Niceness isn't the problem


December 20, 1992|By SUSAN DEITZ

`TC Q: I am a so-called "nice guy." About five years ago, I wondered what it was I wasn't doing right, because I was self-conscious about my behavior and women's reactions to it. Nothing was working. But that changed.

I started enjoying myself, and soon my social life fell into place. Self-consciousness still plagues me when I'm with an attractive woman, but that's just me. One thing I would warn women against is an unconscious belief that "nice guys are boring." Quite the opposite!

A lot of interesting and thought-provoking gentlemen are out there. Personally, I love to talk -- about relationships, religion, politics, science, movies and sports (of course). My girlfriend of three years deserves credit for listening and understanding, being patient while I matured, and for being herself.

A: Your girlfriend seems to know instinctively what some of her sisters need to be reminded of: that men often need time to grow into manhood because they are a tad slower to mature emotionally, a relationship needs time to mature into a ripened partnership, and the shy nice man often makes a wonderful companion.

Your letter makes a mockery of the myth that niceness is boring, because it goes beneath the surface and explains the roots of the shyness that too often is mistaken for blandness.

Q: I'm tired of reading letters from lonely, self-pitying "nice" men and women who say all their problems are caused by these myths:

Myth 1: Men like women who treat them badly.

Myth 2: Women like men who have lots of women and treat them badly.

Myth 3: Members of one sex don't like nice members of the opposite sex.

While the facts are:

Fact 1: Men like nice women.

Fact 2: Women like nice men.

Fact 3: Members of each sex love nice members of the opposite one.

Nice women and men moan, "Then why can't I get even a date, much less a relationship?"

Ask yourself the following questions, answering them honestly and objectively:

1. Are you attractive to the opposite sex? (Not to yourself or your mother!) The men and women who get all the attention, have you ever noticed how attractive they are?

2. Are you boring? The quickest turn-off is to be boring.

3. Are you fun, exciting, charming, witty, interesting? These traits can overcome so-so looks any day.

4. Are you clean and well-dressed? Good personal hygiene and stylish dress can take you a long way.

5. Are you truly nice? Too many self-designated nice people use their niceness (judging by their letters) as an excuse to explain why they can't get anywhere with the opposite sex. (See Myth No. 3.) True niceness shows, and is very attractive to the opposite sex.

Too many nice people are actually selfish. They refuse to change to make themselves more attractive; they demand that they be accepted for the nice people they are, warts and all, while forgetting that the way they actually are may be far different than they appear.

Why do certain men and women get all the dates and relationships? Having known ladies' men and femme fatales, I can tell you it is because they are fun, charming, exciting, interesting and confident people. That's what attracts the opposite sex and keeps them coming back, not the bad treatment.

Add genuine niceness to that formula, and you will have more dates than you can handle.

So stop complaining and take a hard look at yourself. Maybe it's you that needs to change, not the opposite sex. Because if you want to get that great mate, you have to have the right bait and be the great mate they're looking for. Being nice is a start, but do you communicate that and what else do you have to offer?

A: You've gone far beyond the element of niceness to lay out the formula for attractiveness. As usual, the solution for nice-but-unpopular men and women lies within themselves, which means it is within their ability to become the kind of person they want to meet. Let's stop hurling words at the problem and allow time to let the wisdom sink in.

Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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