BY VINCENT VARNEY
I really feel for ‘nice guys.’ All they ever do is be helpful, be attentive and take an interest in others. They’re genuine, treat people well, and if they realise they were unfair, they’re sure to be racked with guilt. They understand that “with great power comes great responsibility,” but like all superheroes, some feel like they’ve drawn one of life’s short straws.
Nice guys are entrusted with a full-time and unpaid job to make life a bit better for everyone else, but there are a few who end up being a bit too nice, at the expense of their own happiness. These are the ones who will be taken advantage of for their generosity, have their good nature exploited, and will wipe away an empathetic tear every time someone utters the words, “nice guys finish last.” Sure, they might not complain, but that’s also because they’re too nice.
I can’t help but get worried for these extraordinarily nice fellows. Every time they get stomped on, they get a step closer to making what I call the “Descent into dickhead” (patent pending). There will come a time that enough is enough – the day when a once-nice guy decides, “Stuff it, I’m done” – and before you know it, the world has yet another jerk. I want to stop that from happening because one life lost is one too many (unless that life belonged to a dickhead). There is an often-silent but always-appreciative group who feel truly blessed by the ceaseless efforts to uphold what is good and just.
To that kind-hearted but disenchanted nice guy – this one’s for you.
When you hold open the door and we say “cheers,” we’re not just saying an obligatory and insincere thank you. What we actually mean is, “You didn’t have to do that but you did. You have your own job, your own family, your own commitments – for gosh sakes, you have your own life – to worry about, yet you didn’t think twice about helping a brother out. That took guts. You’re a class act.”
When that girl you like ends up dating some jerk, we’re not just patting you on the back to reassure you that there’s another girl and another day. The gentle vibrations we’re sending through your ribcage are handwritten letters to say, “She clearly has appalling taste in men. For her to pass up on someone who’s such a good listener, such a caring soul and such a generous lover, she obviously doesn’t know what she’s missing.”
And when you offer to help us move furniture and we simply vow to cut a case of beer in return, we’re not taking your help lightly. We’re actually shocked and can’t verbalise our gratitude, thinking, “Ah waaaaaaaaa!? You WANT to help? Before anyone asked, you just threw your hand up. I want you to be my best man. In fact, I want you to marry my sister. You’re the only person I’ll ever trust will treat her right, and it will also mean we can hang out on weekends.”
The list could go on, but I know nice guys go a bit red at flattery. To all those noble gents, please don’t descend into dickheadery. The world needs you, but because you’re superheroes, you already know that.
Instead, I leave you with one piece of advice: Being a nice guy doesn’t mean you’re a pushover. It doesn’t mean you’re passive or submissive or “sensitive” (I don’t even know what that means but girls throw it around a lot). Being a nice guy simply means you give a damn. It means you’re passionate about things that might not affect you but are still important causes. You help people because you’re a doer, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t apply this same attitude to your own problems. So don’t let yourself be treated poorly; don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. You can be a nice guy and an assertive person at the same time.
Disclaimer: Vincent Varney is a Sydney-based writer who isn’t actually claiming to be a nice dude, but wasn’t kidding when he said he was confused by girls calling guys “sensitive.” What does it mean? Is it even a compliment? Feel free to enlighten him via Twitter @VincentVarney