What Nice Men Don’t Say To Nice Women


Name: Sarah
Question: Over the summer I started to develop feelings for my manager. We are around the same age(21 & 23) but I didn’t act on my feelings because I knew it would go against the store’s policy. You are allowed to date as long as you are not at the same location.

Although we did hangout, he never tried to do anything. I told him how I felt and he said that the only thing stopping him from dating me was that we worked together. Summer came to an end and I transferred to another location, in the same city. But he didn’t text me as much and when I asked him why? He said that he was having family problems. We did make out once or twice but thats as far it went. Whenever I invited him over, he would always say that he was “busy.” He eventually admitted that he just came out of a relationship and wanted to be just friends. Fast forward to recently, my old co-worker tells me that he said “nothing ever went on between us.” and that I was “delusional.” I don’t know why but that triggered an old memory of a guy I did actually date who kept our relationship a secret. In the attempt to stand up for myself, I called him a “b*tch” for talking behind my back. This is completely out of character for me because I am very quiet and sweet. I felt so awful about how I reacted that I went to visit him and apologize. He told me that while he understands why I was upset, he is not interested in having me in his life because of what I called him. I can’t decide if I should let it go or apologize again?
Age: 21


Let’s get one thing really clear: he was never interested in you. Period. Full Stop. His myriad of excuses for not wanting to hang out were all his way of being diplomatic. When you moved to another location he stopped contacting you (or, I suspect, stopped responding to you) because he was trying to extricate himself from the situation. Meaning, he was trying to get you to go away. I’m sorry for how blunt that is, but it’s the truth, and it’s a truth you need to face so you can begin to move on from this.

Fast forward to recently, my old co-worker tells me that he said “nothing ever went on between us.” and that I was “delusional.”

Admittedly, I don’t have much context on which to base my analysis of his response. I feel like there’s a lot of meat being left from this story. That said, when someone goes the route of trying to make the other person look crazy, more often than not something is off. If a person feels the need to invalidate someone’s perception of events by accusing them of being unbalanced, there’s a strong chance they’re hiding something.

Let me give you two scenarios.

Scenario 1 – “Yeah, we kissed a couple of times but I just wasn’t into it and she kept texting me I didn’t want to be a dick.”

Scenario 2 – “Dude, she’s crazy. She’s won’t fucking leave me alone.”

Person in Scenario 1 is demonstrating a modicum of compassion. He didn’t want to tell you to go away because he didn’t want to be mean and hurt your feelings. Person in Scenario 2 is hopping on the defensive and bashing you. Here’s the thing: he’s an adult with a tongue and vocal chords and working fingers. If he felt uncomfortable with your persistence and his lies weren’t working, he should have bucked up and told you he thought you were cool, but… 

He wasn’t a bad guy for making up excuses for why he could never date you. Most people would do exactly what he did. Diplomacy – especially in a work situation – is always better than blunt honesty. But there’s a point where that charade needs to end for the good of all involved. As for you, know this: if someone really wants to date you, they’ll risk a stupid company rule or find a way to make it happen. When someone keeps coming back at your invitations with reasons they can’t hang out, take the hint so that your self-esteem doesn’t take a battering.

He told me that while he understands why I was upset, he is not interested in having me in his life because of what I called him.

Here’s where I no longer empathize for him. What he did with this response is drive the knife in deeper by trying to make you feel worse, like you blew your chance. This is where he shows his true colors. This guy? He’s not a nice guy. What he did with this answer is cruel. It was clear you felt remorse for calling him a bitch, but instead of being a decent human being and accepting your apology, he got passive aggressive. You do not ever want to be involved with someone like this. This kind of treatment is abusive. Like I said, I don’t know what the full conversation entailed or what led him to say you were delusional, but the minute you heard that, a light switch should have gone off, illuminating the fact that this guy SUCKS. Instead you got angry – which I get, I really do – but you went from angry to remorseful, contacting/approaching him not once, but twice. In his mangled and unkind way, he was laying down a boundary: stay away from me. As rage-inducing as his behavior might have been, you have to respect that.

Now that we’ve established he’s a shit, let’s talk about you for a second.

You’re sitting somewhere on Christmas Day writing this letter to me, clearly still agonizing over how this all played out. Your emotions have gone from a high to a low, and that ain’t good. I’ve been where you are right now, and it was some of the most gutting pain I’ve ever felt, but the guy wasn’t the cause of it. He was just something that triggered it. I don’t know you or your background, but I do recognize your reactions. I’ll bet on some level you knew this guy was blowing you off, but you didn’t want to face it. The attention felt good, yeah?

I know.

Now you’re thinking, “Well, maybe if proved to him I’m not the person he thinks I am, he’ll like me back.”

He won’t. He won’t ever like you back. Nor will he care that you feel sorry about getting angry. (Which, btw, was totally justified on your part.) More than likely, he’ll say something else to make you feel like shit and keep you on the hook. Because, see, that’s what he was doing by telling you nothing would ever happen because you flipped out. That’s why he never told you to stop contacting him. That’s why he kept engaging you. He liked the attention, too. Only he never felt bad about treating you poorly.

Listen, it’s a brutal time of year to be going through this, but I’m glad you submitted your letter. You’re not alone in this, and what you’re feeling and how you handled it all doesn’t make you a terrible or unhinged person. It means that something about this guy set something off in you, and it wasn’t the other guy that dated you in secret. It goes deeper than that, I think, which is why I think it would be very beneficial for you to to talk to someone, a professional. Maybe even sign up for one of those therapy apps so you can talk to someone who can help you identify what about this situation has you feeling the way you feel. Get to the root of this now so you can go on to find the relationship you want.

Merry Christmas, guys.




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6 Responses to “What Nice Men Don’t Say To Nice Women”

  1. Parenting Says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Perfect response! OP – go talk to someone because you seem to be attracted to jerks who treat you like you dont matter. The worse they treat you, the harder you cling to them. Please work this out before you wake up one day 15 years from now looking back on a long history of hurt with guys who really never cared much about you.

  2. Yvonne Says:

    “He eventually admitted that he just came out of a relationship and wanted to be just friends.”

    Option #3: He was still in the relationship while you two were hanging out/making out. It’s likely that he is still in the relationship, or they reconciled, and he doesn’t want her finding out about you. He’d rather gaslight you than admit that he was wrong.

    Do you think you’re delusional? If not, then ignore this guy – he’s not your friend. When a man likes you, you’ll know it. I agree with the other comments that you should find out why you’re attracted to men who don’t treat you well.

  3. Noquay Says:

    Spot on Moxie

  4. Sheba Says:

    Moxie is bang on.

  5. Marie Says:

    Fully agree, Moxie & Yvonne. He’s NOT a nice guy and was never into you. I strongly doubt he “just came out of a relationship…” He was dipping all along. He would have taken whatever you offered. Been through this. You keep going back thinking something will be different it won’t. People that want to be with you MAKE time, NOT excuses. Bluntness sure hurts, but passes quicker than the back & forth. I once behaved out of character, which was reactionary (woman approached & warned me bout guy & in front of he & another woman, I let something slip purposely, baded on what woman who warned me said) Just writing that sounds insane. But what the woman said, I’d heard from a few others who gave me the SAME warning. Also whenever someone tries to gaslight you, EXIT. That’s the CLEAREST sign that that person is toxic. He used your behavior as a wussy way out. I hope you’re better able to deal with this & wish you the best. Don’t give him any more thought, as hard as it may be. Happy holidays.

  6. Joy Says:

    Hey Moxie,
    Long time reader here. I just want to wish you a Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year!
    This is just one example of why I keep coming back to this blog time and time again. You’re blunt but compassionate (even though they’re opposite to one another). You’re truly empathetic in your responses and instead of telling the reader the same old cliche’d answers of how there’s “plenty of other fish in the sea” you tell them to introspect and figure out why they keep finding themselves in this situation.

    Why haven’t you pursued psychology?

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