Someone on my Facebook feed recently liked the image above and it annoyed me enough to write about it.
Here’s the short summary of my opinion on it: No.
No woman ever thinks to herself “You know what I really look for in a guy? Someone who is really mean to me. God, there is nothing worse than being treated nicely and with respect.”
Nobody actively seeks out someone who treats them like crap. If a woman ends up in an abusive relationship, it is not because that was her dream guy and she hates being treated nicely. No, it is far more complicated than that.
Abusers follow a pretty typical pattern: Find a girl with low self-esteem who desperately wants to feel loved. Treat her like a queen at first and she falls for him. Make her feel as though she can do no better than him and she is better off with him than alone. Subtly lower her self-esteem further. Slowly manipulate her into doing what he wants and punishing her (with words, guilt trips, tears, anger) when she doesn’t do what he wants. Isolate her from her friends by making her think they are bad for her or by making her feel guilty every time she hangs out with them. He will often manipulate her by talking about all his problems or the people who have hurt him before so she feels like she has to go out of her way to be the perfect girlfriend for him, unlike the hurtful people from his past. If she tries to leave, he will often threaten suicide or threaten to harm her so she feels she cannot leave. If he is abusive towards her, he convinces her it is her fault because she did something (or many things) wrong in his eyes… this just makes her try harder to please him, rather than leave him. Often the woman will stick around through the bad times because in his good moments an abuser is the most loving, charming, and kind man she has ever met. He apologises for the bad times and promises it won’t happen again. She sticks around hoping he will change and that if she is supportive enough and loving enough, he will be the man she first fell for. Spoiler alert: He almost definitely won’t.
If you ever find yourself thinking that a woman who stays with an abuser is asking for it, stupid, etc., please try and be more understanding. It is not so black and white. This is a woman who has very low self-worth and needs people to build her up, not bring her down further. This is someone living under a thick layer of manipulation that makes it hard to see the truth.
But abusers aside… saying women don’t like you because you are “too nice” or “not a jerk” is problematic for many reasons.
Firstly – not every woman in the world will like you. That is obvious. You can be attractive, funny, charming, intelligent, kind, interesting, and successful and there will still be thousands of women out there for whom you are simply not what they are looking for. Maybe they are into other things. Maybe they simply don’t feel the spark. Whatever the reason, nobody is obligated to like you. Stop acting entitled to the attention of a woman or women. She is allowed whatever standards she wants, just like men are.
If you ever find yourself complaining that a woman only sees you as a friend, or has, “put you in the friendzone” (ugh, I hate that term) think about what you are really saying: “She should want to date me. The fact that she doesn’t want to date me means that she is being unfair or not giving me a proper chance.” No, she can like or dislike whoever she wants. There is something, or multiple things about you that she isn’t into, and that’s her choice. Hell, it’s probably out of her control; she simply likes what she likes and you aren’t it, sorry. She doesn’t have to explain it to you, she doesn’t have to “give it a try” to see if she changes her mind. The fact that she still sees you as a worthwhile friend despite not being attracted to you or not feeling like you’d work as a couple, shows that she is a nice human being who wants you in her life – great! Men and women can be friends.
I’m not saying it doesn’t suck. Of course liking someone who doesn’t like you back sucks. You have every right to feel gutted about it, and if you choose to no longer be friends with her until you can get over her, that’s fine. You do what you need to do to move on. But don’t put those bad feelings on her. Don’t make her feel guilty for simply exercising her right to say no or wanting to just be friends. Don’t make her feel like her value as a friend is gone the second that dating or sex is off the table. Don’t make her feel as though you were only kind to her in the hopes of it leading to something more. Appreciate a woman’s friendship even if you initially hoped for more.
Secondly, just because you personally cannot see the appeal in a guy you deem a “jerk” or “asshole”, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I once dated a guy who some other guys at his school told me was arrogant. We dated for a year and I never saw it. He never spoke a bad word about anyone, and stopped to talk to guys from his school from all walks of life. He got along with everyone and it never seemed put on or fake to me. He never talked himself up or treated me like I was less than him in any way. Yet a guy told me I was too good for him, and a girl told him he was too good for me. This really annoyed me. You really can’t judge a relationship looking in from the outside. You don’t know what makes a good match. You don’t know how the couple act behind closed doors. That guy you think is an asshole may be a wonderful friend and boyfriend. Maybe you and him just don’t click! Again, not everyone will like everyone else.
Also, if a girl is going for guys you think are terrible and she isn’t in an abusive relationship – that’s her choice! She is perfectly entitled to go for whatever qualities she wants. Just like some men only go for hot airheads who you would never date – so what? If they are both happy with the situation, then all the more power to them. If that is her type, and you are not, then you are not compatible. Would you really want to date a woman whose interests in men are so different from you? Don’t hold it against her or judge her for it, just accept that she is not for you and move on.
Thirdly, being nice is not the only important thing in a relationship. It is not some super rare and wonderful quality. It is the absolute baseline requirement. If “nice” is all you have going for you, you’re going to find it tough to find someone who is into you. Sure, you’re nice – but that guy over there is nice and he’s funny, intelligent, has really interesting hobbies, and volunteers at the SPCA. That other guy may seem like a jerk to you, but he’s nice to her, confident, charming, sexy, dresses well and is very dedicated to his sports teams. He’s Nice-PLUS. You can’t just be nice and nothing else. It’s boring. Would you go for a girl who has nothing else going for her but that she’s nice when there are other girls out there who are Nice-PLUS? I don’t think so.
Fourth: Too-Nice tends to mean “doormat.” Nobody wants to date a doormat – if they do, they probably just want to use someone and so should be avoided. A guy who is too-nice has no opinions of his own. He’ll bend over backwards to please her at all times and doesn’t give her much space. He’ll do whatever she wants, never offering up ideas of his own. He doesn’t challenge any of her opinions. He sucks up to her and always agrees with everything she does or says. He puts her on a pedestal and treats her more like an angel or goddess than an actual human being. He spends all his money on her and is over-the-top with his gooey sentiments. He doesn’t take part in banter or joking around with her. A too-nice guy probably has no distinguishing qualities other than that he is nice. He has nothing going on in his own life so he can spend all his time trying to woo the girl. In short, he’s boring.
In conclusion: Just like men, women can like whoever they want and your opinion on the matter really doesn’t count. If she ends up in an abusive relationship, then she needs supportive friends more than ever, even though it is frustrating.
If she doesn’t like you, big deal, get over it, move on. Not everyone will like you. Nobody is entitled to like you or give you a shot. Appreciate her friendship and it may lead to dates with her friends in the future! If you ask a woman out and treat her “no” with respect, and still remain a friend of hers, she will be more likely to tell her friends to date you. Being rejected sucks, but it’s really not the end of the world.
If you think you may be the Too-Nice doormat type, it isn’t too late to grow a backbone. Focus on your own life, passions, interests, and self-improvement and you will likely be far more successful than pandering to a girl then complaining when she goes for “a jerk” instead.
PS: I know the word “jerk” isn’t common in NZ, but it’s the word in the image that was Liked so I am rolling with it.
PPS: It is not only women who can be victims in an abusive relationship. Men can be controlled, manipulated, and abused too. For the sake of this blog post it was easier to keep it male / female as a response to the image. Women definitely seem to get more flack than men for “going for jerks” and apparently ignoring nice guys, although I guess the male equivalent is women complaining when a guy goes for a “bimbo” over her. Yeah, it can suck when you feel like you are nicer and smarter than a girl who is picked over you, but at the end of the day, that’s his choice – get over it. There are billions more people out there, and if he didn’t like you, he wasn’t right for you.