Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Do Nice Guys Finish Last?

I from home, which has its pros and cons.  Yesterday it was pouring rain and so it was great that I didn’t have to go out in it (I did go out last night to pick up juice and soup, as I’m nursing the same damn cold everyone in NYC seems to have right now).  In general, I don’t have issues with productivity. In other words, I never turn on the TV during the day or decide that I’d rather read a book than . I sit and do my stuff like a good little worker bee.

But sometimes I get completely stir crazy and need to go work somewhere else. I’ve looked into co-working spaces, but can’t really justify the cost right now (plus, I do kinda like working from home most of the time). Sometimes I go out to a in my neighborhood to work during the day because they have wifi and it’s actually quieter than Starbucks (random note:  I’m moving soon and thinking of getting a mobile wifi thing instead of having dsl hooked up in my new place, then I can work from anywhere, so if anyone knows about that please drop me a line).

One day last week, I met a friend there so that we could both work, have lunch and just have some human contact. I got there first and immediately opened up my laptop, but the wifi was down.  I looked to a table a few feet away from me and there was a guy with a laptop and he seemed to be working, which I found odd (he could have been tethering, but then why go to a bar with wifi…).  Whatever, as soon as the waitress came over to take my order I told her that the wifi was down and that it needed to be reset and could they please take care of it.  Which they did.  Right away.

The guy sitting a few feet from me leans over and says something like, “Thanks for asking.”

Later on, my friend gets there and I tell him briefly about the wifi and the guy who sat their like a lump without it working and say, “yet another reason why I’m single, men who are too timid to ask about the damn wifi.”

Do Nice Guys Finish Last? just a story  nice guys 300x110Which, finally, brings me to today’s post topic. “Do nice guys finish last?”

I saw this tweeted yesterday by Melanie Gorman.

This is not a new issue for me.  A long while ago I wrote about my theory of nice men and why I don’t/can’t date them. But here’s the thing, and here is why I started today’s post with the silly story of working from the bar and the malfunctioning wifi.  Sometimes we get tangled up in language and/or we don’t say what we mean. That man in the bar. Maybe he’s a . Maybe he’s kind. I have no idea. Here’s what I do know:  HE’S TIMID.

Timid is always a turn-off. To just about every woman I know.  And timid guys (and gals) will finish last. Almost always. And, frequently, nice guys are timid.  Not always.  Some nice (or kind, I’m not going to get into that again) men are not timid. They are strong-willed and perfectly capable of speaking up for themselves. FWIW, I think of my dad this way.  He is often described by old friends of mine as “the nicest guy”.  He is also notorious for driving waitstaff crazy because he has no problem with sending things back if they’re not right or asking if they can somehow, magically, make the room warmer or colder.

In general, I think many (maybe even most) of the women I know want someone who is kind and considerate and good. What they/we don’t want is a guy who is timid.

It’s the timid guys who finish last.

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32 to “Do Nice Guys Finish Last?”

  1. jackie says:

    Etymology nice: L. nescius “ignorant,” lit. “not-knowing, timid, dainty, delicate.” THIS is why “nice” guys finish last.


    • Simone Grant says:

      You know I’d take kind over nice any day of the week. But, for whatever reason, some people seem to think nice is a lofty attribute.

    • Tomfoolery says:

      Jackie, that’s not a very nice thing to say! Maybe we do conflate nice and kind and we certainly conflate kindness with weakness. You can be “nice” and not be a pushover and you can be be kind of a dickhead and cave when real pressure is applied.

      All in all, if it’s going to get you to the same place, why not try being “nice” first?

  2. SoloAt30 says:

    Nice guys with a little mystery are always my weak spot.

  3. where to start? I’m not sure that being ‘timid’ and ‘nice’ are necessarily joined at the hip. My concern is more about the bottled up nature of these men. Surely this overflows to pent up rage and anger. If you timid, you probably more suited to being a librarian – and there isn’t anything wrong with that (in a world of kindles and amazon!). Check out my blog post this week, which talks about my 5 ‘Rules’ for ‘Nice’ guys… sorry to advertise, but I think it’s connected to this…. maybe it can help guys who need a little push change their ways. As soloat30 says…. they need an edge….

    ps. re the work stations…. find some space that you know you find it easy to be creative in, and then mix it up a bit.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I didn’t say that timid and nice were joined at the hip (and used my dad as an example of a guy who was nice and not timid). However, frequently men who are defined as nice are also timid. Kinda like a comorbidity.

  4. Man-shopper says:

    I agree that nice and timid are often linked. It’s really too bad. My current crush on a very nice guy who is the spitting image of Justin Long… he’s too timid, and I know that we are never going to have a decent conversation, let along see each other’s naked bits. Le sigh.

    • Simone Grant says:

      My heart goes out to you. I’ve been there and it drives me crazy (I can recall a co-worker from about 15 years ago… we spent the better part of a year making eyes at each other but I decided NOT to ask him out and he was too timid to ask me out- dumbass). Le sigh, indeed.

  5. Glass Dildo says:

    I have found that timid guys are generally the nice guys. They may not be linked togather, but that is what i have found out while dating. Now, I dont mind to have a timid guy as long as he is nice. Sometimes the timid guys just need time to open up.

  6. Deanna Leigh says:

    Nice guys? I’ve dated several types of ‘guy’ and find that the nice guy is the one who ends up being spineless and lacks the ability to tell me ‘no’. Maybe it’s a lack of social idenitity or fear that if he’s agressive he will end up scaring me away.

    Big food for thought!

    • Simone Grant says:

      I really can’t deal with men who don’t tell me “no” or whatever their true opinion is. Whether they do it out of fear or identity issues, I don’t want to have much to do with them. I don’t want to be appeased. That doesn’t make for effective communication.

  7. 1. Verizon MiFi is pretty solid. If it’s your primary, get the unlimited plan. Small, fits in your pocket, purse. Internet everywhere.
    2. When I think nice, I think mutually respectful, polite, genteel, kind, understanding, empathetic, patient, tenacious and smart not timid. Man or woman, those qualities always win out, even though at times they may lose a battle to an asshat or a jerk. They never lose the endgame though.

  8. Kevin says:

    Great article Simone! This is Kevin, the “art gallery” guy ;-) I’ve often been accused of being shy and timid around women, and told that I need to be more forward. So the one time I make a bold move, and tell a woman she has a “nice, hourglass figure”, I end up getting slapped! I guess it’s all about striking a balance.

    • Simone Grant says:

      There is a big difference between taking initiative (a good thing) and being inappropriate (which you were, which is why that woman slapped you). It’s not hard to learn the difference.

      • Kevin says:

        That’s very true. In the future, I’ll take initiative in an appropriate fashion :-)

      • Kevin says:

        Sorry to beat this to death but something has been bothering me. If I say something to a woman that’s inappropriate it’s ok for her to slap me….yet, if she said something that was inappropriate to me, slapping her would certainly not be an option. If I did, I’d gat tagged as an abusive thug and taken out in hand-cuffs. What a double standard!!

      • Scott says:

        Thin line between being a creep and being Casanova. Which is to say, George Clooney could be hiding in your bushes at 3 o’clock in the morning wearing nothing but asschaps, and I’m pretty sure you all would say, “How romantic!”

        I’m joking. But I’m not.

    • Lucky Girl says:

      Kevin has been circulating this story on every website, advice column and outlet that he can find since 2007. Or at least that’s as far back as I’ve found after having taken the time to respond to what I THOUGHT was a sincere and genuine request for advice.

      Maybe it’s time to make-up a new one.

  9. Beth says:

    Maybe he was writing in a Word doc and didn’t need internet but wanted to check his facebook once you asked? You assume he was shy but maybe he just didn’t need internet.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Anything is possible, but then he did lean over and thank me for getting the wifi to work.

      The reality is, there are dozens of places to hang out and have lunch is a 5 block radius from that particular bar. It happens to be the only one with free wifi. He was there. It’s not brain surgery.

      And I didn’t say he was shy. I said he was timid. Not the same.

  10. Fleur says:

    Beth said what I was thinking so I guess we’re both dense. He could have been distracted or busy with other things. Maybe they make a great Reuben sandwich. To refer to him as a timid lump seems extreme. you might have better luck with men if you scale back on the bitchy ‘tude.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Well, I’m a regular at the bar and I so I can attest to their last of a fabulous reuben. Like I said, I took what didn’t seem to be a huge leap of imagination (man goes to bar with free wifi with his laptop for the free wifi) because he leaned over and thanked me for getting the DSL reset. But hey, he could have thanked me for having something he didn’t need fixed. Entirely possible.

      As for my bitchy attitude, you don’t know me. You’re hardly qualified to make (nasty) judgments about how I should change my life. But thanks for the input.

  11. Either will get you there, Pogue usually shoots pretty straight. I’ve had slightly better constant connect time with VZW than with Sprint/Virgin, but VZW is a contract and more $$. The device is pretty much a set it and forget it. (if you keep it charged) And I’m fairly used to seeing things differently than everyone else and ok with that, so I’ll be sticking to my definition of “nice” -)

  12. Unfortunately, nice guys do finish last most of the time. Not every time, but the majority.

    I think ‘nice’ often gets too associated with being weak and unconfident. Girls are generally attracted to men who make decisions and seem to know what they’re doing, whereas ‘nice’ guys are often too wishy-washy.

    Inner strength and self-assuredness beats all, I think.

  13. Sam says:

    I can honsetly say that being nice and being a wuss is a fine line. A lot of women tend to make snap decissions not on porpose but subconsiously. So alot of times we go from potential BF material to friend mode in just a few minutes. We are taught at a young age to treat women very well, to basiclly cater to them and prove that we can be a good man to them, and this is told to us by our mothers. It basicly wrong. In fact it is not what they really want. They want the knight on white horse. The bad boy with manners, who can fix your plumbimg, your washer, your car, open your doors for you and fix you a good meal everyonce in a while. Someone who can tease you like youre a little kids sister.
    They need a man who will stand up, and speak up in a respectful manner when its needed. Have there backs when it called for.

  14. IntrigueMe says:

    This whole “nice guys finish last” thing is an excuse for men with no balls. You’re 100% right, it’s the timid guys who finish last.

    That said- I don’t think the guy in the bar was timid if he wouldn’t ask his own waitress if there was a problem with the wifi, but he’d lean over and thank a complete stranger for doing so. That doesn’t make sense to me.

  15. City Girl says:

    Like this distinction! I’ve always viewed the nice guy as a turn off, but I think the use of the word, “timid,” is far more accurate.

  16. Jolene says:

    TOTALLY agree and this is a small but huge distinction. Timid – bad. Nice – good.