Part 9: More examples of what it means to be “unsafe”

Quick vocab lesson if you didn’t read the first post about nice guys:

“Safe” – Predictable, caring, very nice guys who you know will drop everything to be with you, eager to please, very sweet. The type of guy you’d want to have a family with – good father, dependable, doesn’t cheat, etc. The type of guy who often ends up in the friend zone.

“Unsafe” – It’s about being your own person. Not being needy, being independent, being self-assured, making your own decisions, and not caring so much about what other people think about you. Someone who doesn’t need a lot of validation from others and has an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude.

Also, for reference: The safe/unsafe chart.


I’ve been getting some feedback asking if I can talk more about what ‘unsafe’ behavior is. Sure. I’ll do this in 2 parts, with “self-assurance, not giving a fuck, and being secure with yourself” in this post, and [how to build] “confidence” in another. Truthfully, I can say it in as many different ways as I want, but at the end of the day, self-assurance + not giving a fuck + being secure with yourself = being confident.

Before getting to the examples, I’m going to start by introducing a few people who I’ll be referring to later, Vincent and Victoria. Vincent is French and also lived in the same dorm where Tim and I met. We didn’t know him well while we were living there, but look a chance and added him as our final roommate when we were moving out of the dorm. It worked out in the end because he turned out to be a great roommate. Vincent met Victoria a few months after we all moved in together. Victoria is Chinese, has been in the States for a number of years, and she’s one of those girls I really get along with because she’s straight-forward and says whatever. These two met in Berkeley while they were both in grad school for engineering. Last year they moved out-of-state for work, but still visit Berkeley every few months. Moving on to the examples now..

Example A – The Restaurant

This actually only happened about a month ago. The four of us were in SF’s Richmond district eating at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. About 15 minutes after we sat down, I started feeling really bad, like someone was punching me in the stomach. We women like to call these cramps. Without giving away too many unnecessary details, basically my monthly thing decided to visit right there and then. Tim could sense how uncomfortable I was and offered to run to the gas station a few blocks away and get some ibuprofen and feminine hygiene items. He came back in 5 minutes with the pills, but they didn’t have pads. He said there was another store in the other direction that he wanted to check, so he left the restaurant again. He came back a few minutes later holding a packet containing like, 12 pads, all out in the open, and handed it to me. I thanked him then asked, “You didn’t want a bag to carry those in?” He shrugged and said, “They didn’t give me one.” What? I’m impressed.

I don’t know many guys who would go buy pads without a second thought and not even want to bag it out of embarrassment. This is a form of being self-assured. I mean, if you think about it, why *should* you be embarrassed to buy pads for your girlfriend? Who gives a fuck? What’s going to happen, someone is going to look at you funny and say “Ooooh, you’re totally whipped for buying pads for a girl.” Even if that did happen, I’m pretty sure Tim would have been like, “Uh, yeah. So?” He does not give a fuck. He wanted to make me feel better, and if that meant buying pads and carrying them to the restaurant without a bag, so be it. This type of attitude is incredibly appealing. So here we see good safe (caring, mature) combined with good unsafe (self-assured, confident) doing its magic again. Guys, women will cream their panties for this kind of thing, seriously.

Example B – The Gay Bar

Last year, the four of us went to the city again, this time with one of Victoria’s old undergrad buddies, Joel, who was also visiting Berkeley and staying with us. Joel is about halfway out of the closet and wanted to check out some gay bars in SF’s Castro district. He didn’t want to go alone, so we all went together. I’ve been to gay bars before a few times with a gay male friend, but never before with straight men. Tim had never been to a gay bar before, and I think it was Vincent’s first time too. So picture this: two straight couples and a gay guy walk into a gay bar. Joel wants to dance, and when I’m feeling tipsy enough, I go with him. The other three hang out in an area across from the bar, drinks in hand and chatting.

Joel wants to dance with some cute guys, but he gives off a nervous energy. I don’t think he’s totally comfortable with his sexuality, and it shows. There are other guys dancing, chatting each other up, laughing, having a good time. Joel keeps glancing around, hoping someone will talk to him. We try a few different things. I dance with him, with my back to him, even move far away from him so it looks like he’s by himself. No response from guys. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why guys were not talking to him, but now that I think about it, I have a feeling it’s because of the vibes he was giving off. The nervousness, combined with needing validation and eagerness possibly gave off a “safe” energy. I’m not for sure, but I *can* say it had nothing to do with his appearance. Joel’s pretty darn cute, with an innocent-looking baby-face, and he’s also in shape.

Anyway. After a while we give up, leave the dance floor, and check in with the others. I grab my drink from Tim and ask them what’s been happening. Victoria tells me Vincent and Tim both got hit on while we were dancing. I’m like, “Haha, what?! That’s what we’ve been trying to do for Joel for the last 20 minutes!” She says, “Yeah, I don’t know. It was funny. A girl next to me offered to put her arm around Tim so he would look like he was part of a couple.” We giggle about it a little more, and I’m all proud that gay guys think my boyfriend’s cute enough to hit on.

After I finish my drink, Joel and I head back to the dance floor for round 2. He sees a guy who he finds attractive, and we try to dance over to him as nonchalantly as possible. He’s surrounded by a gaggle of girls (his friends?) and pays no attention to us. After unsuccessfully trying to get him to check out Joel, we leave the dance floor and head towards the bar, where I see Tim waiting for the bartender. Before I get to him, I see a tall guy walk past him and say, “Well aren’t you cute?” and then ruffles Tim’s hair lightly. Then the guy sees me walking towards Tim and gets the message pretty quickly. He laughs and says, “Not that I was trying to hit on you or anything.” Tim’s like, “No worries,” smiles at him, and the guy moves on. I am, again, impressed. Why?

Tim is from a smallish town and doesn’t know too many gay people. I know he’s not homophobic from discussions we’ve had about gay marriage and from seeing him interact with Joel and other gay friends, but I had no idea how he would react to actually being hit on. Now I know. He’s both polite and nonchalant/casual about it (good safe + good unsafe), which I think is the perfect response. He *could* have been like, “I’m not gay. Don’t touch my hair. Back away from me,” and have taken offense to other people thinking he was gay, but he wasn’t at all. He doesn’t give a fuck. It all goes back to the being self-assured thing. He’s secure with himself and his “manhood” or whatever you want to call it, so it doesn’t bother him if gay guys hit on him or if he has to buy some pads. Again, these “unsafe” qualities (self-assurance, not giving a fuck, and being secure with yourself) are things that women find very attractive.

Now one more thing before I close out this example. Why were Tim and Vincent getting hit on and Joel not? I speculated earlier that the reason for Joel not getting hit on was because he was giving off “safe” vibes. Similarly, I also believe that Tim and Vincent were giving off “unsafe” vibes, without even saying a word. How? Well, they were being “unintentionally unsafe”. Neither of them were there to scope out guys. Neither of them were “trying” anything, because 1) They’re not gay and 2) They’re both in relationships. So here they were, sitting back, chilling, giving off these “I’m confident, I don’t need your attention or validation,” vibes to gay men who subsequently found themselves attracted *because* of these “unsafe” qualities they were giving off, and in turn tried to talk to them. Make sense?

Another way to think about it is this: have you ever been in a situation where you were not *trying* to pick up girls, but girls seemed to want to be near you anyway? Like giving a talk about something you know a lot about, or playing a sport you’re good at. You’re just doing your thing, not at all concentrating on getting attention from women, but they just seem to want to talk to you. It’s probably because they feel some “unsafe” vibes from you, even though you’re not intentionally giving them off. They feel your self-assurance when you’re doing whatever it is you’re good at doing, and they’re drawn to it.

Also, notice how when you’re not looking for a relationship, things tend to “just happen?” I have heard this story so many times. People look and look for a girlfriend, investing massive amounts of effort into it, and they don’t find anybody. When they decide to give up, throw in the towel and just live with the mentality of “if something happens, it happens, if not, I’ll be okay single,” THEY FIND SOMEONE. It’s not some crazy coincidence. It’s because of a change in vibes, from “safe” to “unsafe”. Your new chill, laid-back vibe is attractive as hell. I’ll say it a final time: Self-assurance, not giving a fuck, being secure with yourself – these all really just fall under the umbrella of “confidence,” and you all know women love confidence.

Wait, but…

*A commenter on OkCupid who read Part 1 said, “I agree with you, except for the “Someone who doesn’t need a lot of validation from others and has a “I don’t give a fuck” attitude.” Some of us, unfortunately, would probably not have any friends at all if we took that attitude, and we’d be pretty unhappy.”

My response: “In my post, “not giving a fuck” is not the same as “being a dick”. If you’re a nice guy, you can still not give a fuck, but you probably won’t offend many people because deep down, you are a nice person. A nice person, for instance, would know better than to tell someone, “You’re only 30? You look twice your age!” That’s being a dick. Not giving a fuck is like a guy thinking “Hmm, yoga looks like fun. I should take a few classes.” Then he does. Caring too much about what other people think is more like, “Hmm, yoga looks like fun. But isn’t that something mostly girls do? What if people start making fun of me because I’m doing yoga? What if they think I’m a sissy? Ugh, I better not.” In the first case, the guy is confident enough to just do the yoga classes. He doesn’t give a shit what people think of him. The second guy is so wrapped up in his thoughts about what others think, he’s missing out on doing something he wants to.”

The lesson here to to stop caring about what others think. Did Tim care if people saw him buying pads? No. Did he care that other guys in the bar thought he was gay? No. Neither of these things bothered him. Learn to become comfortable with yourself so that things like that don’t bother you either. Get to a place where you can genuinely react to others’ negative opinions about things you do as “whatever, I don’t give two shits what you think”. I mean, within reason of course. If you’re thinking you should bring 10 pistols into Starbucks just to prove that you have a right to carry arms, then we’re probably not on the same page here. I’m talking about developing a strong sense of self so you can dampen the insecurities in your head that say “What if people think I’m whipped for buying pads? What if people think I’m gay for going to this club? What will people think of me if I take this yoga class?” If you want do something that doesn’t negatively impact your life and/or the lives of others, Just.Fucking.Do.It. Nike knows what’s up, they’ve been saying it for decades with their slogan. Just Do It. Good luck!


*This example was also referred to in this Comment of the Day. The post also includes a small round-up of other examples of self-assurance/not giving a fuck/being secure with yourself, i.e. confidence, that I’ve mentioned in the other Nice Guys posts.


4 responses to “Part 9: More examples of what it means to be “unsafe”

  • ach

    i get the concept; but have trouble associating it with my daily activities… is it me? or other guys feel the same way?

  • Wow

    I fukken lol’d. I’m basically the most insecure dude on the planet, but carrying around pads for my gf? Why would that be a problem? If anything it shows that you _have_ a girlfriend. Same goes for compliments from gays. Like I couldn’t ask a stranger for the time without sweating like a pig, but I’d walk into a drug store and ask for pads no problem, because I don’t feel expected to know where they keep that stuff anyway.
    While your premise may be correct (if platitudinous), your examples are utter shit and make me realize yet again that I will probably never understand why women find one thing impressive and another ridiculous…

  • bigshot

    the term “not to give a fuck” is misleadingly general. If you don’t give a fuck about getting fat or how you dress/look/smell, it obviously won’t help you with women!

  • cromulency

    Hi “Wow”,

    That example still shows the contrast that she’s trying to draw, even if it’s not something you’d personally feel insecure about. The point is to contrast Tim’s behavior with a hypothetical version of Tim who hesitated or made a big deal of it. Instead he just didn’t care about it and did what needed doing without being insecure or self-conscious. We all have different sets of insecurities, so no example is going to apply to everyone all the time. Instead look for the underlying message that the example is trying to illustrate.

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