I can be an intense, and passionate person. I articulate my thoughts and feelings in a way that for most new people in my life seems attractive, confident, and refreshing. I approach people and their relationships in a thoughtful, attentive, and what comes across as a well-balanced way that gives off the impression that it just comes naturally to me. The truth is, it took me decades to reach this point. To understand myself, and articulate my thoughts and feelings in such a way that I know exactly when to ask for a hug, ask for space, or just break down and say I have no idea what I need and require help or support.
Now, having this personality is refreshing to people. I blossom in one on one conversations, and usually, I can get a persons life story or deepest secrets within a first meeting. And the range of people I meet this way is fascinating and incredible. But for purposes of this post, I need to shed light on a specific personality type that has plagued me, over and over again, the nice guy.
When I meet a nice guy I usually steer clear of them, because I will admit, I know the pattern our friendship will take, and I never like the final outcome. First, we will become super fast friends. He will feel an incredible high knowing I shared something intimate about my life, and will cling onto that. He will share, what he feels is similar information and create this overly powerful bond in his head. Instead of feeling that we are equals, he will start to idolize or fantasize that what we have is special and unique. And it is. But… there is a catch. Men like this, do not recognize that the are getting a high from this. And that they crave this feeling of being special. So they start asking more intimate questions. They start to delve deeper into your world, in an almost invasive way. Not out of malice but to re-play that initial feeling. And they poke, and prod into your relationship looking for cracks and dirt so that they can “return the favor” and help you solve some monumental moment in your life.
They, in short, feed off of your negative situation and crave it more and more. They want to feel special, and the problem is that it is not in your accomplishments but in your failures. That’s where their emotional boost comes through most strongly. That’s the role they have found in your life, and the experience that they want to relive.
Now, as I mentioned, I avoid these people whenever possible because the reality for me, is I hate having the confrontations with these people. A few more noteworthy ones include, telling a guy exactly what he has been doing and watching him just melt. It was gut wrenching and I couldn’t handle it. Or the guy who got so angry that he called me a tease, and bitch, and well… it got really messy. Then there was the guy that I tried to coach and deal with more gently. For this particular guy I ended up having to finally end the friendship because I got so sick and tired of calling out his bad behaviour because he was incapable of breaking this cycle. And the more I write these the reactions the more I solidify why I just am not equipped to handle this personality type. It’s icky for me, and I would rather just close the door from the onset.
But, here I sit, realizing that there are situations that I cannot avoid. Co-workers, mutual friends, and the worst of them all, the men who I thought were normal friends, but see opportunity in something I shared and basically preditorially pounce, thereby changing the entire relationship dynamic, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, feigning as the nice guy to get closer to me.
So, let me be clear, I believe that the majority of people can change their behaviour once they recognize it for what it is and actually see value in overcoming it. I’m an optimist and do see overall good in individuals. From what I have seen, people are mostly devastated when I point out this energy cycle to them, and honestly, I don’t enjoy crushing people like that, because I do not have the energy, expertise, or drive to help anyone like this fix themselves. This is a hard limit for me. And why, whenever I have full control, I give a hard NOPE to this particular negative thriving person (again, I know it’s not on purpose, but that doesn’t make it better!). So, what then do I do with the unavoidable nice guys? What do I say to them? Why do I constantly have to be clear, put them in their place, or worse, re draw lines in our friendship to ensure I don’t become prey to their need to “just help me”? I am not someone who wants pity. I just want equality in my friendships and authentic communication. I want to be free to vent about another person in my life without having a reaction of judgment, and the horrible “if I were you” or the life draining sentiment of “ I would never treat you like that”.
Can we just be there for each other during the rough times, and build each other up on the day to day? Can we find a way to communicate without putting others down? Or better yet, realize that humans have a great capacity to hold more than one soul dear in their lives. We don’t need to always vie for that one coveted spot of primary or best friend, or any other of these titles. Just be a good friend, a good person, and stop the cycle of feeding off of negativity!
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