Dealing With Fake Nice Guys
*Names were changed to protect identities
Last week, a Facebook post containing screenshots of a Singaporean man going “apeshit” on his Tinder date circulated social media.
After he was “civilly rejected”, the man, Wenhui Tan, insulted his date’s family, sent her derogatory remarks, and even threatened to confront her at her workplace.
When news of his actions spread, other girls who have encountered Wenhui came forward with their own stories of how he would take “upskirt photos”, stalk them, and make them uncomfortable with his foot fetish.
Appalled, I shared the post on my Telegram chats. I asked my guy friends: Why are there fake nice guys? How are these ‘fake nice guys’ even created?
Being rejected too many times will cause anyone to snap
One of my guy friends, Darren, 35, commented that Wenhui probably reacted so negatively because he had been “friendzoned too many times”.
For those who aren’t part of the internet generation, the friendzone is an undesired, dreaded realm young men fall into after their courtship attempts go awry.
This is the moment when girls no longer see any romantic possibility with a male, letting them know they see them as just a platonic friend. Most guys don’t take it well as they have romantic feelings for the girl, but are accutely aware there’s zero possibility of a romantic relationship happening.
“I think Wenhui exploded because he was probably rejected by too many girls. It’s like when you try your best but you don’t succeed,” he mentioned.
Darren went on to elaborate that even the nicest person has a limit to how much rejection and disappointment they can take.
“It may have been an accumulation of multiple rejections, and Wenhui finally reached his breaking point. The poor girl who kena the outburst just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he concluded.
Why the friendzone is a problem
However, using the term being ‘stuck in the friendzone’ is a problem. Especially in meme culture, the friendzone is used by guys to shame and label girls who’ve rejected them.
Often, these girls are accused of leading guys on and then friendzoning them. “Guys who use the term friendzone too much usually can’t understand why their female friends won’t return their affection”, Darren explained. “Overall, it’s easier to blame someone when you ‘fail’ at love.”
Agreeing with Darren, another close friend of mine, Mark, 25, added how the friendzone largely exists to soften the blow of rejection.
More often than not, using “the friendzone” is a defence mechanism of guys, who are unable to accept rejection. What fake nice guys like Wenhui fail to realise, is how their lady love was never obligated to like them back.
“The guys like Wenhui expect a ‘return of investment’, and when they don’t get what they want they curse and swear. The funniest part of the whole thing is how Wenhui probably still thinks he’s a nice guy.”
By using the friend zone, men like Wenhui are telling women that women owe men relationships if men demonstrate romantic interest.
Fake nice guys are telling women they don’t get a choice in who they can have feelings for, that their feelings are secondary to men’s.
It suggests women should be thankful that a guy—any guy—is being nice to them.
But where do these ideas come from?
How men and women view friendships and romantic relationships
Perhaps it’s got to do with the different way Singaporean men and women are socialised to view friendships.
Male bonding often revolves around doing things, such as playing soccer on the weekends or going to work. Men are also brought up with the idea ‘boys don’t cry’ and how it’s not ‘manly for guys to talk about their feelings’.
As a result, male friendships are more casual and more superficial than women’s. Deeper relationships are usually reserved for romantic partners. This creates a tendency to equate being emotionally vulnerable to romantic bonding.
Jacob, 23, tells me how for many men, friendship with the opposite sex is often a stepping stone to a romantic relationship.
“When a guy gets rejected after ‘baring their soul’, they can feel cheated because they can’t understand why the girl didn’t like them back despite giving off ‘positive signals’.”
But for women, spending nights awake listening to their friend’s problems over the phone, helping them run errands, or watching movies together, are things they’d do for friends, male or female.
The different ways men and women are taught to view relationships and friendships can create confusion—guys feel they’ve been led on when their object of desire reject them, and girls are ‘blur’ because they’ve only ever treated the guy like “a bro”.
Jacob tells me that when this happens too many times, some guys can “become triggered and become very bitter toward females”.
“Many guys who use the label ‘friendzone’ are unable to admit to themselves they are the problem,” Jacob revealed. “That’s why there will always be crazy guys like Wenhui.”
Being A Nice Person
Personally, my girlfriends and I have been placed in a situation when we’ve been ‘called out’ for friendzoning guys, and it’s not a nice feeling to know the friendship was ‘fake’.
I know for many of my girlfriends, the phenomenon of fake nice guys has led to them developing suspicious attitudes when guys start being nice to them.
Ultimately, when it comes to dating or just life in general, people should want to be nice because they’re a genuinely kind-hearted person, not because there’s something in it for them.
Never let a fake nice guy guilt-trip you. And if one of them ends up directing an explosive bitter rant at you, take comfort knowing you did the right thing by getting out of there.
That being said, there are tons of good guys out there, you just have to be discerning.