Talking about nice-ness again

People who are nice are usually good people, the sort of people you want to keep close, but you can’t conflate nice with good. There’s usually an overlap but it’s not the same thing at all. Somebody can be a very nice person yet not be a very good person. And someone can have a severe personality but be most definitely a good person. So do you think you can tell the difference, and how do you tell? Do you use some strategy, are you intentional? Or is it just something you may or may not notice, like a really passive litmus test?

Not to go into the rabbit hole of the philosophical question of identity but maybe just sticking a toe in

When I was in 7th grade, one of the big essays due at the end of the year was to answer the question, “Who am I?” (should be “whom” but whatevs) and I bombed that essay.

Honestly, I’m not sure that it’s a question worth answering except in definable contexts, like whether or not you’re a good person, or how cultures that you participate in shape your worldview. The question by itself is just a chasing of the wind unless you enjoy tripping out and/or having paralyzing existential crises.

I do really like that one Dumbledore quote by JK Rowling, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Remember how I said that I was hurt by that guy, who went 180° on me? While trying to explain to my friends how I was feeling, I said that while yes, in some sense I do miss him, it’s also no, his current self is not the person I miss. That earned me a lot of “I don’t get it”s. (Need me a guy who CAN understand me when I try to explain stuff like this.) But maybe that Dumbledore-ism can help it make sense. When he made the choice to engage my attention, that’s who he was. When he made the choice to stonewall me, that’s who he is now. I have no use for the latter. I miss the former even though the only difference between the two is that choice. The former had all the shortcomings of the latter—I never put him on any pedestals—but the difference in choice resulted in fundamentally different people if you define the context as “who he was or is in relation to me”.

But isn’t it the same person—the same character and personality—making both choices? Isn’t it because of a static set of values that he made the choices he made, and wouldn’t the outcome have therefore been inevitable? Maybe but not necessarily. In general, big values are pretty static (fortunately) but how those values trickle down into the code of rules isn’t. The more intelligent and complex a person is, the more their choices vary by situation and the more their secondary values are subject to shifting to accommodate new facts. Which is not the same thing as shifting their core values. I think that you’d have to be a psychopath to do that.

Choices inherently happen within a context, so when you change a choice, you do become a different person. Today you keep a secret, tomorrow you reveal it. Today you choose to take the safe road, tomorrow you choose to dream a little. Today you hedonistically let your instincts lead you without thinking too much about it and go with the flow, tomorrow you do what you think you have to do to get what you think you really want. Today you’re the hero and tomorrow you’re the villain, or vice versa. The door is always open. Holding it closed is also a choice.

Where do the good boys go to hide away? Hint: “You friendzoned them” or “I’m right here” are incorrect.


I just played this song because I was in the mood. When I opened the video, I glanced at the comments. Predictably, a lot of salty guys (some trying to be more subtle than others) essentially blamed the narrator for not considering guys that she hypothetically frienzoned, obviously because they feel like they were friendzoned by girls they want to get with.

They’re wrong.

This is what REALLY happens when a girl gives a guy who fits the friendzone profile a chance. I got asked out by this guy whose face I frankly wasn’t attracted to and who wasn’t my type for other reasons as well (not a pet person, atheist-ish… before I accidentally met him in real life, I actually first saw his online dating profile and after some scrutiny, passed him over for those 3 reasons combined). However when he started chatting me up, I got to know his personality and he reminded me of myself, enough that I felt like I was no longer the only person out there who could really get me. He made me feel like he appreciated my brain, he could be very attentive in the right ways in person, he encouraged me to develop healthier habits, he listened to my problems (even the craziest ones), etc. (In case guys who’ve liked me are reading this and are thinking, “But I could do that too,” I just want to point out that I was impressed by how he processed frustration, among other things that are also important considerations for me.) When we started dating on mutual terms, he acted patient and reassuring about my insecurities about hugs and things. But in the end, he made an ultimatum that I should be willing to do certain things, with no strings attached, or else he didn’t want to meet me any more. (Man, and here I thought he respected me because I have principles and I keep them, but I guess he thought only academic principles need to be applied?) He justified it as “boys will be boys.” (In retrospect, I should have called him out with a line about his prefrontal cortex because that was a really lazy excuse for, “I actually just want a girl who’ll throw herself at me without me needing to risk anything at an emotional level.”)

Before anyone assumes that I just mistook attraction for common interests, let me remind you that I wasn’t attracted to him. Almost everyone that’s met him has called him some shade of ugly (including “You could do better,” which is a euphemism that pertains to appearance, not character when used by someone who’s not actually familiar with the person they’re talking about). So, @ guys who mope about being in the friend zone, it’s not because girls are shallow.

(And before any of my fellow Christians makes some uneven yoke comment or says that religion should be an absolute dealbreaker, look, I don’t know what bubble you’re living in but a lot of single guys with “Christian” on their profile are no different from the other guys. Often they’re worse because at least the other guys are sometimes honest and direct about what they really want instead of trying to sneak in creepy comments to try to gauge the girl’s response.)

A guy can sit at his computer and tell himself that he’s a “good boy”, but when it’s his turn to be put to the test, he’ll find that he’s not an outlier. If he’s salty enough that his reaction to this song is “Well that’s because girls are stupidly throwing themselves at guys who are not me, woe is me sitting alone in the friend zone,” he’s also salty enough that when it comes down to it, he’ll demand more “proof” that a girl likes him. When it’s his turn, he’s going to think, “What is the point or the endgame if not the physical things?”

To me, Hide Away is about how depressing it is when we give guys a chance and then they pull this bullshit. He may be feeling sorry for himself about the girls who broke his heart, but when a girl tries to let him out of the friend zone, he chooses to stay there because she’s not liberal enough with her body. We think that in theory, there’s a better guy out there, because we want to have faith in humanity, but it really does seem like if there are any out there, they’re hiding where we can’t find them. Think about it. So many single guys out there, but when you filter for compatible intelligence level, interests, and personality, there’s not much left, and, apparently, when you additionally filter for guys who won’t abandon you for a quicker lay, it drops to like zero!

More personal thoughts: I don’t even know any more if I dodged a bullet or messed up my one shot at getting someone who had what I was looking for (I mean, I know I shouldn’t blame myself nor compromise my principles but I can’t help knowing how things could have played out very differently). I do know it’s too late now because the guy had a total change of attitude as soon as he decided we weren’t going to work. That’s what really hurt, the abrupt change from the admiring and interested tone to a patronizing and dismissive tone. Knowing that it was unintentional and just the consequence of committing to his decision just made it worse. And I guess that’s a tell, proof that he was just an example of “so close yet so far” instead of actually being good enough. So maybe I dodged a bullet, it was just a tempting mirage, and maybe I also missed my shot because maybe a mirage is as close as I can expect. Maybe there isn’t any such thing as a guy who’s genuinely what I’m looking for, which is what I’d been thinking before I met him.