Why Nice Guys Finish Last

Dating requires some salesmanship skills. Because time is always of the essence, like a job interview, you need to sell yourself in the first five minutes to really ensure you will move into Round 2. There certainly are examples all over pop culture of the Not-Nice Guy, getting the girl–Don Draper at the top of my list–because guys, like Don Draper, are able to pitch their charm from the very beginning. Typical opening questions usually involve what your occupation is, where you grew up, what your family structure is like, etc (although, in my opinion, I think dating would be MUCH more efficient if we were allowed to ask these other questions). Within these first five minutes, you want to pitch to the potential datee that (a) you have your life together, (b) you are a great catch, and (c) you would be an excellent match for each other. That’s quite a lot to accomplish in a short period of time, and definitely takes a practiced, suave, well-manicured, charismatic person to effectively do it all.

These Nice Guys are certainly marriage material, but with our current dating trends, we often filter them out, because this salesman-ship pitch is so beyond their innate human existence. If you are a nice guy, you are probably also selfless, humble, kind, forgiving, thoughtful, caring, etc.  You never draw attention to yourself in a group environment. You ask questions to investigate others, rather than talking about yourself. You never brag. You do nice things for people, just because. You work hard, listen well, and have a sensitive side to you. You love surprising people, writing cards/poems, and following up with text messages.

And because you are all of these things, pitching yourself on a first or second date is probably not in your nature. Like, if you truly understand the concept of selflessness, then you do nice things for other people just because, and you don’t go about, bragging out how many homeless people you gave hamburgers to this weekend, how you cleaned off your neighbor’s car for her after the big snow, how you sent your co-worker sympathy flowers. You don’t ask people questions about themselves, just so that you can follow up with a comment about yourself. You work hard and listen because you know it’s your duty. These are just things you DO, because you are a Nice Guy.

As the potential datee, I would never be able to find pictures or statuses about these acts while I was stalking your social media, and in our opening sequence of questions (what is your occupation, where are you from, what’s your family like), you would never divulge these things to me–you would never tell me that you wrote 38 Thank You Notes that day, you offered to babysit for your sister so that she could have a night off, you donated blood at the local drive, you always purchase the Starbucks order for the car behind you–because that would go against your nature, and against all the things it takes to be a Nice Guy. You would never tell me you picked your little sister up from a dangerous situation at 2 AM last night, you left your cherished spelling bee medal in the tree knot outside for the neighborhood kids, or that your favorite movie is ‘A Walk to Remember’ (because you are too busy asking me about my favorite movie).

Now, if I were to spend a little more time around you, I’d certainly notice these things. I would notice how you pick up the anonymous can that’s been blowing around the parking lot, and carefully set it in the recycling. I would notice how you go home and read my favorite book, just so that we can have more to discuss during our next interaction. I would notice how little kids love you, dogs are drawn towards you, and you remember everyone’s name you’ve ever met. If I allowed us to get past date two, three, and four, I’d eventually stumble across one of those Thank You cards you sent–that got returned in the mail, in passing, one of your co-workers would tell me how much that bouquet of flowers perked them up, your family would remind you of your blood donation appointment. If I allowed us to get past date ten, eleven, twelve, I would know how you always over-tip the waiters and waitresses, you always take a back row parking spot so that others can have closer, and you selflessly allow others to take credit for your brilliant ideas (because, they need the glory, not you).

But, because time is of the essence, this dating game is a sales pitch, you need to “WOW” me from the get go, and because you are not a salesman by nature–you don’t brag about yourself, you can’t inflate your ego, you don’t point to me and say, “Watch how I’m about to be a Nice-Guy”, I push you off to the side, move onto another date who is better able to sell himself, who can tell me about all the missions trips HE took, all the times HE sacrificed HIS time to teach little league baseball, all the money HE donates to his favorite charity…

…and, once again, Nice Guys finish last.

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