"But he's so niiiice!" Please. (Courtesy of twoday magazine)

One of my coaching clients said to me recently, “I just want to find a nice guy.” I had to call bullshit on her. Especially since she had just finished telling me that the most significant relationship of her adult life was this sexy but slippery beast of a man whom she couldn’t say no to. And he knew it. This was a man whom she had dated, then not dated, then sorta dated. Just when she was thinking it had subsided, she’d get the text that would make her heart jump.

The point is, this dude is not a nice guy. He’s not a great communicator, he’s not even honest. She’s moving on and it’s probably for the best. But when she tells me she just wants someone nice, as we all have said at one time or another that we do, well, I don’t believe her.

The Problem with Nice

Here’s how I know: She has met several nice guys. And has zero interest in any of them. If I had a penny for all the women who say, “But he’s so niiiiice, why can’t I like him?” (Complete with the long, whiny emphasis on the word “nice,” and paired with the crinkling of the brows, and caricatured heart wrenching that girls tend to do when they have complete and total access to someone they don’t want, but feel they should.)

That’s like saying, “But broccoli has so many vitamins and minerals and powerful phytochemicals that will make me healthy and strong. Why can’t I like it?” Because you don’t. Period amen.

We think we have control, or should have, over the kinds of people we desire. We don’t even have control over the things that make us hot and bothered. We don’t! And it comes much to our chagrin, and sometimes our shame. But one thing won’t change it: Wanting and trying to like someone.

I realize I’m dealing with two different issues here. Some people really do want nice guys. But I’m not alone when I say that most of us are bored by them.

I will add here that the opposite of “nice” isn’t “mean.” Not in my book. It’s exciting, thrilling, a little scary. It’s decisive and masculine. Though it’s not unkind. Kind is important.

In her book Mating in Captivity (a must read), Esther Perel talks about the importance of distance and uncertainty, and that you can only have as much passion in your relationship as you can tolerate uncertainty (an idea she borrows from Tony Robbins).

Nice is a chair by the pool. The opposite of nice is a long path that curls out of view, somewhere cast in sunlight and shadow–and entices you to follow it. Even though you’re a little scared. No relationship just stays put–and if it does, it’s dead in the water. So you have to move–and my idea of thrilling is someone who invites you to find your edge, and then push past it.

The Nice Guy The Guy You Want
Says: Where would you like to go? Says: Show up at this address at 8pm. Wear heels.
Calls before you have a chance to wonder if he will. Calls only after I’m dying him to and hoping he does.
Wears his heart on his sleeve. Makes you want to explore him.
When you’re with him, you’re content. When you’re with him, you’re ravenous.
Is always available May be available
Makes you smile Makes you hot
Sex is comfy and cozy Sex is thrilling and a little scary
He sees you as his strength He sees you as his weakness


(Not sure who you are? Here’s a tip: If you bitch and moan that girls don’t like you when you try so hard to be…nice–well, there’s your answer.)

My point is this: Women want a man who is direct and not afraid to be assertive. Too “nice” can often mean overly accommodating, can’t make a decision without your input, and, well, a little bit feminine. He also likely does things wanting points for “being nice”–and that’s just annoying. Don’t be nice; be yourself.

By the way, I don’t want guys to think I’m “nice,” either (and I’m fairly certain they don’t). And that’s fine by me. I aspire to far more, and so should you.

So unless you want to commit sexual suicide, you’ll drop the nice act–because nice doesn’t make you noteworthy; it makes you, well, nice. Average. Fine. And I don’t know anyone who’s happy with being that. In fact, I think people who say they want that believe that’s all they need or can handle. And to that I say you’re dead wrong.


7 replies
  1. Arestia
    Arestia says:

    First off, been loving and following your blog, Ms. Terri! Second of all, while I 100% agree with you that I don’t want the “nice” guy as you describe, why do I feel like more men these days are settling with “nice” girls? Girls that are predictable because they don’t make waves. Girls that speak only when spoken to. I know so many amazing men that I admire so and then I meet their girlfriends and I am unimpressed. Sure there’s nothing WRONG with them… they just aren’t very interesting… just nice. I would love to have you ponder on this more.

    • Terri
      Terri says:

      Aw! thanks for the kind words!!

      Well it’s hard to say because we don’t have stats on it. It “seems” that men are going for nice girls…but what do we know for sure how nice people really are or what nice means–you may see her as nice but her husband sees her as fascinating. Also realize that now you’re talking a whole other ball of wax. I never said men don’t like nice girls. Tho: I am reading “Why Men Love Bitches” and I suggest you check it out! Men like women who are accommodating, sure. Don’t underestimate how much some men want to be the more interesting, powerful figure–maybe they don’t personally need their gf to be as amazing as they are 🙂 or maybe you don’t know them like they do. We can never know what goes on inside a relationship. But i just hope that doesn’t make you feel you should “dumb down” who you are–esp in order to snag a guy. Men do tend to cower from angry, bitter women, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a damp dishtowel. I’ll think on this more my dear.

  2. nice guy
    nice guy says:

    Wow this really opensup my eyes as to why this country has a divorce rate over 50%. When women stop worrying about what everyone else is telling them what they want and start finding someone that makes them happy by being themself and not some 50 shades of gray fictional character we might start having real relationships again.

    Why is it men always have to be the mysterious ones. Where are the women that say come home for lunch and follow the directions in the kitchen with a note when you get there that the wife is upstairs tied to the bed waiting for you to have your way with her. This type of stuff is all well and good for the 20 somethings looking to have wild meaningless sex but a true adult relationship needs much moren then this fluff.

      • Terri
        Terri says:

        Hi Nice Guy,

        Wait. So are you saying that you think there’s a high divorce rate because women are being told what they want by Christian Grey? Hardly. Keep in mind that divorce rates are actually way down (check out Tara Parker Pope’s For Better, which shows a ton of research and insight into the trend). People are getting married later, which tends to trend toward more sustainable marriages. The 50% statistic that we’re all so fond of whipping out actually applies to the couples who married in the 70s (like my parents, who are also divorced). Not the same with now–and certainly not since the publishing of this very soft romance! Now, now, Nice Guy. You can’t really think that’s the case. Truth is, the Grey character doesn’t TELL women what they should want. We do not choose what arouses us sexually, period. Women have read this book and woken up to how sexual the scenes/ideas in the book make them feel–and if you happened to catch the entire Dr. Oz show he devoted to the book, in fact, many couples’ sex lives have benefited greatly from this mild piece of erotica.

        As for “this type of stuff” –w hat do you mean? On one hand you bemoan that men have to be mysterious (and yet women also love to be mysterious–tho it sounds like you havent’ come across any who fit the bill?), and then you say that the whole lot is foolish, the stuff of 20 somethings. I tend to disagree. My sex life has gotten far more interesting as an adult, and I’m in my 30s. So I’m not sure what side of the fence you’re on, but why would you bemoan mystery as a chore? It’s the fun part. Both parties have to indulge in some mystery for sure (see my post on Taking Your Love Life Into the Woods). And if you want more insight, read Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity–she talks about how BOTH parties must allow for some distance for desire to thrive.


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