Is There Any Truth In ‘Nice Guys Finish Last’?

Forrest Gump, Jim and Noah Levenstein, Toby Maguire, Kermit The Frog, Chris “Oz” Ostreicher, Mr Deeds, Mr Bean, Seth and Fogell aka “McLovin”, Clark Kent, Kirk Kettner are examples of the sterotypical ‘nice guys’ that got the girl. Their niceness and naïve qualities is what women in their movies mostly fell for. Their uniqueness is their weapon even though some of these characters are shy, aloof and not sure about themselves.

Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve in a scene in the movie "She's Out Of My League".
Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve in a scene in the movie “She’s Out Of My League”. Image courtesy of

Case in point, the character of Kirk Kettnerr played by Jay Baruchel and Molly McCleish played by the beautiful Alice Eve in the movie “She’s Out Of My League”. Kirk is a TSA agent and Molly is a lawyer-turned-event planner. In the movie, Molly was strikingly beautiful and could make every man admire her which developed a true love from the protagonist, Kirk. Kirk’s friend says that the developing relationship will eventually fail because Molly is a “10” while Kirk is only a “5”. Kirk considers Molly is too perfect for him and Molly felt that he could only be with her because of her slight imperfection of having webbed toes. And as all romantic comedy goes, the nice guy gets the beautiful girl. Happy ending. But in real life, it is not always the case. I’m not generalizing, this is based on experience. Most attractive girls go out with the bad boys rather than the nice guys. And a lot of the nice guys are being friendzoned by women as we speak (or write). Is being a nice guy a curse or a compliment?

What Is A Nice Guy?

According to the tongue-in-cheek definition from Urban Dictionary, a nice guy is commonly a young male that gives up countless hours of his time listening to the hang-ups, issues and problems of his very beautiful or attractive female friends. He is there because these women need someone to talk to about their jock boyfriend because there is no one else willing to listen or genuinely care. A nice guy can be surrounded by pretty girls, but the nice guy can’t even get a girlfriend or get a date because of his ordinary physical looks and will always be compared to the physically attractive jocks or the dangerous bad boys. The nice guy will not cheat on a girl or take advantage of a girls vulnerability and will even go out of his way to help his lady friends and will not even ask anything in return. It doesn’t matter how understanding, loyal as a puppy, intelligent, funny, understanding and loving the nice guy is, his female friends will always pass him up as boyfriend material because he is a nice guy. He will endure the apathy, cold-heartedness, objectification and abuse from the jock types or bad boy types with big muscles, tanned skin, etc. The nice guy will always be there for his female friends, but that’s about as far as it goes. Sounds familiar right?

Spotting a nice guy. Image courtesy of
Spotting a nice guy. Image courtesy of

Most women will want to date nice guys, but their choices and actions often send a different message. When a woman says “He is nice,” it is a polite rejection. The woman recognizes the good qualities, but it will usually end in “no, he’s not for me.” The issue may lie in how the term “nice” is used. Nice is defined as a collection of traits that prioritize warmth, kindness, respect and conscientiousness. When applied in a romantic interest, it can be described as bold, sexy or strong instead of lame, boring, inexperienced, weak, predictable or unattractive. If this defines a nice guy, then surely nice guys will not be attractive to the opposite sex. However the classic definition of a nice guy that is kind, caring, committed and sensitive still holds a great appeal among women.

According To Science, Nice Guys Really Finish Last

Let’s try to focus on professional field for this one. Nice guys don’t have to be weak and be the boss to be a leader. In many cases, if an individual has the most experience and possesses certain skills, that person will be the leader during some key moments and guide the rest of the pack. It’s very hard to say that nice guys really finish last but according to a new study, nice guys generally earn less as compared to their more assertive and aggressive peers. This doesn’t mean that you need to a big time douche or a jerk to get ahead in life, but this also asserts that men ought to be careful about how assertive they ought to be when it comes to their professional life.

Two of the biggest dicks in our solar system.  Don't be like them. Image courtesy of
Two of the least nice guys in our solar system according to many celebrities and common folks. Image courtesy of

According to a study by the University of Notre Dame, statistically speaking, nice guys are not likely to earn more as compared to their peers. The study showed that there is a strong negative relationship between earnings and agreeableness. The more agreeable a person is, the less earnings he will get. The research also stated that a double standard exists because disagreeable men are seen as tough and steadfast negotiators who are willing to stick to their vision, although this is not the ideal behavior in a workplace; whereas a person who is too agreeable is seen as a lacking of conviction and confidence and yet, being an agreeable person is a very likeable trait in general. This can be balanced without you transforming yourself into a total ass.

As for your dating life, there was also a documented 2003 study by Urbaniak & Kilmann that examined the date-ability of online profile of men that depicts a nice guy, a neutral guy and a a general douchebag type. The three types were identical except for some subtle suggestions of niceness. Women selected to go out with the nice guy twice as often as compared to the neutral guy and 8 times more than the not-so-nice guy. The results also showed that the nice guy was viewed as the better marriage partner, a better platonic friend or a steady boyfriend but are not preferred as flings or for short-term relationships. The study also showed that nice guys are preferred by women over the jerks even if the jerks are more physically attractive than the nice guy.

In the same study, women see nice guys as long-term material, intelligent, yet less assertive and aggressive. Women also tend to think that nice guys are less experienced in sex and so they can be seen as even less attractive because of this. If this is the case, it can be said that a woman can sacrifice niceness for other desirable attributes until she is interested or ready to take on a steady relationship.

Breaking Out Of The Nice Guy Mold

Being nice is not enough. You have to break out of this nice guy stereotype and learn to stand your ground. There should be a balance between being nice and having dominant and leadership characteristics. Nice guys that show social dominance and confidence are seen as more attractive. It is a fact that strength is desired by women, but you don’t have to be an uncaring brute to win a woman’s heart or to go up to the corporate ladder. There are many ways of breaking this stereotype to help you gain success in relationships and work.

1. Have self respect

It is nice to be able to laugh at yourself at times. This means that you are not a stuck up guy who only cares about how you look. In comedy, it is called self depreciation, but there should be boundaries. Don’t put yourself down all the time and don’t let others do this either, especially other guys pushing you around. Stand your ground and you will earn their respect.

2. Don’t be too agreeable

Nice guys don’t need to agree with everything. You have to voice your opinions without sounding like an ass. Don’t be a total sellout. Keeping your opinions to yourself will get you nowhere, it will just build up frustration and anger and one day you will burst.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

3. Don’t be lame or boring

Who would want to be with a boring person? No one. Some nice guys are never fun because they are afraid of crossing the line and doing something exciting, naughty or dangerous. Be a bit of a rebel, have fun. Don’t be boring or predictable or you will just be left out.

4. Be an alpha male if it is needed

Great leaders are not all brawny. Just take a look at Abraham Lincoln, he was thin and tall, but he was also a great leader. You have to have guts and confidence. Women will always want to date a guy who is confident and in control of his life and has gained the respect of his friends and others. You can be a leader and a team player, but don’t ever let other people walk all over you.

President Abraham Lincoln. A manly man who demolished slavery in the US and a good vampire hunter :). Image courtesy of
President Abraham Lincoln. A manly man who abolished slavery in the US (and a good vampire hunter). Image courtesy of

5. Don’t be manipulated

Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated. Most nice guys are easily manipulated because they allow themselves to be pushed around or coherced into things even if they know that they are being manipulated. Don’t accept the short end of the stick and learn to say no.

6. Don’t avoid confrontations

Sometimes being polite will get you punched in the gut and your girl stolen from you. You have to defend what is yours, be assertive and stand your ground. Defend your property, defend your manliness and defend your woman from jerks and assholes.

7. Don’t be a pushover

No one will take a nice guy seriously just because he doesn’t want to offend anybody. Don’t be too accommodating if it is not needed, or you will be treated less than you deserve.

8. Be confident about your relationship

Make a woman feel that you can have pick of any woman in the room, but you chose her over the others. It is sometimes good to hide your excitement when you’re on a date because showing too much will seem that you are too eager to please and too awestruck by the fact that you have a date with her. It is ok to tell her what a lucky guy you are that you met her and actually built a relationship with her, but don’t show that you’re completely amazed that she went out with you.

Image courtesy of
Confidence is the key. Image courtesy of

9. Don’t get intimidated easily

Nice guys are usually intimated by persons with a strong personality, especially women. If you like a girl, show it and try not to get tongue tied. Do not cower and sulk in the corner if initially she doesn’t show any interest. Show that you’re the real deal and are truthful about your feelings and affection. Be an alpha male and try not to end up in the dreaded friend zone.

10. Be comfortable in your own skin

Even if you’re not alpha male material, you can still win the affection and admiration of others if you’re confident with yourself. For example, aArtists and musicians attract women even if they are scrawny because they are mysterious, completely comfortable with themselves and have cool skills. Be your own man, be cool without even trying too hard man.

Funny men are attractive. Image courtesy of
Funny men are attractive. Image courtesy of

This will give nice guys some hope. Being nice is not a disadvantage, in fact, keep it up! You just have to balance out your niceness and the needed confidence for you to break free of your cocoon and explore the world. It is still better to be nice than not, like Kanye West or Justin Bieber, who are arguably not the nicest of guys today. Instead, be a Han Solo, be an Abe Lincoln or the Star Lord and you will definitely get ahead and break out of the nice guy stereotype.


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