“What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know, what do you want to do?”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that conversation with a woman over the years after she got into my car. I’ve always had this fear of being like one of the guys from her past–the type of guy who just charges ahead without taking her wants and desires into account.
But it’s deeper than that. I didn’t want to be another guy on her jerk list, so I became ultra-nice guy.
Ultra-nice guy doesn’t want to take a woman to a place she might not enjoy. He is also usually so focused on being nice that he isn’t good at actually picking up on what she might enjoy. And so the cycle goes.
I have never lived the rest of my life this way. I invite friends to go to baseball games, movies, concerts, and sometimes, even fishing. And I often go with them to places and events they prefer. By doing so, we see each other in our natural elements and we learn even more about each other.
Ultra-nice guy doesn’t make an appearance around friends. I’ve come to the conclusion that he shouldn’t make an appearance while on a date either. He’s too generic, too phony, and too self-absorbed. All of those facts became a shade clearer to me in the past few days as I’ve read the novel The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks.
In the novel, a 17-year-old girl named Ronnie is visiting her father in North Carolina for the summer. Her parents are divorced and she’s trying to make the best of a bad situation. While visiting her dad, she falls for a guy named Will. Here is her thought process regarding him:
“Too many guys simply rolled over these days, thinking that being nice was all that mattered. And it did matter, but not if the guy equated being nice with being a doormat. She liked the fact that he’d taken her fishing, even though she hadn’t been enthusiastic about it. It was his way of telling her, This is who I am, and this is what I enjoy, and of all the people I know right now, I want to enjoy this experience with you. Too often, when a guy asked her out, he picked her up without the slightest idea of what to do or where to go, eventually forcing her to come up with the plan. There was something so wishy-washy and clueless about that. Will was anything but wishy-washy, and she couldn’t help liking him for that.”
Of course, this passage is written by a man through the eyes of a female character, but it still has a ring of truth to it, especially in light of Scripture, which calls a man to lead. By doing so, he gives her a chance to see who he really is and it gives her an idea about how might lead her if they decide to enter a relationship.
In turn, he learns what she does and doesn’t enjoy. As he learns more about her preferences, they engage in activities she enjoys and he discovers more about her.
Ideally, they would already believe they are a good match before getting too invested emotionally, but that isn’t always possible.
The point is, there’s really no place for ultra nice guy in this equation. He serves no purpose. So it’s time to say good-bye to ultra nice guy.
Lee Warren is a forty-something-year-old single person who lives in Nebraska. He is the author of the book Single Servings: 90 Devotions to Feed Your Soul, published by Revell. Julie Ferwerda is a forty-something married person who has had a spectrum of experiences in the single’s life after divorce. She is the author of “The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love,” and has written dozens of singles articles for CBN and other publications.