Ok ladies, what do you look for in a boyfriend?

I have asked this question probably thousands of times and the answers generally don’t differ that much.  “Someone nice, caring, funny, honest, thoughtful and intelligent.” With small variations, that’s the general consensus.

And as guys, we hear that and strive to become the man YOU are telling us to be.

Then what happens? Next time we see you, you’re on the arm of a known scoundrel!  A cad, a boor, a dog, a ne’er-do-well, a Machiavellian tramp! What gives?!

Nice Guys 1c

As a dating coach, this is the lament I hear from guys all the time. In fact, many of my clients have been the aforementioned nice guys, who couldn’t take being a punching bag anymore.

One of the most useless pieces of advice they would get would be “be yourself” which apparently indicated that they weren’t themselves to begin with. Which is semi-right.

We men are simple creatures, regardless of what you ladies might think. If you tell us something, we believe it. “No. Nothing’s wrong,” means exactly that to us when you say it. So, imagine how confused the guys become when they feel they’ve done everything you’ve intimated and then you zig when they think you’re going to zag.

What does that jerk have that makes him be more popular with women than you, the nice guy?  This is an age old question. Thankfully, due to years of experience as a dating coach I have a very simple answer.

Let me break it down for you.

Women are driven by emotions. They have huge reservoirs of emotion that will influence their conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions.  The jerk unknowingly triggers a lot of these.  

Ok ladies, now I’m going to make some generalizations.  I know all of you are wonderful, unique beings and this may not apply to you, but for the purpose of helping out some fellas out there, bear with me.

The female mind is a labyrinthine puzzle. According to Erica Löfström’s doctoral dissertation Intuition and Analysis at Work, The Role of Cognitive Style in Experiences of Work Contexts (along with many other studies), women’s brains have proven to be more analytical than the man’s mind.

“Women’s analytical approach has to do with cognitive confidence. It seems that women often have to justify their views more thoroughly than men. This may be due to women’s historical position in working life”, says Löfström.  They can multi-task better than us also.

The female mind is a very busy, very scrutinizing place. Now how does this affect the dating world?

Nice Guys 2c

A nice guy is usually too flexible, almost spineless.  You need a ride to the doctor’s office? Sure thing! Can’t make our date tonight and want to reschedule?  Not a problem! The problem with being too flexible is that flexible is predictable. There is nothing to figure out, nothing to occupy the mind.

The lady knows exactly what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it. There’s no mystery, no unpredictability.

And, those two things are what can catch women’s attention.  That’s what the jerk unknowingly does. When she calls, she never knows if he’s going to be available or even if he’ll answer the call. That taps into the triggers that get their emotions to act all wacky.  It’s not logical or rational, but have you been in an argument with a woman before and won? Even if you win, you still lose. Hint: it’s not rational. 

So, you don’t need to become a jerk or a player, and let’s be honest, it’s good to be a nice guy, but now be a good guy, not a nice guy. You just need to become a little more unpredictable.

If you are predictable you can easily become boring and boredom is the death knell of chemistry.  If you think back, how many times has a woman canceled on you? The likely reason was “no chemistry” but being available didn’t help that chemistry at all.

Don’t make plans a week in advance, don’t tell them exactly what you’ll be doing on your date, surprise them with a tasty beverage. There are many ways of being an unpredictable nice guy and that way you are going to win on both fronts!


Hunt Ethridge is a Hoboken-based dating consultant and a fashion writer. Currently, he is the Senior Dating Coach at New York Dating Coach (www.newyorkdatingcoach.com).