A Nice Guy Tells You How to Win His Heart

February 13, 2010

I’ve been putting together some of the best comments left by guys over the last few months, but today I’m featuring one left just this morning that stands on its own as a post. Guys tend to leave more comments than girls do (Get with it ladies!), and I’ve learned a tremendous amount from them. Having a window into the male psyche circa 2010 is valuable currency in my world.

Dilithium has become a pretty regular reader here over the last few months, and he often leaves thoughtful feedback. He is extraordinarily smart, and a great writer, so he’s always a delight to read. It’s also abundantly clear that he is a NICE GUY. He speaks affectingly about the plight of less aggressive males in today’s sociosexual marketplace.

If you have had it with the guys in your social scene, and wish there was some way to snag that cute guy in your bio lab or the smart, good guy in the IT department at work, read what Dilithium has to say. It’s a brilliant look into the mind of a potential Dad.

Unfortunately, Dilithium can’t introduce you. You’re going to have to initiate conversation on your own, something that women often find intimidating. The good news, though, is that your initial goal is not a hookup. It’s pleasant conversation. Start there.


How to Get With a Nice Guy, and Have Fun Doing It

by Dilithium

You might actually find this surprisingly difficult! and it may be more work than you’re interested in doing. But the potential payoff is huge, and that’s why I’m here to help.

How you appear to him:

If you’re at least reasonably attractive, reasonably intelligent, and not apparently crazy or shallow, then to him you are: the Hope Diamond, but locked in a 12-digit combination safe at the other end of a tightrope stretched over a pool of alligators. In other words, you are a great and promising treasure, but he fears that to get anywhere with you he needs to do a whole series of things exactly right — one slip-up and his chance is gone.

Why does he think this way? Because of his prior experience. If he’s the socially un-fluent type, then chances are he didn’t do very well in high school; more exactly, he probably tried to make time with some girls, but very often failed; and, even more exactly, not being socially fluent he failed but doesn’t know WHY he failed. Let’s face it, high school girls are not known for telling the truth in plain language, especially when rejecting someone; the boy who can’t read social cues very well is only left to wonder, What did I do wrong? After several disappointing years of this he, quite understandably, comes to see girls as basically flaky and inscrutable — as 12-digit combination safes, where if you don’t do everything exactly right, you’re gone. Keep that image in mind.

If you want to get with this guy in later life — he has a lot of advantages, too, as we will see — then your basic job is to demonstrate convincingly to him that you are not the 12-digit safe, that you will not require him to run a gauntlet of baffling tests and that you will not dump him the first (or second) time he makes a mistake. Remember, coming out of high school that’s his image of how all girls are — you have to actively work to overcome that image if you want to be worth his time.

My primer:

1. Be physical, but not necessarily sexual, early and often.

Your nice guy, even if he’s handsome and fit, probably has hang-ups about his body. As a woman you might be surprised to learn this — you thought only girls had body-image trouble — but it makes sense if you consider his past experience. He’s been treated almost like a leper, basically untouched and untouchable, for years in a row; even if the real source of his problem was elsewhere, he’s probably formed the idea, even subconsciously, that his body is somehow physically repulsive.

You can correct this impression — you want to! — but there are better and worse ways to do so. My advice is, don’t jump his bones in one big go right away (see below); better is to do a lot of small things to show, quietly and continually, that you enjoy his physical contact. You don’t need to grope him or fall all over him; just hold hands, put your arm around his waist, lean against him sometimes when you walk. Continuous, small reminders are what will really be convincing.


2. Don’t command a performance that he can’t (yet) deliver.

Suppose you do indulge the urge to grab his crotch and say “All right, big boy, let’s give it a go!” You might think of this as giving the ultimate compliment, fulfilling every young man’s dream; but the most likely result in your nice guy is panic. Not that he’s rejecting you! Trust me, he appreciates your enthusiasm! But you might not realize that you’ve put him in a tough spot: as he sees it, he now has to deliver a performance that he has little or no experience giving. He’s thinking, what do I do now? Should I feel her up? should I try to take her shirt off? should we just kiss for a while? What’s the right thing to do next? The truth, which is that any of those might be just fine, will not occur to him; instead of just doing whatever comes naturally, he fears that if he does the wrong thing at the wrong time you will change your mind and bail out.

Why should he think this way? Again, most likely because that’s what happened to him before. Imagine a standard high-school-age scene: a girl and a boy are alone together, hot and heavy for the first time; but at their age it’s often the blind leading the blind. She’s expecting him to lead the way, but when she finds out he’s just as inexperienced it’s not uncommon for the girl to call a halt to the proceedings. Different boys react to this in different ways. The self-centered ones, budding misogynists and future players, may blame the girl; while the now and future nice guy will more likely blame himself, able only to wonder What did I do wrong? Thus he builds up the 12-digit safe image: if you don’t know exactly what to do next at every turn, then you might as well not start.

Don’t worry! this doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun sex with a nice guy! It’s just that you’ll be better off if you don’t frame the situation in such a way that he’s giving a high-stakes command performance. Make it absolutely clear that you’re not going to grade and criticize his every move, and that you welcome the spirit of whatever he wants to try. This is probably true, you just have to get it across. And try some stuff yourself! nice guys, unlike alpha jocks, are usually very receptive to women taking the initiative.

The same principle applies in many other, daylight situations. If your guy is not a fluent talker, then a dinner date may be a long and painful experience early in a relationship. You may just want him to relax and talk about whatever he wants to; but he may see it as a command performance, that he has to work to impress you — over and over again, every five minutes for two hours. This is one reason I wouldn’t recommend dinner dates before two people know each other fairly well; a restaurant setting is blank, it doesn’t give you much to work with. Better is an event, a parade, or even a walk around town, where new stuff is always coming into view and gives both of you something to talk about.

The bottom line here is, try to avoid setting up situations in which your guy feels he has to perform something he’s not good at; it will be painful for him, and make him look less attractive to you.


3. Visit him when he’s at his best.

The flip side of the same token is that it’s within your power to make your guy look more attractive to you. (Isn’t that a fun idea?  Having a magic wand that does nothing to you, but instead makes other people prettier for your benefit?) The key here is to spend time with him while he’s doing something he’s good at and that he enjoys. It may be playing a sport, or an instrument, or fixing up a car; almost everyone is good at something. You will appreciate seeing him happy, relaxed and masterful, and he will appreciate the chance to show off for you successfully. Note that this tactic is specific to nice guys: nice guys get a kick out of the idea that they can impress a girl, while alpha jocks consider it beneath them even to try.


4. Feel free to be your best, and don’t even think of bimbo-izing.

This is another, subtler advantage of going with a nice guy: around them, it is to your advantage to show how smart and skilled you really are; they’ll enjoy and appreciate it, where alpha jocks would be bothered and threatened. The reason why has to do with different approaches to ego support.

A quick, common, though unimaginative attempt at ego support is to display yourself as being lesser or weaker than the other person: “Oh, Rocko, you’re so strong, can you open this pickle jar for me?” This is the kind of support that alpha jocks like to get; their security comes from women’s insecurity, from the idea that they have higher value and so women will be drawn to them and afraid to leave them.

A different approach to ego support is, be as good and amazing a person as possible yourself, and then elevate the other person by singling them out for your favor. This is the kind of support that nice guys like to get. Remember, as a reasonably attractive woman you start the relationship with a nice guy in a position of superior power; you don’t build him up by tearing yourself down. Once he’s convinced that you really go for him, then everything good about you — your skills, your culture, your intelligence — reflects back positively on him; he’ll enjoy bragging about how competent and amazing you are. So don’t act like a bimbo, even for a moment! Be your best, it’s all to the good. You may find this difficult to believe, but among nerds (typically a subset of nice guys) it’s actually a high compliment when someone says “Man, your girlfriend is smart!”


5. Don’t ever flake out, or do anything that even faintly smacks of a power game.

As mentioned above, if you’re a reasonably attractive woman then you will start a relationship with an inexperienced nice guy in a position of superior power. Whether it’s true or not, he will likely believe that you can get another guy at the snap of your fingers, while he can’t do the same, which gives you the upper hand. Some girls find this not to their taste; and if so, then they are just advised to stay away from these guys. If you’re willing to live with the upper hand, though, then my advice for you to be happy with your nice guy is simple: never, ever show that hand. If you try some sort of power move, to yank his chain even a little, it won’t end well for you. At best, he’ll be resentful of having his insecurity exposed; at worst he’ll respond by turning himself door-mattish; and you don’t really want either of those if you’re at all a decent person.

The problem is, you may think you don’t want to do anything like this, but everyone does some of it naturally, without thinking. The simplest example is flaking, ie not showing up to an appointment, or showing up very late. Making other people wait is a traditional assertion of power, used by everyone from senators to DMV clerks. You probably do it, along with everyone else, without even realizing it. My point here is, you should be extra-careful not to flake out or otherwise overtly demonstrate power when dealing with an inexperienced nice guy, it’s really just asking for trouble. If you do have to miss a date, be absolutely sure to show explicit contrition later, even if only symbolic (bringing a cupcake is a good start).


Awww, who couldn’t fall for a guy who appreciates a cupcake? I’d say sign me up, I want one of these ASAP, but the truth is, I married one of these guys 25 years ago. He is all that.

I don’t know anything about Dilithium’s personal life, but it occurs to me that he’s quite a catch himself.

Thanks, Dilithium, for your time and your considerable expertise!

  • Robson

    This thread is linked from newest article… compared to large amount of comments here, I wonder why this one died so easily…?
    ” I love your attitude that the worst you can do is make a new friend. That is AWESOME, and so true!”
    No, no, no, no… It may be comforting to think there’s always a safe exit path, but this is valid only in situations when both sides just don’t care very much. Let’s  suppose the nice guy opens up and starts to care… when it’s already too late for you. That’s actually the worst that could happen.

  • OffTheCuff

    This article is great and totally true. This is exactly how I would want to have been treated… when I was 17. Ultimately, it is pointless — you might as well write an article about how to grow weeds in your garden.
    The reason why there are so few comments here is rather obvious: most women are not interested in winning the heart of a nice guy. If they really did, they wouldn’t need a guide on how to do it.
    Susan: New poster. Yes, I am a mostly-reformed nice-guy. If you are interested in getting out the word for women to have some self-respect and not hook up to easily, then I think that’s wonderful, even if the cynic in me tells me you’ll never succeed. I’m equally interested in telling lesser betas that they better grow up fast, or they are in for a life of pain.
    My only issue with your blog is many of these articles give the impression most men are alpha (lines like “a teenage boy can have sex with a new partner every weekend” had me absolutely howling with painful, bitter laughter). I propose this is an illusion, or rather selection bias: if women only accept dates from alphas, then it must certainly seem like all men are alphas. Betas don’t even exist, they are filtered out and rejected unconsciously. Most single men get lucky only very rarely… hence the term “get lucky”!

  • This American dating scene

    But………….. but…………………… nice girls don’t want to “chase” a guy!!!!
    Actually we can’t!

    It’s against our psychology, against how we’re raised, and in the end, it feels like we become the man.

    Yet, then we wonder, how come all these manipulative/not so nice/b*tchy ladies end up with such nice guys.

    Well guess what………… The DO go after them….

    So far, at least I feel successful in that I have not fallen for the cads. Sure, I’ve been attracted to a couple, but first offense and the red flag can’t hide, second and you’re out, nice knowing ya.

    Dear “nice guys” – PLEASE show that you like us if you do! And take note of us too!

    • @This American dating scene
      Welcome, thanks for the comment! Nice women have to find a way of being encouraging without being dominant. I agree with you that nice guys follow the path of least resistance, and who can blame them – the risk of rejection has only increased since the Sexual Revolution, as many women compete for the men most in demand. I don’t think you need to be sexually aggressive to encourage a guy, but women should offer eye contact and a deliberate smile to a man they find attractive.

  • PuffsPlus

    Yeah, a nice guy has to show interest. If he’s always backing away out of nervousness, some women will definitely take that as a sign he’s not interested.

  • Vilian Royce

    Ultimately, it is pointless — you might as well write an article about how to grow weeds in your garden.
    The reason why there are so few comments here is rather obvious: most women are not interested in winning the heart of a nice guy. If they really did, they wouldn’t need a guide on how to do it.

    I’m going to have to back this up. I find the part about “most women not wanting to win the heart of a nice guy” is beyond true. Beyond.

    Given any random (attractive, available) girl you choose who is under 30-35, this is almost guaranteed to be true, so much so that it is safe for men to operate as if it were absolutely true in all cases. This phenomenon begins as low as age 14 and continues until the woman in question either needs a stable man to have a family, or is too old to engage in the player game any longer and are starting to look bad against their friends who have settled.

    IF nice guys were rewarded with affection and attention from the girls of their interest, there wouldn’t be an issue with “nice guys”, but there is. Women would be getting a nice guy and many womens magazines and forums would have you believe most people would be happy. They probably would be. Instead it would be the players on forums like this saying “I feel like i need multiple partners, I’m not ready to settle, but girls just won’t give me the time of day. They see right through me!” (LOL)

    Too bad its not like that and we all know it. The truth is nice guys are NOT attractive until women want to get married, and/or are old enough that the players have significantly diminished interest. Our media these days BREEDS and rewards sexual promiscuity and holds it up. This is pervasive and extends to all facts of human sexual relations these days and IMO is kind of flying under the radar as feeding underlying societal problems.

    If you are a young woman and you have a sweet relationship with a nice young man, hats off to you, there are so many men out there, some raised by women, who are looking for a girl just like you. This article probably resonates with you as being on the money (it is).

    If you are a young woman who passes up the sweet guys who genuinely show you they are interested, in favor of the exciting badboy smooth operator, don’t be surprised when you get treated disrespectfully and it doesn’t work out. Likewise don’t be surprised if the availability of nice guys is starting to look low. Nice guys are ACTIVELY trying to CHANGE AWAY (which is really hard for them, believe me) from being the “nice guy” and toward the disposition which actually is successful, the flirty mysterious confident shallow-man. There are so many products out there being sold to men every minute of every day which seek to teach the “nice guy” how to not be nice! And those nice guys WANT to buy it!

    If you are a woman who says she wants a nice guy, but breaks their hearts by sleeping with their dirty slutty man friends, shame on you. You don’t deserve a nice guy any more than a player deserves a nice girl. You deserve what you get. Maybe one day you will get those tattoos removed, get too old for player BS and move to a new place where you can try looking for a good man, who will be in shorter supply as you get older because they are already committed.

    Good luck.

  • meowww888

    I’ve been lurking on this site for the longest time. Firstly I would like to say thank you for the guidance!

    I was in a relationship with an asshole narcissistic alpha previously, for more than 3 years. It took me a while to get out because I was so young, stupid, naive. Back then, I knew there was something unhealthy about the relationship so when I found this site I was happy(!) yet quite disappointed because I found out about all the things I have been missing out on all that time, and also hopeful that one day I could experience the same. There was no honest communication, everything was a game to him. The last straw was when I finally caught him cheating on me. Even then with proof in my hands his tactic was to deny, deny, deny.

    Fast forward to the present, I am now happy with my nice guy. Not only is he nice, he’s a GOOD person. He treats me like his queen and I do the same back to him <3.
    At first, I was in so much doubt. I had confused thoughts like "Do I really deserve someone who is this awesome? Why is he being so sweet to me without putting a price on it?". Basically I was an insecure heap. I have now learned to block and change those thoughts to more positive ones. Yeah I'm ashamed to say a lot of girls (even attractive, intelligent ones like me!) let themselves be treated like crap sometimes by the alphas because of their low self-worth.

    I used to be a pro alpha girl when I started my research on these male-female interaction blogs, but now I'm on the beta team. Go beta!
    To the nice guys out there, please stay nice. And to the girls, choose wisely…

  • @meowww888
    I am so glad you de-lurked and introduced yourself! I’m also glad it worked out for you and that you are happy. Check out the current posts and feel free to comment there as well!

  • please, if women REALLY want the nice guy heres what you do: look for the guy whose NOT: using pick up lines/asking you out/dressed like a biker or player/being loud and obnoctious/swarmed by other women/life of the party. THATS how you tell the difference and find a nice guy. IT’S NOT EVEN ALL THAT HARD!!! JUST SHOW “US” THAT “YOUR” INTERESTED! and if we don’t come to you? COME OVER TO US IT’S THE 21’ST CENTURY FOR CHRISTS SAKE!!!!!

    • @Vincent

      Thanks for the comment, I hear you loud and clear. I’m preaching that gospel here, checking out the more recent posts and join in the comment threads!

  • Cooper

    Great article.

    It’s very refreshing to read comments from women claiming to either have found or genuinely seeking a “nice” guy.

    Unfortunately, I presume they all have matured to reach such a realization.
    Girls of my age, 20-25, show little to no relative desire for “nice” men.

    Susan, perhaps you can write an article about how to deal with girls whom have yet to “complete the dating-circuit” to come to such realization.

    I have to admit, is it depressing to know that: 1. You’re a catch, and 2. Your best chance is to wait for girls to have enough negative experience with “alphas” that they settle for you.

    • @Cooper

      Girls of my age, 20-25, show little to no relative desire for “nice” men.

      I believe that there are a lot of members of both sexes (up to 80%) flying under the radar. I think many women do want men of good character, and have no desire whatsoever to have casual sex with alphas. Women assume that all guys are players, and guys assume that all girls are slutty with alphas. It’s just not the case, you have to look harder!

  • Part of me hates this post because it strikes me as uber-beta. A nice guy is vulnerable about exactly how to win his heart. It kind of kills the mystery of pursuit. It makes him seem pathetic, insecure, and passive. And yet a greater part of me is also very grateful and touched because it’s precisely this kind of vulnerability that is missing in today’s SMP. It takes courage to reveal insecurities and this kind of authentic sharing is what deepens relationships. The tragedy is that most people are not emotionally mature enough to handle this level of authenticity. Others’ vulnerability makes us

    • @Fred Mok

      The tragedy is that most people are not emotionally mature enough to handle this level of authenticity. Others’ vulnerability makes us

      This is so true! We’ve mostly reverted to living the Principle of Least Interest. I think that explains the dearth of relationships among college aged people. One can’t hook up with strangers if one cares, or believes the other person cares. Emotional intimacy is unwelcome and avoided. One of my goals here is to encourage people to “say what they need to say” and to “go all in.” I did this with my husband and his initial response was discomfort and avoidance. Obviously, he came around, but there is no doubt in my mind that we would never have gotten together if I hadn’t laid it on the line.

      I would also mention that doing so felt good in a way. I felt relieved and unburdened. The rejection felt crappy, but I liked having taken the risk and been honest.

  • Mike

    I am a nice guy. I have always had a generous personality. I was the high schooler who would gather old clothes and give to the local charity.

    I am average in looks. I am a wonder underneath my looks. In my younger 20’s I had a son with a women who liked my nice personality but like a flick of a switch, she left for the bad boy.

    That was years ago. I felt I did the best I could but in the end I wasn’t good enough. Yes, I still blame myself. I have never dated again nor held hands or sex ever again.

    Now I am not even 30 yet but I make 100k a year and I did it as a single dad. I do everything just like I did a decade ago. How bad I would love to be in a relationship but deep inside I do feel a lady would only like me out of desperation and would probably leave the moment a bad boy shows interest. I have been rejected and stood up too many times. Rather than getting depressed about it, I just closed that chapter in my book.

    My honest feeling finding a lady this late after she been with so many men… I would feel like a number. So I am not attracted to a women who sleeps with too many men. My honest feeling they will always cherish the memories with them and will always view me as if they had to settle. One thing my long ago ex said to me was that she had the most amazing sex with me but hinted that other women didn’t desire me. I’m guess women want a man who has been with tons of women to show that her vagina is the one that keeps him staying therefore making her socially popular?

    I’ve done a lot of hard work. My son appreciates it very much and I am happy with that so I dedicated my life’s just to him.

  • Anna

    i’ve been dating a nice guy like you describe in this post for a few months now. i love it! thanks for the advice….i wish i’d read it before but it’s still helpful now.

  • Sexy Wife

    I got myself one of those 22 years ago and trying to guide my girls to making the same choice. I think it’s important to date one of these first, then the jock to appreciate how lucky you are and then settle with the nerdy good guy.

    By having the jock half way between, you are never curious about him and never fuck up with your nice guy.

    Trust me when I say this dear stranger, try this a few times, you’ll feel like a princess

  • Sexy Wife

    @ Mike, there are many women like me who have been in long term relationships and with only one man…you’d be surprised at how many women would love a good man and good guy like you…stop looking at the show offs yourself and consider women who aren’t perfect looking (I dont mean one who does not care for herself but if she has stretch marks from having children, dont write her off) and start paying attention to the quieter girl who may not have been bombarded and taken advantage of by the alpha assholes…I promise many girls like my girlfriends are out there….they have NOT been around…Infact they have only been with the one man (most of their husbands have had a mid life crisis and gone for the 18-20 year old women despite being close to 40 years old (money can make many men behave like children again)