For as long as I can remember, I've proudly worn the label of "nice guy."
As the "nice guy," I felt it was my duty to make sure my significant other was always happy... and more importantly, I felt it my duty to make sure that I was never the source of her unhappiness. I am the "nice guy" afterall, and only jerks cause unhappiness, right?
The paranoia of accidentally hurting a girl's feelings was my worst nightmare. I didn't want to lose my "nice guy" status, and get labled as a player or a jerk.
I found great pride in my ability to be kind, rational and tactful.
But kindness, rationality, and tact does not a "nice guy" make. I was falling short in one important area: Honesty.
Being honest is not easy.
Honesty is the foundation of trust, and you cannot have love without trust.
The hard thing about being honest is that it means you have to embrace the truth... and the truth can be painful. But "nice guys" don't like to inflict pain... remember?
As a result of my well-intentioned "niceness," I know there are many girls that will attest to the fact that I have not really done a very good job at being nice.
Not even a little bit.
In the past, when things start to go amiss in a relationship or I start to feel weird, I bury the feelings. I bottle them up rather than addressing them. Those bottled-up feelings turn into resentment. In the midst of that resentment, I push away the people (or person) I care about most which typically results in the end of a relationship. And the relationship typically ends without explanation or closure.
Then if the girl seeks out closure, I feed them a convenient and well thought-out lie that is far easier to swallow than the truth... at least easier for me to swallow. Rarely would my excuses for "fizzling" or ending a relationship without explanation paint the "nice guy" in a bad light.
Because remember, I don't want to hurt anyone.
Let's be honest, that sounds more like a jerk than a "nice guy." The "nice guys" can be the biggest jerks, and we don't even realize it.
I think at the heart of every "nice guy" is a guy whose true fear isn't that of hurting others by expressing the truth. It goes much deeper than that. A nice guys' fear is that honestly expressing the truth will make him unworthy of love.
If I tell her about my dark past, what if she turns and heads in the oppsite direction?
If I let her know that it drives me crazy to listen to her eat, will she think I'm nit-picky and therefore not worth the while?
If I tell her that I'm scared about how fast things are moving, or that I'm not ready for intimacy, or that I'm not comfortable with PDA, she might think I'm not the one for her, she might think I'm emotionally immature, she might think I don't desire her, or she might see me as less of a man.
The fear of the worst possible scenario is paralyzing. The fear of rejection, lonliness, and being not-enough ironically fuels the exact behavior that will prevent the "nice guys" from ever experiencing genuine connection, affection, and love.
The thing I'm realising is that the truth is inescapable, and it always has a way of catching up to us.
The truth is at the heart of every relationship. It's the foundation of trust, and love.
Being the guy who is honest, who embraces the truth regardless of how scary or ugly it is, is far more important than being the guy who is "nice" or well-liked. Inviting the truth into your relationships, and trusting the people you care about to handle it with grace and poise is honorable, and can even be exciting. It provides opportunities for growth and improvement... and really, that's what it's all about, right?
My new goal is to give up the title of "nice guy," and embrace the truth, regardless of how difficult and uncomfortable it might be for me. Nice guys (and girls) of the world, I invite you to join me.
Let's embrace the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.