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A Nice Guys Guide to Dating Success

Has it ever happened to you? Have you ever had the experience of liking a woman, being a perfect gentleman, and treating her like a queen, only to have her reject you in favor of someone else (possibly very handsome) who doesn't treat her right, or doesn't seem to care about her much at all? These kinds of men have been called "bad boys," "charm boys," or "players." When you are interested in women, do they tend to see you as a friend or "brother" rather than a romantic interest? Do women tell you you're "too nice"? If so, you are not alone. This article will give you, the nice guy, some tips on how to use charm-boy traits to your advantage, while retaining your nice-guy values.

Let's brainstorm for a minute. What makes charm boys or players attractive? They are fun, spontaneous, unpredictable, mysterious, and act as if they don't care what others think of them (also known as confidence). They follow their own rules and don't let others (including their dates) walk all over them. And they often look good.

So what can you do? You don't have to engage in risk-taking behaviors in order to succeed with women. Suggest some "safe" ideas on the spur of the moment; for example, "Let's go get some sushi/ice cream/a Margarita," or, "Let's go for a drive and see where we end up." If this is not the usual "you," you may enjoy your new-found spontaneity. You can be mysterious/unpredictable without violating your principles. Don't call her the day after getting her phone number or the day after a date. Give her time to wonder whether you'll call; keep her guessing. People often want what isn't easy to get, and women like a little challenge.

You're the man. Many women are looking for men who are confident and decisive, who can be relied on to get things done. On a date, take command but don't be pushy. Always have a Plan A and a Plan B, so you don't miss the concert just in case the restaurant loses your reservation and there's a 1-1/2-hour wait. But always be flexible, in case your date hates Chinese food, for example, or she just told you her favorite musical group is in town, tonight only. Low-cost dates conducive to getting to know each other include the zoo, a museum, or miniature golf. In addition to saving you money, these low-cost dates also minimize the feeling that you have to "spoil" her or "buy" her affection with an extravagant wining-and-dining evening. And if she likes you, she won't mind a "cheap" date; she just wants to be with you.

Keep it light and upbeat. Don't be needy or act nervous. You might be a bit anxious while on a date, but she doesn't need to know that. Keep things light and humorous, and pay attention to her. That in itself will help you take the focus off you and help you feel more confident. And be a gentleman (you're already good at this). For example, always offer to pick up the tab unless she insists on paying, open doors for her, etc. But don't overdo the gifts, lest you appear desperate.

Let her talk. This is where nice guys have an advantage. Most women like to communicate verbally and welcome the chance to be heard. (But make sure you listen; don't just let your mind wander.) She will be impressed if you remember details about things that are important to her, such as her pet's name or her favorite book. If you met her online, review her profile for questions you can ask her about her interests.

Neatness counts. Take another hint from the charm boys. You don't have to be a Brad Pitt look-alike, but make the most of what you have. Review your grooming, clothes, and accessories with an objective eye. If you want feedback, ask a friend--possibly a female friend--for honest input. Or tune into one of the new TV shows which focus on wardrobe/grooming tips for men.

Have a life (and a backbone). Just because you are dating a woman doesn't mean you drop everything else (including your own friends, hobbies, and interests). After all, relationships can come and go. Keep being yourself. You are not always at her beck and call. When you really don't want to do something (for example, if she wants you to cancel your ballgame or night out with your friends to go shoe shopping with her), it's okay to decline. Telling her no may be difficult for nice guys, but if she's worth keeping, she will respect you for this and value her time with you more. To soften the blow, you might offer her an alternative get-together. For example, "Sorry I can't make it on Saturday. How about I take you to that new play you've been wanting to see on Sunday instead?"

How does she rate? Remember: You have the right to evaluate her, not just the other way around. Does she deserve a second date? Is she relationship material (if that's what you're looking for)? Just because she's attractive/smart/classy doesn't necessarily mean she's right for you. Does she treat you well? Is she kind? Does she have decent self-esteem? Is she giving? If you're looking for a long-term relationship, can you see yourself still with her in 20 years, when some of the supermodel looks may have begun to fade?

The good news for nice guys is that as women get older, perhaps having survived a bad-boy heartbreak or two, they are more likely to appreciate nice guys. Make a list of your good points, the qualities you have to offer. Keep at it. And start believing that you are a catch (or at least act like it)!

For more information, visit the author's website http://www.therapy-conscious.com

Copyright 2004, Ann L. Palik

Ann L. Palik is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California, specializing in helping single people create healthy relationships.

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