The Nice Guy Syndrome, The Friendzone, and Everything In Between

Today I’m going to talk about three things: (1) the Nice Guy Syndrome, (2) The Friendzone *shudder*, and (3) how to get out of the Friendzone.

This post was triggered by a conversation with a friend a few hours ago about the difference between the Nice Guy Syndrome, getting Friendzoned, and the Filipino term torpe, which I will explain in a bit. I find it amazing how so many people don’t know the difference between these things because these are important, especially if you’re a teenager with raging hormones playing the dating game, stalking hapless prey like the Predator.

The Friendzone

For those who don’t know, getting Friendzoned is a bitch. I know because I’ve been there and it sucks. You know how Eponine felt while watching Marius and Cosette get it on? (Non-Les Miserables fans, read my post about it here and be enlightened.) It’s like someone reaching into your chest, pulling out your heart, taking a bite out of it then stomping on what’s left. And the worst part is there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re not with her. And, if you’re deep in the Friendzone, you’re not even pursuing her. Not actively, anyway. But you like her. You really do. But she’s not yours.

That is the Friendzone. A lot of guys fall into that category, and it’s not their fault. Not at first. Both guys and girls put people into different categories when they meet them. You might see someone and say, “I’m definitely not gonna date her”. So you’re pre-qualifying, which is exactly what friendzoning is. I’m pretty sure that most guys out there who think they’re being Friendzoned are also friendzoning someone.

But we’ve all seen cases where the guy who used to be a friend move one level up to become a boyfriend. *cue Achievement Unlocked meme here* That’s the success story, that’s what a lot of guys aspire to. The thing is, that takes guts. It takes initiative. And that’s scary.

The stakes are high, I get that. Some guys are more than willing to just sit back and stew in their self-imposed purgatory instead of doing something to change the situation. And, just to be clear, you need to do something to change the situation. She’s not gonna realize that you’re good for her, or that you like her, if you don’t tell her. As author John Green loves saying, USE YOUR WORDS. It helps.

And don’t tell me that ‘she knows’ because ‘I show her how I feel all the time’ because I might just smack you in the face. What, you just assumed that she has assumed you like her from your actions? Don’t you hate assumptions? Nothing’s certain with assumptions. So why are you hoping that she’s made the right assumption? TELL HER. Talk to her. If you really are friends, then talking to her is nothing new.

But if you’re one of those guys who do nothing, then we’ve come to that Filipino word I mentioned above: torpe. I can’t find an English translation for this word, for some reason. I can’t say it means ‘shy’, but that’s the closest. A person who is torpe will do absolutely nothing to change his situation. A torpe isn’t necessarily a friend, but he likes or is already in love with this one girl but he won’t do anything about it. He’ll just sit back and watch as everyone else fawns over the girl he likes. For a more detailed description of torpe guys and why being torpe will never work, here’s a post by the Pinoy Guy Guide.

Note: Apparently, there are girls who get annoyed at people who think that the Friendzone is a real place. I don’t mean to offend anyone but it is real it hurts. But, like I said above, you’re only in the Friendzone for more than a heartbeat because you choose to be there. Like most things, you can choose not to be.

The Nice Guy Syndrome

Now this is where it gets complicated. You know how you always see posts everywhere on the Internet about girls only wanting to date bad boys? This is totally not true by the way, I know a lot of women who prefer nice guys–nice guys who take initiative. A Nice Guy, on the other hand–the capitalization is to differentiate them from nice guys, who are awesome–thinks that being nice will land him a relationship. Which is stupid.

Nice Guy Syndrom - Urban Dictionary

This is how the Urban Dictionary defines NGS. Note the word ‘annoying’.

I actually know a lot of these dudes and honestly, I was one of them a while back before I realized that I was being a dick by blaming womankind for my lack of a date. Because that’s what being a Nice Guy is. You don’t do anything to let a prospect know that you like them. You just become super-friendly. And nice. And always there to provide a shoulder to cry on. Or someone to help carry the groceries. Or someone to paint her nails because she’s too cheap to go to a salon.

All those things you can do just because you’re her friend, sure. But if you’re only being her friend as an avenue to be something more, then you’re being a dick. Being kind is fine, being Nice and having an agenda is not.

And then, when you get shot down or she doesn’t acknowledge your “advances” you start sulking and insulting women, saying that they only want to date douchebags and they enjoy getting their face trampled on and their hearts broken. That is misogyny, you idiot. Get off your high horse and open your mind. YOU ARE NOT BOYFRIEND MATERIAL BECAUSE YOU ARE A DICK.

This is not cool. At all.

Here’s a laundry list of things Nice Guys should keep in mind, because seriously they’re destroying the dating game and destroying the already crappy view that women have of men.

  • Nice guys seem to expect, at some point, sexual “payment” for their kindness and generosity; that is, their niceness is self-interested.
  • The self-interest is deceitful: if the man does not reveal his attraction and expresses willingness to support his friend with her problems, then it makes sense for her to treat his friendship as genuine and take the offered support.
  • The implicit trade of “niceness” (emotional support) for sex is a sexist generalization that women want closeness and men want sex, so they can trade one for the other.
  • Nice Guys regard women as being moral guardians: that women should choose the nicest men for sex in order to reward them for doing the right thing.
  • Some men continue to think of themselves as “nice guys” even as they spend their time using misogynistic slurs to describe their alleged best friends and dear loves. (source)

Exiting The Friendzone

This is Hank Green, one half of the Vlogbrothers (the other one being author John Green). Vlogbrothers is basically a YouTube channel where the Green brothers talk to the world. It’s awesome, you should definitely watch their videos.

Anyway, Hank manages to deal with the Friendzone and the Nice Guy Syndrome in this video. He believes that a lot of people in the Friendzone are being Nice Guys, which is usually the case, so he made a video on how to get out of the Friendzone and how to stop being a dick. If you’re too busy or too lazy to watch the video, here’s the transcript.

There are millions of young people today in a parallel state, so close to the focus of their romantic longings and yet further away than any stranger on a street–it’s the Friendzone. To all of the people currently in the Friendzone, by the end of this video you will know how to escape it. But to be clear, you will not be able to do it.

Exiting the Friendzone is like exiting the Earth’s gravitational field. It can be done and it’s even fairly easy to understand how to do it but on the other hand in my lifetime only a handful of extremely physically-fit and well-funded men and women have managed to do it and they were all either freaking geniuses or fighter pilots.

But first let us discuss what the Friendzone is and how to know when you’re there.

  • “It’s just so nice to finally have someone I can share everything with.”
  • “I like you too much to go out with you. I don’t wanna ruin what we already have.”
  • “I just wish I could find someone more like you.”

It’s really normal and understandable for the person in the Friendzone, the person who’s like positively dripping with lust pheromones to imagine the dramatic unfairness of this situation–that the person you so obviously love wants someone more like you, then why don’t they go for someone exactly like you?

But here’s the unpleasant truth in the Friendzone relationship: there is no person in the right. You are both in an unhealthy relationship. Trust me, I’ve been in the Friendzone. If you’re anything like me, you started this relationship from a point of absolute infatuation. You figured that if you do everything you possibly can for this person, you can get them to the point where you’re at. So you’re sensitive and you’re helpful. You counsel them on their romantic relationships in a way that is very much like unanesthetized fingernail removal–all in the hopes that someday they will fall for you because you’re so nice and nearby.

But when I did this, in my life, that person didn’t respect me. Because I didn’t give them any reason to respect me. I gave them all of my attention, I gave them everything that they asked for and I never gave them what they really needed.

I was like a magnifying glass and my love was the sun and they were a tiny ant at the end of that beam  just being crushed by the tremendous power of the fire of my desire. I wasn’t being a nice guy; I wasn’t being sensitive. I wasn’t even being a good friend. All I wanted to do was get them to love me, which is as it happens a really horrible way to get someone to love you.

So here it is, my friends, if you want to leave the Friendzone there are two doors. If you can manage it, and you probably can’t, you leave through one door and just become that person’s friend. Support them but only when they need it and support your other friends too. It turns out that people who act like actual friends, like mutual respect sort of friends, they often end up hooking up. But Friendzone zombie lust monsters don’t get any love. Ever.

The second door is the exit door, where you just leave. And two years down the road that person will ask you , “Why did we stop hanging out? We had such good times.” Then you can tell her the truth, which is that you could not handle the constant pressure of not having your tongue in their mouth all the time, so you had to leave and go put your tongue in someone else’s mouth. And maybe at that point, two years down the road, they will rethink their position on you because of what a strong and clever person you’ve become. And then they’ll stick their tongue in your mouth. And it’ll be awesome.

And that’s it, basically. Getting out of the Friendzone is hard, I know that. But you just have to say a few words to get the ball rolling, and there are only two choices: yes or no. She might shoot you down. I’m not gonna lie to you, that’s a very big possibility.

But she might also say yes. And isn’t that possibility worth the risk?

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6 thoughts on “The Nice Guy Syndrome, The Friendzone, and Everything In Between

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  5. You insights about the “Nice Guy Syndrome” are very good. Being nice and being friendly are not genuine if you are just doing it to get it on. A guy like this is no different from the so called douche bags or bad boys who sweet talk their way into a girl’s pants in a club.(And it’s not like the girls who fall for these guys are totally innocent all the time, there does comes a point wherein you consent to being a one night stand depending on the dude’s moves) In a way, the nice words and gestures are in no way different from say a regular play from The Playbook to get some. It is just all about being false and insincere. BE NICE TO BE NICE. BE A FRIEND TO BE A FRIEND. If it comes with a hidden agenda, then that’s a load of crap.

    • …you just summarized this entire post. More people should think like you do, because if they do, we’d live in a much better world with no whiny douchebags who blame their relationship status on others even though it’s obviously their fault.

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