“You’re a great guy. Why wouldn’t she like you?”
I get this all the time. From friends. From family. From everybody. Anytime I start developing feelings for someone, they repeat these familiar lines along with others: “She’d have to be crazy not to like you,” and “You’re the most attractive human being to ever walk the earth” (though the latter may seem like an exaggeration, my family is very honest).
I get to know a woman over months of coffees and long runs and late-night conversations. I know what her family is like and the type of guy she’s looking for. I drive home and analyze the qualities she listed, coming to the conclusion that I, of course, fit them all. I already know she fits all of mine as well. And the whole time I’m talking to this woman people tell me, “You’re a great guy. Why wouldn’t she like you?”
After months of thoughts and feelings, I decide to confess things while we sip shakes. It takes me a few false starts, but finally the words tumble out like blocks kicked by a toddler: “I think I really, really like you. Like I have a lot of feelings for you.”
My words slam to a halt, but my mind is racing. There must be more for me to say; I had it planned out in my head two hours before. There’s chaos in my insides, matched with an odd feeling of peace — like the momentary stillness after a tornado. The words have been said. They have left my brain and entered reality. All I can do is brace myself for what’s coming. In the brief moment of silence, she opens her mouth and then closes it. She’s hesitating, thinking.
Is that a good sign?
Harsh Realities for Nice Guys
“Drew, thank you so much for your honesty. So so much, it really means a lot.” And she smiles a closed-lip smile that doesn’t quite reach her eyes.
Oh, no. Not again. My heart sinks, and my mind begins to spiral. At least I’m used to what comes next.
She looks away as she says, “I just don’t have those same feelings.”
See, this isn’t a story about hitting my lowest then meeting the woman who finished my sentences and kissed me in the rain. I’m still looking for her, still subconsciously hoping she’ll be sitting in every coffee shop I enter.
However, this is about waking up each morning and learning — remembering — that I am a great guy, and one day, she will like me. This is a story of hope; this is for every nice guy and the amazing women they meet.
To the Nice Guy,
I see you. I know you spend more time staring at your ceiling than into the eyes of the woman you can’t stop thinking about. I do the same thing.
I know that ache in your gut and the feelings of loneliness. You just want someone to appreciate The Office as much as you do. You want an ice cream sharer, an inside-joke teller and a church-pew sitter.
So do I, brother. So do I.
But I’m learning something about this time of singleness that may be helpful for you: Your wife is not at the end of your road. Being single and making my future wife the prize of my twenties only ends with debilitating paralysis. I become unable to move on to other adventures, goals or accomplishments until marriage is achieved.
I’m learning my twenties are so much larger than marriage. I’m preparing to move across the country and start a new season in a new city. I’m pursuing a graduate degree and a career in writing. I have marathons to train for and youth groups to serve in. I’m so much more than simply a nice guy looking for a nice girl — and so are you.
So here’s my advice: Pursue your passions. Code those computers, sketch those portraits, write those screenplays. Try new coffee shops, and say “yes” to what makes you uncomfortable. Cultivate courage. Set goals for yourself, hard goals that force you to stretch more than you imagined possible. And in the meantime, go on blind dates, be brave (and risky) enough to ask out a friend, live in community, and even when it’s hard keep being a nice guy.
Strive to be a man of God, and find life abundant in Him, not a woman.
Now, to the Awesome Woman,
I wanted to write a note to you too because I know a lot of you, and I’m sure you have plenty of the same fears I do. I don’t know if nice guys have turned you down or if you’ve been the one to turn nice guys down, but I believe you’re a wonderful human being worthy of the best guy. And no matter how badly it hurts, your honesty means a lot to us nice guys.
I believe there are nice guys out there who aren’t afraid to ask you on a date, guys who aren’t going to make you their destinations, guys who will summon up all the courage they can muster to ask you out. But we may be scared or shy or calloused by rejection, so give us time. Don’t give up on us. We long to share our hearts and passions, and we’re looking for a woman who actually cares about them — so we kind of need each other here.
Sometimes we don’t act like things affect us, but they do (but don’t tell the other guys I told you that). We want a hand to hold and a person to cherish just like you do. We want you to feel safe when you are with us. We want a healthy relationship that doesn’t revolve around fights or small talk or baggage. We could be good together in the long run even if there’s not the fireworks you’re used to right now.
I promise, I promise, I promise nice guys do exist. And I promise we are excited to meet you; sometimes it just takes a little bit of courage and a whole lot of divinity. We may be learning to be brave still, we may struggle with sharing emotion or we may be struggling to understand ourselves (and you) — but we are out there.
Please hold out hope because we’re doing the same.