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Why do nice guys finish last?

It seems society views nice guys as insecure, unconfident fellows who don't know what they're doing around women. Yet, women will go for bad boys.


I wanted to ask your opinion on something that I’ve been trying to figure out for a while: Why do nice guys finish last?

I learned this the hard way. I’m almost 25 and still painfully single. One girl I liked admitted she had a weakness for “bad boys,” which I’m sure is why she turned me down. Another girl I liked turned me down, and within a week I learned she was going out with a guy I considered a jerk (which is putting it lightly).

Pop culture doesn’t help either. Talk to girls who like movie franchises like Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean, and the majority will tell you they like the “bad boy” characters like Han Solo and Jack Sparrow more than the “nice guy” characters like Luke Skywalker and William Turner.

It seems society views nice guys as insecure, unconfident fellows who don’t know what they’re doing around women. Yet, women will go for bad boys even those men who will only use and abuse them. Then, in my experience, once those women have been turned into damaged goods, they get dumped on nice guys like me. It’s not fair.

I’ve gotten tired of doing what’s right, of being worthy of a woman’s affection, and still having to fight for what little success I’ve had while jerks can get any woman they want while sleeping. What’s a fella to do?


Let’s clarify that not all girls are drawn to so-called “bad boys.” We should give our female friends more credit than that. Many girls see past that false bravado and want nothing to do with it. Nevertheless, as you point out, some good girls seem to go for some guys that they know aren’t good for them. So let’s explore why.

First, it doesn’t matter how “society” views “nice guys” or how girls view “bad boys.” You don’t have to solve the nice guy/bad boy issues of society, especially the way Hollywood portrays it. All that matters is how the girl with whom you want to spend the rest of your life views you. That’s it. She’s all that matters. Let all the other girls think whatever they want to think.

Now, what do you want her to know about you? There’s not a sane girl on the entire planet — not one — who doesn’t want “nice” to be at least one characteristic of her husband. Nice isn’t the problem. Nice is an asset, not a liability; the question is, what is it about the so-called “bad boy” that makes him so attractive that (some) girls would be willing to sacrifice “nice” for him?

There are as many reasons as there are girls and boys, but I have a hunch about the primary reason that good girls are drawn to bad boys. It isn’t necessarily the “bad” that is so attractive, but the (apparent) confident way in which he carries himself. Maybe it’s all channeled in the wrong direction, or in no direction, but there is a quality he appears to have, an essential quality of manhood, and girls desire it in their man: leadership. He seems to know what he wants, even if it’s nothing or all the wrong things. In a strange way, his actions seem heroic (even though in reality they’re more anti-heroic) and therefore attractive.

When a girl seeks a husband, whether or not she says it out loud, she seeks a man who she believes can lead her and her children. This is true, and it is biblical. Girls are drawn to that quality in a guy, and sometimes Christian girls are drawn to the wrong guys because those guys seem to have that quality, misdirected and worldly as it may be.

The great thing is that in God’s economy, leadership is accessible to all of us. You don’t need to run a Fortune 500 company, be born into money, be famous, or wear a leather jacket and ride a Harley. We lead by following hard after God.

So the question is, are you following hard after God? Are you leading by example when it comes to the pursuit of God? Is yours the kind of example younger Christians could follow? Are you plugged in to a community of believers and leading by serving the body of Christ? Are you active in initiating your passion for Christ, or are you passively letting your heart float around like a cork on the ocean, noncommittal to Christ and His church? Are you excited about where God is taking you and can’t wait for all the future holds, or are you just passively letting life happen to you?

Those are the kind of leadership qualities that God is looking for in you and will develop in you if you are willing. And, not that it should be the reason for doing it, but girls — the kind of girls you want to attract — are looking for that as well.

My advice is to take this opportunity to do a thorough heart check, and ask yourself if you were a girl, would want to submit to, respect and follow you? Seek out an older man who loves God and leads by serving and who has people following his lead, and ask him to mentor you. Ask him to teach you everything he knows about loving God and leading.

And remember that in God’s kingdom, the way up is down. Leadership development starts on your knees by asking God to make you the man He wants you to be and obeying what God leads you to do. If you will first strive for what pleases God, He promises to handle the rest.



Copyright 2011 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

John Thomas

John Thomas has been a Boundless contributor since its beginning in 1998. He and his wife, Alfie, have three children and live in Arkansas, where he serves as executive director of Ozark Camp and Conference Center, a youth camp and retreat center.


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