There’s a phenomenon that’s been discussed recently as niceguyism. Niceguyism narrowly defined is when a man wants to date a women, and pretends to be her friend, and then gets angry and disgusted when she thinks that they are friends and does not reciprocate his interest in dating.
It’s been summed up as “treating women like vending machines into which you insert friendship and get out sex”.
I think it is actually much broader than that. First of all, although it has a gendered variant, people of all genders do this, and it’s not always for sex. Here’s what I think niceguyism is, broadly defined:
When someone unilaterally decides that they have a particular kind of close relationship with someone, and then treats the other person as though they have an obligation to act like it is true.
All close relationships require the ongoing consent of both parties. You can’t unilaterally *create* a close relationship, you can only unilaterally *offer* to enter into a relationship.
This plays out in romantic and sexual terms, where one person might unilaterally decide that they want to date someone, give that person presents or assistance, and then get furious when that person dates someone else.
It also plays out in friendships – one person decides that someone else should be their best friend, unilaterally acts like they are best friends, and then gets angry and disgusted when that person spends more time with or exchanges more confidences with other people.
It also plays out in a particular way with people with disabilities – people decide they want to be someone’s helper, or open their life up, or empower them, or give them hope to overcome their disabilities – and then proceed to run roughshod over that person’s boundaries and heap abuse and derision on them when they object.
It is never ok to decide you would like a close relationship with someone, and then unilaterally act as though you already do without regard to their consent. Don’t be that guy.