The Nice Guy – Jerk Spectrum

I know, I know, Nice Guy vs. Jerk has been done into the ground many times, but I just did a consult with a young man about this and I thought you all might like to read my take on it. I think one of the easiest targets for Game hate is the terminology. It’s far too easy to apply subjective definitions to archetypes like ‘Nice Guy’ or ‘Jerk’. The standard binary response is usually, “So, I gotta be a complete asshole all the time or girls wont be attracted to me? Screw that man, I’m not into game playin'”

You can sift back through any number of forum pages of advice I’ve offered and read me over and over again telling young men to “get in touch with their inner A-Hole.” In any of my posts, never do I state to in fact become an A-Hole. The two most common questions I get asked advice for is “Why do girls love Jerks so much?” and the “How do I get out of the friend-zone?” line. Both of these illustrate different ends of a spectrum. Try to think of it this way: On one end of the spectrum you have the consummate Jerk – he’s obnoxious, an A-Hole, borders on abusiveness, but women flock to the guy in droves. On the opposite end of the scale we have the ultimate Nice Guy who does and embodies everything any girl has ever told him he needs to become in order to achieve their intimacy and has internalized this doormat conditioning into his own personality. This is the guy who’ll spend countless hours on the phone being ‘friends’ with a girl or spend fortunes on gifts for her in order to buy her approval.

I think it’s important to look at the roots of the terms “Jerk” and “Nice Guy.” Lets not forget these characterizations exist because women gave them these names and classifications based on their own common evaluations. Women defined these terms, guys simply made the association with them. We tend to see these as parodies or caricatures now; abusive wife-beating Jerk or doormat Nice Guy. These are two extreme ends of the spectrum and when considering them after candid assessments, the mistake becomes falling into a binary all-or-nothing interpretation.

“So I haffta be more of a Jerk then?,..well, I’m just not like that.” says the AFC frustrated at what seems like women’s duplicity of words and actions, but this misses the point. The problem is that if you think of a center point between that Jerk and Nice Guy spectrum, most guys lean towards (if not half way over to) the Nice Guy. That’s the “get in touch with your feminine side, believe women’s words instead of actions” default for the vast majority of men. This is what women are used to because it is so common, and women only encourage it because it suits their gender’s imperative best.
The real extreme Jerk is as rare as the real extreme Nice Guy, so it’s necessary to look at things by order of degrees in this respect. Most men are Betas. They opt for the nice, accommodating, supplicating side of this spectrum. For the majority, they’ve been socially conditioned to suppress any masculine impulse in favor of accommodating and identifying with women’s imperatives (or at least what they’re led to understand as their imperatives) at the risk of intimate rejection. It’s exactly this mindset, this Beta male default to the ‘Nice’ end of the spectrum that 85% of guys subscribe to, that makes the guy who leans into the ‘Jerk’ end of the spectrum attractive.
Yes, confidence and indifference are Alpha traits, but in a world awash in Nice Guys ready to buy a hot girl a drink, it’s the guy who ‘couldn’t give a shit‘ who she marks as sexual potential. It’s just this conditioning over the last 50+ or so years that makes the Nice side of the spectrum the default. That doesn’t mean all Nice Guys are pathetic symps without a spine and groveling at the feet of any ONEitis they happen to attach themselves to. But it is to say that, by comparison, and because the overwhelming tendency to “go nice” is the standard, the guy who leans just marginally to the Jerk side of the spectrum becomes notable and attractive simply by dissociation.
He’s attractive on two levels, the first being the rudimentary Alpha, biological level for a guy who’s decisive, in control, confident and has an attitude of caring less about her, since he realizes (to some degree) his value as a commodity that comes from his having options. The second is that the Jerk-leaning guy is a Purple Cow in a field of bland, colorless Nice Cows. He’s notable, and this too, makes him a male worthy of female competition, which then reinforces his sense of having options. He’s not an abuser, he’s not a manipulator per se, but he tends to put himself before and above (if just slightly) the women who are attracted to him.

Now the irony of all this is that the AFC thinks that this situation is in reverse. He believes that Nice Guys are the anomaly in a sea of Jerks. Of course he believes this because it’s all his female-friends talk about; their “Jerk BFs”, and how Nice they are for being good listeners. So his self-image gets validated and he believes he’s unique and valuable for being “not-like-other-guys” and his patience and sensitivity will eventually pay off – which it very well could once the object of his obsession has had her fun (and possibly bred) with the Bad Boy.

A new world Jerk order.
Another criticism leveled at Game is a fear that nominally Nice Guys will take this lesson to heart and become intolerable assholes. The fear is a new generation of arrogant pricks ‘not being themselves‘ all in order to hook up.  I understand the fear of a mass of men radically leaning their personalities towards the Jerk end of the spectrum as prompted by the PUA or MRA communities. Let me be the first to say those fears are unfounded. Guys don’t search out the community, blogs or forums because they’re getting too much pussy from being archetypically ‘nice’. In fact the observation that more, shall we say, “self-centered” Men seem to be getting laid most consistently is so prevalent that there’s an entire section dedicated to it on the main SoSuave page, leads me to believe that a sudden paradigm shift to Jerk-ness isn’t remotely the threat that anyone should fear. Nice Guys, by definition, have a real tough time effectively pulling off acting like a Jerk, much less genuinely converting their personality’s to that of a Jerk.

Most men WOULD prefer to inch towards the jerk end of the spectrum, if at all, and assuming they come to believing things aren’t as they previously believed. The more common mindset for beta males is to expect that women should appreciate them for being the ‘nice’, dependable, self-sacrificing guy that every woman since his mother has told him he should be. It’s far easier to believe that the world should change for you than to accept the truth that you need to improve yourself to get the things you want. It’s the lazy man’s path to disqualify or cheapen things that he desperately wants, but lacks the motivation to change himself to get. So the hot, ‘quality’ girl he wanted before, becomes the ‘trashy club slut’ after she rejects him. The real quality girl should love/desire him unconditionally, “for who he is” rather than force him into improving himself, which in this instance means he ought to become the caricatured Jerk archetype he’s been taught to hate. Most people resist becoming what they hate, even if it’s a change for the better.

We ought to worry less about social implications of converting nice guys into jerks than making them self-aware to begin with. The risk of creating a bona fide Jerk in an effort  is a decent trade off.

Published by Rollo Tomassi

Author of The Rational Male and The Rational Male, Preventive Medicine

25 comments on “The Nice Guy – Jerk Spectrum

  1. Please expand on what this sweet spot on the spectrum looks like. I think your word “obnoxious” is a good one. That’s the point when a guy has gone too far towards the jerk end of the spectrum.

    My own view of the best mindset: aloof indifference with a touch of kindness. (yes kindness). The kindness demonstrates class, education, social acumen. But its not a genuine kindness, its merely a projection of confidence. The underlying true vibe is that I don’t give a shit what the girl or others think, but to demonstrate the authenticity of that perspective, I appear relaxed, kind, polite…i don’t have anything to prove. Aloof indifference is only effective when its authentic. If its not geniune, and apparent overcompensating, it appears try-hard which is a huge DLV.

  2. Even if nice guys want to change, altering your personality is not an easy thing to do. There are plenty of men out there who would prefer not to be nice guys on a deeper level, but they rationalise and tell themselves its the best way to be, because changing is too hard.

  3. The sole disturbing thing about these interesting posts is, as it often happens, that everything revolve around the female. Everything is on the man’s shoulders, he is the one expected to change (by the women first, and by the Game after), he is the one expected to improve.

    Women, they are all the same. No mention about them except their immutable psychology (jerk magnetism).

    As a beta on the way, I tend to ask myself “But do they really deserve this effort from me? Being what I am not, having a lot of material possessions for impress her and having almost no time to enjoy them…” and checking the current disengagement from the society of a lot of men, I am not alone.

    Of course, the quick orgasm obliterates every doubt (quick, is rethoric, do not take too literally 🙂 ).

    So, for a beta becoming something else is only half of the problem. The other half is: she was since the beginning not what I believed to be (I, ie my hormones). Do not wait your emotion decide she is a slut if she rejects you. Maybe, she was a slut since the beginning – despite you see her as a Disney figure. That’s not easy.

    1. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Darwin

    2. I’m not sure if I properly understood your question, but I’m going to lump it together with questions I’ve often heard, which boil down essentially to “why should I bother”.

      I sometimes get a bit irritated at the question. Is it my responsibility to give someone a point of view? Is someone trying to force a point of view? It seems to me that those who ask “why bother” are trying to argue about what is a good life mission.

      That’s up to you. I don’t see anyone trying to force anyone else into doing anything.

      If you see no reason to bother, then please, don’t bother.

      1. I think not, my question was pratical not philosophical.

        Not “why bother?”, instead “am I sure the ratio cost/benefit is good for me?”

        Of course, it is that way or the highway, as they say.

        1. Not “why bother?”, instead “am I sure the ratio cost/benefit is good for me?”

          I fail to see how the two questions are different. I’m not being snarky or polemic. They sound like exactly and precisely the same question to me.

        2. Ok, if it’s a question of benefit/reward, then you see the rewards.

          Game and a more realistic view of women gives you different rewards than you currently can see.

          So with practice the rewards get bigger, while the irritations get easier to deal with, and even get smaller.

          The entire setup of what is the benefit and what is the reward changes as your approach changes.

          But that won’t happen NOW. You can’t get there from here, you can only start here.

        3. cost/reward.

          Let me riff on that. The costs to gaming girls is doing things that are uncomfortable. With practice these things become not only more comfortable, but second nature and natural. The pain of drama never entirely disappears, but it becomes much more bearable.

          The rewards can be more than currently imagined. A woman who loves and dotes makes a mans heart wake up and go to sleep warm and sweet. That’s a priceless reward. Great sex where two people mingle in ecstatic union is nothing to sniff at. An easy warm companionship where a glance holds a wealth of friendship and an understanding of mutual purpose makes life more than bearable; simple interactions become ongoing pleasures.

          1. Easy to say when you live around feminine women who deserve to be treated as more than cum dumpsters.

            With american girls the costs don’t outweigh the benefits because women aren’t held to any kind of standard of femininity. They utterly fail to inspire masculinity in me. These women DON’T deserve the effort. These days I only put forth minimal effort to get my needs met. That’s it.

            When a guy asks a question like this you need to temper your answer with the knowledge that he is probably living in a completely different environment than you.

          2. You might be right about that, GLC. It’s been over a decade since I’ve been in the west. However please also understand that the world has changed in the east as well. There are different challenges over here – especially with women being slutty vixens.

            I’m imagining that it’s the same basic challenge – to gain hand and get a woman who does not want to do your bidding to do your bidding and love it.

            If you imagine thats an easy task here in SE Asia, please try to understand that it is a challenge here also.

            I hear you thought that women in SE Asia at least play up their femininity, usually. My current girl was a major tomboy, to the point of being near butch, however. I’ve had to make her feminine. She was also your basic independent feminist minded woman. I had to make her something completely different.

            I’m not sure if your assumptions are correct. It is a skill to start with poor working materials and create art.

            I think you would be surprised what can be done. And I guess you’d be surprised how much needs to be done even here – this is no place where girls are magical unicorns.

          3. I’m talking about making wholesale personality changes in a completely unacceptable girl. I’ve done this several times.

            I’m not talking about finding some great girl and seducing her.

          4. Meant to say “I hear you though that women in SE Asia at least play up their femininity, usually.”

            And I will agree that there is a lot to be preferred here. Just saying that even though it can be a better initial working material, you can’t just find some girl you like, and seduce her. I’ve found a great deal of molding must take place. Yes, even here. I could write a long post about the incredible changes this particular girl of mine has undergone under my hand. And I could write other posts about other girls. A huge part of creating a workable relationship is changing the girl into something she never considered to become. My current girl would be completely unacceptable in nearly every way other than looks before I changed her. And that process is ongoing. As of now she’s more than acceptable. Changing a girl to be acceptable requires a skill set that you don’t hear about much. That skill set changes what is possible in life. And that skill set I will argue and I do believe can be applied cross culturally. It is basic operant conditioning, plus deep understandings of how women work. Day by day you mold a woman, day by day she is not the same girl you first met. Day by day she loves you more and does your bidding more and becomes what you want her to become.

          5. A lot has changed here in the past 10 years. Not only do you have the advantage of having better raw materials to work with, you also have leverage, which is something that western men lost when women started making their own money (and of course when the money isn’t there the government is more than happy to step in).

          6. Now that’s a point I’m not going to argue with. I’ve put this discussion on my blog, and I”m giving you the last word on that last point.

    3. @ traveller

      Women have changed to improve mating over the years, they just have to change again. 150 years ago, cosmetics, hair dye and other such things were not mainstream. Charm and chastity were emphasized to attract a man, but not sexyness to keep him. Though status and money are not sexual attractors for men, they most certainly were mating attractors. A woman without dowery, wealth or equal or above social status or title would have a hard time getting a husband. She’d have to take a gamble that her face would be her fortune. Working has levelled that requirement somewhat.

      Give it a little time. A lot of women are still under the impression that they’ve done all the changing and think that men haven’t. They’re still under the impression that discarding charm and femininity is something that was desired in order to gain mens respect and favour.

  4. Have also wondered if it’s possible to be simultaneously flaky and mysterious with women while remaining a reliable man to men.
    I know that the male friends I choose are reliable, helpful, compassionate, loyal etc., as I hope I am.
    There’s a continual desire to show these traits to women despite the overwhelming evidence that this is not a good idea.
    Recently, I went against all my instincts and deliberately flaked on a woman (canceling a date at the last minute). It felt alien to be unreliable! But the unfamiliar feels wrong until it has become familiar.

    1. You might know something that I don’t, but it seems to me that if you want to be reliable, you can use that to advantage.

      Beta traits are attractive, they just don’t generate sexual heat. But reliability is none the less attractive.

      You can keep and be proud of all your beta traits – they aren’t problematic. But to generate heat you need to look inside yourself and find genuine emotions that you feel that are edgy, and express them.

      You can lead with your beta and do fine. Girls will try to suck you in to their world as a provider, thinking they have an easy mark. That’s when you let out your inner bad boy – after you have put forth your weak foot. That’s called the beta bait and switch.

      Of course that’s calibrated to the girl who is looking for a stable relationship with an easy mark.

      Otherwise, even for the vixens looking for just fun, you don’t have to throw out the beta traits you take pride in. Maintain that pride. Then find your inner desires that you are ashamed to own up to and be selfish about, and wear them as a rightful badge of being a man. Your inner bad boy is not far away, and isn’t fake. You won’t have to search far and wide.

    2. “Have also wondered if it’s possible to be simultaneously flaky and mysterious with women while remaining a reliable man to men.”

      This was also a good point of discussion.

      Being a jerk with women does not mean being a jerk with the rest of the world. Even if anyone will find game work in the job market too (treating your company like you have other options, do not appear broke or in need of the money, absolutely do not think a good job automatically will bring recognition but it needs advertisement – that’s specially true for nerdy programmers – etc).

      1. “do not think a good job automatically will bring recognition”

        As a job here I mean “a successfully completed project inside your current job”

        (Jerk employees will receive always the raise while nice employees will receive the difficult tasks to complete and they will be just given for granted.)

  5. A (very) late addition, I know. I agree that so many of these terms we throw around — “nice guy,” “jerk,” “alpha,” etc. — are relative; they are abstracts; they are often situational. But in re: the nice guys vs. jerks arguments, I will make this observation. Most of the guys I’ve known who were extremely (in the Elite sense) successful with women were guys who had very problematic personalities in one or more respects. And by that I mean — yeah, we all have our imperfections, we’re all screwed up in one way or another. But the guys I’m talking about stand out for being screwed up above and beyond the call, whether it be chronic dishonesty, drug/alcohol problems they refuse to address, pathological laziness/joblessness, or just a basic and intense disregard for civility or the well-being of others. Or any number of other issues — and most likely a combination of several of them. So from my perspective, while it might be a big reductive or maybe a little less-than-precise to say, “Women like jerks,” I do believe there is some kind of essential truth lodged in that idea.

  6. Like a few others above i feel part of the Cold Case department. It’s interesting after reading for over two years I can still find things of interest. The bit about feeling women “should love you for you” hit home. We were beta but we weren’t total idiots. I knew if went to the gym, swaggered around like a prick, got a ridiculous haircut and trendy tattoos that “certain” girls would’ve been interested. But not the quality girls, the nice girls who will love me for me. So if I lift something heavy enough times they’ll deign me good enough? Fuck that I’m not changing for them. MGTOW before MGTOW to a degree.

    But now I’m a well muscled game aficionado who is a million times happier than the adolescent cynic. I suppose the trick that “those cocky loudmouths” realised was just doing it to get them is not doing it for them. It’s doing it for you. I get that now.

    The stereotype is women like rebels. But rebel against the timeless Male burden of performance and you get nothing and nowhere.

  7. In addition it comes back to projection as you allude to in the seminal “Blue Pill Idealism” essay where, to no doubt paraphrase “The habit some betas have of assuming I’m like this so everyone is like this” …. Guilty as charged.

    I genuinely found many alphas obnoxiousness, ridiculous and facile so even without taking into account the envy side of things I absolutely “resisted becoming what I hated”, despite its clear benefits. Being unique over being happy. I’ve since learned maybe worryingly maybe poignantly that my past mental description of evidently attractive young men was eerily close to that of Elliot Rodger which isn’t easy to admit.

    I will and have fought tooth and nail against the feminist-inspired “nice guys the real jerks” falsehoods but there is some accidental truth in that. Was it not in part ego, maybe even arrogance that I knew best what any quality girl should find attractive… which just do happenened to be a bloke who looked and acted a lot like me.

    But that’s what you get when you tell people “there’s someone out there for everyone” (vomit).

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