My Eureka Moment For Why I’m Not Into 'Nice Guys'


If there are two things I think a lot of us heard while growing up that subconsciously programmed us to make unwise choices where our hearts are concerned it's, "He only mistreats you because he likes you," and, "Don't be so focused on whether or not you're attracted to someone that you miss out on a really nice guy."

That first statement? Many of us heard that as children. By the way, a little boy doesn't mistreat a little girl because he likes her. Usually, he does it either because he wasn't taught how to treat little girls or because he's not mature enough to know how to express himself. And little boys who aren't redirected from this way of acting grow up to be men who do the same thing.


That second one? I'm willing to bet a lot of us still hear that to this day, whether it's from our nosey auntie who's trying to figure out why we're single, the church lady who thinks that since she took that advice it should apply to all of us, or our mom who is waiting for us to give her some grandchildren.

I know I personally heard that a lot while growing up in the church. Whenever a cutie would break my heart, some woman somewhere would either flat-out tell me (or somehow imply) that if I wanted a good man, his looks would have to take the backseat. If I wanted to be treated well, I'd have to settle for someone who wasn't aesthetically-pleasing but was indeed a nice guy.


And you know what? A couple of times I fell for that totally dysfunctional way of thinking.

I allowed individuals who really didn't know what the heck they were talking about convince me that when it came to love, I either had to choose a fine man or a kind man—both simply did not co-exist.

As a result, I wasted my time and the time of certain men in my life who were as sweet as pie but also weren't what I was fully drawn to. I let how nice (pleasing, agreeable, pleasant) and kind (benevolent, helpful, considerate, gentle and loving) a man was to me make me overlook other things that I wanted. Y'all, at the end of the day, even being with someone just because he's a "nice guy" is a form of settling. And to make a man feel like he's some sort of consolation prize for what I really want? That's not nice. It's mean. Very much so.


Why am I sharing all of this with you? It's because, ever since I can remember, I have watched women on screens and heard women I know claim that the reason why they've let some really good men get away is because they are "too nice". While there are some women who sadly seem to get off on being mistreated, who seem to think that masculinity and some forms of abuse go hand in hand, I think there are even more women who are actually trying to convey something totally different. The real issue isn't that the good man they aren't into is too nice.

I'll give you a personal example of what I mean. When I think about a particular someone I dated, who I wasn't really attracted to but seemed too nice to not at least give things a shot, once the relationship ended and folks asked me what was up, sometimes what came out of my mouth was, "He was too nice" when that wasn't really the case at all. The real issue was I wasn't attracted, I was bored, he didn't really thrill me—he simply wasn't "it".

But since I was programmed to believe that fine men will dog you and nice guys are less than appealing, I chalked it up to mean that a guy I'm not into must be "too nice", when the reality is simply that I want more than just a nice or kind man.

The reason why I use the word "programmed" is because even my own mom has said to me, virtually all of my life, "I just want a kind man for you." I get that. It's wise to want to be with someone kind. But when I reflect on the men she wanted for me, every single one of them made my stomach hurt. It's not that they weren't attractive in their own way. Not at all. But the thought of spending the rest of my life with them? Listen, marriage is too serious and (is supposed to last) too long to start off not being physically and sexually into your partner. And I wasn't interested in ANY of them in that way.


Whenever I expressed that, I was basically told that I was being superficial; that one day I would realize that looks aren't everything (sex either) and I'd wish that, rather than being alone, I'd gone for the nice guy. Maybe, but that never really or fully set well with me. There had to be more to it than that.

Then one day, without even really looking for him, I met a man. He's the kind of guy that old and young women, white and Black women, men (including straight men) can all agree that he is quite the specimen to behold. You know what else? He's soooo nice. He's also brilliant, funny, ambitious, generous, spontaneous, fun, good to his mama, a gentleman—the list goes on and on.


Before you get excited for me, we're just friends. Good friends but still, it's only meant to be platonic (my choice). Yet some people come into our lives to remind us that everything we're looking for does indeed exist. We don't have to settle for one or the other. We can get the whole shebang.

My oh so very fine and kind friend helped me come to the ah-ha moment of my not wanting to be with a man because "he's too nice" was really my way of saying "he's really great in the nice department but what about everything else? Sure, he's mega-kind but that's kind of all that stands out about him." To me.

Understanding that this is what was really going on beneath the surface has helped me to realize that I'm not someone who only wants a good-looking guy nor am I a woman who would rather have a bad boy than a good man. I'm simply someone who desires balance. Be fine and nice. Be super-masculine and kind. Don't be just good-looking and also don't be just a nice guy. BE BOTH.


Going for someone just because of the physical or sexual is shallow. At the same time, forcing yourself to be with someone just because he's nice is unhealthy. It's unhealthy because it can cause you to think that nice and kind men don't come in the packaging you truly desire. And that is simply not true.

Again, I know some women who turn down nice guys because they aren't very nice to themselves; that's another article for another time. But if, like me, you've been saying "he's too nice" when what you really mean to say is "the only thing I really like about him is how nice he is", I give you permission to reframe your way of thinking and let go of the guilt or second thoughts related to letting the nice guy go and moving on.


I get it now. It's not that I'm turned off by nice guys. It's simply that I want more—A LOT MORE—than that. Unapologetically so. Nice is A quality that I want in a man but it's not THE only one.

Church ladies, I'll wait until I get it all. Thank you very much.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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