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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

How Not to Finish Last as a Nice Guy

How Not to Finish Last as a Nice Guy

We have all heard the cliche: Nice guys finish last. The idea behind the saying is that good deeds go unnoticed and you have to be selfish to succeed. After all, there are two kinds of people: a nice person and a selfish person.

A nice person is kind and selfless. They are givers who are willing to help others and don’t mind helping without giving something in return. But a selfish person is a taker. They only think of themselves and aim to get more through doing less.

While a selfish person seems to be the one more people hate, “nice guys finish last” is still a common belief. So can nice guys actually finish first?

Nice Guys vs. Selfish Guys

    You can find a nice person and a selfish person everywhere; they’re at work, among your friends, and in different relationships.

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    Think about it, at work you definitely have that one guy/girl who seems to always get recognition from the boss, and maybe even a raise, despite the action they are being rewarded for having been a group effort. While a nice guy would share the recognition with his team, the bad guy would justify that he deserves the praise.

    Likewise, you have probably had a friend at some point in time that seemed to always cancel plans you made in order to do something they deemed to be a better opportunity. Meanwhile, they expected you to drop your plans for them. Or, perhaps your friend who gets a lot of dates is constantly standing them up in exchange for a different, better choice. He/she winds up with an amazing partner, not knowing they are simply the best option at the moment. Meanwhile, you may be single because you’ve had to cancel dates to hang out with your friend.

    Nice people make others happy but exhaust themselves.

    Nice people typically always have big hearts. Because of this, it’s in their nature to try to help others by trusting them and working as a team. In their eyes, this teamwork can help the group achieve more. Because of their interactions with people, they tend to get help and support from those people when they need it.

      Unfortunately, working with others and always trying to make someone else feel good can often lead to exhaustion. It can also make it hard to keep up with which compliments you’ve given people and which you haven’t. This can lead to some people feeling unappreciated. In turn, you feel like you’ve let someone down, and that can really weigh on your self esteem. Because people see the way they impact you, it can lead to them taking advantage later on.

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        Selfish people make themselves happy but ignore others.

        Selfish people are assertive because they know what they want. If you’re a selfish person, then often times you are willing to break the rules to win. You aren’t afraid to let others know what they’ve achieved, and while this can sometimes seem self-absorbed, it can also help remind people that you are an asset. You’ve also learned not to worry too much about what other people think. This confidence can provide a leg up on the competition.

          Success and intimidation don’t usually win a lot of friends, so if you’re selfish, you may not be well liked by many people. Along with being self-centered, you can’t always do all the work on your own; you’re bound to fall behind on occasion.

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            How to succeed as a nice guy?

            Ideally, you compromise. See, the above list of pros and cons outlines something very clearly: everyone has good aspects and bad aspects when it comes to personality and character. So it stands to reason putting those two character traits together would make a more ideal individual.

            Be nice, but also a little bit selfish.

              When nice people go to extremes, others can take advantage of them and nice people will still keep giving because it’s their nature to help. This is when others can mistake kindness for weakness. And let’s face it, life is survival of the fittest. But kindness can achieve great things when people learn when to be selfish and when to give.

              In the short term, being a selfish person has benefits but eventually poisons the well since others become bad around them. In the long term, being a nice person pays off big, though you risk exhausting yourself helping others.

              Achieve the best version of yourself

              Determine what you want to achieve the most. If you’re willing to really fight for that thing, then you should probably focus your attention there. For example, maybe you’re not a giver when it comes to creating a charity event, but maybe you’re a lot more willing to give in order to make a restaurant succeed. Great! You can be selfish about that cause while also recruiting a team of equally like-minded people to help.

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              Next, you have to build trust. Even if you know one hundred people who would want to help make a restaurant succeed, no one will want to help you if they don’t like you. In this case, you may need to be a little selfless and help others in order for them to see that you are worth helping, too. Besides, a support system is necessary. It will be good to have those people on your side in the future for other tasks you may come across.

              Stay humble when you need to, and promote your hard work when it’s called for. And if you’re working with a team, ensure you are promoting good behavior, and not negative, overly-selfish behavior.

              If you follow these tips, it’s possible to be a nice guy who can still finish first. Hard work and determination can get you far, but knowing when to be selfish and when to rely on others can get your farther. It’s not about using people, but learning when teamwork is the best choice for your success, and ultimately the success of those around you.

              You don’t have to be a “bad guy” or compromise your beliefs. You just have to compromise and continue to learn.

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              Anna Chui

              Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

              The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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              Published on May 4, 2021

              How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

              How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

              They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

              In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

              How to Spot Fake People?

              When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

              Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

              1. Full of Themselves

              Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

              Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

              2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

              Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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              It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

              3. Zero Self-Reflection

              To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

              Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

              4. Unrealistic Perceptions

              Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

              A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

              5. Love Attention

              As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

              6. People Pleaser

              Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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              Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

              7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

              Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

              8. Crappy friend

              Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

              It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

              The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

              How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

              It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

              There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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              1. Boundaries

              Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

              2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

              Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

              3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

              If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

              4. Ask for Advice

              If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

              Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

              5. Dig Deeper

              Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

              Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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              6. Practice Self-Care!

              Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

              Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

              Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

              Final Thoughts

              Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

              We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

              More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

              Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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