Nice Guys SHOULD Finish Last

You may see me being a little harsh (maybe even a little overly harsh ; ) here, but for all of those who consider themselves to be ‘too nice’, this is one of those cruel to be kind moments.

I have never met someone who is TRULY nice.

I’ve met people who are honest, who are earnest, I’ve met people who are generous and kind, but I’ve never met someone who is ‘nice’.

I find that people who say they are ‘nice’ are using it as a euphemism for being spineless and not rocking the boat.

Not only is that unimaginably boring, but it also means you’re dealing with someone who you don’t really know.

You don’t know what a nice person is really feeling, or what they’d truly like to do.

You ask them for their preference and they don’t give you a straight answer. They’re not honest about their feelings towards other people, or things that aggravate and annoy them. They just keep things on an even keel the entire time, holding onto the charade of being ‘nice’.

As I think about this subject, I think about the film ‘The Mask’.

I remember being struck on seeing this film by how much of a nice guy Jim Carey’s character Stanley Ipkiss is to begin.

He’s known for having finished a piece called ‘Nice Guys Finish Last’, as he somewhat nobly sees himself as a nice guy (and who in some ways resents the world because of it).

What we find when he puts on the mask is that he becomes a different character.

He becomes bold, edgy, and uncompromising. He becomes a force that drives towards whatever he wants, whether it’s women or money, and he goes after what he wants.

Now, he becomes a very unattractive extreme of this, but we know it’s a caricature of how he would actually like to be.

He hates when he’s a nice guy, and doesn’t respect that version of himself.

I find that nice people don’t stay nice forever. They often become bitter or resentful.

They get angry at the world for being treated badly, and they get angry at themselves for allowing others to walk all over them.

The insidious thing about niceness is that it can actually hurt the people it’s intended to please.

In being nice you’re not honest with the people you’re trying to please, you don’t give opinions that people need to hear, you don’t cut someone down when they need cutting down… And it can actually end up hurting the people it’s intended to help.

The phrase, ‘to be cruel to be kind’, is a very telling one.

Very often we have to have a sense of cruelty to tell someone something that will benefit them.

I believe KIND people deserve the world.

Kind people should be given every award and every bit of recognition. Kind people make the world a better place.

As an extension to idea that ‘nice guys finish last’, I put to you that nice guys SHOULD finish last.

Question Of The Day:

Are you guilty of being too nice? In what ways can you tilt the balance in favour of being kind rather than nice?

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119 Replies to “Nice Guys SHOULD Finish Last”

  • Let me see if I understood the difference:
    Being nice = people pleasure as in doing things because you either think you’re supposed to, or you feel you have to and don’t think you have the option to say no cuz you’re afraid of offending someone? A.K.A Living up to someone else’s standards
    Whereas being KIND is doing things because YOU want to [you want to help, to be there for someone etc.] A.K.A Living on YOUR standards. Correct? Reminds me of the High Value woman description!

    Great post as usual!

    Love the shirt by the way, it gives a splash of zen to the video :D

  • Reminds me of what you wrote in your book (unless it was in somebody else’s book – in which case sorry) that even nice guys want sex, they’re just not as upfront about it. If one thing I share from your book with my girlfriends it’s that! When they’re all saying ‘Where are all the nice guys’ I have to laugh, where indeed? Fifty and living with their mothers I imagine because they’ve been emotionally blackmailed from leaving.

    Now that I think of it, it was definitely your book…

  • I’ve never liked the word NICE.
    “you’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just nice”
    –Into the Woods, Stephen Sondhiem

  • Your right there’s no such thing as being nice just acting nice. I been nice all my life and because of that I’m now bitter for lettin others treat me like dirt. I know I’m a great person regardless of what other might say because everybody makes mistakes everyday. Some people tell me I should never make mistakes. But I want to make mistakes that’s what makes me better and I learn from them. I had anxiety disorder and depression because I let myself believe that I was not worthy of myself. Starting today I will not take crap from anyone and I will speak my mind and opinions without being no longer afraid of what people might say. I think that in order for me to happy I have to love myself first for me to love another human being.

  • According to English Oxford dictionary, nice, when applied to people means “good natured; kind.”

    I am saddened to see a positive word/notion denigrated in the way it was in this post. I still see nice as synomous with kind. The personality you described conjures images of someone who is submissive, passive agressive–anything but nice.

    All languagues are constantly evolving. I hope that ”nice” is not headed in the direction you describe.

  • Thank you Matthew!

    Wow – that was very powerful as I’ve always equated being nice with being strong – when in fact you’re right it really is associated more with being weak. I’ve always tried not to hurt people’s feelings or not rock the boat by being nice – but it doesn’t feel good to me – and you’re right it does affect how people see you.

    I think you just changed my life.

  • Ouch Matt! We’ve been nice every now and then, just to keep peace when there’s a big group of people (like, 9 of us) hanging out. I mean, someone’s got to give or everyone will be stuck in the same place deciding what to eat. So I think that, on a larger scale, niceness does make the world go round. If everyone say what they think on their minds without a second thought, it can only be destructive in the long run – it destroy relationships before they get a chance to start. On a more personal scale however, its very hard to know what a nice person is actually like – they are way too reserved. Blame culture: to this day my mom will not hesitate to be “not nice” if I were to be too straight-forward(harsh)… Sounded like double standards XD But she meant well.

    My english lecturer used to say that “nice” is a vague adjective people used for other people or things they don’t really know about. I don’t really mind if people in general are nice, but I have friends who are like that and I have to admit it can be frustrating. I mean, I know I know them (at least most of the times), but when they start being too nice, I have doubts about things I thought I was sure of for the last decades.

  • I think you’re spot on here. I’ve read the comments and people are objecting to your use of the word nice, but I don’t think it’s about the word per se. It’s when people tell themselves that they are “nice”, to cover the fact that they are spineless, that there is a problem. I should know, because I used to be this person (until, fortunately, I realized how low my self-esteem was, and did something about it).

    I still say that I want a nice guy. By that I now mean I want a guy who treats himself and others with kindness and respect.

  • Every person on the planet whois stuck in a rut , because of being “too nice”, already know that their daily experience is vibrating at a level 95% lower than those who are not “in the rut of niceness”.

    Telling people who are in the “rut-bubble” already know where they are, and they, for the most part, know what the root of the problem is.
    And the root goes deeper than “nice-ness”.

    Those who have not experienced a miracle of “re-awakening” are still where they are, not because they do not make the effort, not because they do not pray for it; they are still there because their miracle has not come yet.

    Telling people that they deserve to be stuck in their “sad-nice-bubble” is not only unsensitive, it is downright irresponsable.

    If a man is dying of thirst will you turn away and walk or will you offer water?
    Who are you anyway?
    If a person does not have the pic-me-up skills of a professional boxer,
    are we going to hit the guy with a 2 by 4 as a method of curing him?
    Hell no.

    Your headline should have read “Why many nice people end up in the low 10 percent of the rat race..

    Alot of nce people are not in last place.
    And for those who are, they already know it.
    What an i_ _t!

  • I think the world and humanity are messed up enough without you being ‘edgy’ to generate interest in your business empire whilst adding to the confusion and pain. To twist the meaning and mock…how very helpful and mature.

  • Hi Matt. Thank you soooo much for these words.
    In our World where appearence is everything and people are usuale judged only by their Social networks account ( i think the reign of niceness and boredom). You had the courage to sai the truth.
    i would only add that being Real people with passion, great and Also awful moment si very challenging and difficult but is the only way to try to be Happy.
    Thanks for sharing,

  • ‘Nice’ is a very bland word and if you think about it, you don’t really know what it means. I couldn’t give it a definition. But I think you just did Matt, it’s people who are highly agreeable with not to please others but more to make life easy.

  • Hey no dissin’ my Jameson!
    I agree with topic….my most used saying is ” I will not blow sunshine up your skirt” if you ask me my opinion you will get the truth… I may have not liked your hair yesterday….but if I tell you today I do….you know I will be speaking the truth.

  • Hi Matthew thanks for posting such helpful videos but this week I have a bit of a problem with your definition of “nice.” I wish people didn’t use nice as a euphamism for someone spineless, a victim personality, or a doormat or someone irksome. It’s actual definition isn’t even close. In fact Merriam-Webster defines it as giving pleasure or joy :good and enjoyable :attractive or of good quality : kind, polite, and friendly. Yes, curiously inaccurate connotation and the books written on the topic the real definition of nice actually includes the word “kind” as well as attractive or enjoyable. Who doesn’t want a guy like that if that is what nice means? I wish people would use words correctly and really say what they mean. Such as “spineless people finish last.” I’d love a nice guy but it’s not the same thing as wanting someone who acts like a door mat or someone who needs to grow a couple.

    1. Correct me if i’m wrong or you can completely ignore me but I think he is referring to people who say “they are nice.” There is a difference from being a kind an giving person to a person who tries to please even at a cost to themselves. I’m saying this from experience. For 20 years I have done nothing but try to please others and thought of myself as being nice but honestly I was just being a coward. I was too afraid of hurting others and of fighting for what i wanted that i let myself be consumed by self-loathing for the benefit of others. Like I said you can ignore what I said.

  • Hi, I want to say thanks. You’re right. I have met soo many guys that tell me “I’m a nice guy,” then when i’m honest on how i feel they turn in to the worst people. They say horrible things behind my back and suddenly I’m not as wonderful. I also must confess that i have been guilty of being “nice.” Its overrated. Everything you said is absolutely true I used to hate myself and hate the world. Now, i saw what I feel. So thanks.

  • “In being nice you’re not honest with the people you’re trying to please, you don’t give opinions that people need to hear, you don’t cut someone down when they need cutting down…”

    THIS is a very fine balance and you’re not formulating it well. I’ve met the type that believes they have to be “honest no matter what”. No you don’t. Sometimes people needs to keep their opinions to themselves.
    It is important as you say that you should cut people down who NEED it, some people misunderstands this completely and cuts down everybody and everything.

    For myself I’m a guy and I’m not going to share with you my honest opinion if I don’t know you well enough, cause frankly, it’s none of your business what I think.

    1. @baldrick

      It seems you’ve gotten lost in his descriptive details and missed the idea he was pointing at. He’s talking about being a spineless WIMP with low self-esteem and little if any self-confidence. Women don’t find that attractive. They’re subconsciously wired to look for a mate to protect and provide. It’s not a complicated issue.

      1. @Alex

        Yes I got that too, but the worst advice you can give to a guy with low self esteem is “just be confident” or “just be yourself”. I’ve had issues with that in the past, but I managed to overcome it with hard work. When I see a guy that’s struggling with low self esteem I’m starting to feel empathy for the poor guy cause I know that used to be me.

  • I think it does depend on how you define the word ‘nice’ and here I think what Matthew means is ‘over agreeable’. I know people like this. They’re frustrating, because they’re the people who shrug and say ‘whatever’ or ‘I dunno’ when you ask what they’d like to do/where they’d like to go that evening – I just want to give up on them.

    Of course there are extremes to everything, and being overly ‘honest’ for the sake of isn’t attractive either, I’ve known people like that too, who have to have an opinion on everything, and that’s exhausting. It’s all about give and take really isn’t it? It’s worth speaking up about your core beliefs and standards though, and sharing your preferences as it helps your relationships grow.

  • Matt, plz make a video on how we can ditch this “nice” label and behavior. I am not a pushover by any means, but around new people I tend to come across as a damsel in distress/ too sweet type. EWWW! No wonder why female celebs are doing whatever they can to get the bad girl image. Look at Miley for example, I don’t blame her!!!
    After a comment I received from someone recently, I realized I’d much rather come across as cocky & bitchy than otherwise. To any of you nice girls out there, IT AINT WORTH IT!

    1. Step number 1: Don’t say anything you don’t mean. I say this instead of “be honest,” because I feel it implies that you have to tell people your complete opinion regardless of rudeness. Feel free to keep some things to yourself, but don’t be afraid to disagree with someone.

      1. thanks! I’m doing an internship for school and I find myself taming the sassy, fiery side of me around the staff. They get to say whatever the hell they want, but I feel like I can’t do the same because I am just an intern. They are even convinced that I am that nice & boring in my everyday life. I actually have a dry sense of humor that I suppress around these people cause I don’t want to offend..might as well let them have it. lol!

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