Normandy Discusses Encounters with a "Nice Guy"

A few years ago my (ex)boyfriend took me to see 500 Days of Summer and initially I loved it. The character of Tom would do anything for Summer--the new girl at his job who was strange and quirky, and just all around charming yet he could never seem to cement into a relationship, and when he finally manage to pressure her into it, well, it sunk faster than the Titanic and all of his adoration quickly turned to bitter resentment as he mulled over how horrible a person she was. Summer's young, attractive, and the girl next door many boys fantasize about. But she's a bit reckless, a bit confusing, and lord, apparently her comment that she didn't want a relationship was just a half-hearted comment made in passing (please note the sarcasm). I didn't realize how unfortunately the movie shaded the character of Summer until I found myself in a very similar situation, and I read a quote from the actor who played Tom--a wonderful Joseph Gordon-Levitt--that read,

"The (500) Days of Summer attitude of 'He wants you so bad' seems attractive to some women and men, especially younger ones. But I would encourage anyone who has a crush on my character to watch it again and examine how selfish he is."

He had a point, and I didn't want to really take a look into it until one of my very close male friends made a few rather unpleasant comments about the "Friend Zone" that were clearly directed at me. Apparently I'd taken on a shade of Summer, and as I spoke to a few of our mutual friends I came to see just exactly what was going on. He had a crush on me, one I never seemed to reciprocate and he couldn't understand why--he was always such a good friend, and so nice, and always there for me when I needed him. Why couldn't I see that when my relationship at the time was on the rocks and unstable? Why didn't I care about him when we had so much in common and got along so well? Why was I so ungrateful? After which, Greg(we'll use that name for now) mentioned that I had sort of stranded Brad(also another fake name) in the "friend zone" with no hope of escape.

Pardon me, but that pissed me off, and it actually hurt. Why was I the one in the wrong for not reciprocating feelings? Why, when I had never once hinted at any trace of a relationship was even in the question between us? To my credit, I never flirted with him--unless sitting around in his basement for hours on end playing Pokemon or MarioKart somehow came across as batting my eyelashes and licking my lips at him I sure as hell didn't understand. So I silently let it slip, biting my tongue every time a comment about the "friend zone" was made by him or another male we were both friends with. I tried to be nice. I really did. But it finally got to the point where it was a bit too much to handle. There came a point where he was constantly kissing me on the top of the head, trying to cuddle, trying to hold my hand or rub my thigh. It made me uncomfortable, and as society has it, mentioning how uncomfortable it made me would just make me a bit of a cold-hearted bitch.

So one day, in a group discussion with our friends it came up again. And for once I didn't bite my tongue.

Basically it boiled down to why we were so in the wrong for not dating someone we weren't sexually attracted to. I brought that up. That led to a nice long silence followed by a "That's bullshit. I've got female friends who said they are attracted to me and they're genuinely just scared it'll ruin the friendship." I rolled my eyes. Sorry, girls lie, because we don't want to hurt your feelings and that just pegs us as more of a bitch than we're already believed to be if we simply say, "we just don't find you attractive." It's true, we care about your feelings and we don't want to be cruel, or hurt your ego. It's not being silly, it's us knowing how petty people can be and how much that can damage someone's outlook on things. If someone told me they didn't find me attractive I know I'd be more than a little upset, it's a rather harsh (if not true) thing to say. He also reasoned that because they're scared a physical relationship would mess up the friendship that the "friend zone" does indeed exist. Oh, that wasn't a good retort. Because the mere concept of friend zoning objectifies girls, and we're not objects, or to we control who we're attracted to. Why on earth should we be held at fault for how we feel when we control it about as much as a guy does?

"Well we guys use it as a defense mechanism because we don't want to deal with rejection and you're just taking it way too seriously."

"So basically you're telling me that you want to make it seem like it's our fault, throw guilt on us for how we feel because you don't want to face the fact someone might not like you? Wow, that's so mature and kind. I'd totally love to date a guy like that. All because you harbor resentment to a girl who doesn't feel the same way you do."

"It’s not going to go away, sorry to say, 90-95% of guys can’t handle the rejection so it’s going to stay around to save their ego. You are right in saying that, guys have to save their ego because without an ego they’re nothing, who wants the guy with no confidence in himself?"

"There's a difference between confidence and being a jackass. Confidence is going, 'Oh well I'm still a great guy despite that' Jackass is going, 'Well she's clearly the unappreciative one who doesn't realize I'm the best she's going to get.' Would you want to date a girl that displayed that kind of 'confidence' when pertaining to you, that you're not worthy of anything more than the 'love' they could get from you, or that you're the par for the course of 'the best' they could get in a relationship? I sure as hell don't. It would make you feel worthless, like you're not worthy of getting someone who you care about as much as they do you, who you're as attracted to as they are to you. It's cruel, and any guy who says that is an asshole."

Our conversation ended there as the rest of the group stared on and he lapsed into silence. I didn't stick around. I didn't want to. Why would I want to hang around someone who didn't appreciate my friendship and only saw me as someone worth his time pursuing in a romantic relationship? I'm not just a woman, I'm a human. And if you claim you're my friend I damn well don't want to be categorized as some kind of relationship trophy for you. Why can't my friendship be of any value? If you're really a "Nice Guy" shouldn't you appreciate that? Shouldn't you not throw every time you've been there for me, every time we've hung out or you've leant an ear when I'm stressed as reasons I owe you a relationship? I have enough respect for you no to do that, it'd be nice if it went the other way around.

Sorry guys, but if you've got a friend who's playing the "Nice Guy" card, you might want to sit him down for a little chat. If he's really your friend he'll understand, he'll still want to be your friend even if you don't see him as a romantic interest, he won't expect you to eventually reciprocate his feelings or hold over your head all the things he's done for you. Anyone who truly cares about you will respect your choices and not try to guilt you into returning feelings. If he doesn't get that, he really isn't worth your time because more than likely he doesn't respect you as a human being, just a datable object. A true friend would hold your interests and desires in more regard than that. And you are not just a datable object; you deserve so much more.
October 7th, 2012 at 08:14am