Until I got into traffic with you bastards.

Until I realized that smiling and letting someone go ahead of you only means that they'll get there first and take what you wanted.

Until I lost that youthful idealism and inched ever closer to cynicism.

Until I realized that not being a nice guy does not mean being an asshole.

I used to suffer from Nice Guy Syndrome. The symptoms of this disease are footprints on your back from where people have walked on you, and sexual frustration because women only want to be your friend.

I've never had a particularly submissive personality, nor did I gain any sort of sick masochistic pleasure from being fucked over, but I've always tried to be courteous and thoughtful in almost every facet of my life. A lot of people see this as a weakness, even if they don't consciously recognize this, and they exploit it. Being a nice guy, I would just turn the other cheek and get on with my life.

Being a wishy-washy little geek doesn't often attract members of the opposite sex. I've heard these Nice Guys (myself included, when I was one) constantly chant the same mantra: Women love assholes. Well I've discovered that this is not necessarily the case. You're always going to have people who run back to people who treat them like shit. But for the most part, women - and men for that matter (this is a blanket statement I know - but bear with me) aren't attracted to Assholes, per se, but rather to stronger seeming people who are less apt to take shit from people. (See: The Bastard Theory)

Being someone on the opposite end of that scale, I saw them as assholes.

So I whined about it. (Yeah, that's a great way to make yourself more attractive).

Well, there was no great epiphany. The lightbulb never went off, and there was never one point in time to which I can point and say, "That's when I stopped being A Nice Guy." But gradually as I learned how to better deal with people, especially in a very carnivorous work environment, and get what I wanted either through diplomacy or through force, I gradually realized - hey, I'm still a nice guy - I get along with people, and I smile a lot - but I'm not a Nice Guy.

I haven't heard "I like you as a friend" in several years.

The last time I did hear that, my reply was "Thanks, but I have enough friends," and I walked away. Twenty minutes later, she came by and asked for my phone number.

After we talked for a while, she told me that she thought I was nice. And do you know something?

It didn't bother me a bit.