Yesterday morning on my way to work I read this excellent Twitter thread on why Rachel and Joey should have ended up together on Friends, not Ross and Rachel. I loved watching Friends growing up, but I know a lot of it is really problematic, actually in a lot of ways I didn’t really notice until re-watching it with new eyes. This is particularly true when it comes to Ross – it’s not like I was ever a massive fan, but in recent years I’ve realised he’s actually terrible. Reading the thread yesterday got me thinking about how Ross is a classic Nice Guy and how much Nice Guys suck, so here comes a post on Nice Guy’s and why they are the worst. I’m going to move on from Ross because quite frankly Claire covered it so well.
Now, I know what you are thinking – nice people, are well, nice – and that is a good thing. But there is a big difference between nice humans and Nice Guys. One of the classic indicators of a Nice Guy are saying sentences similar to “I’m such a nice bloke and a proper gentleman too, but women never give guys like me a shot, they friend-zone me and then go after bad boys instead. It’s fine I guess if they want to get their hearts broken…”. Statements like this are basically coded language for “I suck and I’m not that nice after all” – let’s go through all the reasons why.
Part of being nice is respecting another person, acknowledging their intelligence and ability to make their own decisions. By implying women go for bad boys and by suggesting they shouldn’t, Nice Guys are assuming they know what women should be attracted to and what’s best for them. It also implies women need protection from Nice Guys to avoid the bad boys and heartbreak. They don’t, they can make make choices and these should be respected.
The idea of a friend-zone is usually imposed on male and female friendships, and it usually ignores the possibility that the woman is anything other than heterosexual, or that she may not experience sexual attraction. Even if she is heterosexual that doesn’t mean she’ll be interested sexually in the Nice Guy anyway.
It lacks self awareness
Nice Guys often believe they are a rare breed and when it comes to the woman they are pursuing they tend to believe they are the only Nice Guy, or the only one worthy of them. Firstly lots of people are nice, but crucially being nice is usually a basic requirement of a sexual and/or romantic partner – for me at least it’s the bare minimum. I’m not sure Nice Guy’s realise there are lots of other men who are nice, but who have loads of extra qualities that make them desirable. They might be funnier than the Nice Guy, more physically attractive in the eyes of that particular woman, they might be more interesting. It doesn’t really matter what the qualities are, just that they probably have a lot more to offer than simply being nice.
It’s self interested
Nice Guys rarely actually care about the woman they are interested in, they just want to be rewarded for their niceness – and the reward they want is usually sex. This is always obvious when they talk about ‘friend-zoning’. If they cared about the woman they would treasure the friendship, rather than resent it. They do this in part because we are socialised to see women as a reward for men and their good behaviour. For proof just look at the plot for many male-centric Hollywood films – man overcomes a challenge or conflict and for being a good hero they get the girl they were interested in at the beginning. Ultimately the concept of the friend-zone upholds the idea that men deserve woman and therefore are entitled to sex. No one is entitled to sex full stop, and women are not objectives to be rewarded with.
Genuinely nice people respect the choices of others, accept that many of the people they are attracted to won’t feel the same and don’t treat other people as trophies – the opposite of Nice Guys. The bottom line is Nice Guys pretend to be nice because they are misogynistic and think they deserve the thing they want, this ‘thing’ is a woman. Nice Guys suck.