The ‘Nice Guy’ Isn’t The Right Guy. Here’s Why

If you’ve been in the dating game long enough as a woman, you’ve probably been told things like, “you should just settle down with a nice guy,” or “you should just give that one nice guy a chance because he clearly likes you.”

You might even feel tempted to follow their advice, but it might not be as good of an idea as you think.

I’ve Dated Too Many “Nice Guys” In My Life

couple holding hands
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Crew
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Crew

I’ve been around the block a few times and tried dating the “nice guy” because people told me it was a good idea: often, things start out okay, but eventually, the relationship falls apart and it’s often for the same handful of reasons.

What Even Is A “Nice Guy”?

Man wearing glasses smiling
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Christian Buehner
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Christian Buehner

It’s a term that’s thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? I feel that it refers to him generally being pleasant, but people also use the term very loosely to describe guys when there’s really no basis for what “niceness” is.

What’s Wrong With The Nice Guy?

man in glasses
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Samuel Raita
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Samuel Raita

Inherently, there’s nothing wrong with a guy being nice—in fact, it’s a good thing—but it’s really the bare minimum. It’s generally expected that the people you’re dating should be nice. Period.

It’s Okay To Want More Than The Bare Minimum

rulers lined up side by side
Photo Credit: Unsplash / William Warby
Photo Credit: Unsplash / William Warby

I have had a lot of “nice guys” come into my life throughout my life and, honestly, I think it’s pretty stupid that we’re expected to praise or like someone simply for being a decent human being. In fact, it’s important to ask for more from a partner.

Being Nice Shouldn’t Be A Defining Factor

neon sign says
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Thiago Cardoso
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Thiago Cardoso

“Niceness,” in my mind, just means that someone is courteous on the surface and generally pleasant to be around. It’s not really a personality trait that means a lot once you get to know each other.

Niceness Can’t Just Overpower A Lack Of Attraction

horseshoe magnet
Photo Credit: SSPL / Getty Images
Photo Credit: SSPL / Getty Images

I’ll go ahead and say it: you need to feel some sort of attraction to the person you’re dating. If the guy is nice but you literally have zero attraction to him, it’s never going to work.

…Despite What People Will Tell You

man and woman embracing touching faces
Photo Credit: Pexels / Jonathan Borba
Photo Credit: Pexels / Jonathan Borba

I find that women are often called shallow for not wanting to date the “nice guy” who’s interested because we’re not physically attracted to them. The reality is that a guy who wasn’t attracted to a “nice woman” wouldn’t experience the same scrutiny.

Being Nice Says Nothing About Compatibility

dangling legs of man and woman sitting on wall facing each other
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kate Kalvach
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kate Kalvach

Once again, niceness is surface-level and says nothing about their interests, values, lifestyle, or their plans for the future. In reality, having compatible goals and perspectives on the world are way more important.

Niceness Really Is Just Not Enough

woman looking to side in thought
Photo Credit: Pexels / Austin Guevara
Photo Credit: Pexels / Austin Guevara

I once let the “nice guy” talk me into starting a relationship with him only for us to realize down the road that we had nothing substantial in common: he wanted to live in one city his whole life, I wanted to move. He was a perpetual homebody, and I am incredibly social. There was nothing that pointed to us having a future.

Kindness > Niceness

Photo Credit: Pexels / Lisa Fotios
Photo Credit: Pexels / Lisa Fotios

Some people might think that these are just synonyms, but I personally think there is a difference between the terms. Niceness refers to how someone presents themselves on the outside, whereas kindness is about their compassion and empathy.

“Nice” People Care More About How They Seem To Others

woman smiling at herself in a mirror
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

“Nice” people, in general, are good at making you feel good in a conversation. They’re the type of people who open doors for you. People’s “niceness,” however, often stems from the desire to be liked or to seem good to others.

Kind People Really Just Have Good Hearts

drawing of heart on a clothesline
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Debby Hudson
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Debby Hudson

These are the people who are good to others even when there is nothing to gain from it: they care deeply about the people in their lives as well as show compassion for total strangers.

Kind People Aren’t Always Nice

man in hat looks solemn
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Forrest Cavale
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Forrest Cavale

Some of the kindest people I have ever met in my life aren’t exactly nice—they’re not the people-pleasing type, and they’re often honest in ways that some people find uncomfortable—they’ll call you out when you’re out of line, which is much more important than flattery.

The “Nice Guy” Won’t Challenge You

small child standing at bottom of large staircase
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jukan Tateisi
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jukan Tateisi

A good partner challenges you to be a better version of yourself and helps you grow. A “nice” person won’t hold you accountable or bring up important conflicts you need to address together.

Anyone Who Calls Themselves “Nice” Likely Is Not

close up of man's angry looking eye
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Ahmed Zid
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Ahmed Zid

I find that the truly nice person, or in general a “good person,” doesn’t really feel the need to define themselves that way—their kindness is inherent to how they live.

“Nice Guys” Can Become “Mean Guys” Really Fast

man looking down while woman looks at him from background
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Damir Spanic
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Damir Spanic

I have dated a couple of “nice guys” who were pleasant enough at the start but slowly turned into men who were manipulative, demanding, and selfish. Niceness is often a façade—in reality, these guys aren’t all that likable.

Good People Describe Themselves By Their Interests/Passions

man rock climbing in gym
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Roya Ann Miller
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Roya Ann Miller

In the long run, people show themselves to be nice, kind, compassionate people through their actions. They’re more likely to talk about the things they’re passionate about because they want to connect with others on a deeper level.

What Makes The “Right Guy”?

neon light says
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Austin Chan
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Austin Chan

The right guy is really just a man who is a good complement to you, you’re attracted to him, and you can see a real future together. The right guy isn’t easy to find, but he’s definitely worth it.

I’m Not Saying Every “Nice Guy” Is Bad

man looking to the side
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Drew Hays
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Drew Hays

A lot of people will use the term “nice guy” as a sign of general approval. However, if you’re being set up by a friend, make sure they have more traits they can share about him.

In Fact, Stop Letting “Nice” Be A Description At All

blurry close up of open dictionary
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Joshua Hoehne
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Joshua Hoehne

I would like to officially abolish the term “nice guy” and “nice girl” from dating lingo and instead challenge people to think about what really makes them who they are and what positive traits they bring to relationships. There are so many better words than “nice,” and it would make finding the right person a lot easier.