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5 Harsh Lessons Every Nice Guy Should Learn

5 Harsh Lessons Every Nice Guy Should Learn

You’ve heard the old saying, “Nice guys finish last.” Well, it’s only partly true.

Numerous studies confirm that women find shy, nice guys unattractive. I often hear women say, “All I want is a nice guy who treats me well and listens to me.” If this is true, why do these types of guys get left behind?

I was the “nice guy” and thought if I just agreed with everything women said, nodded my head, and only asked questions to learn more about them, I would eventually attract the ladies. After all, I wasn’t like those cocky, loud guys who seemed to attract a ton of women. And, a lot of women I knew said they didn’t like those types of guys and just wanted a nice boy to take home to their parents.

I thought I figured out the secret to meeting more women. I thought, wow, I don’t have to sound dumb or lame, freeze up, and I can just ask questions so they keep talking! After all, I thought, women love to chat!

Needless to say, this strategy doesn’t work. It wasn’t working for me so I spent years figuring out what really makes people tick. There has to be something more to it, even though women claim they are looking for a nice guy.

There are five themes in becoming more attractive, compelling, and confident.

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1. It’s not just about asking questions.

I used to avoid talking as much as I could. Sometimes I didn’t know to say. Other times I was so nervous that I would freeze up and nothing would come out. To avoid this, I would just ask more questions!

I’m not saying it’s not important to ask questions–especially good questions–but, that is only half the story. Frankly, it’s quite strange for someone to berate with you questions without saying anything in return.

It can come across as nagging or intrusive when someone consistently asks questions. They can feel just as awkward as you do. They start asking themselves, “Why does this person want to know so much about me?” or “Why don’t they have anything to say?”

You don’t want to be a creeper.

2. You have to show them you are interesting.

The fact is, women aren’t going to find you attractive, interesting, or confident unless you show them you are these things. Women aren’t “convinced” of this because you believe you are, or if you just be yourself, you’ll magically attract the right woman.

It’s not enough to naturally attract someone by thinking your way to love. It’s not enough to be nice and curious about them. You have to feel confident, interesting, attractive and show people that you are. Moreover, you can’t just ask your way to become more interesting, you have to show them how you personally relate to what they have to say.

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3. It takes a lot of practice.

It’s easy to say “just ask good questions” or “show them you are attractive” and then be done with it. However, it takes practice to learn how to be a good conversationalist. Even more, you have to look beyond the tips, strategies, and methods and find out what’s really holding you back.

Often, we believe that if only we could say the “right” thing, then we would be interesting. It takes time to improve. It takes time to learn why you feel shy and can’t talk to someone.

It’s not something that you read about once, practice it, try out that night, and then fall in love!

Not only does it take practice, it takes a deep understanding of what mental barriers are holding you back from being more attractive.

4. You have to learn how to make conversation, with anyone.

Imagine you’ve found someone you really like and she introduces you to her parents. You continue only asking questions and are shy around her parents. Do you think they are going to see you as a good fit for their daughter? I hear things like, “He seems like a nice boy but doesn’t really have much to say. I don’t really know much about him. Maybe over time, he’ll open up.”

Imagine meeting her brother, her friends, or her co-workers for the first time. The truth is, you’re going to have to show more people how confident you are. It’s not just a one-time event.

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I don’t recommend learning quick tricks or pick-up lines. Pic-up artists are missing something critical when it comes to meeting more women.

Firstly, it’s disingenuous to act like somebody you’re not. I will never be that cocky, smooth, extroverted guy who the ladies love. It’s just not going to happen. Second, there’s more to the story than focusing on what to say when approaching a woman.

It’s not just about feeling confident around a woman–it’s about being confident around anybody.

5. The right people are interested in you

The types of guys who seem to have all the ladies flocking towards them are not who we are. And, do we really want to be? I would much rather meet quality women who value my personality and want to get to know me, than a large quantity of women who I probably won’t get along with anyway.

The right woman will be attracted to you. The right people will be interested in you. The right people will not only see your best qualities, but they will want to know more about you. The truth is not everyone is going to be interested in you and I find this to be a huge relief. We’re not trying to impress everyone. We’re simply showing the right people our best qualities.

Now, you may be thinking, is he still a nice guy? Well, I never stopped being a nice guy (my mom and wife would kill me if I did). However, I learned that I could be both nice and confident.

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The combination of confidence, kindness, coupled with an astute conversational ability can make anyone become more attractive.

You don’t have to brag about yourself. You don’t have to be loud. You don’t have to be arrogant. You don’t have to be someone you’re not.

You can be yourself.

Even better, you can learn to be a confident guy who shows the right people just how awesome you are.

Featured photo credit: Man, One of The Happy/Bigter Choi via pixabay.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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