At my usual lunchtime chat with LT today we crossed into the realm of 'the nice guy'.
An array of characters spring to mind, e.g. the guy next door, the guy your parents like, the one who brings you flowers, your best friend, the sweetheart, the hard-worker, the man who you should marry. And while this is lovely for some, and I'll admit and after a bout of bad-boy heartbreak someone who tries too hard is a breath of fresh air…. BUT still, for me, even just thinking about a guy who acts like a girl is enough to make my skin crawl.
Sadly, nice guys have a bad rep. No guy wants to be labelled one and no girl wants to date one. And yet, us girls still moan about the 'mean' or 'bad' behaviour of the rest of the men out there who don't seem to have one nice bone in their well-toned to beautifully ripped, can't-get-enough-of, body.
Why? Well in my opinion, and I've been thinking about it a lot, its not the 'niceness' we hate…. It’s the 'neediness'. It just so happens that a lot of 'needy' guys treat women 'too nice' that they get stomped on… a lot. And unfortunately the label has stuck, and every bastard in 100 mile radius thinks its ok to act like an asshole cos that’s the only way to attract a hot girls.
So what is the difference?
I've been with a guy who was so nice and needy it was suffocating. His ego drained the life out of me. He threw tantrums to get his own way. He would sulk or cry if the emotion overwhelmed him. He was too sensitive. He took everything personal and about him. In fact, he needed constant reassurance. So much that he also did everything he could to get the reactions from me that fed his insecure ego. He did this by:
1) Approval seeking - going out of his way to do nice things for me and be nice to me
2) Trading for my attention - by sulking and withdrawing if I wasn't giving him attention or smothering me if I gave him the slightest glance
This guy had major insecurities and nothing I could do except mirror him would make him happy. However if I did give back (which usually in my experience most cases stops the neediness and can restore balance) it was never enough and it just felt false. The more he demanded, the less respect I had for him and more I lost interest and attraction for him. I also got tired, cranky, bitchy and miserable and in the end I just wanted to get away.
It turns out there were three things that just got on my nerves:
1) he put me on a pedestal - no idea why he did this but in my eyes it meant he didn't know me if he thought I was an angel who could do no wrong. I had flaws… why couldn't he see them? And what if one day he did see them then fell out of love with me. His adoration was too idealistic. It made me angry that he was stupidly blind and as a reaction I acted out and played up my faults. The end result? I was a bitch and he found that more attractive…..grrrr
2) he tried to take away my independence - this is important to me. Its the one thing I have that sets me apart from needing anyone ever again. I love being able to live my life my way and do things I want to do. When he tried to do everything for me (and I mean everything) it made me frustrated. He thought he was being considerate and at first it was enjoyable to be pampered… but after a while it wasn't special anymore. And it was as though he didn't see what I valued in myself and didn't want to encourage it. He wanted to make me dependant on him and insecure like he was. He didn't inspire me to be better…. He was bringing me down to his level! Yes again, it made me angry and bitchy….
3) he tried to buy my love - I love getting presents and being taken out and wined and dined. Who doesn't. But when you get them all the time it becomes common-place. It lost its spark and took it for granted. I began to feel like I had to be extra nice to him for all the nice things he was doing for me. I also couldn't match his lavishness…. Mainly because I wasn't earning as much but also because I just didn't feel it anymore. I had lost respect for him and the more energy he put into our relationship the less I felt I needed to.
In the end, he was the relationship. I just had to show up from time to time…. I didn't have to earn anything…. And he paid too much for what he got. Sounds like a business transaction but in a way all interactions are and this one just wasn't fair.
When a guy asks me what it is about him that makes my heart melt and my eyes glaze over in a doe-like expression I almost don't want to say. It isn’t anything grand. No romantic trips away or expensive dinners for me. I'm a sucker for the small stuff…. You know, the tiny but sweet/nice gestures they make when you are bogged-down in the everyday that you almost didn't notice. And only when you think back the next day do you realise how nice that actually was. Yes they are also rare, but they do show that he cares, and so you appreciate him all the more for it….
It’s the closed window when they know you are cold, even though the room is like a sauna.
It’s him eating the crust of the bread because he knows you prefer the middle.
It’s the lowered shower-head when you can't get your hair wet despite him being 6ft
It’s the waiting with your drunk friend while you search for her handbag in a nightclub @ stupid o'clock in the morning
It’s the loan of the coat he gave you when you already have one as its raining and he doesn't mind getting wet
It’s the bigger half of the piece of chocolate he gave you
It’s the warm side of the bed and the fluffier pillow
And many many more….
So yes these days I realise I do want a 'nice guy' but with certain criteria :
- He also has to be emotionally mature enough so that the nice things he does do are not coming from a place of 'approval'. He is doing them because he wants to and he expects nothing back.
- He won't do them all the time because he has a life just like you but when he does, it will be almost without thought rather than anything planned.
- And he won't even notice most of them because he is a 'nice guy' and it comes natural. They think of others before themselves if they can…..
Treating you 'mean' may keep you 'keen' but personally I'm emotionally laid-back enough that after a while I get bored.
Now a guy who is the right mix of cool & confident with a sprinkling of nice in the mix… a guy who attracts me, inspires me, not afraid to show he cares or stand up for himself, has a good heart with a backbone to boot…. Is definitely one who I prefer over a needy-emotional wreak or a cruel-selfish bastard any day!;)