Good Guys Never Win…Or Do They?


The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin recently published a study showing men were attracted to responsive women, but women aren’t attracted to responsive men. And everyone recites, “Good guys never win.” Does this mean women are attracted to jerks? How do these study results compare to other relationship studies? And most importantly, do good guys need to change how they approach women?

In case you haven’t noticed, women are more complicated than men, and the study results are complicated. First, when the study describes women not being attracted to responsive guys, the researchers note “responsive” means different things to different people. Second, women’s perceptions of men being responsive varied. Does responsive make for a potential husband? Is he just trying to sweet talk me to bed? Or is he so nice, he’s feminine? Women are more cautious of strangers. Duh. If anything, these results might be cautionary in terms of coming on too strong. Girls aren’t attracted to desperate guys. We have something to work with now.

So is there something that attracts good girls to jerks? For Young Men Only addresses this topic, and explains good girls are attracted to some of the good qualities of the bad guy. In their survey, “Almost all of the girls (96 percent) see certain positive qualities—confidence, adventure, and protection, for example—in bad guys that really capture their attention.” The bad guy isnt’t scared to initiate conversation, he doesn’t care what other people think of him, and a girl feels protected because she knows a bad guy will fight for her should trouble come her way. Everyone roots for a guy like that.

Gagestad & Simpson examined women’s mate preferences and found they look for different traits in short-term relationships (physically attractive, socially respected) vs. long-term relationships (faithfulness, intelligence, warmth). But we all know this means girls fall for jerks until she finally settles for a spineless nice guy. Isn’t there a happy medium?

As a good guy, you have the same “positive qualities” as the bad guy within you. Having #goodguyswag is all about confidence, adventure, and protection. But if you are too self-conscience to show these qualities, you will absolutely lose to the bad guy (at least in the short-term). But why wait until it’s too late?

Because there are studies that show girls are attracted to the good guy.

Altruism and Attractiveness by Dr. Barclay might provide some good clues. This study concluded “women significantly preferred dates with altruistic targets [i.e. “I enjoy helping people,” “volunteering at a food kitchen” ] and had non-significant preference for one-night stands with altruistic targets.” However, in all three categories (long-term relationships, dates, and one-night stands), “women displayed a greater total preference for altruism.” Volunteering is sexy. Extending the helping hand, caring for others, and getting involved can move you from being a 6 to a 10.

Do good guys need to change how they approach women?

There is always room to improve.

1. Start with your confidence. Listen to what your inner voice says. If it’s whispering, you aren’t good enough, you’re not a man enough, or you’re too small, then you might need some reprogramming. Don’t take yourself out. Catch it, and rewrite. I am more than good enough. I’m the epitome of a man. I’m much bigger than what this physical body can contain.

2. Go on an adventure. There’s nothing that breaks self-imposed rules better than getting away on a camping, hiking, or rock-climbing trip. If she wants adventurous, then be adventurous. Go outside your comfort zone, and grow. Better yet, get adventurous and maybe talk to her.

3. Protect her. It’s not about throwing punches, it’s about protecting her worth. A non-creepy and authentic, “You look amazing” can be a compliment that will put her on Cloud 9, and raise your standing in her book. If you’re being passive-aggressive or manipulative, you definitely are not protecting her. Think about her heart, and you’ll get it.

Finally, if you want to put the icing on the cake, help the old lady across the street.

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11 Responses to Good Guys Never Win…Or Do They?

  1. Truth November 12, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    Well with the kind of women that are out there today, what do you expect.

  2. leonard January 23, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

    Let the women approach, at least you will know that they are interested.

  3. leonard January 23, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

    Let the women approach, at least you will know that they are interested.

  4. Roger April 5, 2017 at 1:07 am #

    None of this is applicable to me because no woman could ever want me and being rejected by every woman I’ve asked out over 2 decades proves it. I’ve never gotten a phone number and certainly never gone on a date because every woman I approached rejected me out of hand – not one even gave me a chance. I’m not going to get rejected again because I’m totally sick of it – why bother? I’m not attractive to any woman – guaranteed – so I’ve stopped trying for good. It’s got nothing to do with confidence – it’s just reality that I cannot attract any woman no matter what.

    • Kris Wolfe April 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

      Roger: I’m sorry you’ve been rejected so many times. What’s your idea of attractive? I’m just curious because this might be the key.

      • Roger June 17, 2019 at 6:48 pm #

        Hi Kris – my idea of “[being] attractive [to any woman]” is that when I smile at a woman [rom a safe distance] she smiles back at me, and in so doing, signals her openness to me approaching her to say hello and perhaps interact with her. All I have ever gotten are women turning their heads away from me, women walking away from me, with or without saying something unpleasant. I have asked my women friends why this is as it is and they say they have no idea. They say I just have very bad luck – but 20 years and not one positive response…(?) Enough is enough.

  5. Paul April 29, 2019 at 1:13 pm #

    No woman could ever be attracted to me as a potential sexual partner / boyfriend. I’m 37 and have never been on a date, experienced intimacy or had sex. I have many women friends who say I’m attractive, and the only reason I don’t get lots of female attention is that I never ‘act sexual’ around women. The fact is, I’m not capable of doing that. I also never get any signs from women I like that they like me – so why bother trying when there is zero chance of success?

  6. Allen May 4, 2020 at 2:31 pm #

    There is zero evidence that I am good enough. To believe otherwise would be delusional. Other guys attract women because they are good enough. I don’t because I am not.

  7. Arthur May 17, 2020 at 2:57 pm #

    If women are attracted to good guys, why don’t they show it? I never get signals of interest from women and I’m not about to express interest because I won’t risk being accused. I’ve read in several places that women usually give signs to guys they’re attracted to and that’s how most interactions start. I never get signals and so conclude that no woman is interested.


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