Auntie Dote is HBI's answer to the usual, treacly, self-help advice columnists.

Disclaimer: This isn't an advice website. Yet from time to time we receive email asking for the Heartlessly Bitchy point of view. If you need serious medication, therapy or professional help, seek elsewhere. However, if you still insist on soliciting OUR advice, just remember...

YOU ASKED FOR IT.

All submissions become the property of HBI and by sending email to Auntie Dote you thereby give your permission for letters and responses (sans identifying information) to be published on the website. No emails will be answered individually.

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Ask Auntie Dote
The Auntie Dote for what ails you...

May 3, 2005

DearAuntie Dote

I've been reading the website for quite a while now and after a while I started analyzing myself and I realized that I fitted the description of a nice guy. That's something I hate, I'll spare you the sob story but the first girl I asked out was typical of the Nice guy thing. I've been trying to get away from this nice guy persona, but so far I've had limited luck. Limited being in the fact that I don't blame others for my lack of success with the ladies and that I know most guys aren't jerks. I've always been an emotional person and that being said not brilliant with people. Even though I've moved away from some aspects of being a nice guy, there a still some annoying traits still there. I asked a girl out a while ago that I like and she said no, I no means no and I have no intention of asking her out again and yet I still have some feelings. I mean that's so bloody stupid.

I'm not a very confident person, so I what I'm asking is how to build up ones confidence and any ideas how to brake away from being a nice guy.

Dear Trevor,

Having feelings that aren't requited isn't "stupid." It's all in how you manage them. I think acknowledging them is healthy, as long as you're not building up an alternative-reality fantasy of how things might be, if only. This does get easier with age and maturity, and unfortunately there's no shortcut to those. It's natural to hurt sometimes when other people don't conform to our wishes.

Now, you mention being "emotional," "not brilliant with people" and "annoying." I can only speculate, but does all of this mean, you are at times self-absorbed, and you don't have your own (strong) emotions under control? I think the nice guy syndrome is classically, feeling sorry for oneself, combined with a consuming narcissism of the emotions. That is genuinely annoying to be around, which is why we don't give in to the pleas for sympathy from the "Nice Guys" we meet. It could be the sign of a spoiled man-child, who mistakes self-deprecation with humility. It's the scammed humility that we don't like about the Nice Guy, get it? The emotional blackmail. So I don't know what you are doing, but if it's that, stop it. You need to figure out how to get attention by asking for it, not negotiating while trying to hide that you have any ego at all.

I like that you want to build up your confidence, that could be a good path out of your predicament. You might start by rethinking what it is you want from people, and what you are doing (right or wrong) to try and elicit it. You need to stop genuflecting--that's what the "nice" guy is all about--you don't need to apologize for your personality in advance. Don't anticipate humiliation. Be yourself, define yourself, that attracts people. If you could choose a superpower, think about flying rather than being invisible.

-A.D.


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