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nice guy, slight problem


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We've gotten pretty far off the original topic here, but I did want to say that the guy I was referring to, as moimeme suggests, was kind all the time to me -- even when I was bad to him -- but maybe kept his rage bottled up for special occassions.


Once or twice some grubby street kids approached us for change and he absolutely exploded at them. I mean people at neighboring tables turned to see what the commotion was, as he screamed at them to go to school, go do their homework, whatever. I was not only scared, but appalled. Then he would turn back to me and continue as if nothing had happened and pleasantly talk about how he'd like to take me for a nice dessert later or something.


Secondly, sort of like Midori's guy, mine had a mechanicalness about him that was strange, too. It was as if he was sometimes thinking, "Insert smile here" and then a smile would appear. Then "Now I should lean in and kiss her cheek" and he would.


Anyway, friendly robot guy was in my life for about two months, and has been out of it for more than eight, and I'm not sad about it. That's all I know.

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It sounds like it really pissed him off when the grubby street kids wanted change. I hate it when any kids ask me to buy crap (that I don't want or need) they're selling to raise money for their school.


I don't particularly like giving change to people myself. But what did you expect? ...did you want him to yell at the kids and then turn around and be nasty to you too. It sounds like he was excellent at determining who he was and wasn't angry at. Being upset at you as well would have been insane.


But I see what you're driving at. I hate mechanical smiles myself. That's why I don't watch the Miss America Pageant. And if Miss America asked me for change, I'd yell at her big time!

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Well, I don't know if this makes a difference or not, but we live in Eastern Europe. There is a lot of alcoholism here, and that leads to a lot of neglected kids. I don't even know how to adequately describe the level of neglect. Sometimes these kids' parents are black with soot and grime, have punched in looking faces, red noses, haven't washed themselves in two months and are so pissed they forget they even have kids. When they do, the beat the living daylights out of them and send them back on the street.


At the time, I was volunteering at a shelter for street kids. He knew that. I'd even shared with him some of the stories of the kids I was working with. Thus, I thought his response to the kids was completely disgusting and lacked compassion. Granted, they can be annoying, and I also didn't expect him to pull out a 20 and hand it to them, because more often that not it goes toward booze for mommy. The most I do is either give the kids the address of the shelter or occasionally buy them some food. At any rate, a little kindness can also go a long way. Screaming at them to go home was absolutely insane as the majority of them don't have a home to go to. Telling them to do their homework is also nuts as half of them don't go to school.


So, to witness that, then have him turn to me with a big plastic smile and offer me a nice dessert was just...well, scary -- to me.

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I consider myself one of the nicest guys on the planet and I'm not that way to please anybody, just myself. I am quite happy and generally enjoy treating people very kindly. I don't think I overdo it but now and them some people feel that I do. And the ones who feel that I do can go to hell or kiss my ass at their option.


I'm as good as it gets. The only thing that draws my ire is when people start treating me nastilly or without consideration or respect. Then I don't get to angry...I just say adios.


I feel really good about being nice and I'm really sorry that some women may feel very uncomfortable with that. On the other hand, I don't think I'm as sugary nice as some who have been described here. When I have to go to the bathroom, I don't ask my date if it's OK to do so. And I don't let my date decide how my steak is going to be cooked.


To be very honest, I go out because I enjoy being with a particular person. If they want to sit on the bank of the Hudson River and count turds as they float by, it's fine with me...as long as she's by my side and she can count high enough.


And I don't feel I have finished last because I'm a nice guy. I have been true to myself and that's all I ask from myself.


You don't know when you've finished last until you're sure last has arrived. I definitely avoid listening to fat ladies sing.

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I don't think anyone here, man or woman, would suggest that they don't appreciate people who are generally nice. I do, and in fact I'm generally nice myself.


But what I was talking about, and what I think Stuck & JustAGirl2, and possibly others, have been referring to, are people whose overriding quality, sometimes the only thing one can say about them, is niceness. Not funny, not interesting, not slightly weird (except in their unwavering niceness).


Being TOO nice is inappropriate. A nice gesture is always a lovely thing to do. But to try to escalate a relationship by bestowing lots of flattery/favors/etc. upon someone obliges them to either reciprocate, or to feel like they're being rude.


We all need to actually pay attention to the person we're interacting with. Being overly solicitous of another person does not just amount to fawning. It's annoying and insulting. If you suspect that you're boring me by talking on and on about something, stop talking about it. Pay attention to me: am I asking for more details? Or am I just smiling and nodding? If you ask me "am I boring you?" you put me in the awkward position of having to respond. If I say, "well, yes, a bit," I'm going to feel like a rude b*tch. Take responsibility for your part in the conversation. Asking your conversational partner for constant reassurance that they're enjoying the exchange might SEEM nice ... but it's really rather passive-agressive, and can quickly come to feel manipulative.


Imagine I invited you over for dinner, and prepared a marvelous meal. Would you be able to enjoy it, if every 2 minutes I said, "how is that? can I get you anything else? what else would you like?" Or what if I didn't say it every 2 minutes, instead I just sat there and watched you eat the meal, not eating myself, just wanting to give you the gift of the food I prepared? Wouldn't that weird you out? Because the point of the shared meal was, yes, to do a nice thing for you, but also to SHARE the experience. Which would mean I need to eat too, and enjoy myself. Not just you. Both of us.


Tony, would you really want to sit on a riverbank watching raw sewage with a woman? Wouldn't her desire to do so make her somewhat less attractive to you (unless she was an environmentalist and there was a larger purpose for watching the crap in the water)? You wouldn't just give up your sense of what's enjoyable to defer to hers, surely. If you sat and watched crap with her one weekend, wouldn't you find it rather galling if she refused to go see an art exhibition with you because she thought it would be boring?


Sometimes it's nice to defer to another person's preferences. You want Indian take-out, I want Chinese, we end up having Indian. That's nice, but not outrageous. Doing so occasionally is a lovely way to show someone that you care about them and that their happiness is more important to you than a couple of hours of your time -- so you're willing to share an experience with them that brings them great enjoyment, even if it doesn't bring the same to you. But to do that all the time, and to never ask (or allow) the other person to reciprocate, results in a very one-sided exchange. And that is not a relationship. That's someone trying to buy someone else's favor by being incessantly nice to them. By giving them nothing to "complain" about, so that they have no "reason" for not wanting to continue or expand the relationship.

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I agree with and/or am positively informed by your every word.


You have probably noticed on this forum over the time you've been here that this subject is one I address and harp on very often and in a very passionate way. If you've ever read any of my posts on being too nice, you know beyond a doubt that I think it sickening and repulsive in a dating situation.


For the record, I consider turds floating in the Hudson River to be the result of an extremely creative process and therefore unique works of natural art.


Also for the record, I am funny as hell...totally hilarious, incredibly interesting, and probably the most weird person you may ever meet. Wheww...so glad I got by that part.


I absolutely have a handle on what you are communicating and extreme niceness is quite nauseating...even retarded. But lots of ladies don't even like the more moderate kind of niceness. They go for the men who are rather unkind at times and there is a population of men who cannot find it in them to be that way.


There are men who just don't know how to be a challenge, how to be unpredictable, who have no willpower to hold some things back until the deal is closed. The dictionary calls them wimps. The thesaurus calls them ignorant. I call them misdirected or misaligned.


There is also a population of men out there who really don't have many preferences and are quite happy going wherever.


I guess that's why the Buddha never dated. Despite the fact he was mostly under a tree meditating, he advised all potential dates he had no attachments and no preferences and that made him unattractive, except to the most spiritually evolved women. The Buddha probably didn't find those women very attractive because they had no attachments or preferences either.


Go figure!!!

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Stuck and Tony -


Stuck told us:


Once or twice some grubby street kids approached us for change and he absolutely exploded at them. I mean people at neighboring tables turned to see what the commotion was, as he screamed at them to go to school, go do their homework, whatever


Wow! Does that ever bring back bad memories. IMHO, if your beau displays totally inappropriate anger, then LOOK OUT. One guy I was with for a short while was walking down a pedestrian mall with me. He kept swinging his camera on its strap - me thinking this wasn't a good idea, but I said nothing. Predictably, the strap broke and the camera went flying down the mall. He ran over to the camera and started stomping it and jumping up and down on it. It wasn't a joke. He was furious.


I exited the scene for fear for my own skin. Later, he wanted to know why I 'deserted' him when he was 'upset' and needed support. I had a REAL BAD gut feeling about him because of this, but I tried to fob it off, explain it away (he just quit smoking, we just met after an internet relationship of some months, etc etc). I left the night he ripped the phone out of the wall because I was trying to dial 911 when he got in a fury and tried to keep me from leaving the room. He had already grabbed and bruised me once.


There is a HUGE difference between someone getting annoyed at beggars, traffic, whatever and inappropriate anger.


To every single person I say, if you see someone become angry in disproportion to the event, LEAVE and DON'T LOOK BACK. It could be a symptom of a far deeper issue.


Tony, yes, people should give 'nice guys' a chance, but your gut will tell you the difference between 'wimp' and 'not quite right' and you should listen, because not doing so could be a real bad idea.

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Sorry moimeme, but I actually laughed out loud when I read the camera incident. I can totally see that happening with the guy I was referring to. You should've bought him a pacifier.


I haven't thought about him too much lately, but there were other warning signals all over the place. He couldn't stray from patterns. Had to eat the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch (including a raw onion -- who does that?), but allowed himself a slight divergence with dinner. Had to take the same path to work every day. Maybe they were just eccentricities developed from 40 years of living alone. Maybe he had deeper issues. I didn't stick around to find out.


But...until I became aware of those patterns, the only thing I could describe him was "nice." That says a lot. I remember in my sorority we were banned from, during rush, describing freshmen women as "nice." It means almost nothing. It's so bland and it's so over used in the English language that it is neutral.


Actually, the more I really think about it, I think he was less "nice" and more "socially retarded." I'm sure to him all of his eccentricities are totally normal, as is fawning over someone's wellbeing.


As to Midori, I liked this:


Imagine I invited you over for dinner, and prepared a marvelous meal. Would you be able to enjoy it, if every 2 minutes I said, "how is that? can I get you anything else? what else would you like?"


It's called spending an evening with your Russian grandma. And it's not the characteristic you want in a guy!


And finally:


I'd be scared too. I would have declined dessert. Or another date!


That's right, and I wish I had, too. But I got caught up in the "but, you know, he really tries to treat me well - he's so nice...I'll give him another chance..."


So, ah, being nice is fine, but don't let that cloud your vision anymore than you should let someone's "badness" obscure their other flaws.

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