Sunday, October 4, 2009

What Does It Mean to be "Nice" Anyway?

"Nice" is one of those words that doesn't really have a meaning, at least not one that I can tell. Every day, all I hear is "you're a nice guy," or "Mike's so nice." What does that even mean?

Seriously... What does it mean to be a "nice guy?" As far as I can discern, being "nice" is about never saying anything that might offend someone. See, I'm nice because I avoid confrontation. I'm nice because I don't say bad things about others. That's the extent of it though. It just seems to me that being "nice" is about being so bland that people can have no strong feelings toward you whatsoever.

"Nice" shouldn't be mistaken with being "kind." A "kind" person is one who is constantly helping others and putting others before himself. A "kind" person is a giving and sharing person, and one who's always ready to compliment someone or congratulate someone for a job well done.

Being "kind" is a very good thing. Being "nice" just seems to be meaningless. That's me though. I'm a "nice" guy, but I'm often not an overly "kind" guy. That's not to say that I'm a mean spirited person. Far from it. There are times when I'm kind, but not really on a regular basis. I'm just "nice."

The other day, one of our technicians (a middle-aged woman) said to me, "You're a nice guy. If you can't find a girl, it's because you're not looking hard enough." True as that may be, it's not exactly like when I'm super successful when I try to meet girls. It's not like I've never tried before. They're just not that into me.

The reason? There's nothing to me. I'm not interesting. I'm not fun. I'm not outgoing and gregarious. I don't have many interests or passions. I'm just "nice," and that's what I always hear.

eHarmony girl (like 2 years ago now) told me "You're a really nice guy, but I'm not ready for a relationship now." I'm just so sick of the damn "nice" label. I mean, it's good to be nice if there's something else to you. If you're fun and interesting, then being nice is just kind of an added benefit. However, if you're like me, and all you have is being "nice," that's the formula to remaining single forever.

How do I fix that though? It's just the person I am. I can't change it. I can't just decide to be more fun and interested in more things. It doesn't work like that. At least I don't work like that.

It seems that while I have plenty of admirable traits (honesty, hardworking, loyal, smart, nice), the combination of them all just makes me boring.

Obviously, I'm in the middle of a very reflective time. I'm trying to work some things out in my head. It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that pretty much nothing in my life gives me a sense of fulfillment or purpose. I have a job I sort of like but don't really believe in. I moved into a condo that most people would say is very nice, but despite the entire place being newly renovated, it just doesn't feel like my own. I'm thinking I need to make some kind of radical change in my life, but I have no idea what. I'm not really sure what else I could do. Moreover, I know that right now, even if I knew what I really wanted, I wouldn't have the courage to go out and chase my dream.

I'm just stuck in this rut, and I keep digging myself deeper and deeper.


Nathan said...

Dude Mike, I usually don't post on this kind of stuff but you sound like a decent guy and I'm tired of hearing you whine about being in a relationship.

What is keeping you from being in a relationship is not that you are not passionate, kind, fun or cool enough, it is simply that you don't think you deserve to be in one so you're not. If you really want to be in a relationship, have fun being a single, successful, nice guy. Guess what? women hate seeing single guys who are free to do whatever whenever they want so they try to snatch them up like crazy. Even if you don't immediately get into a lasting relationship, you are having fun being single.

This is the only life you get so make it count and don't waste time thinking of what could have been, enjoy what is.

Frantic Pharmacist said...

Mike, I don't know if you have a good-sized college or university in your area, but a pharmacist I work with takes an evening course every semester -- something totally non-pharmacy related but topics she has always been interested in (literature, psychology, film studies, art history, etc etc.) She really enjoys it but more importantly meets a lot of new friends and social contacts through her classes. Sometimes they go out after class or have to work on projects together. They are bright people, motivated, and usually single. I think it's a great idea... gets us out of our insulated work bubble and lets us meet people on the 'outside.'

Anonymous said...

Yep, Mike, the previous posters have some great ideas. Don't focus on the nice factor (think positive--being considered 'nice' is a lot better than 'not nice'!) and an adjective like kind, has something to do with an observed action in a situation, i.e. one is not deemed 'kind' in and of itself, without doing something--so that the interaction can be judged (by an outside source) as 'kind' or 'unkind'.

I was looking over the alum magazine today, and realized that people don't get appointed to committees and positions where their opinion is asked without providing something to indicate the potential to provide something beneficial to the group, or provide a valuable opinion.

A lot of married people get their involvement in life figured out for them once their lives are wrapped up in a family, but the single person has still time to figure out where they'd like to lend a dab hand, (might not be that many that directly involve pharmacists in your area outside of giving financial help), or if they want to effect policy, opportunity to volunteer in programs outside the area of specialization. That's for the idea of contribution, but for areas of interest, college classes, or online certifications, or going on trips, CE in towns 200 miles away, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Mike Mike Mike, If it is a relationship you want get off the bench and get into a game. If its the dream job you want get in there and fight for it. Lets look at basketball, you seem to be a good player, determined to keep your skills sharp. Well how do you do that, you don't sit on the bench and watch other players to get better, you get in the gym and you practice, practice, practice. So in life you are on the bench, too timid to get in the game, well stop being timid. You are Pharmacist and most women who are not medical professionals are going to be intimidated by you. It is a white coat thing, I recently quit pharmacy school going into my 5th year, wasn't for me. Recently started to date a new girl who told me she was initially scared of us b/c she thought I'd be too intelligent or too good for her. Women think crazy things like this all the time, so you need to get off the bench and pursue any woman of interest, start dating get in a rhythm of it and before you know it you will find someone you really like, and if not you are in the game mixing it up.

was1 said...

easy as 1,2,3.
1) buy a boat.
2) buy a convertable.
3) practice this line: "Want to see my boat? C'mon, we'll take my car to the yacht club."

Anonymous said...

So far, no women have commented on this post. I think you need to hear from a woman on this! Having read many of your posts, what I really think you are missing is confidence, especially when it comes to women. Most women find a confident man very sexy. Like you say in this post, it is evident that you are a nice guy (maybe too nice at times, such as your posts about how your fellow Pharmacy employees let you pick up all the slack). Don't forget about yourself, and your own needs!
Some of the most attractive men aren't the best looking ones; but they carry themselves with swagger that makes them sexually appealing. A kind of weird example is Russell Brand. That is one weird looking dude, but he gets tons of play because he is so charismatic and confident.
I think you need to do a couple of things.
1) Put yourself in places where you can meet some women;. Take a gourmet cooking class, go to wine tastings, exercise at a park that has a tennis court, go to a church that caters to younger people, go to happy hour with friends (not partying at a bar all night, but a happy hour where women will be after work).
2) Open yourself to the idea that SHE IS OUT THERE. The right one for you, your match. I get the feeling that you don't think you will ever find "the one." I believe that if you have that idea, you will block yourself from being able to see her. The wise philosopher Joe Dirt says "You can't have 'no' in your heart." And you know what, he is right!
Good luck, when you find the right girl, you are gonna be one hell of a catch. :)

Pharmacy Mike said...

I love the Joe Dirt reference, haha.