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Friday, July 20, 2012

Is It Possible to be Too Nice?

Dear Bro Jo:

I've heard about you from younger people and after reading your advice, I think you're my kind of person. I'm a YSA.

Since I was about 13, there have been guys who liked me, and whether or not I noticed, other people said it was obvious to them that these guys liked me. They've all been the kind of guy who don't take care of themselves well, physically, spiritually, socially or mentally. You know the type?

(If you were to print this, please feel free to omit this phrase, but in spite of trying to be modest, I'm very smart, very involved and active at church, I'm not shy/backward, and I don't think I'm ugly. Everyone agrees with me. So I understand why I attract these guys, but why don't the guys who I'm interested in ask me out?)

Starting at the young age, I tried to be nice/polite/Christlike with these guys, while being as obviously totally uninterested datewise as I knew how, and because of the whole "guys don't get it" thing, they all assumed I really liked them because I even included them in group conversations, etc., especially when no one else in the group tried to do that. It was hard for me to hear from people (including my parents) that I needed to be less "nice" to them if I expected things to change.

I have a personal rule that if I can stand to date a guy at all I'll go with him once if he asks me, and if it isn't totally awful, then if he asks me again I'll go out at least once more. That way I'll have made some effort to actually know him before I dismiss him. But since this is the kind of guy who asks me out, most of my dates have not been much fun for me.

I'm confused because after everyone has told me I had to be a little less nice to these guys, and assured me no one would think I'm mean for doing it, when they hear that this kind of guy continues to meet me and hang around and I don't encourage them, they give me tons of grief for "not being the polite one in the room" if no one else acts any nicer to the guy. They still admit it's true when I suggest that if I did anything nice for these people now after no one else did, that would make my problem worse. But they always point out that other girls have decided they liked and even married such guys since that was who they attracted.

It gives me the shivers to think of guys like that now unfortunately, but I'm not sure whether it's right to say, I've learned my lesson and I don't need to have any more unpleasant experiences if I don't want to no matter what guilt trips people give me, or to say, it seems really bad to treat a person less than the best I can, and I ought to suck it up and do it. (If so many girls have married guys like this, then they ought to have some insight, even if it's something I'd hear and make sure to do the opposite, but everyone's remarkably devoid of advice.) What do you think?

--Nice Girl

Dear Nice Girl,

It actually took me a few reads to figure out what your questions for me are . . . but I think I've got it.

I think you're asking me whether or not you should be . . . not "mean", but "less friendly" to pathetic loser types so they'll stop getting the wrong idea, confusing your being polite with encouraging their attention.

And, perhaps as a follow-up, how can you "upgrade" the quality of guys that ask you out on dates?

Then, finally, should you expect that you'll have to "give in" and marry one of these slobs because they're the only kind of guy that you seem to attract?


Okay. Here goes.

1. No, you should never be "less nice" to anyone. To do so wouldn't be very Christ-like.

2. Widen your circle of friends to include the type of guys you like. You can't catch a trout if you only fish in the lakes stocked with bass.

3. Never marry out of desperation or pity. We're commanded to get married, but no one says you should violate the "Five A's of Why NOT to Marry THAT Person" just so you can have a ring on your finger.

Sure, "socially awkward" isn't enough of a reason to totally dismiss a person, but "Apathy" is, and that includes being apathetic about your health and appearance.

- Bro Jo

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