. Tokai Avatar

    Another guy here. I wonder if “nice guys finish last” is partly caused by “they don’t get a chance to race”.

    Sometimes it takes a guy to be a little pushy (not nice) in order to get noticed by the lady. Only then does he have a chance to show the lady the he is “nice plus”.

    On the other hand, maybe it is guys with the beyond nice traits that have the what it takes to get recognized by the ladies.

  5. Mitsy Avatar

    I agree with many of the posts about this. It’s something hard to define, but typically I have been drawn to those “bad boy” traits. The guy who has an “edge” about him is what attracts me. But, deciding how much is an edge and how much is a self-centered attitude is sometimes hard to decipher until you’ve gotten to know them better.

    I remember corresponding with a guy from online several years back. We had many phone conversations. He was overweight, nice enough looking, but not drop dead gorgeous, and made a point of letting me know that he was a “Christian”. Even though I’m not a typical Christian, I do attend church sporadically and thought that maybe, just maybe this one might pan out if he was raised with a “Christian” background and had some values, etc. Turns out that the guy ends up being a bigger game player than any of the previous men I’d met from online. Even the ones who didn’t profess a strong spiritual background treated me better than this guy did. When I think of game player, I think of this guy. He appeared to be a “nice guy” too, but that is contingent on how he treats you. If, on the other hand, there is no spark no matter how well he treats you, then you’re just not attracted to him. Same can be said about a guy with a girl. But, I learned that just because a guy says he’s a Christian doesn’t mean he’ll be more honest or decent. I learned the hard way.

  6. Tina T Avatar

    I think that nice is something that women appreciate more when they are older and not enough when they’re younger. I’ve always gone for nice because I like to be treated well, but I know women that always avoided men that were “too nice” and chased after guys that were jerks. Now that these women are ready to appreciate a nice guy, there are less nice guys out there because they’re all taken. I have no idea why it took them so long to appreciate nice guys, but their loss was defintely another lady’s gain.

  7. Jack Avatar

    I never volunteer the volunteer work I do because I don’t like to traffic in it to impress women. I won’t hide it if asked, so yes please ask questions like that. I always do of the women I meet and I’ve met some women who are fascinating but on first meeting may seem a bit dull. I’m always wary of someone who volunteers too much information (“and after doing refugee assistance in Darfur, I flew to Borneo to mediate a tribal dispute”, DC is full of these knuckleheads). Good post DG.