I used make women uncomfortable, now I’m too much of a “nice guy”. How do I find a balance?

mcnoshave asks:

I’m a 25/m. I used to hit on everyone regardless of making them uncomfortable, now gone to far the other way and started doing the “nice guy” thing, how do you strike a balance?

Keeping it brief. I used to hit on girls, push the limits, generally be a (hopefully) charming douche bag. Would gladly piss off 20 girls in a night to get one. However, I grew up a bit and lost my taste for that.
The other night, met a girl, left the bar with her and her friends, and when we got back to their place, I was surprised to find out she didn’t know I was into her. She thought we were hanging out. I realised, I assumed she knew, but I never really made an indication of any kind, it’s totally reasonable she wouldn’t know. I need to find a balance between neckbeard and douchebag, but the line seems to escape me.


Demetrius says:

This is a great question, mostly because it highlights the way that a lot of people, especially men, look at approaching dating. How many men think about dating is in binary terms. You’re either a douchebag who gets all the women, or a “nice guy” who is a doormat. Sorry folks, that’s not how dating works. That’s not how life works.

When I tell you that you can strike a balance, keep in mind that what I’m also saying is that there are valid approaches to dating outside of extreme aggression or passivity. You don’t have to choose between one or the other, nor do you have to find some sort of middle ground between the two, you just need to figure out what works best for you. You can use behaviors on either side of the spectrum, and some that aren’t on this spectrum at all, and succeed in dating.

Let me ask you something: When you say that you want to strike a balance between being a douchebag and being too nice, do you know what works about each approach? Or better yet, what do you think makes either of these approaches successful? One thing I’ve noticed about pick up artist tactics is that they consider successes in acquisitional terms. Success is defined by getting one of the following: Attention. A Phone Number. A Date. Sex. Did your aggressive tactics piss off 20 girls in a night? Congrats! Did you get a phone number after being so persistent that she gave you her number out of fear more than anything else? SWEET! Did she agree to go on a date with you out of pity rather than out of any real sense of exuberance? NICE! Did you have sex with someone regardless of the quality of the experience for either of you? High Five BRO!

Let’s avoid considering any of these things successes, okay? Let’s focus on taking behaviors that work because they further your dating goals in an honest way. Whatever your goals are, whether it’s casual sex, dating casually, or finding someone to settle down with, if your behaviors are contributing to you meeting those goals without deception, consider them a success. If they aren’t, drop them.

Assuming your dating goal is to meet someone and actually date them, here’s how to find a balance. It takes a certain amount of confidence, or the ability to fake confidence, to be able to hit on 20 women in one night, so maintain that level of confidence, but drop the tactic of trying to get negative attention. On the flip side, part of what people consider being a “Nice Guy” is a certain amount of sensitivity, especially when it comes to reading people’s feelings. In your case, I would focus on developing your empathy a bit, so you’re able to read when your flirting turns from harmless to uncomfortable. If you can figure out when someone isn’t interested, but they’re too passive to openly reject you, you’ll waste less time hitting on people who aren’t interested. Knowing when to move on from chatting someone up will allow you to spend time talking to people who actually might be interested.

I used two of the examples you listed but honestly, you could probably figure out the rest of what you need to change on your own. The trick is to evaluate your approach based on its effectiveness, and whether or not you feel good doing it. I’ve never been comfortable with negging women because it feels corny to me, so I wouldn’t do it. That said, I have no problem challenging someone I’m flirting with if it feels genuine and true to me. If being persistent is netting you lots of phone numbers, but no actual dates, it’s not an effective dating approach. Same goes for approaches that are too passive. Your approach to dating should find a balance between what will help you meet your dating goals in the long-term, what you feel comfortable doing, and honesty.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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