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When we hear that nice guys finish last and bad boys get it when it comes to attracting women, the tendency is to think that being bad is attractive. We see women go for jerks or assholes, and nice guys getting friend-zoned. You get the picture.

In truth, it’s not the “badness” that makes bad boys attractive. It’s because they display traits that are attractive. These are traits that a lot of nice guys can display too, but are often unable to because many of them tend to stop at the niceness part.

For one, when it comes to self-value or self-worth, a woman wants a man who values himself just as much as he values her – not a man who puts her on a pedestal.

So if you’re wondering why many women are drawn to jerks, it’s not because they are jerks but because of the value they put on themselves. Compared to most guys being “nice”, a jerk will stand up for himself. Meanwhile, a typical “nice guy” will agree with anything a woman will say or ask to the point of sacrificing his needs and honesty, or change his opinions just to please her. He tries to impress, but he’s the type that gets pushed around in relationships or in many other circumstances such that he’s become a doormat or a puppy dog. Women don’t want a pushover or a doormat. Women want a man. A mighty mighty good man.

“He’s not a fake wanna-be trying to be a pimp.”

―Salt-N-Pepa, Whatta Man

Self-value is one critical attractive trait that a man can have and that women are drawn to. You can’t even begin to be valued by others if you don’t value yourself. Women can sense this through a man’s behavior, not just his words. They can sense if he’s genuinely comfortable with himself as well.

From an evolutionary standpoint, if a man doesn’t have any self-value or self-respect, his chances of survival in a wild, wild world is less compared to a man who stands up for himself. A woman bearing kids is vulnerable to the dangers of an environment if she’s with a man who’s easily pushed around and eventually killed due to his weak sense of boundaries.

In that context, a woman would be hardwired to choose a mate who would appear to give her and her offspring the best chances of security and survival. Thus, the “bad guy” becomes more attractive or more of an apparent choice compared to the “nice guy”.

Another attractive trait that women are drawn to is confidence. Women want a man who is self-assured. A “bad guy” compared to someone who’s just “nice” would appear more confident. Thus, he ends up being more attractive simply because confidence is attractive.

But like many things, self-value and confidence can get excessive. While you value yourself you should be able to value others as well around you. Too much self-value can delude you and leads to narcissism and social rejection. Too confident and you become arrogant. Also, that excessive self-value or confidence can be a cover for one’s insecurities or neediness. Self-value and confidence must be intrinsically created and not used as a cover.

This is why attraction can be so confusing. I could go on with many more established traits that makes a man attractive, not to mention that attraction is also based on many factors such as environmental conditioning and physiology. The point is that women or people in general don’t go around wishing for an asshole or a douche for a partner who will disrespect them day in and day out. Women do go for someone who’s nice along with the qualities or traits that make a man attractive. Years of scientific evidences back this up.

Also, the perpetuation of nice-guys-finish-last leads to many overcompensating behaviors, which then leads to attracting the wrong kind of women or women who have self-esteem issues and the enabling of toxic relationships. After all, as mentioned, attraction is also conditioning based. If a woman grows up with a violent father figure, she will be attracted to someone who’s violent as well. Ultimately, it’s really about the pursuit of being attracted to someone healthy but fun to be with – like a man who gets it and makes women unconsciously go, “You so crazy I think I wanna have your baby.”

When we say “nice guys”, we’re just referring to a stereotype. What a lot of self-help or dating coaches are actually saying in large part is that being nice is not enough – just like the “be yourself” advice is not enough. Niceness is just one piece of the puzzle. Attraction is much more complicated than the “nice guy versus bad boy” narrative.

Narcissists, for instance, since they are focused on projecting a false image to the world, put great effort into their appearances. Thus, they tend to be attractive. They work out, dress well, and practice social norms, which at times goes to the point of being too square. This is why for an honest woman who encounters someone who’s too polite, her reaction at times can be “Yuck, he’s too polite” or “He’s too square” because it also acts as a red flag.

Though short lived, narcissists are generally nicer and tend to give off good first impressions. However, in the long run or when it comes to commitment, they suck at it. Their true colors eventually come out because everything is just based on appearing to be someone rather than actually being someone. Everything is just a display. This is where a woman realizes that the guy she thought was nice really isn’t.


Being nice is part of our social norms as we establish rapport. It’s a default of how we would describe anyone. At times, an expression like “Julie is nice” or “John is a good person.” But if you think about it, what does being nice or good really mean? We still have to find out who the person really is.

The point is that niceness can be used as a front. It can be used as a guise to hide selfish motives, especially to fill many unmet needs. Thus, when someone is too nice, it can also be a red flag.

We often hear stories of someone being nice or perceived to be a good person but eventually turning out to be selfish. Or stories of someone being “bad” by not being afraid of heated confrontations but simply turning out to be honest. The nice person is actually bad and the “bad” person turns out to be trustworthy. It’s at that point where we discover that you can trust those who curse more than those who are too polite.

There are plenty of nice or good people everywhere. What’s scarce are individuals who embrace their unique personalities, flaws and all. Individuals who are open, honest and authentic, and can deal with the world for what it is and not necessarily how they want it to be. Individuals who have made peace with their insecurities and can go through tough conversations and honest criticisms for they have healthy self-esteems. They are not afraid to make mistakes and can co-exist with others without much effort.

It’s really about embracing, accepting, and improving your true self, and being genuinely comfortable with who you are (such as being a man), with whatever the world throws at you, without feeling the need to control or force things on others.

For example, a guy can do well in his studies or in his career. He is smart, well read and is well informed of many current events and social issues. But when it comes to making the moves to get the girl, he is still unsure on how to proceed because for some reason he forgot to be a man. He covers his lack of confidence in that department through his strengths such as excelling in his studies or in his career instead of taking the time to actually go out, experience, and learn things for himself.

So when he meets a girl he finds attractive, yes, he’s nice. But he gets rejected because he is still not truly comfortable with himself because his social skills have suffered and, as mentioned, he forgot to be a man.

There are lots of variations of that kind of guy. You’ll find many on Facebook, one of which is instead of using a real photo of himself, he only uses an anime picture or some vague profile picture. To compensate for his insecurity, he posts smart comments on his newsfeed, on others’ walls or on political group pages, but deep inside he’s frustrated. He would unfriend people who post something he disagrees with, even though the posts are harmless. In reality, it’s because he’s insecure. He can’t handle even the slightest contradiction because it has to be only his view. His smartness becomes his liability. He can’t handle even the slightest contradiction because everything must align with his perception of things.

He can probably get better and wing it in the short term using pick-up lines that he can learn when it comes to needy women, but not for long when it comes to high-value women who are good at sensing that something is off. This is because his ulterior motive is all for the sake of validation and appearances. He tries hard and eventually gets angry because he’s still getting rejected. That anger combined with frustration is what women are always on the lookout for, because that’s where they see his true motive, and the implication that he can be a selfish needy person and still doesn’t get it.

The same can be said even with a sociable guy. His Facebook pictures or profile seems normal in general. He has a good career and a lot of friends and even has a nice girlfriend or wife. He may appear to be friendly and nice, but when it comes to establishing a genuine connection, he fails. He’s still fragile underneath and controlling. The wife or girlfriend in reality is frustrated and feels trapped but is forced to put up a show together with him. He’s just using her and others for validation, or simply to feel and look normal. He falls into the same trap of just keeping up appearances. He, too, gets angry at the face of eventual rejection.

However, if he’s honest and vulnerable with who he is, and has made peace with his insecurities, he will accept the way things are about himself and in turn with the reality he finds himself in. He will be cool with rejection and move on to the next opportunity. He will realize that he doesn’t need to be perfect or put up a show to cover his insecurities. He learns to let things be. That honesty or vulnerability will then lead him to set aside his ego and genuinely learn the process, work on himself, then have fun and get it – unlike most “nice guys” who don’t.

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Writer and researcher on advanced self-development, currently exploring many fields of human knowledge. On this site, you will find his writings and perspectives about our society & culture, many of which are counter-intuitive, but backed by experience, common sense, and science.

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