Ladies, Stop Being So Nice — It’s Killing Your Game

Ladies, Stop Being So Nice — It’s Killing Your Game iStock

You know that phrase, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” It’s a great rule of thumb, but there’s one place where it doesn’t apply, at least for women: men. We women want men to say and do nice things for us all the time. It turns us on. So naturally, we think it’s what turns men on too. Turns out that’s actually not what dudes want, at least at first. In fact, being too nice can actually have the opposite effect.

In the beginning, when you’re just getting to know each other, guys need to feel a bit — just a bit — of distance between you and them. Why? Because what fires them up is the challenge you present. They’ll then fight to close that gap.

By creating the opportunity for the guy to chase you, you’re not being mean, or stingy, or doing anything terrible — ask any psychologist and they’ll tell you that men generally respond best to women who behave this way because they need to feel like they hunted you and won you. They’re just wired that way — it’s how they’re built. We forget that because we’re built differently. So, don’t serve yourself to a guy on a silver platter… It’s a turn-off.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean you should be a bitch or play hard to get or change who you are as a person. All we’re saying is that you shouldn’t fall too hard, too fast. Take your time to get to know him before you start being all about him and his needs. It’s fine to be intrigued — like you’re on the verge of being interested — but don’t let yourself get totally sold too fast. In other words, don’t be ready to have his babies after date 3. Make him earn your interest, you know?

So, until you’re sure he’s definitely into you, don’t be so nice. Be cool. What does that look like? Here are some examples:

  1. Don’t be the one to initiate contact. But if he reaches out, you should reply. No need to overthink how slowly or quickly you do it. Don’t leave him hanging for hours or days — just respond when you have time.
  2. Don’t bake him cookies or make him dinner. Save that til you’re sure things are going well. You don’t need to give boyfriend perks to a guy who hasn’t earned them.
  3. Don’t be available every time he wants to hang out. Keep busy. Obviously, you don’t need to lie and claim you’re just too tied up to hang out every time he asks — he’ll just lose interest. However, it should be clear he’s not the only thing on your agenda.
  4. Don’t accommodate his every whim. If he suggests a restaurant you don’t like, say so. Express your wants and needs because they matter too. Don’t set the precedent of rolling over to his desires at the cost of your own.
  5. Don’t give him a back rub. Not until you’re much farther along. You’re not his personal masseuse and you don’t need to be doing all the wooing.
  6. Don’t tell him you’re into him. He should be the first to be explicit about how much he digs you. Of course, if he hasn’t said the words but is doing things to show you he cares, use your best judgment here.
  7. Don’t plan everything around him. Life should go on even when you’re not with him. Don’t wait by the phone and don’t put your life on hold. If he’s meant to be in it, he’ll fit in.
  8. Don’t use gushy emoticons in your notes. Smiley faces are fine. No hearts. Keep those for when he makes things official.
  9. Don’t sleep with him or sleep over. Definitely a no-no until you know he’s smitten. You don’t want to end up feeling used and disrespected, do you?
  10. Don’t buy him clothes or other presents. Not until you’re in a committed relationship. He can buy his own sh*t.
  11. Don’t let him know that you talk about him endlessly. There’s no point to sharing this. Sure, gush to your girlfriends about it, but keep your cards close to your chest, at least for a little while.
Halle Kaye is the author of the insightful, inspirational and hilarious dating guide for women, "Maybe He's Just an Asshole: Ditch Denial, Embrace Your Worth, and Find True Love!"