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How to be a nice guy

Sometimes nice guys aren't as nice as they think.

This weekend, a friend and I went out to dance at a local bar, accompanied by a couple male friends. We were content to dance amongst ourselves, but both my friend and I accepted invitations to dance with another patron, a friend of a friend. His actions that night reminded me that identifying as a 'nice guy' is not the same as being a nice guy.

When my friend and I left with one of our male friends, our designated driver for the evening, the 'nice guy' in question followed us out of the bar and questioned my friend as to why she was leaving, implying that the dance they had shared entitled him to further interaction. Perhaps it was intoxication that brought out the not-so-nice in this 'nice guy' — but that's no excuse.

The 'nice guy' did not behave in a physically aggressive manner and my friend and I left safely, but this is not an isolated situation in our society, and not every situation stops with words. 

I have some advice for aspiring nice guys (or girls — sexually aggressive behavior is not limited to straight men, though it is most accepted and most apologized for in that demographic):

• Nice is as nice does. It's not up to you to determine your 'nice guy' status, it's up to your peers to decide if you treat them with due respect.

• There's no such thing as a free lunch. I don't mean that you have to give the object of your desire anything to earn affection, but the object of your desire doesn't owe you anything either.

• Your interactions with the desired sex are not transactional, unless you are, for example, ordering a meal at a restaurant — but don't get cheeky and ask for a shake with those fries.

• The object of your desire is not an object. Male, female or transgender, regardless of sexuality, a person exists not for anyone else. 

• Learn to let go. The best company is company that wants you there. A person is not obligated to stick around or follow through.

• Life's not fair. Whether you believe in a god's plan or think this world is just a ball of chaos, love and sex are not guaranteed, not even for nice guys.

• Persistence isn't a virtue in matters of love or lust. Movies show it all the time: Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl uninterested in boy, boy keeps trying endlessly, girl eventually worn down into accepting love of persistent boy. Don't believe everything you see in movies. Stalking, harassment and other behaviors that typify "persistence" are not acceptable.

• And, "no" means no — as do "no, thanks," "I'd prefer not to" and walking away.

For those looking for love, I wish you the best. Just remember to be as nice as you think you are.

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