HUGE HARD REALIZATIONS #4: Nice Guys Aren’t Icky, You’re Just Dating like a Dick
Most of these Huge Hard Realizations have stemmed from my own experiences, and a predominance of similar experiences I witness in my fellow females, friends, and clients.
But now, OH BOY.
Now it is time to begin unpacking the gnarly nightmare of how to start liking people who actually like us back.
HOW THE FUCKKK do we become more attracted to people who are actually good for us?
Like getting turned on by a nice, sweet dude human, versus going weak-in-the-knees for yet another emotionally unintelligent super hottie wearing a leather jacket who also happens to play lead guitar and drink too much??
Howwww on earttthhhhhh (like for real for real) do you condition yourself to feel drawn to men who are genuine, who actually care, who are relationship-ready, and yeah — who are openly interested in you?!
What a ginormous conundrum:
Why are nice guys so icky?
We must consider that the majority of instruction we receive around dating and finding love dictates that if we want to be seen as attractive and desirable, we need to first and foremost play it cool.
We receive a shit ton of messaging and instruction that sounds like:
Don’t be too eager.
Play hard to get.
Don't let them know you actually care.
Leave them wanting more.
Don't be too obvious with your interest or intentions.
Just act like anyone but your goofy goober self and you’re guaranteed to have him eating out the palm of your man-eating hand MWAHAHA.
We learn to dumb down who we actually are, our innate vulnerability and dork-factor, to play “the dating game”.
We think in order to win, we need to be cool. We need to not care.
Supposedly, everything works much better (emphasis on “supposedly”) when you find clever ways to appear disinterested, maintain the upper hand, and never let anyone know what you really feel, or how much you actually care.
If you've ever waited 3 hours to text someone back for no real reason other than you don't want them to think you're a desperate freak, you know what I'm talking about.
In short: The fewer the feelings, the hotter you are.
As a result of all this stressful, convoluted messaging, we’re used to strolling into a date, logging into an app, or hitting up the bar on singles’ night with a certain degree of cool-uncaring-invulnerable armor (consciously or unconsciously).
We can’t show our full hand.
We can’t be our goofy goober selves.
We gotta suck it up and act cool and play the damn dating game dammit.
So of course, when someone sweet and thoughtful fumbles into date one and isn’t cool at all...
And he spills ketchup on himself and makes a dumb joke and seems slightly awkward...
And looks earnestly into your eyes and says, “Hey…so, uh—I’m having fun. You look really pretty. Can I maybe walk you home? It’s totally fine if not though…”
And then insists on paying while earnestly admitting that he was super nervous before meeting up tonight, and walks you home but doesn’t even try anything?? Like, has zeroooo game?
We look at this doof and are like, “Uhhh I think you’re doing this wrong.”
NAW BITCH. WE’RE DOING THIS WRONG.
We’ve been trained to date like cold, calculating, quasi-assholes.
We’ve been brainwashed to think that genuine caring, kindness, and earnest interest are unappealing. Unattractive. Icky.
Someone who shows up that way isn’t playing by our rules. THE rules. And that just doesn’t compute.
He’s showing his hand too soon! He’s not playing games! He’s not donning the same un-caring/un-feeling armor we all wear and believe to be so fucking essential!
And let’s admit that as a result, we sometimes have fucked thoughts that are ultimately driven by ego/status/insecurity. These ego-driven thoughts that dissolve potential attraction, and get in the way of you bonding with an otherwise great human! Ego-driven not-nice thoughts like:
“But what will my friends think if I bring this guy around? He's sort of a dweeb...”
“When we walk down the street, will people think we’re this cool, great-looking couple? Cause I really want everyone to think we’re this cool, great-looking couple.”
“Could I do better than this guy? What is this shirt he’s wearing? Yeesh.”
We buy into this “be cool at all costs” brainwashing and consequently find ourselves turned off by otherwise completely kind, honest, good humans.
Which is lol-worthy because the only person who will be able to satisfy your needs in a long-term relationship is going to have to be some version of a kind, honest, good human.
What we tend to hope is that we’ll find some charming, super cool, uncaring dude who is secretly an honest, earnest, good human underneath the suave armor. Like he doesn’t care on the surface?? But surely he cares inside…we just gotta tap into it…unearth it…earn it…
Please allow me to save you some time and energy and heartache: What you see upfront is (almost always) what you’ll get deep-down. If he’s kinda uncaring and cold from the get-go, it’s wise to anticipate more of that. #themoreyouknow
And get this super sadness: The biggest reason we’re turned off by genuine goodness, kindness, and earnest interest in others is because we’ve been conditioned to reject those parts of ourselves.
We doubt our own goodness.
We’re out of touch with our own sweetness.
We’ve forgotten how to be truly kind.
We’ve trained ourselves away from feelings and earnest interest.
Essentially, we’ve rejected our own vulnerability.
We have unknowingly exiled our innate humanity, and nervous ketchup-spilling ways. We want to be cool and aloof and maintain the upper hand...
But at the end of the day, aren’t we all undeniably uncool?
And shouldn’t that be okay?
Wouldn’t it be nice to go on a date without trying to impress anyone, or “win”?
Aren’t you sick of games?
Aren’t you tired of pretending to be this unfeeling, plastic person?
Wouldn’t it be a relief to just lead with an open heart, tell the truth about how you feel, and share your sweet goodness? To have all of you be seen and actually appreciated?
We’ve been told in so many ways that this whole dating/connecting/finding love thing is a weird, calculated chess match. Being kind and thoughtful is for suckers and chumps.
I would argue that being kind and thoughtful is how we connect with other kind and thoughtful people.
I would argue that appreciating the kindness and thoughtfulness in others is how we learn to further embrace and recognize these parts of ourselves.
I would argue that the only humans worth knowing and loving and choosing are the ones who aren’t afraid to lead with an open (often messy) heart. To fully feel. To show up as themselves. To not hold back. To be unequivocally uncool.
But of course, being able to appreciate someone else’s goodness will always hinge on you first acknowledging and appreciating your own goodness.
Let’s let the cat out of the dang bag and admit it:
We are so not cool. And we suck at these games.
We have all these feelings, these fears, these insecure parts of ourselves.
We're big-hearted and silly and sometimes nervous and we snort when we laugh on occasion and drool in our sleep and we'd like to not have to hide these parts of ourselves any longer.
What happens next is that people who are turned off (heavy-drinking lead guitarists, especially) will scatter like roaches. Which is what we’re afraid of, but really—it’s what we should be aiming for.
Because the people who are turned on will stick around because they adore the vulnerable version of who you really are. He'll meet you. He'll match you. He'll mirror it back.
But listen--you will struggle to intersect with that dude, or have a sweet, deep, vulnerable connection with anyone if you don’t first see yourself for all your sweetness, your depth, your vulnerability.
If you don’t bring that stuff to the table, no one gets to taste and enjoy it. If you’re not letting yourself show up that way in even small doses, you’re going to have a hard time matching up with someone who will recognize those small doses and get excited about it.
If you let yourself lead with kindness, caring, and genuine un-coolness, you’re more likely to not only encounter it in others, but actually find it appealing. I mean, I could be wrong (I’m not, but I could be) so test it out for yourself!
Cause here's the truth: “Nice” is only icky when you’re still playing games, and haven’t let down your own guard yet.
Once you do, there’s a solid chance the good guy of your dreams could be on the other side.
And in the meantime, you actually get to be yourself and model exquisite courage for embracing your inherent uncool factor, and leading with vulnerability.
And how mothereffing rad is that?