Sometimes saying "no" may be one of the toughest things to do to fight the "nice guy syndrome." No, you're not being mean, but society has made you think otherwise.
Every woman has experienced it at least once in their life: you’re sitting at the bar, waiting for your friends to arrive, alone having some quality me-time. Then suddenly, a guy who’s been staring at you since you got there walks over. He starts trying to chat you up. You’re not interested but you don’t want to be rude. Eventually you find yourself ransomed for at least an hour, if not more. Who knows, you might end up giving your number to a guy you don’t really like just so he can leave you alone.
Why do women have to feel like they’re being horrible human beings for saying "no" to a guy? Why can’t we just say to a guy at the bar, bus stop, cafeteria, or party something like “Hi, thanks, but I’m really not feeling it,” or "Hey, I would appreciate it if you just leave me alone", or even the more direct and honest "Listen, I'm not interested. Bye." What has been instilled in us that makes us think that we’re being the worst person in the world for simply being honest? We all have a story about a guy responding in the worst way when being rejected, even when we’ve been trying to be as amicable as possible.
“I’ve got thin skin and a thick skull, but at least I'm patient."
In my case, it was one night when I was the sober one in the group. My friends were dancing and I was sitting at the bar. This dude walked over and opened with, “you know you look just like my ex-girlfriend.”
“Oh, okay.” Seriously, what else could I answer at that point?
He then proceeded to take out his phone and show me pictures of this woman, who I’m pretty certain, does not look at all like me. “Yeah, see?”
I nodded and shrugged.
“So, what’s your name?”
“Um, I’m sorry, but I’m not interested.”
At this point his friend was quick to come and... "help" him.
“Give my buddy a chance. He’s a good guy.”
It soon escalated to the point where I only had two available choices. I was either going to have to agree to let this random stranger, who hadn’t even introduced himself, sit next to me and carry on trying to talk to me until I gave him my phone number or agreed to go out with him, or I would have to put my foot down and tell him thanks but no thanks. I did the latter and was quickly called a stuck up bitch by not just the two guys, but their entire table. Because, “Hey, he’s a nice guy.”
According to Harris O’Malley, a blogger and dating coach also known by his online persona Dr. NerdLove, this situation is brought on by what he calls the “Nice Guy” syndrome. This is someone who tries to tire the object of his attraction to the point where they will have no choice but to go out with them because they’re so damn nice. It’s using niceness as a manipulation technique. This does not only relate to the guy who’s desperately trying to keep all your attention on him at a party or bar.
“I’ve been giving my vices away, trying to get more daylight out of rain.”
In Dr. NerdLove’s own words, “The Nice Guy spends his time trying to be as close to his designated crush as possible – after all, the more time he gets to spend with her, the more opportunities she gets to recognize his inner stud-muffin.” This means that this is an entire strategy of luring their prey. They’re manipulating their way into the woman’s heart. Instead of being open about their feelings, they use these gimmicks to show the person they’re interested why they’re the best person for the job, without actually telling them how they feel or even being honest with them.
As a woman, this passive form of aggression is difficult to pinpoint as such, and even harder to fight off. We don’t want to be rude, yet our only alternative is to allow this person to weasel themselves into our life. We’re basically backed into a cliff: we either fall down the pit or be chained into a situation we never asked for. Perhaps the best way to combat this is being clear with the person trying to get our attention, even if that means being told we’re the worst person in the world.
Cover picture @cvatik
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