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Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Afraid I'm a Nice Guy™

Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Afraid I'm a Nice Guy™

Dear Auntie,

So there was this girl I liked. She was beautiful. I got to know her, and eventually asked her out. So far, so good. Then, I got friend-zoned. Oh well. It happens to the best of us right? Well, I bounced back and a few months later found someone else. Got to know her, asked her out, and was rejected again. She said I was "like a big brother" to her. I got bro-zoned! That's like, worse than friend-zoned! I was taken aback, but got over it. Until I went through this cycle a few more times. Eventually, I came to a terrifying conclusion. I am... a Nice Guy™! (Cue Beethoven's Fifth.)

I don't want to be a Nice Guy™. I just don't know how to stop! I was very forward once with a girl that I had just met, but I still got friend-zoned because I was "like a brother" to her best friend! I was friend-zoned by reputation! I've read your articles on Nice Guys™, and while they were great reading and helped me to identify my problem, I'm still clueless as to the solution.

So here are my questions:

1. What is wrong with me and why can't I stop?

2. How do I force myself to stop?

3. How do I get rid of that stupid reputation?

I desperately need you here, Auntie! I don't want to wait till I move again and build a new rep somewhere else just to date! Please help!

Well, here's the thing, Sparkler; I'm sure you're a perfectly nice guy? But I'm also pretty sure that you're not a Nice Guy™.

I mean, look at you: You're not angry, you're not bitter, you're not wailing impotently that your niceness is keeping you single and that girls only want to date jerks. And, most important of all, you're not expecting your friendships with the girls you like to magically transmogrify into sweaty romances without any effort on your part. In fact, in each and every case you've cited, you've done the one thing that Nice Guys™ never, ever, ever do:

You've let them know, early on and in actual words, that you were interested... and when they weren't, you moved on.

Nice Guys™ don't do that. Instead, they befriend girls they want to date, maintain said friendships for months (or even years) without ever directly expressing their desire to be more, and then explode in a fit of rage and resentment when their female friends just want to be... y'know, friends.

"Why did you think I was spending time with you?" whines the furious Nice Guy™ as his lady friend looks on in horror. "Because I liked and appreciated you as a human being?!"

And that's because Nice Guys™ are not really nice at all; they're guys (or girls—this isn't sex-specific) who see friendship with (usually) the opposite sex as a front, a transaction, and something they provide in exchange for a romantic relationship instead of an end unto itself.

Whereas you, I think, are a perfectly decent dude who's just happened to experience a run of bad luck in the dating department. And that's okay. It happens! There's nothing wrong with you! And when it comes to your approach, there's nothing wrong with that, either; you don't need to stop asking girls out.

You do, however, need to figure out why you keep asking out girls who don't like you. And while that's partly a question of learning to read the ladies for signs of interest (which we'll get to in a second), I am duty-bound to also point out that interested ladies are a lot easier to find when you aren't looking way of your league.

And this is not to say that you are. I have no idea if you are! But it's one of those things that bears mentioning, when you tell me you're striking out repeatedly with girls you describe as "beautiful." Beautiful people are a hot commodity, and they tend to pair off with other beautiful people; that's just the way it goes. So unless you're beautiful yourself, you'll be chasing some seriously long odds by targeting only the prettiest ponies in the meadow. And if that is what you've been doing, then sad to say, it's not exactly shocking to hear that you're not having the best of luck.

So, give both yourself and your standards an honest once-over (and if you're an average dude who's been chasing only the hottest hotties, consider relaxing 'em a bit). And then, study up on the flirting guides to see how an interested lady might act. Do your own flirting, and pursue the girls who give you an encouraging response. And most importantly, when you get rejected—as do we all—remind yourself that the world is full of human beings, and that you don't want to date all of them, either. There's no need to take it personally, or to let it stop you from trying again.

Because here's the thing, and I cannot emphasize this enough: "You're like a brother to me" (or its variations) isn't the reason these girls won't date you. It's the result of them not being interested in the first place. And if a girl wants you as a boyfriend, then trust me, she won't let your brother-friendly qualities get in her way.

Do you think this dude is a Nice Guy™, or just a nice guy? Share your feedback in the comments! (Assuming they ever work again!) And to get advice from Auntie, email her at

Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, breakups, dating, advice, the friend zone, nice guys, manklers

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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