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Simply Solo Spotlight: Lessons Learned A La Carte

April 19, 2011

Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by Matthew from Inside the Nice Guy. Matthew is single-handedly trying to prove to me that nice/good guys do exist (contrary to my previous beliefs). I love reading his blog because it’s like an all access pass to what a real guy thinks about this crazy world of dating. Matthew’s so honest, a great writer and, I have to admit, he’s my own personal Ted Mosby. I just can’t help but root for him from the sidelines! Interestingly enough, I’ll be meeting him in person this May. It’ll be my first blogger meet up – too friggin’ fun. Anyway, I really hope you enjoy today’s guest post, and be sure to check out Matthew’s blog!

Lessons Learned A La Carte  

To be honest, writing for this Spotlight has been a partially intimidating experience. Catherine has a knack for finding incredibly talented writers for her weekly Tuesday posts. It’s a tall order to live up to.

I’m not saying this to suck up in any way. *I’m already here aren’t I?*

There is a standard, a tone that has been established. Out of respect for what she has built, I wanted to be sure to maintain the integrity of this site.

My brain came close to having the consistency of a poorly made Jell-O mold trying to find the ideal topic. I’ve known about this “deadline” for roughly a month. It wasn’t until Sunday morning, two days ago, that lightning was captured in a bottle. All thanks to one of my roommates.

We were discussing the events of my weekend that focused on a certain special woman who has recently been introduced into my life. Out of nowhere, a single sentence came out of his mouth like I had just cracked open the most relevant fortune cookie.

Now, what I am about to disclose is going to essentially discredit just about everything this post should be about. Every relationship blog, article or professional out there.

Get ready for me to lay down some knowledge.

He said, “It seems the best thing you’ve done regarding this relationship is not listening to everyone’s advice.”

Talk about a slap in the face with a brick stuffed in a sock. I immediately felt the effects of his remark. He was right.

But please don’t misinterpret this lifted veil to mean I am not gracious for the shared knowledge others have passed along. Their advice is offered purely with the best intentions and considerations towards my own well-being. *Or so I hope.* For that, I am forever grateful. A value can not be placed on the words that provide a chance to gain clarity from an outside perspective.

Advice is there for us to take what we want need from it. When it comes to our emotions there is not a blanket statement to provide guidance that is going to applicable in every circumstance. What works for one person may not be the case for another.

In other words, we all take our coffee differently.

“You’re just too damn nice. Sometimes you just have to be a jerk.”

“You make things too easy. You have to play it cool. Be coy.”

“Play the game.”

These phrases have burned holes through my ear drums, virtually beating them into submission. You hear something often enough you begin to believe it.

Yes, from time to time I can be too damn nice. Yes, things may be made easy here and there. Those qualities are worn like a badge of honor that could blind you as it reflects the suns rays during a brilliant sunset.

Yes, I have been known to play…wait! Hold on. Hit the brakes. Kill the engine. Get out of the car.

I refuse to gain affection by being a jerk. Read from my book. You will not find that as a method to showing interest.

Coy? Here’s my philosophy towards dating. You will know if I like you. It could be the blunt simplicity of saying, “I really like you.” It could be a grand gesture, such as bringing you a mason jar containing a freshly made ginger salad dressing, you really liked, from that sushi restaurant we dined at during one of our first dates.

uno cards, games

You want to play games? Break out a deck of UNO. Photo courtesy of Blacklisted

You want to play games? Break out a deck of UNO. You want to play that game? There is as good of a chance getting me to play that game as there is getting me to eat raw mushrooms. *Hint: I do not eat mushrooms.*

Here is what years of dating and relationship advice has gotten me. It has helped me piece together the type of man/boyfriend/lover/husband I want to be.

That type is simply this. Me.One hundred percent genuine Matthew. *Accept no substitutes.* It’s gotten me where I am presently sitting and the view is exhilarating. How exhilarating? Think solar eclipse, northern lights, double rainbow all at the same time.  

So, here’s where I contradict everything I’ve just said by giving you all the following advice…listen to what others offer with open ears and open hearts. Take from it what you need. Don’t compromise what makes you unique just to make an impression. Be yourself.

Because in the end, isn’t that the person you want someone to fall in love with?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2011 8:44 am

    Great post Matthew!! And I agree, not all advice works for relationships. If not taking anyone’s advice worked for you, then so be it 🙂

    • April 20, 2011 2:07 pm

      Thank you! I can’t believe it took nearly 30 years to figure that one out. Blanket statements, I believe, are just becoming too common (and obviously inaccurate) when there are so many exceptions.

  2. April 19, 2011 10:06 am

    “He’s my own personal Ted Mosby”—I like him already.

    Good for you for not playing the game! I hate the game.

    • April 20, 2011 2:08 pm

      Hahaha. Thanks. Catherine completely caught me off guard with that comparison. Big shoes to fill. Or well…maybe I should say big red cowboy boots to fill.

      And thank you for agreeing with me regarding the game. *anticipating some of the comments below* 😉

  3. April 19, 2011 10:20 am

    Love this post, Matthew! Although… I have to say… I still think some games work. Along the lines of the same stuff Katie and I were saying on your blog. There’s nothing wrong with a little mystery – I actually crave it in the beginning of a relationship. In the beginning, I’d rather wonder if a guy is going to call than know for sure because I’m positive he likes me. It’s a little fun to have that uncertainty and mystery in the beginning – both parties should feel like they have to work for it, I think. But hey, to each his own. I bet a relationship with you would be easy sailing – which I think a lot of girls would like as well. I’m just a little too trained to crave drama :). I’m happy that you are are excited about this girl and that your “no games except Uno” has apparently worked. Can’t wait to read more! Great post 🙂

    • April 19, 2011 12:16 pm

      Like. 🙂 We’re not saying you shouldn’t be yourself or you should trick a potential partner into thinking you’re someone else. It’s more like keeping that fresh, new relationship feeling alive for as long as possible. Because while there are great things that come with longevity, nothing beats the butterflies. 😉

      • April 19, 2011 4:38 pm

        EXACTLY! I love love love the butterflies. I definitely want an honest, reliable man … and I don’t want to be tricked or lied to … but a little mystery keeps the butterflies around a little longer, and helps them be more intense. And that’s one of my favorite parts of the beginning of a relationship. Well said, Katie! 🙂

        • April 20, 2011 2:12 pm

          I obviously have done a very very very poor job elaborating on my “game play” exactly. Looks like I have to new post topic.

          Geez ladies. Making me work for this one. 😉

  4. April 19, 2011 11:04 am

    I recently connected with a guy friend post-breakup, who, as luck would have it, went through almost the exact same thing as me 6 months ago. Guys advice to him: “Get drunk, get laid, etc. etc”. Solid advice, right? I think he learned pretty early on that while the support and ‘advice’ of others is well-meaning, it’s not one-size-fits-all. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Thanks for sharing your POV. I wholeheartedly agree with being geniune instead of doing what you’ve been *told* to do.

    • April 20, 2011 6:20 pm

      Thank you KD. And I’m glad your friend caught on to the advice his buddies were giving him. Sounds a LOT like the “advice” my co-workers have been telling me.

      All in all I think it comes down to what you feel comfortable doing and being yourself. If you’re comfortable, in turn you are also confident and THAT will show.

  5. April 19, 2011 12:18 pm

    Great post, and very well said. I’m so happy things are working out for you!! You know you’re going to have to give me the details when you get out here – or we’ll save it for the meet-up so Catherine can get the scoop too. 😉

    • April 20, 2011 6:18 pm

      Come on. A guys got to have some secrets. 😉

      And just so I don’t go uber-reply on your above comment, didn’t you read my butterfly post?

      Also I think we seriously have a MAJOR miss-communication regarding what we consider “mystery” and “games”. It almost sounds like you’re thinking I’m taking your advice to only an extreme and not in small doses. Mystery is good…in small doses. I don’t know if I’ll ever cave on the game stuff though. When it comes to how I feel about you, I’m going to tell you. But more on that in a future post.

      • April 21, 2011 3:32 pm

        Yeah… we definitely have a miscommunication here. Because I’ve never told you to not tell a girl when you like her – in fact, that is a very positive and refreshing attribute!

  6. April 19, 2011 5:57 pm

    You’re absolutely right, Matthew. Why bother being ‘coy’ or playing games if you really like the person? That may only end up confusing the one you’re with, which may lead to her ultimately leaving and finding someone else. I was just in a situation where the guy just played too many games, but am now dating a (dare I say it) great guy who has been completely honest with his feelings toward me. It’s VERY refreshing! Lol. We should be able to be ourselves to find the one that’s right for us, right? Great post!

    • April 20, 2011 6:24 pm

      Yes! That is exactly what I think. I know of too many situations where people have lost out on a great relationship opportunity because they didn’t say how they felt, or thought they had to play hard-to-get, and the person moved on.

      Heck. It’s happened to me on both sides of the coin. I’ve held things in. Thinking I needed to be coy. Then before I knew it she was dating someone else. Slap in the forehead.

      And congrats on finding a guy who lets you know how he feels. Please tell Katie and Catherine above that it’s not all bad and can definitely work. 😉

  7. April 19, 2011 7:14 pm

    Matthew…thank you.
    Thank you for echoing my thoughts about relationships and my dislike toward games of any sort. I’m also a “nice guy” (Catherine didn’t believe me, either…probably still doesn’t) and it’s nice to see another of “my kind” out there. We need to stick together. It’s a brotherhood!

    • April 20, 2011 6:28 pm

      Brotherhood is thicker than water Mark. Glad to have a fellow man of your sorts here with me on this.

      We can work together to try and sway Catherine’s POV now…but I think she’s starting to crack, even if just a little bit.

  8. April 20, 2011 10:51 am

    Great post! And best of luck with your new relationship. I think your advice is the best, be yourself. Works everytime:) -SG

    • April 20, 2011 6:29 pm

      Thank you, on both the compliment and the luck. Sometimes the best advice is the shortest and simplest answer.

  9. April 20, 2011 12:52 pm

    Excellent post! And the last line was one of the most poignant I’ve read, though simple. Because at the end of the day, why try to be someone else? Why try so hard when you can just be you? As always, you’ve made some excellent points Matthew!

    • April 20, 2011 6:33 pm

      You give me way too much credit, but I appreciate the credit towards making some good points here and there.

      I learned a while back, you can’t love someone else until you truly love yourself. If you don’t like yourself and want to be different how is someone else going to have the chance to get to know that side of you?

      And for all you know the part you are trying to hide could be the thing they love most about you.


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