“Nice guys finish last.”
That saying, without a doubt, is the absolute worst advice people still give.
I’m sure everyone has heard that one before. If not, well, it’s a cliché saying here in the U.S. and I’ve heard it more times than I can count.
The basic point of the phrase is to warn people: If you’re too nice, you’re going to be used and constantly taken advantage of by others.
It’s a stupid saying that bears no real meaning whatsoever.
I know plenty of super nice people that are highly successful. And do you know how they became highly successful? You guessed it — BY BEING SUPER NICE.
The problem with the advice to “be wary of how nice you are,” is that, most people take it WAY too literally.
Let me give you an example.
I was out to dinner with a relatively large group of friends. As we’re all college kids, deciding to pay with individual, separate checks was automatic.
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Somehow at the end of the meal, there were a few items unaccounted for (items that were shared by the table). As it was obvious no one was going to offer to pay, I said without hesitation, “Just put it on my bill—no problem.”
Immediately, the table responded with phony appreciation:
“Aww, are you sure?”
“Want me to Venmo you $2?”
“I’ll get you back next time bro!”
As we left the restaurant, one of my (sort of) friends turned to me and genuinely thanked me for paying for the unaccounted for appetizers, but his thank you was followed by an explanation: “I would have paid, honestly, but you know how it is, nice guys finish last.”
No, actually — I don’t f–king know how it is. Please, enlighten me (I thought to myself).
His reason for not helping me out with that portion of the bill was because ‘nice guys finish last’. At some point in his life, some idiot must have told him that offering to help a friend pay the bill was being ‘too nice’ and he didn’t want to be taken advantage of.
You know why I offered to pay? Because that’s what decent person would do. I could care less about $16.64. If paying that portion of the meal meant nobody else had to worry about it, that’s cool with me. I’d rather pay extra for people to have a good time than argue about 16 freaking dollars.
Being a nice person doesn’t mean being taken advantage of. I chose to pay the extra portion of the bill. That was my decision.
At the end of the day, being nice to people is how you build friendships. It’s how you network and form new relationships with people.
Being nice is always a good decision.
And to those who disagree, let me make something clear:
If you think I’m a loser or that I’m going to be taken advantage of for the rest of my life because I choose to be ‘nice,’ you’re an idiot.
It’s very, VERY easy to spot the people that try to take advantage of others. If this is you, trust me, you are not as sly as you think. People — especially nice people — can see right through you.
If all you like to do is use people, well, I feel sorry for you. Because when it’s all said and done, you’re not going to have anyone that will vouch for you. No one will offer to help you out in your time of need. Nobody is going to invite you to parties or to dinners or to sporting events because nobody wants to hang around a moocher.
It is always, always, always worth it to be nice.
This article originally appeared on Quora.