Relationships are complicated. Growing up, even in Latin America, I was very familiar with the complicated relationship between “those nice guys” and the elusive girl who kept falling for the “other guys.” A very sad, tragic even, and yet far more common storyline than we realize. Anger, powerlessness, sympathy and even feelings of injustice accentuate this melodrama.
However as a father of five girls, I have to rethink this whole Mr. Nice Guy paradigm taking into account the recipient of all these contained feelingsâ€¦ the girl. Is Mr. Nice Guy as nice as we all believe him to be, or is he an entitled self-serving impostor seeking to collect his dues after he has manufactured a plastic friendship?
Perhaps the answer is somewhere in the middle. Let us think this through for a moment. The root of sympathy is not in the selfless acts of this Mr. Nice Guy, but in the subtle notion that this guy deserves something. In guy terms, he ought to “get some.” But why? To really love someone is to allow the other person to be free and make decisions, whether or not we like the outcome of these decisions is called “l i f e.” Real people make real decisions, some are favored and some are rejected, and life goes on. No one, especially when it comes down to women, no one owes anyone – even Mr. Nice Guy – preferential treatment. To expect, and God forbid to enforce it, is not only wrong but selfish and arrogant.
Instead of taking on this Hollywood-hyped role, why not rather become a real human being with real relationships? It is in real relationships, group interactions, trips, sports, camps, and outdoors where real people connect, learn social cues, and learn to establish healthy connections. This is not learned from watching a screen, leaving anonymous comments or playing video games. Life, people and women are real, not a game with cheat-modes.
Yes, relationships are complicated, but this is no excuse to superimpose our expectations on others. Real love is not selfish but freeing and generous. Let us become real people, and expect nothing less from our peers and significant others. Mr. Nice Guys make good and interesting movie scripts, but transparent, life-giving and secure people are the ones who really thrive in real life.