Kindness + time + providing a shoulder to cry on = a romantic relationship.
This equation is not one you would expect someone to use in explaining a healthy relationship, but the same connotations and expectations exist in the form of a cultural phenomenon called the “Nice Guy Syndrome.”
A typical male with this syndrome creates an oversimplified explanation for the lack of female attention he attracts, usually surrounding his unfortunate status as a “nice guy” when all his female friends date “jerks.”
He often complains of his exile to a not-so-enjoyable world called the “friend zone” where acts of kindness are not returned with romance.
Within any community, there exists an abundance of kind human beings, both male and female. The problem with the “nice guy” is that he is not actually nice; he feels entitled to a reward for every good deed.
The reason a woman may not seek a romantic or sexual relationship with a “nice guy” is usually not as simple as the man would like to believe. The list of reasons for the potential failure of romantic endeavors is longer than could fit in this magazine.
However, blaming this failure on a woman and her inability to see a male friend’s positive attributes is unfair and unproductive in creating lasting and meaningful relationships.
The “friend zone,” where these men often claim to be stuck, is used to describe a situation in which a man has missed what he saw as a romantic opportunity with a girl.
Once in the “friend zone,” the highest status he can achieve in that girl’s life is one of “close friend.” In the eyes of the “friend zone” prisoner, he has only one hope of escape. He must continue with his efforts until the target of his affections finally gives in to his manipulative wooing methods.
Such a mentality is destructive to relationships between members of both sexes. Men might feel that friendship with a woman is inferior to a romantic incidence or relationship, and may abandon the friendship. In their minds, there can be no positive outcome of the relationship if the woman is not interested in sex or romance.
The concept of the “friend zone” promotes the misogynistic view that women exist only for men’s pleasure, and if sex or romance is seen as unattainable, the female friend is unimportant.
In certain circumstances, a man could be entirely within his rights to claim that a woman has “friend zoned” him; for example, if he was blatantly led on by a woman, only to discover that there existed no real romantic interest.
This scenario is not gender specific. It happens to women as well. This kind of situation is not our focus. Men who claim they are owed romantic involvement for their interactions with women are the subject of this article. Those who act like relationships are transactions where good deeds are traded for sex and affection.
This mentality helps no one. It fuels men’s sense of entitlement and furthermore, when a “nice guy” places the blame for failed romantic endeavors on a woman, he fails to evaluate his own actions and behavior that made him a flawed romantic companion.
There is no equation for a successful relationship, because no two people are the same.
Perhaps the man mistook friendship as a natural lead-in to a romantic relationship, when engagement in such is never guaranteed and should not be expected.
Perhaps he spends all his time talking about how nice he is instead of doing community service or helping a teacher when she drops her papers or providing a friend a shoulder to cry on without a predicted sexual reward.
Perhaps when talking about girls who are not his friends, he uses derogatory language to describe their physical appearance. Or maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
Healthy and enjoyable friendship can exist without romantic pursuit. Aggressively trying to make relationships what they are not, and seeing kindness as an input only beneficial for an output of romance is definitely not nice.